“Those discussions are already underway,” White House Pres Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted this afternoon. When Putin and Trump huddled in Helsinki, at a meeting – the details of which even Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats still says he is in the dark about – Trump agreed to “ongoing working level dialogue” between the two countries’ security council staffs, Sanders said.Trump on Wednesday night finally stated, to CBS News’ Jeff Glor, that he holds Putin responsible for Russian meddling in the 2016 election, in his capacity as head of the country.
Among those surprised by the news, Coats, who got the news from MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell as she was interviewing him at the Aspen Security Forum, in Aspen, Colorado.
“Say that again?!” Coats said when Mitchell announced to the gathering, “Putin is coming to the White House in the fall.”
“Okay?!” Coats gasp/laughed, hearing this for the first time, adding, “That’s going to be ‘special'”:
It’s just the latest surprise to come out of Trump’s Helsinki presser with Putin. Wednesday night, Trump had continued to walk back his presser announcement he was taking Putin at his word that he had not meddled in the U.S. 2016 election. In an interview with CBS News, Trump told Jeff Glor he holds Putin responsible for the meddling, in his capacity as leader of Russia. But, when asked by Glor if that means Putin lied to him at their one-on-one, Trump said he wouldn’t go that far.