WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced his intent to delay the upcoming DC visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Citing the ongoing investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, Trump said he thought it best to delay Putin’s scheduled visit to the US this autumn.
In a statement, National security adviser John Bolton said Trump believed his next meeting with Putin should take place “after the Russia witch hunt is over”.
“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.
Last week, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders announced that Trump had directed Bolton to extend an invitation to Putin to visit Washington later this year, days after the two met for a summit in Helsinki, Finland, which quickly turned controversial.
In comments following the meeting, the president appeared to suggest that he believed Russia played no role in influencing the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, despite the findings of US intelligence officials.
Trump’s decision to invite Putin for a second meeting came as the White House sought to quell the controversy that arose over the president’s comments.
Trump later clarified his previous statement, stating that he had simply misspoke.
Mueller’s team has been for months investigating nearly everyone associated with Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and has thus far found no proof of wrongdoing by the president.
However, earlier this month, a federal grand jury indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers on allegations of hacking emails belonging to the Hillary Clinton campaign and DNC during the 2016 election. All 12 defendants have been identified as members of GRU, a Russian intelligence agency.