President Trump has another date with Russia's Vladimir Putin this fall, according to The White House. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders informed us on Twitter Thursday that Trump has invited the Russian president to Washington.
In Helsinki, @POTUS agreed to ongoing working level dialogue between the two security council staffs. President Trump asked @Ambjohnbolton to invite President Putin to Washington in the fall and those discussions are already underway.— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) July 19, 2018
It was apparently a surprise to his Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. Here's how Coats reacted when a moderator broke the news during an event at the Aspen Security Forum.
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats informed on stage at Aspen Security Forum that the Trump administration has invited Vladimir Putin to the White House.— ABC News (@ABC) July 19, 2018
"Say that again," he responds. "Okay. That's going to be special." https://t.co/FwM8YbqyHM pic.twitter.com/cIhdPLXGzZ
"Say that again," Coats said, while the audience laughed. "Okay. That's going to be special."
The administration is still reeling from Trump's press conference with Putin on Monday in Helsinki, Finland, where Trump failed to hold Russia accountable for election hacking. He suggested he believed Putin's "strong" claim that Russia was innocent, which made critics charge Trump was siding with Putin over his own intelligence community.
Trump walked his press conference remarks back a bit the following day, trying to clarify his word choice.