Russian 'agent' held on charges of seeking to infiltrate U.S. government

Trump and Putin handshake

Russia's President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with Russian ambassadors and representatives to worldwide organisations in Moscow, Russia, July 19, 2018.

Sanders said Putin's proposal was "made in sincerity", but Trump "disagrees with it".

Putin and Trump sat down for their first summit in Helsinki on Monday, an event that sparked a storm of criticism in the United States after Trump refused to blame the Russian leader for meddling in the 2016 USA election, comments he later appeared to backtrack on.

Coats made those surprise admissions Thursday in his first public comments since rebutting Trump's questioning of the USA intelligence assessment that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 election.

In an emoji-filled tweet, Hayden responded to a tweet from Washington Post columnist Max Boot who said that Trump's claiming he merely misspoke during his refusal to condemn Russian Federation for its alleged 2016 election interference was because the president is "deathly afraid of being laughed at".

The invitation came as an apparent surprise to the Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats when he was told about it during a live interview at the Aspen Security Forum in Aspen, Colorado.

"... The path to positive changes has all the same begun", said Putin.

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As he spoke, news was breaking out of Washington that Putin had been invited to the White House this fall.

On Thursday, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the United States intelligence community stands by its view that Russian Federation meddled in the USA election.

The Trump administration will not let Americans to be interrogated by Russia, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday, ruling out acceding to any such request from Moscow.

Coats also appeared to be caught by surprise on a major White House announcement: that Trump had invited Putin to visit Washington in the fall - the first such visit in almost 13 years.

Besides not getting a heads up on this one, Coats also said he hasn't been told what happened in that private one-on-one Trump-Putin meeting in Helsinki. "Russia has agreed to help with North Korea, where relationships with us are very good and the process is moving along", he said.

In his comments, Mr Putin said the meeting had been "successful and has led to useful agreements".

Trump initially called it an "incredible offer", but McFaul and others expressed outrage and the White House - just minutes before the Senate vote - made clear a deal with Putin was not in the cards.

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In the meantime, lawmakers were left trying to interpret what Trump said. Sen. According to one source, the meeting was kept private because Trump asked Putin to give him some time to consider the offer.

The Americans wanted for questioning by Russian Federation include Michael McFaul, who was ambassador to Russian Federation from January 2012 to February 2014, and American-born financier Bill Browder, who lobbied the USA government to impose new sanctions on Moscow.

"OK. That's going to be special", he said, laughing.

At his joint news conference with Putin, Trump said they discussed Syria "at length" but was vague about the outcome.

Trump has had a tense relationship with USA intelligence agencies since before he was elected - largely due to their conclusion that Putin ordered "an influence campaign" in 2016 aimed at helping the Trump campaign and harming his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

The scale of the bipartisan outcry at Trump's stance toward Putin has only been rivaled by his 2017 waffling over condemning white supremacist demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia. Other officials familiar with the White House's scheduling say the White House has been so busy mitigating the backlash that the debriefings that would have normally taken place had yet to be conducted, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

Coats, being the top USA intelligence official that he is, of course reacted as if he hadn't been told a thing about it. We're not going to have it.

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