U.S. President Donald Trump will postpone a second meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin until next year after the federal probe into Russian election meddling is over, national security adviser John Bolton said on Wednesday.
“The president believes that the next bilateral meeting with President Putin should take place after the Russia witch hunt is over, so we’ve agreed that it will be after the first of the year,” Bolton said in a statement.
Trump weathered fierce criticism after his summit last week with Putin in Helsinki after he appeared to give credence to the Russian leader’s assertion that Moscow did not interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Moscow interfered to sway the vote toward Trump, and a special counsel is investigating whether Trump’s campaign worked with the Russians.
Trump rejected the criticism and said he misspoke, then issued an invitation to Putin to visit Washington in the autumn.
Trump has repeatedly called the probe into meddling in the 2016 election a “witch hunt,” a claim that he repeated in a tweet the same day that he met with Putin in Helsinki.