White House Postpones Second Putin Summit Until After 'Russia Witch Hunt'

Putin’s Not So Sure He Wants to Meet With Trump in Washington

At the top of the list were inquiries about last week's Helsinki summit between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, particularly the two-hour private meeting the two leaders had, accompanied only by their translators.

As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo prepared to face questions about last week's Trump-Putin meeting from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the White House said Trump had opted against trying to meet with Putin this fall, as had been announced, and would instead wait until 2019.

Mr Trump weathered fierce criticism after his summit last week with Mr Putin in Helsinki after he appeared to give credence to the Russian leader's assertion that Moscow did not interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. But on Saturday, Coats said the comment was not meant as a slight to the president and blamed the media for mischaracterizing the response.

However according to a poll by The Hill, 54 percent of Americans support a second Trump-Putin summit.

National Security Adviser John R. Bolton said they want to hold the next meeting without the cloud of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. Almost half of respondents - 47 percent - said Trump is guiding the nation's foreign policy toward negative consequences. The president ultimately walked back his remarks and said he accepted the intelligence community's assessment.

Trump weathered fierce criticism after his summit last week with Putin in Helsinki after he appeared to give credence to the Russian leader's assertion that Moscow did not interfere in the 2016 US presidential election.

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Since defending Putin in Helsinki and publicly doubting the United States intelligence community's findings, Trump has issued a stream of clarifications, corrections and conflicting statements that have prompted criticism from Democrats as well as members of his own party. "The U.S. government essentially following the Kremlin's playbook and maintaining that something we all saw with our own eyes, we all heard happen with our own ears, has nevertheless disappeared like old political opponents being airbrushed out of photos".

Democrats have demanded access to Mr. Trump's translator from the Helsinki summit, hoping to glean details about what was discussed in two hours of one-on-one talk between the USA and Russian leaders, repeatedly pressing Mr. Pompeo for details on possible secret deals or agreements.

It also wasn't clear upon what basis Bolton believes that Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller, whose investigation Trump calls the "witch hunt" to which Bolton alluded, might be finished by December 31.

In the declaration, Pompeo took Russian Federation to task for it actions in Ukraine, particularly the 2014 annexation of Crimea.

Pompeo said it was US policy not to lift sanctions imposed after Russian Federation annexed Crimea, but did not answer the question directly. The Quinnipiac poll said 63 percent of voters are "very concerned" or "somewhat concerned" about Russian interference in the upcoming vote.

He also pushed back on allegations the Trump administration has been weak or subservient to Russian Federation over Ukraine or its meddling in the election.

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