President Trump today

By Brian Ries, Meg Wagner and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 8:27 p.m. ET, July 19, 2018
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1:34 p.m. ET, July 19, 2018

This Republican senator blocked a bipartisan effort to rebuke Trump on Russia

From CNN’s Ted Barrett and Kristin Wilson

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images

A top Senate Republican leader blocked passage Thursday of a non-binding bipartisan resolution related to Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

Sen. John Cornyn, the second-ranking Republican, complained the resolution — which was written by GOP Jeff Flake and Democratic Sen. Chris Coons — was "purely a symbolic act." He said he wanted Senate committees to dig into the issues involved before deciding next steps. He said those steps could include new sanctions against Russia to punish that country for its meddling in US elections.

What was in the proposal: Their proposal rejects Putin's denial of election interference, calls for the immediate enactment of sanctions passed by Congress last year, and asks Senate committees to hold hearings into what exactly happened in the private meeting between Putin and Trump, including obtaining relevant notes and other information.

But this isn't the only Russia-related resolution the Senate is considering today.

Senators are set to vote soon on another resolution written by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. That one rejects a proposal from Russia's Vladimir Putin that might allow the Russian government interview American officials, including former US ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul.  

3:29 p.m. ET, July 19, 2018

Top US general: "No specific direction" received after Trump-Putin summit

From CNN's Ryan Browne

Win McNamee/Getty Images
Win McNamee/Getty Images

The top US general in the Middle East told reporters that he has received "no specific direction" in the wake of Monday's meeting between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, despite Russia's claims that agreements had been reached with regard to military cooperation.

No direction given: "We have received no specific direction at this point," Gen. Joseph Votel, the head of US Central Command, which oversees US troops in the region, told reporters at the Pentagon via a video teleconference.

Votel said he was "not privy" to any talks between the US, Russia and Israel that would seek to draw down US forces in Syria in exchange for Russian guarantees to keep Iranian forces and Iranian backed-groups away from the Israel-Syria border region.

"I'm not privy to any kind of grand bargain discussion or anything like that," Votel said.

Law prohibits collaboration: He also noted that the US military is prohibited by law from coordinating, synchronizing, or collaborating with Russian forces.  

After the 2014 Russian military incursion in Ukraine and its seizure of Crimea, Congress prohibited "any bilateral military-to-military cooperation" with Russia in its passage of the National Defense Authorization Act.

Votel said any cooperation "would have to be created by Congress or a waiver that they would approve to allow us to do something like that. I have not asked for that at this point and we'll see what direction comes down."

1:10 p.m. ET, July 19, 2018

Read Chuck Schumer's Senate resolution opposing Putin's proposal to Trump

The Senate will soon vote on a resolution related to Russian President Vladimir’s Putin’s proposal to Trump offering assistance in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation in exchange for allowing Russia to question US officials.

Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer called it a "fine resolution."

"No president can put one of our fine servants who have worked hard for the diplomatic core at risk," he said.

The Senate is expected to vote around 1:45 p.m. ET.

Here's the text of the resolution:

12:38 p.m. ET, July 19, 2018

What you need to know about Putin's proposal to Trump to interrogate Americans

The White House said on Wednesday it is entertaining a proposal raised by Russian President Vladimir Putin to interrogate Americans in exchange for assistance in the ongoing US investigation into election interference, putting the White House at odds with the State Department, which called the idea "absurd."

Putin raised the idea in his summit talks with President Trump on Monday, according to White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.

Note: Sanders indicated on Wednesday no final decision had been made but that the proposal was under consideration.

Here's exactly what Putin has proposed:

  • Putin suggested special counsel Robert Mueller's investigators could come to Russia.
  • There, they'd be allowed to question the two dozen Russians that have been charged with interfering in the 2016 presidential election.
  • In return, Putin said he would expect the US to allow Russian investigators to question what he called fugitives on American soil.
  •  The Americans wanted for questioning by Moscow include Michael McFaul, the former US ambassador to Russia, and American-born financier Bill Browder, who successfully lobbied the US government to impose new sanctions on Moscow.
  • Trump called the notion an "interesting idea" during his press conference with Putin in Helsinki.

