By WPRO News Team and the Associated Press
Three members of Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation called on President Donald Trump to cancel his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin after 12 Russian intelligence officers were indicted for alleged hacking offenses during the 2016 presidential election.
Trump and Putin are to meet Monday in Helsinki.
The Justice Department announced the indictments Friday as part of the special counsel probe into potential coordination between Trump’s campaign and Russia.The indictment alleges a coordinated effort to break into Democratic email accounts.
Senator Jack Reed Reed said Trump should cancel the meeting in light of the “stunning indictment that these Russian conspirators attacked our democracy.”
Congressman David Cicilline reacted on Twitter, sharing a link to a Politico article on the indictments and telling Trump he should “raise this with Putin when you see him on Monday.” In a separate tweet a few hours later, Cicilline said Trump should cancel the meeting.
Congressman Jim Langevin said Trump should not only cancel the meeting, but also “work with Congress to punish Russia for its actions.”
“When a nation violates the norms of responsible state behavior in cyberspace, we must respond with all means of state power, economic, diplomatic and otherwise. It is simply unacceptable to use cyber means to steal and disseminate political documents with the goals of undermining faith in American democracy,” he said. “Sadly, the President continues to cast doubt on the facts first set forth by our intelligence community and reiterated in today’s indictment.”
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said “it has long been clear” that Russia hacked and leaked emails during the 2016 presidential campaign.
“The President’s willingness to ignore this — even the findings of his own intelligence community — raises red flags, and requires that law enforcement be allowed to continue its investigations unimpeded,” he said. “The phony claims that this investigation needs to be ‘wrapped up’ are highly suspect and utterly without merit.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer also says Trump should cancel the meeting.
A White House spokeswoman says the indictments contain no allegations of knowing involvement by Trump campaign officials.