WASHINGTON, July 20 – US President Donald Trump has rejected a proposal made by the Russian leader Vladimir Putin that Russia be allowed to question US citizens.
The White House earlier said it would consider it but now says Mr Trump “disagrees” with the suggestion.
The offer was made at a summit of the two leaders. In return, Mr Putin suggested he might allow access to 12 Russians indicted by the US.
The idea of allowing a foreign power to quiz US citizens sparked outrage.
“It is a proposal that was made in sincerity by President Putin, but President Trump disagrees with it,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Thursday.
“Hopefully President Putin will have the 12 identified Russians come to the United States to prove their innocence or guilt,” she said.
She also tweeted that Mr Trump has asked his National Security Adviser John Bolton to invite Mr Putin to Washington later this year .
The idea appeared to take US Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats by surprise. He was being interviewed when he was told about the tweet.
In what President Trump called a “tremendous” gesture, Mr Putin said he would let US prosecutors interview the 12 Russians in exchange for Russian access to US nationals the Kremlin accuses of “illegal actions”.
The individuals are related to Russia’s case against the financier Bill Browder, a fierce Putin critic who was instrumental in the US imposing sanctions in 2012 on top Russian officials accused of corruption.
Mr Browder told the BBC he was glad President Trump “isn’t going to hand me over to President Putin”.
But he added: “I’m a little amazed that this whole conversation has taken place over a three-day period when Trump should have immediately rejected it, as any other head of state would have.”
Russia was also seeking to interview Michael McFaul, another Putin critic who was US ambassador to Moscow under President Obama.