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Dublin: 3 °C Tuesday 18 February, 2020

Trump invites Putin to visit White House this year

Meanwhile, Trump has rejected a proposal by Putin to allow Russian officials to interrogate a former US ambassador and other US citizens.

trump US President Donald Trump, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday. Source: Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP/Press Association Images

US PRESIDENT DONALD has invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to visit Washington DC this year.

The White House today confirmed that Trump had instructed his national security advisor to extend the invitation.

“President Trump asked @AmbJohnBolton to invite President Putin to Washington in the fall and those discussions are already underway,” Press Secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted.

Meanwhile, Trump has rejected a proposal by Putin to allow Russian officials to interrogate a former US ambassador and other US citizens, amid outrage across Washington DC that he would even consider it.

While Trump originally called the idea an “incredible offer” and continued to weigh it up yesterday, Sanders said he has now decided against it.

“It is a proposal that was made in sincerity by President Putin, but President Trump disagrees with it,” Sanders said.

Putin unveiled the idea proposal in a joint press conference with Trump on Monday following their summit meeting in Helsinki, Finland.

Asked whether he would extradite 12 Russian intelligence agents indicted in the United States last week for hacking Democratic Party computers, Putin said he could meet the US government “halfway”.

“We can actually permit official representatives of the United States … into the country and they will be present at this questioning.

“Then we would expect that the Americans would reciprocate and they would question officials, including the officers of law enforcement and intelligence services of the United States … who have something to do with illegal actions on the territory of Russia, and we have to request the presence of our law enforcement.”

For Russia, the focus of the quid-pro-quo was questioning former US envoy to Russia Michael McFaul and 11 others in Moscow’s case against billionaire investor and human rights activist William Browder, the driving force behind Magnitsky Act sanctions on Russian officials passed by the US Congress.

“I think that’s an incredible offer,” Trump responded in Helsinki.

‘Congress will not allow this’

McFaul expressed outrage yesterday when Sanders said Trump was “going to meet with his team” to consider Putin’s proposal. However, Sanders today made clear a deal with Putin was not on the cards.

“Hopefully President Putin will have the 12 identified Russians come to the United States to prove their innocence or guilt,” Sanders said.

The indictments issued last week by special counsel Robert Mueller allege that the Russian hackers publicly released tens of thousands of stolen Democratic emails and documents using “fictitious online personas”.

Mueller is investigating possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

Sanders made the statement just as the US Senate took up a resolution objecting to any move by the Trump administration to make US officials available for questioning by Russian government officials.

In a sharp rebuke to the White House, the resolution passed with unanimous support from both parties, 98-0.

“Let this resolution be a warning to the administration that Congress will not allow this to happen,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said.

© AFP 2018 

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