Pompeo says Trump-Putin summit should proceed

Sean Gallup  Getty Images Europe

Sean Gallup Getty Images Europe

The planned meeting with the Russian president has been heavily criticized since it was scheduled.

A chorus of Democrats including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California said Trump must call off the summit. "Glad-handing with Vladimir Putin on the heels of these indictments would be an insult to our democracy", the Democratic leader added.

After meeting May at her Chequers country retreat outside London on Friday, Trump sounded more conciliatory, saying that bilateral relations "have never been stronger". Then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Trump had pressed Putin on the matter, while the Russian foreign minister said Trump had accepted Putin's denials that Russia interfered in the election.

Alluding to Trump's comments about Germany, Kerry also said that "European energy security is an important topic for allies to discuss, even when they disagree". But now Trump is under pressure - including from several members of Congress from his own party - to finally confront Putin once and for all over trying to sabotage the election that put Trump in the White House.

Following his meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Donald Trump said he had a "great meeting" as the two met on the sidelines of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit only hours after Trump had made a scathing comment about the European ally at a pre-summit breakfast, according to reports.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, said the release of the indictments were just a formality and that he briefed President Trump about the new charges earlier this week.

But which version of reality will Trump project as he meets with Putin in Helsinki?

Former Secretary of State John Kerry scolded President Donald Trump for what he called "disgraceful" and "destructive" statements against USA allies in NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Wednesday. But he predicted Putin wouldn't confess.

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Barry Bennett, a former Trump campaign adviser said it was not a "smart move". I got 306! They were sooooo wrong in their election coverage. And John McCain, a leading Republican senator and Trump critic, said Trump must hold Putin accountable or not proceed with the meeting.

All I can say is: "Did you?"

Gowdy, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said in a statement that "Russia attempted to sow the seeds of discord, undermine the fundamentals of our democracy and challenge the reliability of the 2016 election".

The admonitions to cancel the meeting came nearly exclusively from Democrats, with the notable exception of McCain, who has been absent from Capitol hill as he continues to fight brain cancer.

Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in the House, stressed that Russians should be treated more sever due to the current conditions.

"Enough", the Democrat said of Trump's style at the summit. After meeting with the Russian leader in November 2017, Trump said of Russia's meddling, "Every time he sees me he says, 'I didn't do that, ' and I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it".

"I have experienced myself how a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union", Merkel told reporters Wednesday having just arrived for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels. Warner also called on the president and his allies to "immediately cease and desist from calling the Mueller investigation a witch hunt".

"Donald Trump is not welcome here", Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard told the crowd.

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