GOP Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) on Friday called on President Trump to cancel his planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin if he’s not willing to hold him “accountable” for his “aggression toward the United States.”
“President Trump must be willing to confront Putin from a position of strength and demonstrate that there will be a serious price to pay for his ongoing aggression towards the United States and democracies around the world. If President Trump is not prepared to hold Putin accountable, the summit in Helsinki should not move forward,” McCain said in a statement.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced on Friday that special counsel Robert Mueller has indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers in the 2016 hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
The group conspired to hack into computers of state election boards, secretaries of State and U.S. companies that supplied software and other technology related to election administrations.
The indictment was announced just three days before a planned one-on-one meeting between Trump and Putin in Helsinki.
Rosenstein told reporters that he had briefed Trump on the issue earlier this week.
McCain noted that the indictments were the latest in a “body of evidence confirming an extensive plot” by Putin’s government to influence the election and “sow chaos and dissension” within America.
“Despite repeated warnings from our nation’s top intelligence and military leaders, the Kremlin’s efforts to weaken our institutions have continued unabated with insufficient action taken by the administration or Congress to strengthen our cyber defenses, safeguard our election systems, and deter further destabilizing activities,” he said.