Published: Fri, July 20, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Donald Trump invites Vladimir Putin to United States despite uproar after Helsinki meeting

Donald Trump invites Vladimir Putin to United States despite uproar after Helsinki meeting

At the same forum in Colorado, deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein released a 156-page report detailing a strategy to combat future attempts by foreign governments to influence United States elections, including by revealing them to the public.

"Until we know what happened at that two hour meeting in Helsinki, the president should have no more one-on-one interactions with Putin". Then-CIA director John Brennan, Clapper, former National Security Agency director Adm. Michael Rogers and then-FBI director James Comey all presented the material, describing information that left them convinced of Putin's role, the report states.

In the USA, frustration with the lack of information has raised already heightened suspicions of Trump. Democratic Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania said on the Senate floor before the vote, saying the only accounts so far have come from Russian officials. Republicans have blocked the move.

"Obama didn't do it", Trump told CNBC in an interview at the White House.

So for now, everyone but Trump and Putin and perhaps a handful of their close confidants are in the dark.

The president's invitation to Putin appeared to shock even his own Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, who was informed of the invitation on stage at the Aspen Security Forum Thursday. "This is a democracy". "No one makes a big deal of that". Trump had already congratulated the Russian president on "one of the best ever" World Cup tournaments.

"By playing into Vladimir Putin's hands", he continues, "the leader of the free world actively participated in a Russian disinformation campaign that legitimized Russian denial and weakened the credibility of the United States to both our friends and foes overseas".

Donald Trump has tweeted that the summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin was a "great success" and people at "higher ends of intelligence" loved his Helsinki news conference.

Sanders on Thursday said, "It is a proposal that was made in sincerity by President Putin, but President Trump disagrees with it", a day after saying the proposal was going to be discussed by Trump's team.

Time's statement said its composite image "is meant to represent this particular moment in United States foreign policy, following the pair's recent meeting in Helsinki, Finland".

However grudging Trump's moves against Moscow might have been, though, his defenders say the actions speak for themselves.

Trump also told CBS he had spoken with Coats since the trip. Despite the week's furore, Trump also said he was looking forward to his second meeting with the Russian leader. Among the long list of issues he said he and Putin had spoken about: terrorism, nuclear proliferation, "cyber attacks", trade, Ukraine, Israeli security and Middle East peace, and North Korea. "There are many answers, some easy and some hard, to these problems ... but they can ALL be solved!" he said.

Pressed for details, however, the White House could not provide any.

Ambassador Anatoly Antonov revealed the discussions amid confusion and concern in the US about what the two presidents agreed behind closed doors.

He also said Moscow is ready to discuss a possible visit by Putin to Washington after a surprise invitation from Trump.

"Getting along with President Putin, getting along with Russia, is positive, not a negative", Trump noted, adding that if US-Russia relations are a flop, "I'll be the worst enemy [Putin's] ever had". "So certainly as the leader of a country you would have to hold him responsible, yes".

"OK. That's going to be special", he said, laughing.

At the Pentagon, officials were still waiting to see if their marching orders in Syria would change as a result of the summit.

US federal prosecutors accused Maria Butina this week of being a covert Russian agent and working to infiltrate USA political organizations, including the National Rifle Association, before and after Donald Trump's election as president. We are here to provide professional service to our government, ' he said.

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