President Donald Trump said on Wednesday his meeting with Vladimir Putin would lead to "big results", in a continuing bid to calm a storm over his failure to criticize the Russian leader for Moscow's actions to undermine the 2016 US election.
President Trump announced on Thursday that he's looking forward to a second meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin.
"The government is speculating that someone is a Russian spy, but thousands of Russians met intelligence operatives" in the United States, he said.
Coats made those surprise admissions Thursday in his first public comments since rebutting Trump's questioning of the USA intelligence assessment that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 election.
"I have felt very strongly that, while Russia's actions had no impact at all on the outcome of the election, let me be totally clear in saying that, and I have said this many times, I accept our intelligence community's conclusion that Russia's meddling in the 2016 election took place", he said, but added, "It could be other people, also". John Brennan, director of the Central Intelligence Agency under Barack Obama, even said Trump's words constituted "treason".
White House officials didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
The White House's belated remarks came after the Russian Prosecutor General's Office on Tuesday reportedly requested to question several USA individuals over their criminal behaviors in Russia.
The backlash has thrust Trump onto the defensive, leading to days of conflicting statements from both the president and the White House.
Konstantin Kosachev, head of the upper house of the Russian parliament's foreign affairs committee, said the idea of questioning the translator about what was said privately sets a unsafe precedent that threatens the "the whole idea of diplomacy", according to Russian news agencies.
Russian officials have shrugged off Trump's wildly contradictory accounts of what he said to Putin at Monday's summit.
"The sentence should have been, 'I don't see any reason why I wouldn't, or why it wouldn't be Russian Federation'".
The statement came after Mr. Trump appeared to doubt that assessment in the press conference alongside Putin.
"I can only say that I do have confidence in our intelligence agencies as now constituted", Trump said. "And that's the way it's going to be", Trump said. Photographs of the meeting first emerged from Russia's Tass news agency.
"Then we would expect that the Americans would reciprocate and they would question officials, including the officers of law enforcement and intelligence services of the United States. who have something to do with illegal actions on the territory of Russian Federation, and we have to request the presence of our law enforcement".
While he praised Trump's mediation efforts in North Korea, Putin slammed his decision to pull out of the worldwide accord curbing Iran's nuclear activities.
Putin's boasts about the new weapons have been greeted with scepticism in Washington, where officials have cast doubt on whether Russian Federation has added any new capabilities to its nuclear arsenal beyond those already known to the US military and intelligence agencies.
"It later then came out in the Russian press that they had a list, and I was at the top of that list", McFaul said on MSNBC Thursday morning.
Coats, being the top USA intelligence official that he is, of course reacted as if he hadn't been told a thing about it.
The idea of allowing a foreign power to quiz US citizens sparked outrage and the US Senate voted 98-0 against it. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said it was "not going to happen".