'Say that again?': United States intelligence chief's shocked response to Putin invitation

President Trump told CBS News of his conversations with Putin.

Minutes before the vote was scheduled to begin, Sanders issued a statement rejecting the Russian proposal.

Trump asked National Security Adviser John Bolton to invite Putin, and "those discussions are already underway", Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Thursday (US time).

While they had met privately on three occasions in 2017, Trump opened the door to a potential White House meeting with Putin earlier this year.

He said issues such as limiting their nuclear arsenals or ending the Syrian war were being affected by U.S. internal critics of Mr Trump. Standing alongside Putin, Trump called the idea "an incredible offer". But after returning to Washington, Trump walked back these statements, telling reporters that he had misspoke.

Trump mentioned Coats by name in his Helsinki summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, then sided with Putin's "powerful" denial of election meddling over Coats' admonition that Russia interfered and there were warning lights flashing red.

In fact, committee Democrats tried to question Butina, but the Republican majority apparently shut it down so she wouldn't "tarnish" the National Rifle Association, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said Thursday on CNN's New Day.

The announcement comes days after President Donald Trump faced a bipartisan backlash for his widely criticized comments immediately following his first meeting with the Russian leader.

"What did you agree to in that room?"

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As the furore grew on his return to the US, Mr Trump backtracked on his remarks, lashed out at "haters" who condemned his meeting, said he did hold Mr Putin personally responsible for election meddling, and rejected a proposal by Mr Putin that Russian Federation be allowed to question US citizens.

The Russian ambassador to Washington also denounced what he saw as "anti-Russian anger" in the United States and the "severity" of the US criticism of Trump's performance at the summit.

Allowing a foreign government to interrogate a former American ambassador would be an unprecedented breach in protections traditionally provided to the nation's diplomats.

During a joint press conference with Putin after their meeting in Helsinki, Trump said he didn't see "any reason" why Russian Federation would meddle, adding that Putin was "extremely strong and powerful in his denial". "We look like we won't push back on outrageous, insane ideas".

Trump also noted that he was "very strong" on Putin during a private meeting at the summit and suggested that his stance was firmer than his predecessor's.

Ukraine's government didn't immediately respond to the developments but former Foreign Minister Konstantin Grishchenko said, "Kiev will never agree to a referendum in the Donbass initiated by Russian Federation".

The Russian envoy to the United States said on Friday that Moscow was "open" to the possible visit.

Also on Thursday, McConnell ordered Senate committees to review additional sanctions and "additional measures that could respond to or deter Russian malign behavior".

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