Washington: President Donald Trump invited Russian leader Vladimir Putin to Washington for a summit in the northern autumn.
"In Helsinki, @POTUS agreed to ongoing working level dialogue between the two security council staffs," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a tweet on Thursday. "President Trump asked @AmbJohnBolton to invite President Putin to Washington in the fall and those discussions are already underway."
US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin
Sanders announced the invitation less than an hour after the Republican-led Senate effectively rebuked President Donald Trump for considering Russia's request to question US officials, giving voice to growing unease over the president's relationship with Putin following their summit in Helsinki on Monday.
In a resolution adopted 98-0 on Thursday, senators called on the US to refuse to make any officials available for interrogation by Putin's government. Minutes before the vote was scheduled to begin, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a statement rejecting the Russian proposal.
"It is a proposal that was made in sincerity by President Putin, but President Trump disagrees with it," Sanders said. A day earlier she didn't shoot down the idea, instead saying Trump was "going to meet with his team" about it.
The measure that forced the White House's hand is nonbinding. But the vote marked a rare decision by Republican leader Mitch McConnell to take up a resolution written by top Democrat Chuck Schumer undercutting the GOP president.
National Intelligence Director Dan Coats showed surprise when he learned that Russian President Vladimir Putin had been invited to the White House this northern autumn.
A moderator at the Aspen Security Forum, where Coats was speaking in Colorado, broke into their conversation to describe the invitation.
"Say that again," Coats said, cupping his ear.
He took a deep breath and continued, "OK."
Then he smiled and said, "That's going to be special."
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