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'Say that again' - Top US spy shocked when he learns Trump invited Putin to the White House

The Washington meeting could happen as early as this autumn.

Source: CBS News/YouTube

UNBOWD BY SWIRLING criticism of his summit encounter with Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump swiftly invited the Russian leader to the White House this autumn.

News of the invite appeared to catch even the president’s top intelligence official by surprise.

National Intelligence Director Dan Coats learnt of the invite while being interviewed during an appearance at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado.

“Say that again,” was his response from the stage when he was informed of the news.

“Did I hear you? Okay,” he continued, pausing for a deep breath. “That’s going to be special.”

A White House meeting would be a dramatic extension of legitimacy to the Russian leader, who has long been isolated by the West for activities in Ukraine, Syria and beyond and is believed to have interfered in the 2016 presidential election that sent Trump to the presidency.

No Russian leader has visited the White House in nearly a decade.

Trump asked National Security Adviser John Bolton to invite Putin, and “those discussions are already underway,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said yesterday.

Trump earlier had tweeted that he looked forward to “our second meeting” as he defended his performance at Monday’s summit, in which the two leaders conferred on a range of issues including terrorism, Israeli security, nuclear proliferation and North Korea.

“There are many answers, some easy and some hard, to these problems … but they can ALL be solved!” Trump tweeted.

There was no immediate reaction from the Kremlin to the invitation.

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Associated Press

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