After Helsinki, Trump plans to host Putin in Washington

The Latest Putin says US-Russia summit was successful

On Wednesday, Donald Trump said "it's true" that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 US Presidential Election and that he would hold Mr Putin responsible. He said he had mis-spoken when he appeared to side with Putin, who denies any state-sanctioned interference, over his own agencies.

The invitation came as an apparent surprise to the Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats when he was told about it during a live interview at the Aspen Security Forum in Aspen, Colorado.

Coats also appeared to be caught by surprise on a major White House announcement: that Trump had invited Putin to visit Washington in the fall - the first such visit in almost 13 years.

"OK", he continued, pausing for a deep breath. "The president had said going into this that we wouldn't solve all the world's problems in one meeting, in one conversation with the Russian government but we think it's a pretty good place to start".

US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin shake hands as they meet in Helsinki, Finland on 16 July.

What happened at Monday's one-on-one between Trump and Putin with only interpreters present remained a mystery, even to top officials and US lawmakers who said they had not been briefed.

Coats acknowledged he has no idea what was said in Trump's one-on-one meeting with Putin, accompanied only by translators.

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"The warning signs are there", he said. "The system is blinking. It is why I believe we are at a critical point".

"He does believe that they [Russia] would target U.S. elections again. But that is the president's prerogative", Mr Coats added.

He defended the decision to charge foreign nationals who are unlikely to be deported to the US. While they aren't necessarily expecting this to lead to war, they are determined to see it not lead to peace.

The White House continued to fuel the week-long fire when White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee announced on Wednesday that Trump was considering a widely-panned request from Russian Federation. The cover was in reference to the political attacks launched by the White House on Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russia's interference in the 2016 USA presidential election.

Among those Russian Federation was seeking to question was former United States ambassador to Moscow Michael McFaul.

In an interview with CNBC television, Trump said "getting along with President Putin, getting along with Russia's a positive, not a negative".

Coats, whose office briefs Trump nearly daily on the most classified information on security threats to the United States, made clear that he did not agree with the president's decision to meet with Putin one-on-one, with only translators by their sides. "I call on President Trump to say once and for all, not through his spokespeople, that the lopsided, disgraceful trade he called an "incredible offer" is off the table". He previously worked in the Canberra press gallery and recently finished a Masters of Journalism at Columbia University in NY.