After criticism, Trump delays second Putin meeting to next year

Mike Pompeo ceremonially sworn in as Secretary of State

Mike Pompeo ceremonially sworn in as Secretary of State

Trump and his administration have derided Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation as a "witch hunt".

The shift marks a stunning turnaround for the president, who had faced intense blowback from Republican lawmakers after his cozy summit with Putin in Helsinki, Finland last week. The White House denied any nefarious motivations, even as some critics suggested that they were slow to correct the transcript because it contained a key admission from Putin that Trump has long denied: that Russian Federation preferred him over his Democratic opponent in the 2016 election.

Pompeo said he would not disclose the details of their private meeting, but said US policy toward Russian Federation has not changed as a result of the meeting and "no commitment" was made to ease USA sanctions.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Democrat of New Hampshire, asked whether Trump talked to Putin about removing U.S. troops from Syria.

Trump said he would give the red-and-white ball to his 12-year-old son, Barron, a soccer fan.

Meanwhile, the White House too has said that all security measures were looked into when it came to accepting the ball and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told Bloomberg: "The security screening process that is done for all gifts was done for the soccer ball".

President Donald Trump's proposed Washington meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin has been delayed until 2019.

A majority of voters (73 per cent) considered Russian Federation to have succeeded in Helsinki while only 27 per cent said U.S. did.

In the meantime, Pompeo issued a statement titled the "Crimea Declaration" in which he said the USA will continue to insist that Ukraine's territorial integrity be restored.

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The ambassador, Anatoly Antonov, spoke after a media report said Putin had called for a referendum to be held with the help of the worldwide community in Ukraine's breakaway regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, which Russia-backed separatists control.

"Presidents are entitled to have private meetings", he said.

The "Crimea Declaration", as some media have dubbed Pompeo's statement, followed ambiguous comments about the fate of the peninsula attributed to U.S. President Donald Trump after his meeting with President Vladimir Putin last week.

In his opening remarks, Corker declared that senators have "serious doubts" about how the administration carries out foreign policy and suggested the White House "is making it up as they go".

Pompeo testily assured senators that Trump had relayed the contents of the meeting afterward.

"I notice that you are not responding to what I am saying", Corker said.

The U.S. Congress tends to tread lightly with Central Intelligence Agency directors, and Mike Pompeo was no exception.

Pompeo, whom Democrats accused of playing politics with the investigation into the 2012 attack on US facilities in Benghazi, Libya, accused Menendez of pursuing a "political soliloquy" but then declined the opportunity to respond.

"It's the North Korean press, and so I assume that most reasonable people will discount it fairly significantly, the same way that one might the Russian press", Pompeo said.

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