Trump open to Moscow visit if Putin formally invites him

Arturo Kim
July 28, 2018

Wednesday's surprise joint appearance by Trump and Juncker in the Rose Garden came after the White House banned CNN correspondent Kaitlan Collins from the event.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin said on Friday he has invited President Trump to Moscow - and plans to visit Washington - as he praised their meetings as "useful".

"We are ready to invite President Trump to Moscow", Mr Putin said during a press conference in Johannesburg today.

But when presented with an opportunity to grill Conway about the decision Thursday, the hosts of "Fox & Friends" passed on it.

"I was blocked from attending an open press event at the White House because the White House did not like the questions I posed to President Trump earlier in the day during an event in the Oval Office with the president of the European Commission", Collins told her network.

"To be clear", she continued, "we support a free press and ask that everyone be respectful of the presidency and guests at the White House".

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The White House said no agreements were reached other than having national security teams meet. "This type of retaliation is wholly inappropriate, wrong-headed, and weak". "Until this week, the officials said, Trump's senior aides have resisted carrying out his directives". "It can not stand. Reporters asking questions of powerful government officials, up to and including the President, helps hold those people accountable".

Moscow's military support starting in 2015 of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian war, Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and the conclusions of US intelligence agencies that Russian Federation meddled in the election have soured relations.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., who was on CNN when the news was announced, said, "This kind of, really, violation of a reporter's rights is an offense against the First Amendment interests of all of us".

CNN condemned the White House's decision in a statement on Wednesday, saying it was "not indicative of a free and open press".

Collins had served as a representative of the television networks during an earlier "pool spray" availability in the Oval Office.

White House communications chief Bill Shine quibbled with the use of the word "ban" in describing the action taken against Collins.

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