US Invites Putin to Washington for Second Summit
(VOA): Discussions are being held between the United States and Russia to arrange a second summit between their leaders, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders announced Thursday on social media.
Sanders, in a tweet, said President Donald Trump had asked national security adviser John Bolton to invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to Washington in the fall:
When informed that Putin could possibly be coming to the U.S. capital within months, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said at a forum in Colorado, “We will be looking at what the potential intelligence risks could possibly be and we'll make that information known to the president.”
The announcement of negotiations for another Trump-Putin meeting came just three days after the initial summit between Trump and Putin in Helsinki. That encounter has led to significant bipartisan criticism in the United States because the American leader sided with the Russian president's denial that Moscow had meddled in the 2016 election to try to help Trump win.
Backtracking on remarks
Since returning from his weeklong trip to Europe, Trump has backtracked on his remarks made alongside Putin, reading a prepared statement during Tuesday's Cabinet meeting, and in an interview Wednesday with CBS News.
Trump, writing earlier in the day on Twitter, called Monday's summit in Helsinki very successful:
In another Thursday morning tweet, the U.S. president accused mainstream media in the country of wanting to see a major U.S.-Russia confrontation:
There also has been significant concern among lawmakers and intelligence officials in Washington about what may have been discussed during the face-to-face meeting between Trump and Putin that lasted for more than two hours with only their translators present.
“If he had asked me how that ought to be conducted, I would have suggested a different way,” Coats said.
Department of Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, earlier in the day at the Aspen Security Forum, at which Coats also spoke, said the U.S. needed to be prepared for an attempt by Russia to interfere in elections in every state this year, adding there was no question Moscow interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Nielsen said, however, she had not “seen any evidence that the attempts to interfere in our election infrastructure was to favor a particular party.”
A Senate Intelligence Committee report released two weeks ago supported the conclusion of three U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia tried to help Trump, the Republican Party nominee, win the election.
The White House on Thursday also publicly rejected a proposal Putin made Monday in Helsinki that Trump twice referred to while still there as “an incredible offer.”
Interview with Americans sought
Putin had indicated he would permit American law enforcement officials to observe the questioning by Russian officials of 12 Russians indicted by the United States for election meddling in exchange for letting Russian investigators question Americans on other matters.
“It is a proposal that was made in sincerity by President Putin, but President Trump disagrees with it,” Sanders said in a statement. “Hopefully, President Putin will have the 12 identified Russians come to the United States to prove their innocence or guilt.”
The statement came just before the U.S. Senate unanimously approved a resolution expressing opposition to allowing any U.S. officials to be questioned by Russia.
Putin is blaming political forces within the United States for attempting to undermine his summit with his American counterpart.
In his first public comments about his meeting with Trump since departing Finland, Putin told Russian diplomats, “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 United States.”
The Russian president said it would be “naive to think that the problems” between the world's biggest nuclear superpowers “would be solved in a few hours.” But he said that “the path to positive changes has all the same begun. It's important that a full-scale meeting has finally taken place, allowing us to talk directly. We will see how things develop further.”
Putin also indicated that the talks on Monday had led to “useful agreements.” There have been no details from the White House or other U.S. administration officials about any such agreements.
VOA has queried White House press officials for a comment on Putin's assertion concerning agreements. There has been no response.
VOA's Ken Bredemeier contributed to this report.
(This story has not been edited by N24 staff and is Voice Of America auto-generated from a RSS feed)
Published Date: Friday, July 20th, 2018 | 10:45 AM