Congressman Adam Smith

Representing the 9th District of Washington

NATIONAL SECURITY RANKING MEMBERS PUSH FOR CABINET-LEVEL BRIEFING ON PRIVATE TRUMP-PUTIN MEETING

Jul 24, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON — Today, Representatives Adam Smith (D-WA), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Armed Services; Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs; and Adam Schiff (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, called on senior Trump Administration officials to brief members of their committees on President Trump’s private meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week in Helsinki. In a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, the lawmakers underscored that the Administration has failed to inform Congress of the topics of the meeting or the agreements that Russian officials claim were negotiated.

“Democrats and Republicans alike were shocked to watch President Trump publicly side with Russia over its responsibility for interfering in the 2016 U.S. elections and directly contradict the Intelligence Community’s assessment. But we also have profound concerns over what was said privately and would appreciate the opportunity to discuss with each of you the national security matters that were discussed,” wrote the Ranking Members.

Full text of the letter follows and can be found here.

Secretary Pompeo, Secretary Mattis and Director Coats:

We are writing to formally request briefings of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) and House Armed Services Committee (HASC) regarding President Trump’s private meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. 

On July 16, 2018, President Trump held a private meeting with President Putin, where one other U.S. government employee attended—a State Department interpreter. Since the meeting, Congress has received no notification from the White House or Executive Branch about the topics of the meeting or any purported deals or agreements reached on behalf of the United States. It also appears that President Trump’s cabinet has not been briefed on the private meeting, and Congress must be made aware of some of the potential deals or agreements that Russia claims were struck. 

Democrats and Republicans alike were shocked to watch President Trump publicly side with Russia over its responsibility for interfering in the 2016 U.S. elections and directly contradict the Intelligence Community’s assessment. But we also have profound concerns over what was said privately and would appreciate the opportunity to discuss with each of you the national security matters that were discussed, including Russia; its illegal occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea; ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine; ongoing sanctions policy towards Russia; Syria; the U.S. commitment to NATO and Article 5; counterterrorism cooperation; strategic stability and arms control; and China.  

We would appreciate your consideration of our request and hope to schedule a briefing with each of our committees by noon on July 26, 2018.

                                                           

Sincerely,

 

Eliot Engel

Ranking Member

Foreign Affairs Committee

 

Adam Smith

Ranking Member

Armed Services Committee

 

Adam B. Schiff

Ranking Member

Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence