- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 19, 2018

The White House rejected Thursday a proposal by Russian President Vladimir Putin to allow Moscow to interrogate Americans, including former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul.

“It is a proposal that was made in sincerity by President Putin, but President Trump disagrees with it,” said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Mr. Putin made the proposal Monday in a private meeting with Mr. Trump in Finland, offering to reciprocate by allowing special counsel Robert Mueller to attend interrogations of 12 Russian military officers indicted by the U.S. for meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

During a news conference with Mr. Putin, Mr. Trump called it “an incredible offer.”

Said Mrs. Sanders on Thursday, “Hopefully President Putin will have the 12 identified Russians come to the United States to prove their innocence or guilt.”

On Wednesday, Mrs. Sanders told reporters that Mr. Trump would be discussing Mr. Putin’s offer with his advisers. The apparent willingness to consider the proposal raised heated objections in Congress and in the diplomatic community, with some Democratic lawmakers introducing legislation to block such a move.

Mr. McFaul, the former ambassador to Moscow, has been highly critical of Mr. Putin’s autocratic rule. Mr. Putin also expressed a desire to interrogate William Browder, a London-based human rights advocate and harsh Kremlin critic who has given up his U.S. citizenship.

A State Department spokeswoman on Wednesday dismissed Mr. Putin’s proposal.

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