Trump to Invite Putin to Washington as Leading Advisers Seek Details of Their Summit Talks
WASHINGTON &mdash President Trump plans to invite President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to go to Washington in the fall, the White Residence mentioned Thursday &mdash an invitation that stunned the nation&rsquos prime intelligence official, who mentioned he was still groping for information of what the two leaders had discussed in their encounter this week in Helsinki, Finland.
&ldquoSay that again,&rdquo the director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, replied when Andrea Mitchell of NBC broke the news even though interviewing him at a safety conference in Aspen, Colo. &ldquoO.K.,&rdquo Mr. Coats stated, taking a deep breath and chuckling awkwardly. &ldquoThat&rsquos going to be particular.&rdquo
The announcement came as the White Property spent a third day attempting to clarify statements created by Mr. Trump soon after the Helsinki meeting, and as uncertainty spread throughout the government about no matter whether he had reached agreements with Mr. Putin on Syria and Ukraine, leaving his military and diplomatic corps in the dark.
Yielding to intense criticism, Mr. Trump rejected a proposal by Mr. Putin for Russia to question American citizens, which includes a former ambassador to Moscow, Michael A. McFaul, in return for providing the United States access to 12 Russian military intelligence officers indicted on charges of attempting to sabotage the 2016 presidential election.
Two hours right after the press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, issued that reversal, she mentioned on Twitter that Mr. Trump had asked his national security adviser, John R. Bolton, to invite Mr. Putin, framing the choice as part of a dialogue that started in Helsinki and would continue at reduce levels until the Russian president comes to Washington.
Beyond saying the meeting would be in the fall, the White Residence did not announce a date. That signifies Mr. Trump could meet Mr. Putin once again before the midterm elections, giving him a opportunity to redress the widespread criticism of how he handled the very first meeting and possibly injecting additional volatility into the campaigns.
But to Mr. Coats, who has been at odds with Mr. Trump about no matter whether Russia meddled in the election, the prospect of one more a single-on-a single encounter was clearly rattling. He said he would &ldquolook for a diverse way of performing it,&rdquo and expressed frustration that Mr. Trump had opted to meet Mr. Putin in Helsinki with only their interpreters in the room.
&ldquoIf he had asked me how that ought to be carried out,&rdquo Mr. Coats mentioned, &ldquoI would have suggested a diverse way. But that&rsquos not my part that&rsquos not my job. So, it is what it is.&rdquo
Mr. Coats stated he expected that the details of the meeting would trickle out in the coming weeks. But with Mr. Trump not giving a full account, some officials worry that the Russians now manage the narrative. On Thursday, Bloomberg News reported that Mr. Putin told diplomats that he proposed to Mr. Trump holding a referendum to aid resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
Inundated with questions, the White Property was either unable or unwilling to respond. A spokesman for the National Safety Council said: &ldquoPresidents Trump and Putin discussed a wide range of national safety problems in Helsinki. The U.S. position on Ukraine remains the very same.&rdquo
(The Justice Division, for its portion, described on Thursday its plan for countering cyberattacks and foreign influence campaigns, like Russia&rsquos effort to intervene in the 2016 election.)
In a tweet Thursday morning, Mr. Trump mentioned he looked forward to a second meeting with Mr. Putin &ldquoso that we can commence implementing some of the several issues discussed.&rdquo He listed Ukraine, Israel&rsquos safety, nuclear proliferation, trade, North Korea, and Middle East peace.
At the Pentagon, Mr. Trump&rsquos reference to Ukraine alarmed officials, who have attempted to reassure skittish European allies that the United States will stand with them to stop Russia from carrying out the exact same predatory moves it imposed there.
Days prior to the summit meeting, military officials pressed the National Security Council for Mr. Trump&rsquos proposed talking points and received no response. The lack of info clearly frustrated General Joseph L. Votel, the head of United States Central Command, at a news conference on Thursday.
&ldquoWe have received no additional direction than we&rsquove at the moment been operating beneath,&rdquo he stated.
If there was confusion about the future of Ukraine and Syria, there had been open indicators of dissent over Mr. Trump&rsquos receptiveness to a proposal by Mr. Putin that he turn over Americans to Russia as portion of a politically-motivated case against William F. Browder, an American-born financier who has been extremely vital of the Russian president.
