Press secretary Sarah Sanders announced the news on Twitter, writing: “In Helsinki, @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.”
The statement comes amid widespread criticism of Trump for a Helsinki press conference on Monday in which he said he took Putin‘s word over findings by U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia interfered with the 2016 American presidential election.
Trump has since backtracked on the comments. During a meeting Tuesday with members of Congress, Trump said he supported U.S. intelligence agencies, and claimed he had misspoken when he said he didn’t see any reason why Russia would have meddled the U.S. election. He has nevertheless continued to defend his performance at the summit and on Wednesday morning took to Twitter to call out the “many haters who wanted to see a boxing match” between him and Putin.
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Earlier on Thursday, Trump tweeted about a potential second meeting with Putin, saying: “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, nuclear proliferation, cyber attacks, trade, Ukraine, Middle East peace, North Korea and more. There are many answers, some easy and some hard, to these problems…but they can ALL be solved!”
If Putin accepts the planned invitation, the trip would mark his first visit to the White House in more than a decade, Politico reports.