But over the last several days, senior officials in the White House, including National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, have recommended to Trump that he not formally extend that invitation in the wake of the recent reports about the Russian bounties. (That’s according to two U.S. officials and a third source familiar with the matter.) While President Trump has not made a final decision on whether to officially invite Russia to the G7, officials say the administration is also considering inviting India and Australia to the meeting.
When government officials have briefed the president in the past week on the bounty intel and the G7, as well as the way forward on messaging and possible policy moves, they have encountered a familiar problem: holding Trump’s attention. In at least two instances in recent days when officials or aides have discussed the option of rescinding his offer to Putin, Trump responded by not committing one way or the other. According to two sources familiar with the matter, he instead quickly pivoted to bashing the media, particularly The New York Times, which broke the news of the bounties.