Details are still emerging from the joint press conference held between President Trump and Vladimir Putin on Monday from Helsinki, Finland.
One such detail is that the White House seems to be taking a serious look at one of Putin’s suggestions from the joint presser.
During the media Q&A the press brought up the U.S. indictments of the twelve GRU military officers who are suspected of among other things, hacking the DNC and one states state board of elections system obtaining access to an estimate 500,000 voters personal information.
(USA Today transcript of the presser)
The question in part: Will you consider extraditing the 12 Russian officials that were indicted last week by a U.S. grand jury?
Putin answered that Russia could question the twelve with representatives of the U.S. including members from special counsel Robert Mueller’s team present during the questioning, but he added there was a condition to his offer, in exchange Putin said he was interested in questioning several intelligence officials in regard to the Russian criminal case against Bill Browder.
Shortly after President Trump said of the offer, “So I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today. And what he did is an incredible offer; he offered to have the people working on the case come and work with their investigators with respect to the 12 people. I think that’s an incredible offer.”
Asked about the offer Wednesday during the first press briefing in sixteen days Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, via whitehouse.gov that “The President is going to meet with his team, and we’ll let you know when we have an announcement on that.” she adds that while the two leaders did discuss the idea behind closed doors that “there wasn’t a commitment made on behalf of the United States,” she continued, “And the President will work with his team, and we’ll let you know if there’s an announcement on that front.”
She is asked again about the offer and President Trump’s comments that called it “an incredible offer,” she replies, “He said it was an interesting idea. He didn’t commit to anything. He wants to work with his team and determine if there’s any validity that would be helpful to the process. But again, we’ve committed to nothing. And it was an idea that they threw out.”
The State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert called the idea “absurd,” during the State Department’s daily briefing, when asked about Russian media reports that state some names of officials including the former ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, that Russia would like to question, adding, “the fact that they want to question 11 American citizens and the assertions that the Russian Government is making about those American citizens. We do not stand by those assertions that the Russian Government makes.”
Bill Browder issued several tweets on the subject, also writing a piece that appeared in Time where he explains the accusations against him, and reminds us, that he is in fact not an American citizen, he was born in the U.S. however, twenty-nine years ago he immigrated to the UK where he is now a British citizen, he writes, “If he really wants me, he better go talk to Theresa May, who might have a few choice words for him after Russian agents spread the military-grade nerve agent Novichok across the cathedral town of Salisbury, England.”