Florida congressmen Ted Deutch, Lois Frankel and Debbie Wasserman Schultz joined national Democrats calling for President Donald Trump to cancel an upcoming meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Deutch and Frankel signed onto a stern letter from Democrats on the House Foreign Relations Committee sharply criticizing Trump’s meeting with Putin.
“Unfortunately, due to your constant expressions of sympathy for Vladimir Putin, your conflicts of interest, and your attacks on our closest allies, we do not have faith that you can faithfully negotiate with the Russian leader, and we urge you to cancel the meeting,” the letter closes.
— House Foreign Affairs Committee Democrats (@HFACDemocrats) July 13, 2018
Deutch, a Boca Raton Democrat, furthered criticism of Trump in his own message on Twitter, where he asserted the president believes Putin over U.S. intelligence when it comes to election interference.
Trump believes Putin & doubts our own intel community.
He praises Putin while denigrating our allies.
And he wants to meet face-to-face with Putin without any American nat’l security/foreign policy official with him. @realDonaldTrump should cancel his meeting w/ Putin
— Rep. Ted Deutch (@RepTedDeutch) July 13, 2018
House Democrats issued the letter the same day a fresh round of indictments came out of FBI special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling. The Tampa Bay Times notes those indictments show efforts specifically involving Florida election efforts.
Weston Democrat Wasserman Schultz suggested on Twitter that Trump cancel the meeting and “use the opportunity to publicly call on Russia to extradite the 12 Russian intelligence officials who were just indicted for interfering in the 2016 election.”
U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, a Tampa Democrat, also made note Florida elections offices had been targeted by Russian meddling, and said Trump should demand criminals be turned over and “quit denying that criminal conspiracy took place.”
On that part, Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio also strongly said Putin’s meddling was clear. “I don’t ‘believe’ Putin interfered in our elections,” Rubio tweeted. “I know for a fact he did.” He went on to criticize the partisan nature of media reaction to the Muller indictments.
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, while less sharp in his critique than Democratic colleagues in the House, also said the indictments should be a “wake-up call for all Americans.” The Democrat did not go so far as to call for Trump to cancel his meeting.