White House rejects Putin proposal to interview US citizens

Mike Pompeo

U.S. White House on Thursday rejected the request of Russia President Vladimir Putin to interrogate several U.S. citizens, including a former U.S. ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul.

"I look forward to our second meeting so that we can start implementing some of the many things discussed", Trump said. Standing alongside Putin, Trump called the idea "an incredible offer".

Despite bipartisan criticism, Trump pointed blame at the media, tweeting: "The Fake News Media wants so badly to see a major confrontation with Russian Federation, even a confrontation that could lead to war".

Rants about the "enemy of the people", "fake news" and "failing" media are nothing new from President Donald Trump.

Asked in Helsinki whether he would extradite 12 Russian intelligence agents indicted in the United States for hacking Democratic Party computers, Putin said he could meet the USA government "halfway".

In an interview on MSNBC Thursday, Sen. So something tells me he'll be revisiting that consideration fairly soon.

In the meantime, lawmakers were left trying to interpret what Trump said. Sen. But he said Trump "is not making the problem better, he's making it worse". The person who should be anxious is Trump, Cuomo said, because "do you really think the people will keep a president who hates what their country is all about?"

"We see that there are forces in the United States that are prepared to casually sacrifice Russian-U.S. relations, to sacrifice them for their ambitions in the course of an internal political battle in the U".

Trump later said he misspoke about Russia's election interference and meant to say he did not "see any reason why it wouldn't be Russian Federation".

The Americans wanted for questioning by Russian Federation include Michael McFaul, who was ambassador to Russian Federation from January 2012 to February 2014, and American-born financier Bill Browder, who lobbied the USA government to impose new sanctions on Moscow.

That rhetoric marked a turnabout from Trump's first, upbeat description of the sit-down.

Trump has had a tense relationship with US intelligence agencies since before he was elected - largely due to their conclusion that Putin ordered "an influence campaign" in 2016 aimed at helping the Trump campaign and harming his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

But sanctions legislation can be notoriously complicated to write, and the broad scope of the measure - which would snap stiff sanctions on Russia's banking and energy sectors if the director of national intelligence found evidence of interference in the 2018 election - could have spillover effects that would hit U.S. businesses.

No Russian leader has visited the White House in almost a decade.

Paul: Putin will never admit to election hack
In another interview published ahead of his summit with the Russian leader, Trump said Putin was "probably" a "ruthless person". The president is keep expectations low the summit, but says he may come out with some very surprising things.

The zigzagging laid bare the White House's search for a path out of trouble that has dogged the administration's discussions of Russian Federation from the start, but spiraled after Trump's trip to Helsinki.

How did Trump respond to Putin's suggestion?

Trump has refined and sharpened his presentation since Helsinki.

Asked by Glor again on Wednesday whether he thinks the threat is ongoing, Mr. Trump said he would accept Coats' conclusion. Instead, he delivered a rambling response, including demands for investigation of Hillary Clinton's email server and his description of Putin's "extremely strong and powerful" denial of meddling.

The backlash has thrust Trump onto the defensive, leading to days of conflicting statements from both the president and the White House.

If Putin's speech to the envoys raised serious issues, the Foreign Ministry, known by its Russian acronym MID, used the occasion to make a sardonic quip.

The muddied waters have deepened critics' concerns that Trump is not taking threats to the USA electoral system seriously enough.

In the same hour in which Coats declared Russian Federation to be the most aggressive state actor attempting to interfere in us affairs, emphasizing the need to be "ever-vigilant" and "relentless", White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said that Mr. Trump has asked national security adviser John Bolton to invite Putin to the White House this fall. The statement declared the intelligence community has been "clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy, and we will continue to provide unvarnished and objective intelligence in support of our national security".

As he spoke, news was breaking out of Washington that Putin had been invited to the White House this fall.

A number of senators are swiftly signing on to a bipartisan bill from Sens.

And when Mitchell broke the news to Coats on stage that Putin is planning a trip to Washington, Coats did a double-take.

It restated the U.S. intelligence community's assessment that Moscow did extensively interfere, and continues to interfere. A similar House vote Tuesday failed on a party-line vote.

"It later then came out in the Russian press that they had a list, and I was at the top of that list", McFaul said on MSNBC Thursday morning.

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