Trump Stuns Washington, Invites Russia's Vladimir Putin to White House

Erika Holt
July 22, 2018

A White House official said the next Trump-Putin meeting would address national security concerns they discussed in Helsinki, including Russian meddling.

Top aides gathered to convince the president to issue a rare walk-back of the comments he'd made raising doubts about US intelligence conclusions of Russian election interference as he stood alongside Vladimir Putin.

Nobody paid much attention - probably because, in the same set of remarks, Trump was also trying to spin his remarks from his post-meeting news conference with Putin, where he failed to side with USA intelligence agencies regarding their assessment of Russia's election interference.

Trump reportedly complained to his staff about having to face AP reporter Jonathan Lemire's questions about whether or not he still believed Putin's denials about Russia's election interference, and whether he would call out and condemn that interference right then and there in front of the Russian leader.

Trump on Wednesday again reignited the controversy when he replied "no" when asked if Russian Federation is still targeting the United States, directly contradicting the current Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.

A Republican congressman and former Central Intelligence Agency officer, William Hurd, wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times late on Thursday entitled, "Trump is Being Manipulated by Putin".

Since he refused to back the U.S. intelligence community's assessment of Russian interference in 2016, Trump has alternated between trying to quell the political uproar he ignited and seeking to avoid backing down from his handling of the summit.

Trump later made clear he supported the United States intelligence community's findings about Russian meddling.

"In a key sentence in my remarks I said the word "would" instead of 'wouldn't, '" Trump said. One thing we do know is that Trump does endorse a deal on Syria that Putin struck the week before with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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As previously reported by the Inquisitr , a viral video originally posted on Reddit showed parts of the incident. The incident took place on June 30.

CHANG: But you think that Coats can remain effective in this position even if the president chooses not to tell him some important pieces of information once in a while and even if the public perceives that, that Coats is sometimes left out of the loop by the White House. Mr. Trump made the comments on CNBC's "Squawk Box" in an interview that aired Friday. A few of Trump's most loyal toadies defended him.

He said it was "the president's prerogative" to keep his discussions with Putin to himself.

COATS: That's going to be special.

Underscoring how little is known about the meeting, Coats said that he was not told what happened in the room.

Senate Republicans joined Democrats in swiftly passing a resolution, 98-0, that put the Senate on record against the questioning of American officials by a foreign government.

Michael McFaul was the target of a smear campaign by Putin during his time in Russian Federation that accused him, among other things, of being a pedophile. For instance, when I served in the White House, under George W. Bush, he came to President Bush's home in Crawford, Texas.

The diplomats "exchanged opinions on the perspectives of the further development of relations between our countries with the goal of normalizing them on an equal and mutually beneficial basis", the statement said.

Trump left the White House for his New Jersey golf club for the weekend.

"At this stage, when we see that our leaders don't meet that often, we are of course in favor of continuing this dialogue so that it is ongoing, that our leaders meet not just occasionally, but regularly, so they would know and understand each other better".

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