Putin Was Invited To America

Brendan Smialowski  AFP  Getty Images FILE

The White House continued to fuel the week-long fire when White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee announced on Wednesday that Trump was considering a widely-panned request from Russian Federation.

Unbowed by criticism over his Helsinki summit, US President Donald Trump has extended an invitation to Russian President Vladimir Putin to meet in Washington, the White House said.

Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, said Trump asked his national security adviser John Bolton to extend the invitation to Putin for a "working level" dialogue between the two leaders. "OK, that's going to be special".

Republican and Democratic U.S. lawmakers grappled with Trump's conflicting statements as they discussed ways to show their opposition to what they saw in Helsinki, including strengthening sanctions. The president later told CBS that he holds Putin responsible for the election interference.

"We have some breaking news, the White House has announced on Twitter that Vladimir Putin is coming to the White House in the fall", she said while interviewing the intel chief at the Aspen Security Forum.

Earlier on Thursday, the USA president had said of Mr Putin: "I look forward to our second meeting".

"Say that again?" Mr. Coats asked in surprise, as the audience laughed.

Lemon then said this: "When I read this, I know it sounds odd, it reminded me the scene from "Mommy Dearest" where she beats her daughter because she said her daughter, she said 'you deliberately embarrass me in front of a reporter.' Not the wire hangers... she like chokes her in the living room in front of the reporter".

"By playing into Vladimir Putin's hands, 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", Hurd wrote.

Michael Dwyer  APSen. Ed Markey speaks during the 2018 Massachusetts Democratic Party Convention
Michael Dwyer APSen. Ed Markey speaks during the 2018 Massachusetts Democratic Party Convention

"I have felt very strongly that, while Russia's actions had no impact at all on the outcome of the election, let me be totally clear in saying that, and I have said this many times, I accept our intelligence community's conclusion that Russia's meddling in the 2016 election took place", he said, but added, "It could be other people, also".

The White House has faced an uproar over several issues from the summit including Mr Trump's failure to confront Mr Putin over United States intelligence agencies' findings that Russia meddled in the 2016 USA election and Mr Putin's proposal that Russian authorities be allowed to question U.S. citizens.

In its cover story, Time writer Brian Bennett said, "A year and a half into his presidency, Trump's puzzling affinity for Putin has yet to be explained".

Antonov gave details of their discussions on arms control, but said the USA has been reluctant to back Russia's proposals so far.

Earlier Thursday, Trump said he looks forward to a second summit with Putin.

The White House rejected Mr Putin's offer as the Republican-controlled Senate issued a rebuke to Mr Trump by going on record against the offer. There is US$380 million approved in the current budget for the programme, which is meant to help states strengthen election systems from hacking and other cyberattacks.

But Trump has largely shrugged off the criticism and took aim at the "fake news media" Thursday for failing to recognize his achievements.

Trump on Monday called the idea "an incredible offer".

Russia's ambassador to the U.S., Anatoly Antonov, expressed hope Thursday that "the verbal agreements between Putin and Trump will be fulfilled" - though the substance of any such understandings remain murky, not least because the main business was conducted in the two hours of discussions between the two leaders with only translators joining them.

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