White House: Trump 'open' to visiting Moscow

White House: Trump 'open' to visiting Moscow
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The White House on Friday said President TrumpDonald John TrumpTed Cruz knocks New York Times for 'stunning' correction on Kavanaugh report US service member killed in Afghanistan Pro-Trump website edited British reality star's picture to show him wearing Trump hat MORE is "open" to visiting Moscow, but only if he receives an official invitation from Russian President Vladimir Putin.  

"He is open to visiting Moscow upon receiving a formal invitation," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. 

Sanders added that "Trump looks forward to having President Putin to Washington after the first of the year."

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The statement came after Putin claimed he has invited Trump to the Russian capital for a second one-on-one meeting. 

Putin also said he is "ready to come to Washington" to visit with Trump if the conditions are right.

Trump initially invited Putin to Washington, D.C., in the fall to follow up on their summit in Helsinki, Finland, which was widely criticized for the U.S. president's refusal to publicly confront the Russian leader over election interference.

But the White House backed away from that plan earlier this week after the Kremlin did not immediately accept its invitation to Putin.

National security adviser John Bolton said Trump believes his next meeting with Putin should occur next year and after the special counsel probe into Russia's election interference is over.

In his statement, Bolton referred to the probe as "the Russia witch hunt."

-Updated 11:15 a.m.