Putin Proposed Eastern Ukraine Referendum to Trump, Bloomberg Reports

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Russia's ambassador to the United States says that Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin discussed "concrete proposals" for resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine during their summit in Helsinki.

The White House announced Thursday that Putin has been invited to Washington this fall, a move that caught Trump's own director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, by surprise.

He last visited the White House in 2005, when he met President George W. Bush, who welcomed the Russian leader in the East Room as "my friend". Susan Collins of ME said of Trump's one-word response.

He tweeted that the summit had been a great success but not according to the "fake news" media who are the "real enemy of the people".

Putin told Russian Channel One they had discussed a range of issues, including Ukraine and mounting global trade tensions amid ongoing sanctions battles.

Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer criticized the invitation.

The proposal seeks to resolve the four-year-old conflict in Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions that followed Russia's annexation of Crimea.

And while he later acknowledged in an interview with CBS News that Putin was responsible for the effort to undermine the election, he only attributed that responsibility to Putin being "in charge of the country". It took the president several attempts to walk back his comments, amplifying the fallout from his joint appearance with Putin.

Under Secretary of Defense for Policy John Rood on Friday defended the White House's invitation to Russian President Vladimir Putin to come to Washington in the fall.

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Pompeo also said that Washington would not entertain the idea of allowing Putin's team to question or have physical custody of a group of prominent Americans Putin says conducted illegal activities in Russian Federation, allegations that Washington strongly denies.

"The task is not to necessarily multiply the number of summits, the task is to prepare them carefully and substantially", he said. In that statement, Coats restated the US intelligence assessment about Russian meddling and Moscow's "ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy".

Trump's administration has sought to control the damage from their private meeting and news conference Monday in Helsinki, where Trump astonished the world and drew sharp criticism at home by siding with Putin over US intelligence agencies on Moscow's meddling in the 2016 election.

It was the latest about-face in a week of multiple reversals. Once he got there, he returned to Twitter to complain about news coverage of Monday's meeting.

The next day, Trump told reporters that he had misspoken.

Mr Trump may have been encouraged by recent opinion polling showing that while the public at large is uneasy with Mr Trump's Russian Federation policies, his Republican base - by a sizeable majority - is fine with his performance.

Putin indicated he would permit American law enforcement officials to observe questioning by Russian officials of the indicted Russians and vice versa for Russian investigations. During the Monday press conference, he alleged that Bill Browder, an investor and Putin critic accused of financial crimes in Russian Federation, contributed $400 million to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

"It is a proposal that was made in sincerity by President Putin, but President Trump disagrees with it", Huckabee Sanders said.

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