WASHINGTON, DC – After the White House officially announced this week that President Trump will meet next week with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G-20 summit in Germany, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), the Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement:

“This meeting is not a surprise – Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced it back in May.  But it is still very concerning.

“President Putin wants a high-profile, bilateral meeting because it serves Russia’s desire to be seen on par with the United States.

“President Trump’s eagerness to meet with Vladimir Putin under current circumstances seems ill-advised, but if the meeting occurs then the President must use this opportunity to push back against Russia’s malign activities globally.  

“Let’s be clear: the Russians interfered in our election and helped elect Donald Trump president.  There is a serious, ongoing criminal investigation into this matter.  And President Trump must refrain from any unilateral concessions to Russia.  The U.S. Senate recently voted 98-2 to strengthen sanctions against Russia in response to its election meddling and other destabilizing activities.  President Trump must not take any steps that would undermine the strong signal sent by the Russian sanctions bill. 

“President Trump should deliver a clear message that Russian interference with our democratic process is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated.  The President needs to demonstrate leadership by standing up to Putin and calling on Russia to cease its hacking of Western elections, stop threatening its neighbors and our NATO allies, end its interference in Ukraine, comply with its commitments under the Minsk cease-fire agreement, and withdraw its support for the murderous Assad regime.”