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Sasse: Trump shouldn't dignify Putin with Helsinki summit

The Hill logo The Hill 7/16/2018 Emily Birnbaum
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Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) on Sunday night said he does not think President Trump should dignify Russian President Vladimir Putin with a meeting, given Putin's past relationship with the U.S.

Sasse, who is an outspoken critic of Russia and occasionally Trump, took to Twitter with his take on whom Putin is and what he wants.

"I don't think President Trump should be dignifying Putin with this meeting," Sasse tweeted.

Trump is scheduled to meet with Putin in Helsinki on Monday. The summit will come days after special counsel Robert Mueller's indictment of twelve Russian intelligence officials for conspiring to influence the 2016 presidential election.

"President Trump should have only one message for Putin tomorrow: Quit messing with America," he added.

Sasse hit Putin for his history as a member of the KGB, the security agency for the Soviet Union, and his authoritarian rule in Russia.

"Putin is a murderer," Sasse tweeted. "He has ordered the assassinations of political adversaries and used outlawed chemical weapons to do it."

Sasse also called Putin a "crook and a liar" for breaking agreements with the U.S. on Syria and the Ukraine, and an "enemy of America" for attacking the U.S. "regularly."

"Remember, Putin ordered the influence operations that have been exposed in the most recent indictments, did not hesitate to invade Ukraine and Georgia, organized a coup in Montenegro, funded xenophobic political parties across Europe, and crippled Estonia with cyberattacks," Sasse tweeted.

Sasse on Friday said Trump should not be alone with Putin.

"There should be no one-on-one meeting between this president and Mr. Putin," Sasse told reporters. "There needs to be other Americans in the room."

He said "Putin is not America's friend, and he is not the President's buddy."

Trump has said he has "low expectations" for his meeting with Putin, and has been ambiguous as to whether he will confront Putin over Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

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