WASHINGTON — The White House said on Wednesday that President Trump wants to delay a planned follow-up meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia until after the investigation of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, is concluded — which it predicted would be next year.
“The President believes that the next bilateral meeting with President Putin should take place after the Russia witch hunt is over, so we’ve agreed that it will be after the first of the year, ” Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, John R. Bolton, said in a statement.
Last week, Mr. Trump unexpectedly said he would invite Mr. Putin to Washington in the fall — a move that some interpreted as a show of defiance by Mr. Trump after a storm of criticism over his meeting with Mr. Putin in Helsinki, Finland.
Mr. Trump directed Mr. Bolton to deliver the invitation. But the Kremlin had not yet publicly replied, raising questions about whether Mr. Putin was interested. Senior Russian officials had raised the option of Mr. Putin and Mr. Trump meeting at a gathering of world leaders like the Group of 20 rather than in a one-on-one summit meeting.