President Donald Trump will delay a second summit with Russian leader Vladimir Putin until next year, the White House announced Wednesday. Aware the U.S. could ill-afford to lose the multi-billion deals, Sitharaman said the S-400 missile deal with Russian Federation would go on as per plan.
Putin has denied that Russian Federation tried to influence the 2016 presidential election after the US intelligence community concluded Russian Federation interfered through cyber attacks and social media in a bid to boost Trump's candidacy.
"I don't think anyone here denies the fact that Russian Federation attempted to meddle in the elections", said Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga.
McConnell declined to back up a tweet Trump sent Tuesday suggesting any potential Russian interference in the fall midterm elections would be created to favour Democrats.
The US President backed up his eyebrow-raising statement by insisting "no President has been tougher on Russian Federation than me" and "they definitely don't want Trump!"
The White House said last week that Trump had invited Putin to the United States, but the Kremlin had been quiet on the offer. He referred to Trump's statements at the summit press conference as a "bad moment" for the U.S. "They definitely don't want Trump!" the president tweeted on Tuesday, before giving a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Kansas City, Missouri.
A bipartisan measure that would require new sanctions against any foreign nation caught meddling in US elections got the backing this week of Maine's senior senator, Republican Susan Collins.
Trump says he holds Putin personally responsible for election meddling
But Texas Republican John Cornyn said the Senate should focus on "additional sanctions instead of just some messaging exercise". But Trump also appeared to undercut his statement and suggested "other people" could have interfered with the election as well.
Under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) that Trump signed in August, any country trading with Russia's defence and intelligence sectors faces secondary sanctions. Given the timing, the announcement surprised White House allies, and even appeared to catch Trump's top intelligence official, Dan Coats, off guard.
The U.S. intelligence community concluded, with a subsequent endorsement from the Senate intelligence committee, that Russia's active measures in 2016 were meant to hurt Hillary Clinton and help Trump get elected. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., and has since picked up four other Democrats and five more Republicans as co-sponsors, including Collins.
Pushing the meeting until next year would help avoid an uproar that could damage Republican candidates in the November elections.
A pair of prominent Republican U.S. senators said on Sunday that the United States needs to prepare new sanctions against Russian Federation to discourage interference in upcoming elections.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham wrote on Twitter that Trump's warning underscores how much Republicans and Democrats need to work together to fight foreign interference, since the tables can turn against either side.
The Banking Committee will look at legislation that would strengthen sanctions beyond the penalties that Congress voted overwhelmingly past year to impose.
"It's only productive if we understand who he is and what he wants", Rubio said. Russian foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov confirmed Trump's invitation but told reporters that Putin would "wait for the dust to settle" before deciding whether to accept.