WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), the Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement after President Donald Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany:

“This appears to be another missed opportunity where President Trump failed to stand up to Vladimir Putin.  As a result, Putin is likely to continue meddling in democratic elections across the globe and here at home and that is unacceptable.

“There appear to be conflicting readouts of the meeting, but based on post-meeting statements by both Secretary Tillerson and Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, on the issue of Russian interference in our democracy, President Trump capitulated to Vladimir Putin. 

“Secretary Tillerson said that President Trump “pressed [Putin] and then felt like at this point, ‘let’s talk about how to move forward.’”  Putin and Trump may both wish to ‘move forward,’ but the American people and the rest of the free world are all saying ‘wait a minute, let’s figure out what happened here and how to protect ourselves from repeat offenses.’

“President Trump may have accepted Putin’s assurances that Russia did not meddle in the U.S. presidential election, but I can assure you that the American people do not share his confidence in Mr. Putin’s claims.

“The crucial work of U.S. intelligence agencies, law enforcement, the special counsel, and bipartisan Congressional panels will continue until we get to the bottom of what happened and can help prevent continued Russian interference in future democratic elections.

“Despite the fact that U.S. intelligence agencies unanimously concur that Putin oversaw a concerted Russian effort to interfere in our 2016 president election to help Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton, President Trump continued to muddy the waters before this meeting by declaring that: “Nobody really knows for sure.”  Putin’s goal is to undermine confidence in the United States and those types of statements from the President help Putin.

“The one positive takeaway from this meeting is the framework for a ceasefire in parts of Syria.  Any time there’s a positive attempt to lower the level of violence there it should be encouraged.  But these cease fires have been brokered in the past and quickly fallen apart.  I was over in Syria a few weeks ago and the issues there are extremely complicated.  This announcement will be a test of how effectively the Russians can influence both the Syrian and Iranian governments to stop the violence and begin to develop longer-term solutions.”