Democratic senators are calling for U.S. President Donald Trump to cancel his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin after U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced 12 Russian intelligence officers have been indicted in the election meddling investigation.
A federal grand jury on Friday indicted the Russian intelligence officers on charges of hacking the computer networks of 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says the indictments are “further proof of what everyone but the president seems to understand: President Putin is an adversary who interfered in our elections to help President Trump win.”
Trump is scheduled to meet Putin in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday.
Schumer says Trump should cancel his meeting with Putin until Russia takes steps to prove it won’t interfere in future elections.
Vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Mark Warner said if the meeting was to forward, Americans need to be in the room with the pair.
“Going forward, there should be no one-on-one meeting between this president and Mr. Putin,” Warner told reporters on Capitol Hill. “There needs to be other Americans in the room.
“Secondly, if the president and his team are not willing to make the facts of this indictment at top priority of the meeting in Helsinki, then the summit should be cancelled,” the Democratic senator said.
The fresh indictments related to special counsel Robert Mueller‘s probe come amid Trump’s U.K. visit, and just hours after he once again called the investigation a “witch hunt.”
Rosenstein said the president had been briefed on the charges earlier this week.
Warner went on to urge the Trump administration to stop calling the Mueller probe a “witch hunt.”
“This morning we saw something remarkable. The president was questioned in the U.K. why relations with Russia are at a bad state,” Warner said. “And he replied ‘Because of the Mueller investigation.’ No Mr. President, the reason why relations with Russia are difficult is because Russia and its agents interfered dramatically in the 2016 elections.”
Mueller is investigating whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia and whether the president has unlawfully sought to obstruct the Russia investigation.