White House weighs Putin proposal on questioning U.S. officials

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Among several Americans who the Russian Prosecutor's Office has said it wants to interrogate in connection with its case against Browder is the former USA ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, who on July 17 called on the State Department to "push back" against the Russian interrogation requests.

But Trump tried to dispel perceptions of a rift between him and the current national intelligence director, Dan Coats, who has warned of Russia's continuing efforts to meddle in USA elections.

But Sanders said Trump was only saying "no" to further questions from reporters and not in response to the question on Russian Federation.

Democrats say the woman who translated for President Trump - and the notes she took during the meeting - could provide critical information about what transpired.

"The sentence should have been, 'I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be Russia.' Sort of a double negative", he added.

Mr. Trump has contradicted Coats recently, telling "CBS Evening News" anchor Jeff Glor that he doesn't know if he necessarily agrees with Coats' warning about the "critical" threat of potentially devastating cyberattacks targeting USA systems. But I was standing right next to Putin, and we had just had a great two-hour conversation.

During the Cabinet meeting, after the exchange with ABC News' Vega, the president went on to tell reporters that there's "never been a president as tough on Russian Federation as I have been".

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Asked by a journalist before a morning Cabinet meeting whether Russian Federation was still targeting the United States, Trump looked at the reporter, shook his head and said, "No".

The Times says Trump first learned of Russia's interference January 6, 2017, two weeks before his inauguration, during a meeting in NY at Trump Tower with then-CIA Director John Brennan; James Clapper, then-director of national intelligence; then-FBI Director James Comey; and Admiral Mike Rogers, then-director of the National Security Agency.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said later that Trump actually was saying "no" to answering additional questions - even though he subsequently went on to address Russian Federation.

She said the threat to the United States electoral system "still exists, which is why we are taking steps to prevent it". "What's important about this is it burnishes other things that people anxious about regarding Trump, including how he is focused always on what's in it for him as opposed to what's in it for the country".

Browder said he is "confident" that Trump will not allow the offer to go through in the end.

He also lashed out at Europe and USA -dominated North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, saying Russian Federation would hit back with an "equivalent response" to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation bases near Russia's borders and other "aggressive steps". Asked if he would hold Putin personally responsible, he said, "Well, I would, because he's in charge of the country".

"President Trump's inexplicable behavior has many Americans asking, "what does Putin have over him" that he's behaving in a way that is basically inexplicable in any rational, logical line of thinking?"

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"Our relationship with Russian Federation and our positions are the same today as they were on the 15th", the official said.

As a legal matter, Trump has no authority to force McFaul or any other American to face Russian questioning.

Pressed on why Trump has repeatedly passed on opportunities to publicly condemn Putin's actions, Sanders suggested Trump was working to make the most of an "opportunity" for the two leaders to work together on shared interests.

POTUS was immediately questioned on whether he had raised Russia's meddling in the U.S. election, and he pivoted to a weird rant about Hillary Clinton and the ongoing independent counsel investigation into his campaign's alleged collusion with Russian Federation.

His comments came the same day that the Justice Department unveiled an indictment against 12 Russian military intelligence officers for their role in hacking Democratic groups during the 2016 campaign. "I accept our intelligence community's conclusion that Russia's meddling in the 2016 election took place".

'You look at other people int he Federal Bureau of Investigation that have been fired that are no longer there, ' Trump said.

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