Top Democratic party leaders on Sunday slammed US President Donald Trump for meeting his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Germany, describing the move as an "embarrassment" for the country.
"While a few good things came out of this summit, overall it was an embarrassment to our country and our ideals. Clearly the lowest moment of all was his meeting with Vladimir Putin, on several counts," Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer said.
Trump and Putin met on Friday on the sidelines of the G20 summit in the German city of Hamburg. The meeting comes amid allegations by the US intelligence community that Russia sought to influence the outcome of last year's US presidential election.
"The reports from President Trump's private, two-hour meeting with Putin leave the American people asking why the President continues to fawn over Putin instead of standing up for the integrity of America's democracy," the House Democratic Leader, Nancy Pelosi, said.
"US intelligence officials have concluded with high confidence that Russia intervened in the 2016 election, but Trump still refuses to accept this truth," she said.
Pelosi said setting up a joint working group on cyber security with the country that hacked US election infrastructure is a nonsensical and absurdly inadequate response to the Russian threat.
"Yet, the Trump Administration and Republicans continue to ignore Democrats' calls for a truly independent, American- led commission to protect our democracy from further foreign meddling," she said.
Schumer said it is clear that Trump is not willing to be the guardian of American interests when it comes to dealing with Putin.
"Rather than decisively confronting the Russian President head on, the President seemed to acquiesce to Putin's denial, almost certainly paving the way for future Russian interference in our elections," he said.
However, Trump's top Cabinet and administration officials defended his handling of the meeting with Putin.
"I think President Trump handled the meeting brilliantly, okay? It was very clear what started as a 30-minute meeting and President Trump made it very clear in addressing the issues around the election,"Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters.
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