Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats was caught off guard on Thursday when NBC’s Andrea Mitchell broke the news that Donald Trump has invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to Washington, D.C. for a follow-up meeting.
As Coats and Mitchell were talking she interrupted the discussion to share the news.
“We have some breaking news, the White House has announced on Twitter that Vladimir Putin is coming to the White House in the fall,” she said while interviewing the intel chief at the Aspen Security Forum.
“Say that again?” Coats said before letting out a laugh. “Did I hear you right?” he jokingly asked a second time before responding, “OK, that’s gonna be special.”
“Based on my reaction, I wasn’t aware of it,” Coats told Mitchell.
Here’s the tweet from the interview which was first shared by The Hill:
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats informed on stage at Aspen Security Forum that the Trump administration has invited Vladimir Putin to the White House.
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) July 19, 2018
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders revealed the President’s plans, tweeting that Putin was invited to visit our nation’s capital in the fall.
In Helsinki, @POTUS agreed to ongoing working level dialogue between the two security council staffs. President Trump asked @Ambjohnbolton to invite President Putin to Washington in the fall and those discussions are already underway.
— Kayleigh McEnany 45 Archived (@PressSec45) July 19, 2018
Putin was invited to the United States by national security adviser John Bolton.
It’s no surprise that Trump’s intelligence agencies were not the first to be told about the invitation. The President has a tumultuous relationship with the FBI, CIA, NSA, and other American agencies. The President has gone so far as to dismiss their claims that Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. election while simultaneously praising Putin for claiming he didn’t order the attack.
On Thursday morning, Trump hinted at a second meeting, proclaiming that his first summit with Putin was a “great success” while once again attacking the American free press.
At the time of his tweet, Trump made no mention of Putin visiting the United States.
Trump also suggested that he is slowly solving all of the world’s problems.
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James Kosur is the former Editor-In-Chief and co-founder of Hill Reporter. He recently served as an editor for Business Insider and various other publications. James and his partners sold Hill Reporter to a new owner in July 2019.