President Donald Trump's top national security aides sought to fend off accusations the president is too soft on Russia by declaring Wednesday that the US will never recognize the annexation of Crimea and by postponing a second proposed summit between Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
Trump's proposed Washington meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin has been delayed until 2019.
As members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee peppered Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with demands for details about last week's summit in Finland, the White House said President Donald Trump had opted against trying to arrange another meeting with Putin this fall.
Bolton suggested the decision not to meet sooner was due to special counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 USA presidential election.
"S$3 o we've agreed that it will be after the first of the year", Bolton's statement said.
The White House last week announced Trump had invited Putin to Washington for a meeting in the fall, a move that was criticized by both Republicans and Democrats.
The remarks and Trump's overall performance - both at the Helsinki meeting with Putin and during the two-day North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels the previous week - stunned diplomatic, security and intelligence experts in the us and around the world.
It wasn't immediately clear whether Trump's warning reflected an intelligence briefing he has received about actual Russian activity or whether he was simply "trolling people", as House Speaker Paul Ryan put it on Tuesday.
Mr Trump undermined the findings of U.S. intelligence agencies on Russian meddling in his press conference with Mr Putin but has been trying to walk back on these assertions since then. On Tuesday, Russian presidential aide Yury Ushakov told reporters that Trump and Putin may just meet on the sidelines of the G20 in Argentina in November.
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Despite the furore, Trump said he was looking forward to hosting Putin in Washington and the White House said such a meeting may come this autumn.
After Trump returned from the Helsinki meeting, the White House said discussions were "underway" to host Putin in the nation's capital.
The U.S. Secret Service says the ball went through a security screening just like all gives the president receives. Many on both sides of the aisle have criticized the USA president for his remarks during the press conference that followed their private meeting.
But the next day, Trump replied "no" when asked if he believes Russian Federation is still targeting the USA - with the White House press secretary later claiming he was not responding to that question.
Two-thirds of Americans - 69 percent - also think Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 US presidential election.
In his testimony, Pompeo faced often-contentious questioning from senators demanding information about what Trump discussed with Putin while they were alone for almost two hours with only translators present.
Other signs had already emerged raising doubts about the second Trump-Putin summit.
Since Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from investigating the Trump campaign on ethical grounds, it was Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein who appointed Mueller.
In the press conference and interviews afterward, Trump did not offer any specific details on any agreements he might have made with Putin, drawing scorn from Democrats, who sought to interview his interpreter.