Donald Trump invites Vladimir Putin to Washington

Friday, July 20, 2018

US President Donald Trump has asked his national security adviser to invite Vladimir Putin to Washington in the autumn.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said John Bolton would be making the invitation following Mr Trump's meeting with the Russian president earlier this week in Finland.

Ms Sanders said "those discussions are already under way" for an autumn meeting between the two presidents.

It presumably would take place at the White House but Ms Sanders did not say where the pair would meet.

In a tweet about Mr Putin earlier on Thursday, Mr Trump said, "I look forward to our second meeting."

But Mr Trump rejected Mr Putin's offer to allow the US to question 12 Russians accused of interfering in the 2016 election after fierce criticism from Republicans and Democrats.

In return, Mr Putin wanted permission for Russia to interview Americans the Kremlin accuses of unspecified crimes.

Ms Sanders said the proposal was "made in sincerity" by the Russian president but Mr Trump "disagrees with it".

She said the US hopes Mr Putin will have the Russians indicted on charges brought by the US Department of Justice "come to the United States to prove their innocence or guilt".

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.

Mr Putin made what Mr Trump called an "incredible offer" during a joint press conference concluding their summit in Helsinki, for which Mr Trump received bipartisan condemnation at home.

The White House had said on Wednesday it was under consideration, even though the State Department called Russia's allegations against the Americans "absurd".