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White House rejects Putin proposal to interview U.S. citizens

Russia's President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with Russian ambassadors and representatives to international organisations in Moscow, Russia, July 19, 2018. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump has rejected a proposal by Russian President Vladimir Putin that Russian investigators be allowed to question U.S. citizens, including former ambassador to Moscow Michael McFaul, the White House said on Thursday.

“It is a proposal made in sincerity by President Putin, but President Trump disagrees with it,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement. “Hopefully, President Putin will have the 12 identified Russians come to the United States to prove their innocence or guilt.”

Putin said after a summit with Trump in Helsinki on Monday that he might be willing to let U.S. Justice Department investigators question 12 Russians charged with interfering with the 2016 U.S. election if the United States agreed to let Russian investigators question several U.S. citizens.

Reporting by Steve Holland; Writing by David Alexander