Trump and Russia: Shifting answers on key questions

Melania Trump's facial expression after greeting Putin sparks Twitter meltdown

Merkel's comments Friday came after President Donald Trump invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to the White House.

Democratic Senate leader Charles Schumer said that unless details of the Helsinki summit are known, the U.S. president should refrain from more one-on-one interactions Putin "in the United States, in Russian Federation, or anywhere else".

He said he was not aware of an invitation from Trump for Putin to visit Washington later this year, but stressed that Moscow was ready to discuss such a visit.

Trump stunned the world on Monday by failing to publicly confront Putin at their first summit for Moscow's alleged meddling in the 2016 election.

The move may be seen as an effort to sidestep European peace efforts for Ukraine and increase the pressure on the Ukrainian government in its protracted conflict with pro-Russian separatists in the Donbas region. Other officials familiar with the White House's scheduling say the White House has been so busy mitigating the backlash that the debriefings that would have normally taken place had yet to be conducted, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

"Now with that being said if it doesn't work out I'll be the worst enemy he's ever had".

Despite the week's furore, Trump also said he was looking forward to his second meeting with the Russian leader.

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Donald Trump to invite Vladimir Putin to the White House
Asked by reporters on Wednesday if Russian Federation was still targeting the United States, Trump shook his head and said, "No". Trump has faced criticism from both Democrats and Republicans about his handling of the Helsinki summit with Putin on Monday.

'Coats has gone rogue, ' a White House official told the Washington Post. Limited details have emerged, but Antonov said discussions included ways to cooperate on arms control and Iran's nuclear activities.

Coats has made clear that American intelligence agencies stand by their assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 USA election, even as Trump has sent conflicting signals, most significantly when he appeared to accept Russian President Vladimir Putin's denials over the assessments of US spy agencies. In contrast, Trump said that he has been "far tougher on Russian Federation than any president in many, many years - maybe ever".

Republicans and Democrats in Congress are seeking answers on what agreements Mr Trump may have reached with Mr Putin in their two-hour meeting on Monday in which they were accompanied only by their interpreters. He added that when he joined the administration, he met the president and told him that, as non-sycophants are wont to do, there would be times that he would bring news he didn't want to hear. He mentioned London-based financier Bill Browder, a onetime investor in Russian Federation who said he exposed corruption there.

It comes after Mr Putin, asked in Helsinki whether he would extradite the 12 Russian intelligence agents indicted in the USA for hacking Democratic Party computers, said he would meet the United States government "halfway". The artist behind the cover, Nancy Burson, said she hopes it causes readers to reflect on the similarities between the two leaders.

U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, had last week indicted 12 Russian nationals for their interference in the 2016 United States presidential election.

By Tuesday, after congressional blowback and criticism from outside advisors, Trump reversed himself and said he meant to say that he didn't see any reason why Russian Federation wouldn't - as opposed to would - intervene in the elections.

Coats continued to stand firm on Russian interference in the elections, saying he wished Trump hadn't made his statement that he believed Vladimir Putin's denials.

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