- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 15, 2018

The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee on Sunday predicted that Russian President Vladimir Putin will “take advantage” of President Trump during their Monday meeting in Helsinki, Finland.

“Vladimir Putin is a trained KGB agent. He may come in with maps of Syria or maps of Ukraine, and frankly I think he’ll take advantage of this president, who we know doesn’t do much prep work before these meetings,” Sen. Mark Warner said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“We need other individuals from his administration in the room so we know at least someone will press the Russians on making sure they don’t interfere in future U.S. elections,” the Virginia Democrat said.

The plan is for Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin to meet Monday in Helsinki with only interpreters present and no other aides.

“That is what the American side proposed and we are polite people, so we have agreed,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in a recent interview for Larry King’s “Politicking,” which airs on the Russia-backed RT network.

Mr. Warner and other Democratic senators recently wrote to Mr. Trump saying he should cancel the meeting “if you are not prepared to make Russia’s attack on our election the top issue you will discuss.”

“The reason why we have difficult relations with Russia is not because of the Mueller probe, but because Russia intervened in our election,” Mr. Warner said.

The Justice Department on Friday announced the indictment of 12 Russian military officers who are accused of stealing Democratic emails and attempting to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

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