Putin’s Not So Sure He Wants to Meet With Trump in Washington

US senators to introduce tougher Russia sanctions bill

Russian President Vladimir Putin gifted President Donald Trump a 2018 FIFA World Cup match Adidas soccer ball at their summit in Helsinki last week.

Trump drew harsh criticism for his July 16 performance in Helsinki during his first summit with Putin, with critics saying he sided with Russian Federation over his own intelligence agencies in their conclusions that Moscow interfered in the US presidential campaign.

United States intelligence agencies have concluded that Moscow interfered to sway the vote toward Mr Trump, and a special counsel is investigating whether Mr Trump's campaign worked with the Russians.

Trump has frequently referred to Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling and whether anyone close to Trump colluded in it as a "witch hunt" and blamed the probe for hurting relations between the two countries.

That event was met with widespread criticism over Trump's performance during a joint press conference with Putin, which followed a private meeting between the two presidents.

Still, Trump's tweet Tuesday is the US president's firmest confirmation to date of ongoing Russian attempts to interfere in the USA democratic process.

Putin's response was, "Yes, I did".

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Shortly after returning from the summit in Finland, the president surprised his own Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats when he announced plans to potentially invite Putin to the White House this fall.

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker of Tennessee and Senate Banking Chairman Mike Crapo of Idaho, both Republicans, said in a joint statement that they were "eager to continue the important work being done by our committees to push back on Russian Federation".

We watched this exact same scenario play out in the summer of 2016, too.

Crimean authorities held a referendum that March, widely criticized by western powers, on whether Crimea should accede to Russian Federation, and an accession treaty was signed March 18. "I let him know we can't have this", said Mr Trump.

For Maddow, this was a clear case of Trump rewriting history to bury an inconvenient reminder that Putin was rooting for him in the election. And he called for Russian Federation to respect principles it claims to respect and "end its occupation of Crimea". "Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the US-Russia relationship back to normal". Days after the appearance in Helsinki, Trump suggested he misspoke and had meant to say he did not "see any reason why it wouldn't be Russia" that was responsible for the election cyberattacks.

Instead, anger about what some US lawmakers saw as a too-deferential performance by Trump in Helsinki and his failure to publicly confront Putin over Moscow's alleged meddling in USA politics may have made things worse.

Trump's tweet comes a week after he faced blistering criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike for touting Putin's denial of Russian interference in the 2016 election and challenging the USA intelligence community's assessment of that interference.

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