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Trump to invite Putin for Washington meet

US president instructs aide to set up meeting later in 2018, press secretary confirms

President Donald Trump, left, listens as Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, speaks during a news conference in Helsinki, Finland, on July 16, 2018.

Washington: President Donald Trump has instructed his national security advisor to invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to visit Washington later this year, the White House said Thursday.

“President Trump asked @AmbJohnBolton to invite President Putin to Washington in the fall and those discussions are already underway,” Press Secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted, three days after the Finland summit between the US and Russian leaders.

Earlier Thursday, Trump tweeted that he was looking forward to a second meeting with Putin “so that we can start implementing some of the many things discussed” in Helsinki.

He listed these as “stopping terrorism, security for Israel, nuclear proliferation, cyber attacks, trade, Ukraine, Middle East peace, North Korea and more.”

The US president faced strong criticism from across the political spectrum over his handling of Monday’s first summit — particularly his seeming acceptance of Putin’s denial that Moscow interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

On the defensive, he declared Thursday that the “Summit with Russia was a great success, except with the real enemy of the people, the Fake News Media.”

News of the planned invitation to Putin came shortly after the White House announced the president had rejected a proposal by Putin for Russian officials to interrogate a former US ambassador and other American citizens.

Putin had offered in exchange to permit US justice officials to travel to Russia to question 12 intelligence officers indicted over hacking Democratic Party computers — an offer Trump initially described as “incredible.”

The indictments against the Russian hackers, issued last week by special counsel Robert Mueller, allege that they 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.

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