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Russian Federation tells USA to release alleged spy Maria Butina after 'fabricated charges'

22 Juillet 2018

On Thursday, the White House had to bat down yet another comment, made first by Trump in Helsinki and then given credence by Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in Washington.

The superstate has been accused of interfering with the 2016 United States elections which handed Trump the presidency.

Trump has faced sharp criticism from US lawmakers - including key Republicans - and others who denounced his performance at a joint press conference with Putin following their Helsinki meeting.

"My people came to me - [Director of National Intelligence] Dan Coats came to me, some others - they said they think it's Russia", Trump said of election interference.

President Donald Trump launched a counterattack against the mainstream media's "fake news" of casting him of being a Russian sympathizer by posting video of former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton pushing for a "strong, prosperous Russia".

Coats' appearance at the Aspen Institute had generated some frustration at the White House.

She said Trump's "frightened fawning over Putin is an embarrassment and a grave threat to our democracy".

"President Donald Trump's posture and delivery in Helsinki should not have surprised anyone ("'Putin's poodle': "scathing newspaper headlines of Donald Trump at Helsinki summit", July 17).

But Trump's National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis said Friday that agreements between Russian Federation and the Ukrainian government for resolving the conflict in the Donbas region do not include any such option and any effort to organize a "so-called referendum" would have "no legitimacy". He added that the two did not agree on everything. But he said, "Russia was always open to such proposals". "We are ready for discussions on this subject". But he didn't reverse other statements in which he gave credence to Putin's denial of Russian involvement in the 2016 USA election.

They also talked over possible joint efforts aimed at improving the humanitarian situation in Syria as well as the "challenges" of Korean peninsula de-nuclearisation.

There are hopes inside the administration that the next summit will be more traditional, with USA and Russian negotiators meeting ahead of time to set up an agenda and try to reach agreement on some issues.

Huckabee Sanders also announced that the White House would not proceed with a plan to extradite U.S. citizens to Russian Federation for questioning in exchange for Russian Federation allowing its intelligence officials to be questioned as part of the Mueller probe.

"I'll be his worst nightmare, but I don't think it'll be that way", Trump told CNBC in an interview broadcast Friday.

The report also claimed that Trump was mad that reporters posed tough questions for him in the press conference with Vladimir Putin, lamenting that an Associated Press reporter was called on rather than a more friendly reporter who would not have asked such a hard question. He did not spell out what they were.

Hours after Antonov spoke, the White House shot down the idea, saying the Trump administration "is not considering supporting" such a referendum.

"Great World Cup. Question for President Trump as he meets Putin: Do you know which team you play for?"

Trump also told CBS he had spoken with Coats since the trip.

At the same forum in Colorado, deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein released a 156-page report detailing a strategy to combat future attempts by foreign governments to influence USA elections, including by revealing them to the public.

A Microsoft Corp executive said on Thursday at the Colorado conference that Russian hackers have targeted at least three candidates running in November.

"This thing happening in the USA with now is some sort of a farce, some sort of comedy", he said. Burt declined to identify the candidates.

Russian Federation tells USA to release alleged spy Maria Butina after 'fabricated charges'