Trump and Putin discussed possible referendum in eastern Ukraine


The red-and-white soccer ball tossed to President Donald Trump by Russia's Vladimir Putin is undergoing a routine security screening.

President Trump was angry that a reporter was allowed to ask him a hard question during his disastrous press conference with Russian president Vladimir Putin on Monday, according to sources who spoke with the Washington Post.

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.

The Russian ambassador to Washington also denounced "anti-Russian anger" in the United States and reiterated denials of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election _ interrupting a questioner to say "We didn't interfere!"

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Putin critic, tweeted after the exchange that he'd have the ball checked for listening devices and "never allow it in the White House".

"Say that again", U.S. national intelligence director Dan Coats responded, when informed of the invitation during an appearance at a security conference in Colorado.

When Coats pushed back at Trump's Monday statements siding with Putin on election interference, senior aides were fearful he might quit, according to the Post. "I just felt at this point and time that what we had assessed and re-assessed and re-assessed and carefully gone over still stands, and it was important to take that stand on behalf of the intelligence community and on behalf of the American people".

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters at the United Nations later that Trump and Putin discussed how to return refugees who fled the civil war in Syria, but offered no details and did not mention any Russian proposals. Remember when they said I was too tough with Chairman Kim? Trump initially had described the idea as an "incredible offer".

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Asked at the Valdai Discussion Club in Moscow to comment on controversial plans by the White House to invite Putin to the USA this fall, Anatoly Antonov said: "The Russian side has always been open to possible proposals".

Their first meeting, however, has stirred condemnation from Democrats and Republicans alike over a series of comments Trump made that appeared to place him unduly close to Russian Federation.

Coats said it was news to him. "OK, that's going to be special".

The Trump administration generally seems to accept that meddling occurred, but the president has questioned whether it was exclusively Russian Federation that carried it out.

White House officials have not explained why Coats was not informed about the invitation in advance. "This is the job I signed up for ... obviously, I wished he made a different statement, which I think now, he has clarified". He recalled how they asked him earlier this year to expel Russian intelligence agents to punish Moscow for the suspected poisoning of an ex-spy.

No Russian leader has visited the White House in almost a decade and it would be a diplomatic coup for Mr Putin, who has been isolated by the West for activities in Ukraine, Syria and the nerve agent attack in Salisbury.

"Look, the fact is we got along well", Trump said in the interview, which was taped on Thursday. "But the conversation between Trump and Putin at the private meeting is even murkier waters, surprises from which we can unfortunately certainly hear more about soon".