Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended President Donald Trump's decision to have a one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Ben Cardin, Pompeo said Putin and Trump discussed a number of issues, including reviving an exchange between the two countries' business leaders; re-establishing a counterterrorism council to increase cooperation on that front; and working to return the millions of displaced Syrians who have fled that war-torn country, where Russian Federation is working to prop up the brutal dictatorship of Syrian President Bashar Assad. And almost half - 47 percent - say that US leadership in the world has gotten weaker under Trump.
This came amid the backlash over Trump's performance at a news conference with Putin following their Helsinki summit, and many members of Congress had objected to them meeting again in the fall.
Reflecting the unease among USA lawmakers, House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday that Putin would not be invited to address Congress or visit the Capitol if he accepted Trump's invitation.
In a post-summit interview with Fox News, Putin said US-Russia relations should not be held "hostage" to "internal political games", referring to the Mueller probe.
While Trump had previously equivocated that "we're going to have to see" when asked whether the USA would recognize Crimea as a part of Russia, Pompeo seemed to contradict the president, suggesting the administration was not wavering on the issue.
Russia's Embassy in Washington has accused USA officials of "living in a different reality" after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reiterated America's rejection of Moscow's annexation of Crimea. "We knew what had taken place there", Pompeo said.
"Is there some strategy behind creating doubt in USA senators' minds, on both sides of the aisle, doubt in the American people as to what his motivations are?" added Corker, a frequent critic of Trump.
So far, we've seen the result of meetings without preparation in both June's summit with Kim Jong Un in Singapore and the Putin summit last week.More news: [Leonid Bershidsky] Iran faces consequences of snubbing Trump
Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., are pushing legislation that would impose new sanctions against Russian Federation for interfering in the 2016 US presidential election and to discourage them from doing it again. "Every single day, it's like he's spinning the wheel and it lands on a number, and it says, 'Invite Putin.' Then the next day it says, 'Cancel the invitation.' And who knows who's whispering in his ear and if he's paying attention".
Trump has not hidden his disdain for special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, regularly referring to it in public comments and on Twitter as a "witch hunt".
"He has a complete and proper understanding of what happened", Pompeo said of Trump.
He also said that Washington does not and will not recognize the Kremlin's control of Crimea.
The soccer ball that Vladimir Putin gave President Donald Trump may have had a bug after all.
"I want to assure this committee that the United States does not and will not recognize the Kremlin's purported annexation of Crimea". Pompeo said it was USA policy not to lift sanctions imposed after Russian Federation annexed Crimea, but he did not answer the question directly.
There was no immediate response from Russian Federation to the invite but leaders in Trump's party on Capitol Hill were quick to voice their displeasure with the plan. "We know the worth of such momentous declarations", ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on her Facebook account.
The top diplomat said he would back bipartisan efforts in Congress to slap new sanctions on Russian Federation in response to their meddling in the 2016 United States election, and as a deterrent against meddling this year or in 2020.
"Because he talked about bringing the U.S. -Russia relationship back to normal", Putin said, responding to the first part of the question and ignoring the latter half.