President Donald Trump rejected Russian President Vladimir Putin’s proposal that Russian authorities be allowed to question American citizens, the White House said on Thursday after the offer drew fierce criticism in the United States, Reuters informed.
However, Trump then directed his national security adviser, John Bolton, to invite Putin to Washington in the fall, the White House said, four days after Trump held a summit with the Russian leader in Helsinki. “President Trump asked @Ambjohnbolton to invite President Putin to Washington in the fall and those discussions are already underway,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a Twitter post.
Following their meeting at the beginning of the week, Putin described the proposal when he was asked about the possible extradition of 12 Russian intelligence officers indicted in the United States on charges of meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
The Russian president indicated he would permit American law enforcement officials to observe questioning by Russian officials of the indicted Russians in exchange for letting Russian investigators question Americans on other matters, mentioning London-based financier Bill Browder, a onetime investor in Russia. Trump on Monday called Putin’s idea “an incredible offer.”
“It is a proposal that was made in sincerity by President Putin, but President Trump disagrees with it. Hopefully President Putin will have the 12 identified Russians come to the United States to prove their innocence or guilt,” Sanders said in a statement on earlier Thursday.
Trump on Tuesday said he misspoke during a joint news conference in Helsinki when he said he did not see why Russia would meddle in the election. On Wednesday, Trump answered “no” to a reporter’s question on whether Russia was still targeting the United States, only to have Sanders say hours later he was saying “no” to answering any questions – not to the question itself, Reuters adds.