WASHINGTON — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called on President Donald Trump to cancel a meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin after the Justice Department announced the indictment of 12 Russian military officials for meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
“President Trump should cancel his meeting with Vladimir Putin until Russia takes demonstrable and transparent steps to prove that they won’t interfere in future elections,” Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement. “Glad-handing with Vladimir Putin on the heels of these indictments would be an insult to our democracy.”
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who is the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Friday that Trump “ought to cut his losses with this disastrous trip to Europe and not make it worse by a friendly meeting [with] Vladimir Putin on the heels of yet another indictment of Russia.”
Trump has spent the week in Europe for the annual NATO summit. He is scheduled to meet with Putin in Helsinki, Finland on Monday.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the indictment at a news conference on Friday. The indictment is part of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into potential collision between members of the Trump campaign and Russian officials.
The defendants are charged in connection with the 2016 email hacks of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and 20 state election boards.
Rosenstein cautioned against politicizing the indictments.
“There is no allegation in this indictment that any American citizen committed a crime. There is no allegation that the conspiracy altered the vote count or changed any election result,” he said.
The defendants reside in Russia. Putin would have to agree to extradition in order for proceedings to commence.