&ldquoYeah, that&rsquos not going to come about,&rdquo Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, scheduled to air on Friday. &ldquoThe administration is not going to send, force Americans to travel to Russia to be interrogated by Vladimir Putin and his team.&rdquo
Mr. Trump had praised the proposal on Monday as an &ldquoincredible supply.&rdquo Two days later, Ms. Sanders said he nonetheless viewed it as an &ldquointeresting notion&rdquo and was discussing it with his employees.
But senior officials recoiled at the idea of turning more than Americans to Russia 1 aide insisted that the notion had not gained traction in the government. A parade of prominent diplomats and other former officials expressed outrage that Mr. Trump was even contemplating it.
By Thursday afternoon, Ms. Sanders said in a statement, &ldquoIt is a proposal that was produced 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.&rdquo
Under the deal floated by Mr. Putin, Russia would have allowed the unique counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, to query the 12 intelligence officers accused last week of hacking the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton&rsquos campaign.
In return, Mr. Trump would have granted access to Americans who Russia claims have been involved in illegal dealings with Mr. Browder, who was blacklisted and convicted of tax evasion by Russia after he campaigned against corruption in the Russian enterprise globe.
Among those on the list is Mr. McFaul, a Stanford professor and Russia scholar who served in the White Property and as ambassador to Russia below President Barack Obama, as well as present and former officials from the State Division, the Division of Homeland Safety, and the intelligence agencies.
Mr. McFaul was crucial of Mr. Putin and the Russian government for the duration of his tour in Moscow, and he has continued to write and speak about Russia. He described the proposal as &ldquoabsolutely outrageous,&rdquo and stated it was merely an attempt to intimidate him.
Since the Helsinki meeting, he has mounted a vigorous campaign on Twitter that drew support from an array of prominent figures, and the State Department has dismissed the allegations against him as &ldquoabsurd.&rdquo Mrs. Clinton, a former secretary of state, mentioned on Twitter: &ldquoAmbassador McFaul is a patriot who spent his career standing up for America. To see the White Residence even hesitate to defend a diplomat is deeply troubling.&rdquo
Trump Trusts Putin&rsquos Denial, but Seven U.S. Intelligence Groups Blame Russia for Election Meddling
On Monday, President Trump continued to cast doubt on Russia&rsquos interference in the 2016 presidential election, the consensus position of American intelligence agencies and each parties on Capitol Hill.
4 Democratic senators known as for the Senate to pass a resolution demanding that the White Home reject Mr. Putin&rsquos proposal. &ldquoThat President Trump would even contemplate handing more than a former U.S. ambassador to Putin and his cronies for interrogation is bewildering,&rdquo stated Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader.
Legal authorities said Mr. Trump had no authority to turn more than Americans for questioning. The United States does not have an extradition treaty with Russia. Below a mutual legal help treaty amongst the two nations, the Justice Division can reject any request relating to a case it deems politically motivated &mdash a classification it has lengthy offered to Russia&rsquos case against Mr. Browder.
Nonetheless, the names on Russia&rsquos list provided a telling glimpse into Mr. Putin&rsquos grudges, as properly as how he may well have tried to appeal to Mr. Trump.
They include David J. Kramer, a former adviser to the State Division, now at the McCain Institute for International Leadership Jonathan M. Winer, a former aide to Secretary of State John Kerry and Todd Hyman, an official in the Department of Homeland Safety.
What several of these people have in frequent is their involvement in, or support for, the Magnitsky Act, a law passed by Congress in 2012 that blacklisted Russian officials involved in human rights abuses. It was named for Sergei L. Magnitsky, a lawyer and auditor who worked for Mr. Browder and died after becoming beaten in his prison cell. Russian officials have lengthy chafed at the Magnitsky Act and demanded that it be overturned.
Other folks on the list have links to Christopher Steele, the British former intelligence agent who compiled a dossier claiming that the Russian government had compromising data about Mr. Trump and had conspired to hand the 2016 election to him.
Mr. Winer, who served as specific envoy for Libya for the duration of the Obama administration, is a lawyer for Mr. Browder who knew Mr. Steele from his operate on Russian organized crime for the duration of an earlier stint at the State Department. In September 2016, he circulated a two-web page summary of Mr. Steele&rsquos findings within the State Department.
Speaking ahead of the White Home&rsquos statement, Mr. Winer said: &ldquoThis is about harassment and intimidation by two people who wish to manipulate rule of law to go following 1 an additional&rsquos opponents. It&rsquos grossly abusive and in a rule of law nation like the United States, it will go nowhere.&rdquo
Published at Fri, 20 Jul 2018 02:40:03 +0000