Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and other top Democrats are urging President Donald Trump to call out Russian President Vladimir Putin for his alleged meddling in last year’s presidential election during the two leaders’ first meeting on Friday.
It would be a “severe dereliction of duty” for Trump not to raise the issue, the senators said in a letter to the president on Thursday.
The letter comes as Trump, on a visit to Poland, is taking heat for once again declining to categorically state that Russia interfered in the election, something the U.S. intelligence community concluded in a January public assessment.
“It remains critical that you set the agenda from the start and make absolutely clear that Russian interference in our democracy will in no way be tolerated,” the senators said.
The letter is signed by Schumer of New York, along with Minority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois and the ranking Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations, Armed Services and Intelligence panels: Ben Cardin of Maryland, Jack Reed of Rhode Island and Mark Warner of Virginia, respectively.
“Putin directed an attack on the most central tenet of our democracy – our election,” the senators continued. “We believe it is crucial for you – as the President of the United States – to raise this matter with President Putin and to ensure that he hears you loud and clear – interfering in our elections was wrong in 2016 and it will not be permitted to happen again.”
Trump is set to meet with Putin at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.