WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today introduced a resolution opposing any meetings between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin or any other Russian official without a second senior United States official present.
The resolution follows President Trump’s private meeting with Putin last week in Helsinki, and President Trump’s subsequent invitation to Putin for an oval office meeting in the fall.
“President Trump made clear last week in Helsinki and since that Vladimir Putin has him wrapped around his finger,” said Merkley. “We may not know exactly why Trump is so weak in the face of Putin’s manipulations, but it’s clear that they should not be in a room alone together. Our nation needs President Trump to act as a watchdog for America, not a lapdog for Putin.”
Merkley’s resolution takes note of the President’s repeated contradictions of U.S. intelligence and Trump’s alarming and unexplained behavior toward Russia and Putin, as well as the unprecedented situation of a President whose campaign is under investigation for possible collusion with the Russian government.
The full text of the resolution follows below.
Whereas it is the unanimous conclusion of the United States intelligence community that the Government of the Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 Presidential election, at the direction of Russian President Vladimir Putin, to advance the candidacy of then-candidate Donald J. Trump;
Whereas President Trump has repeatedly cast doubt on intelligence community conclusions regarding Russia’s attacks during the 2016 election and suggested at his Helsinki press conference, as he has in previous statements, that he believes President Putin’s denials despite evidence to the contrary;
Whereas President Trump and individuals associated with his 2016 presidential campaign remain subjects of an ongoing investigation led by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III relating to Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 United States presidential election, an investigation which has yielded 32 indictments and 5 guilty pleas to date;
Whereas President Trump reportedly personally requested that his meeting at the July 16, 2018, Helsinki Summit with President Putin be one-on-one and excluded other United States officials; and
Whereas, since the Helsinki Summit, President Trump and President Putin alluded to oral agreements they made, the specifics of which have not been made known publicly: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that—
(1) President Trump should not meet with President Putin or any official of the Russian Federation without another senior United States official present; and
(2) the President, or a designee of the President, should within 7 days report to Congress, in the appropriate setting, on the substance of President Trump’s meeting with President Putin, including any agreements or commitments made on behalf of the United States.