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story.lead_photo.caption President Donald Trump gestures while speaking during his meeting with members of his cabinet in Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, July 18, 2018. Looking on is Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump "disagrees" with Russian President Vladimir Putin's offer to allow the U.S. to question 12 Russians accused of interfering in the 2016 election in exchange for permitting Russia to interview Americans the Kremlin accuses of unspecified crimes, the White House said Thursday.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the proposal was "made in sincerity" by Putin, but Trump "disagrees with it." She said the U.S. hopes Putin will have the Russians indicted on charges brought by the U.S. Department of Justice "come to the United States to prove their innocence or guilt."

In an afternoon of swift Washington political stagecraft, the White House rejected Putin's offer as the Republican-controlled Senate prepared to issue a rebuke to Trump by going on record against it. After Trump backed down, the Senate approved a nonbinding resolution opposing it by a vote of 98-0.

Putin made what Trump called an "incredible offer" during a joint press conference concluding their summit in Helsinki, for which Trump received bipartisan condemnation at home.

The White House had said Wednesday it was under consideration, even though the State Department called Russia's allegations against the Americans "absurd." In an interview with The Christian Broadcasting Network on Thursday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, "that's not going to happen."

"The administration is not going to send, force Americans to travel to Russia to be interrogated by Vladimir Putin and his team," Pompeo said.

The Russian claims against the Americans, including former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, involve allegations of fraud and corruption. Congressional Republicans have criticized the White House for even considering the offer, while McFaul has called it a "ridiculous request from Putin."

Pushing back against criticism of his Putin meeting, Trump said Thursday he wants another meeting with Putin to start implementing ideas they discussed in Helsinki, casting the summit as a starting point for progress on a number of shared concerns.

Trump also accused the news media of trying to provoke a confrontation with Moscow that could lead to war, although concerns about the meeting have been raised by a broad cross-section of Republicans and Democrats.

Trump tweeted a list of topics discussed at the summit, including terrorism, security for Israel, Mideast peace, Ukraine, North Korea and more, and wrote: "There are many answers, some easy and some hard, to these problems... but they can ALL be solved!"

"I look forward to our second meeting so that we can start implementing some of the many things discussed," he wrote. Trump also met with Putin last year in Germany and Vietnam.

Trump pointed blame at the media, tweeting: "The Fake News Media wants so badly to see a major confrontation with Russia, even a confrontation that could lead to war. They are pushing so recklessly hard and hate the fact that I'll probably have a good relationship with Putin. We are doing MUCH better than any other country!"

"The Summit with Russia was a great success, except with the real enemy of the people, the Fake News Media," he tweeted.

Numerous lawmakers have criticized Trump for his post-summit statements raising doubts about Russia's interference in the 2016 U.S. elections, and past and current intelligence community officials also differed with many of his statements.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., acknowledged Thursday that Trump has had a "bad week" on Russia.

"I think it's imperative that he understand that he's misjudging Putin," Graham told reporters. "I don't think he was prepared as well as he should have been."

Graham said Trump was right to criticize previous administrations for their handling of Russia. But he said Trump "is not making the problem better, he's making it worse."

Putin, in his first public comments about the summit, told Russian diplomats Thursday that U.S.-Russian relations are "in some ways worse than during the Cold War," but that the meeting with Trump allowed them to start on "the path to positive change."

"We will see how things develop further," Putin said, evoking unnamed "forces" in the U.S. trying to prevent any improvement in relations and "putting narrow party interests above the national interest."

Trump had toughened his tone about Russia on Wednesday, saying in a CBS News interview that he told the Russian president to his face during Monday's summit to stay out of America's elections "and that's the way it's going to be."

That rhetoric marked a turnabout from Trump's first, upbeat description of the sit-down. Still, Trump backtracked on whether Russia is currently targeting U.S. elections. Asked the question Wednesday, his "no" answer put him sharply at odds with recent public warnings from his own intelligence chief.

Hours later, the White House stepped in to say Trump's answer wasn't what it appeared.

Read Friday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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  • RBear
    July 19, 2018 at 9:44 a.m.

    No, they want accountability of a campaign that seemed to play extremely loose with Russia, possibly to the point of violating ethics laws. Much to Trump’s frustration, that is the purpose of the Fourth Estate. It is such a shame that we have a president who feels he should not be held accountable.

