McConnell praises decision to postpone Trump-Putin meeting

McConnell praises decision to postpone Trump-Putin meeting

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTSA agents protest government shutdown at Pittsburgh airport The case for Russia sanctions Pompeo planning to meet with Pat Roberts amid 2020 Senate speculation MORE (R-Ky.) on Friday voiced support for the White House's decision to postpone a second meeting between President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump knocks BuzzFeed over Cohen report, points to Russia dossier DNC says it was targeted by Russian hackers after fall midterms BuzzFeed stands by Cohen report: Mueller should 'make clear what he's disputing' MORE and Russian President Vladimir Putin until next year.

"I think it was a good idea to put it off until next year," McConnell told Kentucky radio station WHAS on Friday.

Trump's top national security adviser John Bolton said in a statement Wednesday that the next one-on-one meeting between Trump and Putin will be held "after the first of the year." He said the meeting would come after the conclusion of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's Russia investigation, which he described as a "witch hunt."

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The White House sparked disbelief among congressional Republicans earlier this month after press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced that Trump had asked Bolton to invite Putin to visit the United States this fall.

The invitation came days after Trump created widespread backlash with his one-on-one meeting with Putin in Helsinki, at which he refused during a joint press conference with Putin to condemn Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

McConnell and Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanAEI names Robert Doar as new president GOP can't excommunicate King and ignore Trump playing to white supremacy and racism House vote fails to quell storm surrounding Steve King MORE (R-Wis.) both later made clear that despite an offer from the White House to visit Washington in the fall, Putin would not receive an invitation to Congress.

Asked on Friday about Putin and a separate meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, McConnell said that he doesn't "mind the visits."

"[But] I think it's important to remember, particularly with regard to the Russians, that they really aren't our friends. They invaded Crimea ... [and] messed around in our elections," he said.

The GOP leader added that there would be "serious consequences" if the Russians tried to intervene in the 2018 congressional elections.

"And for myself what I've said is we better not see the Russians' hand in the 2018 election because there are going to be serious consequences if there are," he said.

The Daily Beast reported on Thursday that Russian intelligence agents targeted Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Trump AG pick Barr grilled at hearing | Judge rules against census citizenship question | McConnell blocks second House bill to reopen government Ex-Sen. McCaskill joins NBC, MSNBC Some Senate Dems see Ocasio-Cortez as weak spokeswoman for party MORE (D-Mo.) with an attempted breach ahead of the November elections.