The idea hasn't gone over well in DC

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright slammed the White House for considering the Russian proposal — especially the possible interrogation of McFaul.

Rep. Eric Swalwell said that if Trump agreed to turn over the former ambassador to Russia for questioning, it could be grounds for impeachment.

And Hillary Clinton tweeted this:

Republicans voiced their displeasure, too. GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham called the proposal “absurd” and “naive” and said everyone in Congress opposes this idea. GOP Sen. John Cornyn also pushed back and said interviewing witnesses was not going to happen.

At 1:45 p.m. ET today the Senate will vote on a resolution related to Putin’s proposal. Speaking on the Senate floor, Sen. Chuck Schumer said, "No president can put one of our fine servants who have worked hard for the diplomatic core at risk," and predicted the resolution would "pass unanimously."

11:57 a.m. ET, July 19, 2018

Former secretary of state: "I am definitely worried"

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said President Trump has "managed to confuse everybody" with his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin

"Everybody wonders what is going on in the United States. He has managed to confuse everybody," she said. "He's confused about what he's confused about, because there's absolutely no logic to what he's been saying."

She said she's concerned that no one other than Trump and his interpreter was in the meeting with Putin — and the White House has given no specifics about what was said during them.

"We have no idea what he said. And so, am I worried? I am definitely worried," Albright said.

Watch more:

11:50 a.m. ET, July 19, 2018

Top Democrat on House Intel wants Trump's interpreter to testify

Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, is calling for Trump's interpreter who attended his one-on-one meeting with Russia's Vladimir Putin to testify about what she heard.

"I think given the President's performance in the last week — let alone the last year and a half — it would be naive not to have that concern. I think these are the kind of extraordinary circumstances where we ought to subpoena the interpreter, we ought to bring the interpreter in. behind closed doors, and find out did the President make concessions to Putin, did the President share classified information with Putin?"

He joins several other Democrats who have called for Trump's interpreter to testify before Congress, including Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Rep. Joe Kennedy.

However, Lindsey Graham says the interpreter should "absolutely not" testify, saying such a move would mark the "last time" a President and a foreign leader would ever meet privately.

Watch more from Schiff:

11:45 a.m. ET, July 19, 2018

Former intel chief: I really do wonder whether the Russians have something on Trump

From CNN's Veronica Stracqualursi

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who has been frequently critical of Trump's behavior toward Russia including the President’s press conference Monday with Putin in Helsinki, Finland, told CNN on Thursday that the President's behavior was "unbelievable" and openly wondered whether the Russians had something on Trump.

"I've been trying my best to give the President the benefit of the doubt and always expressed potential other theories as to why he behaves as he does with respect to Russia generally and Putin specifically," Clapper told New Day.

"But more and more I come to a conclusion after the Helsinki performance and since, that I really do wonder if the Russians have something on him."


11:33 a.m. ET, July 19, 2018

Trump says he'll have another meeting with Putin

President Donald Trump said Thursday he is "looking forward" to meeting again with Russian President Vladimir Putin to "begin implementing" issues they discussed during their summit earlier this week.

Trump, who touched off a major political controversy with his embrace of Putin in Helsinki, Finland, accused the news media -- which he again dubbed the "enemy of the people" -- of distorting the summit and pining for a confrontation between the US and Russia.

In a series of tweets Thursday morning, Trump argued his summit with Putin "was a great success."

"The Summit with Russia was a great success, except with the real enemy of the people, the Fake News Media," Trump said. "I look forward to our second meeting so that we can start implementing some of the many things discussed, including stopping terrorism, security for Israel, nuclear proliferation, cyber attacks, trade, Ukraine, Middle East peace, North Korea and more."

Read more.