In a surprising conclusion to a week filled with controversy, U.S. President Donald Trump has announced that he will invite Vladimir Putin to a follow-up meeting in Washington this fall.
Trump’s statement came as a shock to U.S. officials, especially to the Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats.
Coats found out about the President’s decision during a live interview with NBC, when the news broke and interviewer Andrea Mitchell updated him on the situation.
Coats replied with a baffled “Say that again?” and continued to jokingly state, “O.K. … that will be interesting.”
Trump’s announcement followed a week of desperation as White House officials attempted to improve the situation after Trump’s summit with Putin.
Many doubt that the two leaders actually made an agreement during their meeting regarding Ukraine and Syria.
Press Secretary Sarah Sanders announced Trump’s planned meeting. She wrote:
@POTUS agreed to ongoing working level dialogue between the two security council staffs. President Trump asked @Ambjohnbolton to invite President Putin to Washington in the fall and those discussions are already underway.”
Suspicions abound that Trump intends to meet with Putin to discuss the upcoming midterm elections in November.
Dan Coats has stated that he will have to find out about the topics discussed between the two leaders as time unfolds. Coats worries that Russia will attempt to shape the meeting’s narrative to their advantage and keep part of the discussion as a secret.
On Thursday, President Trump stated his plans to hold a second meeting, which took the world by surprise. He wrote:
The Summit with Russia was a great success, except with the real enemy of the people, the Fake News Media. I look forward to our second meeting so that we can start implementing some of the many things discussed, including stopping terrorism, security for Israel …”
The White House has been attempting to project strength following the summit by shooting down rumors that American officers intend to work with Russian intelligence regarding interference in the 2016 elections.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated:
“Yeah, that’s not going to happen. The administration is not going to send, force Americans to travel to Russia to be interrogated by Vladimir Putin and his team.”
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