Putin Offers First Comments On Helsinki Summit Since Returning To Russia

Russian Vladimir Putin gestures during a meeting with Russian ambassadors to foreign countries in Moscow Russia Thursday

The White House announced Thursday it is discussing a second Donald Trump-Vladimir Putin summit in Washington with the Kremlin, despite a partisan backlash over their Monday meeting.

In the wake of the irresponsible and risky conduct of President Donald Trump at the Helsinki Summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Common Cause today called on Congress to take concrete steps to check Russian aggression and safeguard our election systems. On Tuesday, Trump appeared to go a step further in his reversal, telling CBS News he held Putin personally responsible for interfering in US elections.

Trump again on Thursday declared the Helsinki, Finland, meeting a "great success", even as senior Republican lawmakers, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, continued to send messages to Putin that Congress will act if his country again interferes in an American election.

The US leader later said he misspoke when he appeared to take Putin's denial of interference at face value and said he accepted the US intelligence community's view that Moscow sought to influence the 2016 vote.

"We both spoke with [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, and they would like to do certain things with respect to Syria, having to do with the safety of Israel", Trump said Monday.

Trump stunned the world on Monday by shying away from criticising the Russian leader for Moscow's actions to undermine the 2016 presidential election, sparking bipartisan fury at home and prompting calls by some U.S. lawmakers for tougher sanctions and other actions to punish Russia.

"My people came to me, Dan Coats came to me and some others, they said they think it's Russian Federation".

Even Donald Trump's intelligence chief doesn't know what was said in the president's one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin this week in Helsinki.

McConnell says the hearings are part of congressional efforts to respond to meddling by Russian Federation or others in the upcoming November elections. The Russian Defence Ministry has said it is ready to implement what it called agreements on increased co-operation with the US military in Syria.

However, all of the clips in the video don't show Trump definitively saying Russian Federation interfered in the election-and many times feature him hedging the statement by claiming other countries could have interfered as well.

This would include Michael McFaul, a former USA ambassador to Moscow, who has gotten on the wrong side of the Kremlin by criticizing Russia's human rights record.

On Thursday he tweeted: "The Summit with Russian Federation was a great success, except with the real enemy of the people, the Fake News Media".

In a bill gaining momentum in the Senate, sanctions targeting key Russian economic sectors would kick in swiftly if USA authorities determine Moscow ever again interferes in an American election. "Of course, let's see how events will develop further", Putin said in remarks to Russian diplomats from around the world, without disclosing the nature of the agreements to which he referred. But I think we also get hacked by other countries and other people.

Putin indicated he would permit American law enforcement officials to observe questioning by Russian officials of the indicted Russians and vice versa for Russian investigations. The president is not willing to meet this challenge.

A senior White House official said Bolton extended the official invitation to Putin on Thursday via his Russian counterpart. US intelligence officials have said Russia's efforts to undermine elections are ongoing and now targeting the November 6 congressional races.

His comments came the same day the Justice Department unveiled an indictment against 12 Russian military intelligence officers for their role in hacking Democratic groups during the 2016 campaign.

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