"I was just doing my job", Coats explained of his decision to release a statement that the intelligence community has "been clear in [its] assessments" of Russia's past and ongoing efforts to undermine USA democracy.
Standing at his side, Putin dismissed the "so-called" interference as a sham, declined to deny that Russian Federation had compromising material on Trump, and offered Russia's help in analyzing US intelligence about his country's own election meddling. The fallout was swift.
Trump reportedly complained to his staff about having to face AP reporter Jonathan Lemire's questions about whether or not he still believed Putin's denials about Russia's election interference, and whether he would call out and condemn that interference right then and there in front of the Russian leader. GOP leadership and Trump's own intelligence officials again affirmed that Russian Federation was responsible for the hacking and influence campaign. For his part, McFaul tweeted earlier that he expects the USA government to defend him and his colleagues "in public and private".
The US intelligence community concluded Russian Federation interfered in the election, under the direction of Putin, to help Trump win.
"If he had asked me how that ought to be conducted, I would have suggested a different way", Coats said.
White House officials have not explained why Coats was not informed about the invitation in advance.
The Trump administration this week also said discussions are "underway" to host Putin in Washington this fall, a visit that could occur close to the 2018 midterms.
'I say to our people also around the world ...
In exchange, Russian Federation would want to interrogate United States citizens accused of unspecified crimes. "Now, since Donald won't release his tax returns and don't hold your breath, we don't know the full extent of his business relationships, but what we know is disturbing".
The Trump administration generally seems to accept that meddling occurred, but the president has questioned whether it was exclusively Russian Federation that carried it out.
USA prosecutors say Maria Butina, 29, exploited her close links with the powerful NRA gun lobby while posing as a visiting graduate student to endear herself with senior Republicans, guided by one of Russian President Vladimir Putin's major political supporters, Alexander Torshin.
Addressing a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki after their summit, Trump had said that there was "zero collusion" and that he ran a "clean campaign".
"The president is wrong", GOP Senator Susan Collins of ME said of Trump's one-word response.
A White House spokesperson, Lindsay Walters, wanted to make clear that the president "respects the independence of the Fed".
"The United States should not be penalized because we are doing so well".
He tweeted Monday as criticism of his comments started to emerge, stating his confidence in U.S. intelligence, but also pushed the necessity for a close working relationship with Russian Federation.
The notion of a $400 million donation to the Democrat's campaign would be out of the question.
The watchdog site opensecrets.org shows Browder's NY financial partners, Ziff Brothers Investments giving only $17 700 for Clinton's election and less than $300 000 to the Democratic National Committee, as well as smaller amounts to other entities.