WASHINGTON – Seldom was an RSVP so complicated
President Donald Trump is open for a visit to Moscow – if he receives a formal invitation from Vladimir Putin, the White House said. Russian President Putin said he was a game for a trip to Washington ̵
The embarrassing back and forth is the final round of the summit drama that emanates from the two leaders. controversial first meeting in Helsinki this month. It highlights Trump's eagerness to build a warmer relationship with Putin, even though the Russian does not seem to share urgency and Trump's allies in Washington are frustrated.
Trump's tentative yes to a Moscow trip even comes while the lawmaker still urges details about what he and Putin have discussed in Helsinki. The president has been widely criticized for not denouncing Russia's interference in the US elections in 2016 and accepting Putin's denial of such activities.
Trump's response to the criticism – an abruptly announced invitation to a second Washington meeting in the fall – was greeted coldly by congressional members in ice-cold elections in November. Moscow was lukewarm and did not accept it immediately.
Then national security adviser John Bolton said on Wednesday that the plans for a case visit would be postponed until 2019. He called the investigation by Robert Mueller in response to Trump's election term for the probe: "Witch Hunt."
But the possibility of Trump's trip to Moscow came on Friday after Putin said he was ready to invite Trump – or to visit Washington when the conditions are right.
"I understand very well Well, what President Trump said: He wants to hold more meetings," Putin said during his trip to Johannesburg. We are ready to invite President Trump to Moscow, by the way, he has such an invitation, I told him about it, I am ready to go to Washington, but I repeat, if conditions are created for the work
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders replied, "Trump is looking forward to having President Putin after the first meeting in Washington year, and he is open to visiting Moscow after receiving a mutual formal invitation."
But it is only to speak at this point.
It's part of "a power play between Putin and Trump," Dr. Alina Polyakova from the Brookings Institution. She said that the Kremlin was basically driving the whole process in Helsinki, and "we'll see that again."
Trump is hardly in a strong position because "the Helsinki summit was such a fiasco," said James Goldgeier of the Council on Foreign Relations
A visit by Putin to Washington between today and January "could have many bad looks" He said, "It's really hard to see the benefits of Trump's trip to Moscow."
Trump's spectacle in the Russian capital – the site of unproven lewd claims in an anti-Trump dossier compiled by a former British spy – was designed to raise eyebrows and alarm bells on Capitol Hill.
Just two days earlier, legislators from both countries parties unsuccessfully demanded details of the Helsinki meeting of Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo, who held almost all of this investigation at a controversial hearing on the grounds that the president had a right to private talks.
Since Helsinki, Tr Ump has been trying to trace back at least some of his comments. And Pompeo told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that despite Trump's public statements that Russian interference was "a hoax," he accepts that Russia interfered in the 2016 elections.
Trump met with his national security team on Friday 2018 Congressional Interim Elections, the first meeting he has convened amid warnings from intelligence officials that Russia intends again to interfere in the democratic process of the US.
The White House issued a statement that Trump "made it clear that his administration would not tolerate foreign interference in our elections by any nation state or other malicious actor."
Republican lawmakers have made it clear that they are not ready to Putin from the intelligence officials say she was aware of the interference of 2016 just weeks before Election Day 2018
Putin will not be "welcome" in the Capitol, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters 24] House spokesman Paul Ryan said such invitations are reserved "for allies."
Republican leaders seem to rely more on public signals than on private phone calls or oval office chats to grab the attention of the White House Trump – especially if they disagree with the president's approach or policy.
Ryan said he did not speak to the President in the days following the Helsinki Summit.
Moscow has its tensions with Washington as a result of Trump being thrown back by domestic disputes and a widespread "Russophobia" plagued by the Obama years – reflecting Trump's fondness for blaming his predecessor for many problems.
By saying that he is ready to go to Washington, "Putin underlines this attitude and puts pressure on Trump to fight opposition – his invitation to Trump to come to Moscow – whether the invitation was formally put out to tender or just in the spirit – Trump also seems to be pushing to show if he's brave and disturbing enough to criticize at home.
AP writers Ken Thomas, Jill Colvin, and Darlene Superville in Washington and Jim Heintz in Moscow have contributed to this report.
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