Following the backlash in the United States over Trump's cordial public tone with Putin at the Helsinki summit, USA and Russian officials backed away from a proposal to schedule a follow-up summit in Washington.
Trump slammed the testimony as "a disgrace to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, it was a disgrace to this country and you would say that was a total witch hunt".
But National Security Adviser John Bolton said this week that Trump now believes the follow-up sit-down should take place "after the Russian Federation witch hunt is over" and "after the first of the year".
Portman also said the Trump administration's "very tough" policies concerning Russian Federation are "tougher, frankly, than [those of] the previous administration", including imposing the "toughest sanctions since the Cold War".
But Wednesday, U.S. officials said the plan had been postponed until after the investigation of the special counsel, Robert Mueller, had concluded.
President Donald Trump pledged a "whole-of-government" effort Friday to prevent foreign interference in USA elections, as critics demanded a more thorough plan to thwart Russian cyberattacks on the November midterms.
Blackmail is also the easiest explanation for Trump's stumbling effort to invite Putin to the White House this fall without consulting his key national security and foreign policy advisers.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said such invitations are reserved "for allies". He says she refused to do that and stayed "despite staff, Secret Service, everyone trying to usher everyone out of the room".
The journalist asked Putin: "would you like to get President trump won the election?"
Trump was widely criticized at home for appearing to have accepted Putin's claim in Helsinki that Russian Federation did not meddle in the 2016 U.S. elections.
"We have to proceed not from emotions, but from the real assessment of economic conditions and prospects of its development and (the development of) the social sphere", Putin said. If Russia interfered in the 2016 election, then his election victory is tainted - and Trump is unwilling to allow that possibility to go unchallenged.
The GOP leader also says Russian Federation will face consequences if it interferes with USA elections this fall.
Since Helsinki, Trump has tried to walk back at least some of his comments.
"We strongly condemn the White House's misguided and inappropriate decision today to bar one of our members from an open press event after she asked questions they did not like", wrote WHCA president Olivier Knox.
President Putin is in Johannesburg for the tenth summit of BRICS nations. Much of what we know about Russia's interference in the 2016 elections, including the level of Putin's involvement, comes from human sources.
During his campaign, Trump barred reporters from about a dozen media organizations - including The Washington Post, Politico and BuzzFeed - from being credentialed at his rallies, news conferences and other events, and from flying on the press charter plane. His invitation for Trump to come to Moscow - whether the invitation has been formally tendered or is only in spirit - also appears to pressure Trump to show whether he is bold and disruptive enough to buck intense criticism at home.
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