  • JakeTidmore
    July 19, 2018 at 10:41 a.m.

    Elect a clown and you get a circus.
    Sadly, the Koolaid Kapers Klub will ignore reality and keep pressing their torn and battered lips to the filthy Trump derriere.
    So trolls - would you or wouldn't you?!
    Too many cowardly Republicans no longer stand up for democracy. They'd rather let their nation go to hell than to speak out against the devil leading them there.
    Follow Trump and Russia will be great again.
    Yep, this is one country that will be glad when the GOP circus packs up its clown and inanities and gets the hell outta town.

  • skeptic1
    July 19, 2018 at 10:48 a.m.

    The Orwellian doublespeak of the left is mind-numbing. Where was the outrage when Hillary presented her "Reset" button to Russia or the sale of our uranium to Russia rubber stamped by Hillary and Obama. How about Bill's 104 million dollars he earned in speaking fees in foreign countries from 2001 to 2012, the bulk of which was while Hillary was Secretary of State. And, why does the media so blatantly ignore the fact that any meddling by Russia occurred under Obama, Clapper, and Comey? The tactic of mirroring by the hysterical left is so blatant it would be humerus were it not so horrific.

  • hah406
    July 19, 2018 at 11:10 a.m.

    Bill was an ex-POTUS. They all make money by speaking, including both Bush and Reagan. As for the Russian hacking, if Obama had gone all out against the Russians with what we knew at the time, you would be crying to the Gods that Obama was trying to influence and change the election outcome. You can't have it both ways.
    Frankly, Trump does bring all of this on himself. If he would just tell the truth and tell it straight up, we wouldn't be all over him everyday.

  • 3WorldState1
    July 19, 2018 at 11:14 a.m.

    I've never known or seen a bigger liar than Trump. Not in real life, not in the movies or in politics. He simply lies about every single issue.
    Russia is coming out with all of the "Verbal Agreements" America has agreed to and the American people and the US Admin don't even know about them! And Republicans are cool with that.

  • Foghorn
    July 19, 2018 at 11:54 a.m.

    Oh, for the love of god...he gets eviscerated by his own party - and FOX - and yet he wants to do it all over again. This is the classic definition of insanity. I don’t know how anyone except the most deluded can still stand by this abomination. He hasn’t even said what they discussed! What is there to ‘implement?!’

  • JakeTidmore
    July 19, 2018 at 12:57 p.m.

    septic1 - What are you doing here? Did someone leave your cage open?
    Now the flimsy defense has come down to "where was the outrage when...." Sad.

    Reminds me of Junior Samples' compliment to his girlfriend, "Darlin, you don't sweat as much as some big fat women." Be still my trembling heart.
    On Fox News, Ari Fleischer, the former Bush press secretary, said he's perplexed why Donald Trump refuses to confront President Putin after he has attacked our allies so publicly.
    Fleischer said, "I don't know why this has to be so hard. I don't know why President Trump would go have a news conference with President Putin and not simply say to Putin, on camera, don't mess with America's elections. That's what he should have done."

    "He did it with Angela Merkel, he's done it with Theresa May, he's done it with our allies. he could have and should have done it with President Putin while still saying there's a lot we can work on. If only he had done that, everything would be so different. He should have."
    septic should look up the definition of "mirroring". He misuses the term (and speaking on his behalf, it is easy to do so with such a word). I wonder if he knows about mirror neurons? (Seriously.)

  • itryed
    July 19, 2018 at 1:33 p.m.


  • TimberTopper
    July 19, 2018 at 2:39 p.m.

    septic1, still showing that lower than dirt IQ, huh? Maybe Trump figures he didn't do a good enough job of kissing Putin's azz the first time and wants a re-do.

  • Foghorn
    July 19, 2018 at 2:53 p.m.

    I loved how John Kelley literally turned out the lights on Trump’s presser yesterday. You can just imagine he must have been thinking, “Aaaanndd CUT...” when he flipped the switch. It’s got to be excruciating - and humiliating - as a member of Trump’s war cabinet for him to have to stand by and wonder what Trump agreed to with Putin behind closed doors.