Among other things, he indicated on the heels of their summit in Helsinki that he sympathized with Putin over the USA intelligence community on the issue of Russian election meddling. American Democrats and traditional Republicans have repeatedly shown resistance to any reform regarding relations with Russian Federation.
That's left Coats in a tight spot.
The controversy escalated on Wednesday, when Sanders told reporters Trump was entertaining a proposal from Putin that would allow special counsel Robert Mueller's team to interrogate the 12 Russian military intelligence officials it indicted last week if, in exchange, the United States allowed the Russian government to interrogate certain Americans, including the former U.S. ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul.
Back in Washington, Coats was quick to issue a statement Monday to rebut that position. Axios reports that Putin proposed that Russia be allowed to question several U.S. citizens, including former U.S. Ambassador to Russia and a U.S. investor, in exchange for Russian interviews for Robert Mueller's probe, but the deal was shot down after backlash from the State Department.
"I don't know what happened in that meeting", he told Mitchell, referring to the private one-on-one meeting between Putin and Trump in Helsinki, Finland, which was barred to both of their aides and even the official stenographer.
Unbowed by criticism over his Helsinki summit, US President Donald Trump has extended an invitation to Russian President Vladimir Putin to meet in Washington, the White House said. He said when he has frustrating days, he reminds himself about why he agreed to accept the job and what he hoped to accomplish.
President Putin said "useful agreements" had been reached during the summit but we don't know what they are.
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He claimed he accidentally said the word "would" instead of "wouldn't" while answering a question on whether he believed Russian meddling had happened. But he added, "It could be other people also". He added: "Could be other people also; there's a lot of people out there".
"Say that again?" Coats responded, prompting laughter from the crowd. He's been doing a very good job. I will tell you though, it better not be. Despite the week's furore, Trump also said he was looking forward to his second meeting with the Russian leader.
Antonov gave a few more details of what Mr. Trump and Putin talked about in Helsinki, but insisted that diplomatic discussions should remain discreet in order to be effective. He served in the House in the 1980s and the Senate in the 1990s and 2010s and was the USA ambassador to Germany from 2001 to 2005. But he stood firmly with the intelligence assessment, saying it's "undeniable" that Russian Federation has taken the lead on this kind of interference. He's prided himself as being a steady voice, but it's clear he is no fan of Russian Federation. I'll be his worst nightmare, but I don't think it'll be that way.
He said the "more" is cyberthreats that are targeting U.S. government and businesses in the energy, nuclear, water, aviation and critical-manufacturing sectors.
"The Russian effort to influence the 2016 campaign is just one tree in a growing forest", he said, speaking at the Aspen Security Forum.
Mr. Putin has sought to become a Mr. Trump ally at a time when USA ties to Europe are fraying, and both presidents are critical of the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. "If he had asked me how that ought to be conducted, I would have suggested a different way, but that's not my role. It is what it is", Coats said in a verbal shrug.