US President Donald Trump has invited his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, to Washington, boosting a hailstorm of criticism against his administration’s relations with Moscow.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced Thursday that the president has asked his national security adviser John Bolton to invite Putin.
“In Helsinki, @POTUS agreed to ongoing working level dialogue between the two security council staffs,” Sanders tweeted. “President Trump asked @Ambjohnbolton to invite President Putin to Washington in the fall and those discussions are already underway.”
The announcement followed a summit by the two world leaders in the Finnish capital Helsinki.
This is while Trump has been attempting to appear tough on Russia after he ignited a political firestorm by accepting Putin’s denial of the US intelligence community’s claims in regard to Moscow’s alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
The president has claimed that he misspoke in Finland, asserting that he could be Putin’s “worst enemy.”
“Look at the sanctions I put on, look at the diplomats I threw out. … Nobody else did what I’ve done,” Trump said in an interview with CNBC, portraying himself as “far tougher on Russia than any president in many, many years, maybe ever.”
“Getting along with President Putin, getting along with Russia’s positive not a negative,” Trump said. “Now, that being said, if that doesn’t work out I’ll be the worst enemy he’s ever had — the worst he’s ever had.”
The Helsinki bow has boosted speculations that Russia might be in possession of damaging information about the US president.
“This just once again reinforces this inexplicable affinity that the president has toward basically totalitarian dictators, but in particular to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin,” said Hawaii Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono. “I served on the Intelligence Committee for two years. Countries develop assets that will help them get news, et cetera. In intel language and parlance, the president is acting like he is the asset for Russia.”
Ever since Trump was inaugurated in January 2017, the US intelligence community has overwhelmingly maintained that Moscow sought to meddle in the 2016 election, which yielded President Trump.