“The President believes that the next bilateral meeting with President Putin should take place after the Russia witch hunt is over, so we’ve agreed that it will be after the first of the year,” Bolton said in a statement.
The president’s tweet last week indicated that he looked forward to a second meeting as an opportunity to implement solutions on issues including nuclear weapons, counterterrorism and Israel’s security.
Trump had instructed Bolton to extend an invitation to Putin to come to Washington for a second bilateral meeting – an offer that came on the heels of the two leaders’ meeting in Helsinki. President Trump drew sharp bipartisan criticism for his performance and for not publicly confronting Putin about Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The president ultimately walked back his remarks and said he accepted the intelligence community’s assessment.
During an interview at the Aspen Security Forum on Thursday, President Trump’s Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats expressed surprise when notified that the White House had extended an invitation to Putin.
“Say that again?” Coats responded with a laugh. “OK, that’s going to be special.”
But on Saturday, Coats said the comment was not meant as a slight to the president and blamed the media for mischaracterizing the response.
House Speaker Paul Ryan tried to distance the House of Representatives from the invitation by saying that Putin would not be invited to address Congress in the U.S. Capitol because “that is something we reserve for allies.”
Putin described the first summit as “successful” and accused unnamed “forces” within the U.S. of preventing an improvement in U.S.-Russia relations. In terms of whether or not relations would develop further, Putin alluded to the existence of a “path to positive change” but demurred, saying “We will see how things develop further.”
On Tuesday, Russian presidential aide Yury Ushakov told reporters that Trump and Putin may just meet on the sidelines of the G20 in Argentina in November.