“In Helsinki, @POTUS agreed to ongoing working level dialogue between the two security council staffs,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a tweet Thursday. “President Trump asked @AmbJohnBolton to invite President Putin to Washington in the fall and those discussions are already underway.”
Sanders announced the invitation less than an hour after the Republican-led Senate effectively rebuked President Donald Trump for considering Russia’s request to question U.S. officials, giving voice to growing unease over the president’s relationship with Putin following their summit in Helsinki on Monday.
In a resolution adopted 98-0 on Thursday, senators called on the U.S. to refuse to make any officials available for interrogation by Putin’s government. Minutes before the vote was scheduled to begin, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a statement rejecting the Russian proposal.
“It is a proposal that was made in sincerity by President Putin, but President Trump disagrees with it,” Sanders said. A day earlier she didn’t shoot down the idea, instead saying Trump was “going to meet with his team” about it.
The measure that forced the White House’s hand is nonbinding. But the vote marked a rare decision by Republican leader Mitch McConnell to take up a resolution written by top Democrat Chuck Schumer undercutting the GOP president.