Trump praises Putin's 'incredible' offer for special counsel investigators to 'come and work' with Russia on probe

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin floated an offer for members of special counsel Robert Mueller's team to "come and work" with Russian investigators, President Donald Trump said during a joint press conference Monday.
  • During the press conference, Putin said Russia would allow the special counsel to "send an official request" to the Kremlin to question the 12 Russian intelligence officers charged with crimes related to election meddling just three days earlier by Mueller.
  • Trump said Putin "offered to have the people working on the case come and work with their investigators with respect to the 12 people. I think that’s an incredible offer."

Russian President Vladimir Putin floated an offer for members of special counsel Robert Mueller's team to "come and work" with Russian investigators, President Donald Trump said during a joint press conference Monday.

Trump called it "an incredible offer."

Putin floated the offer to Trump during a closed-door, one-on-one meeting amid a summit between the two leaders being hosted in Helsinki, Finland.

In the joint presser that followed that meeting, Putin said that his country would allow the special counsel to "send an official request" to the Kremlin to question the 12 Russian intelligence officers charged with crimes related to election meddling just three days earlier by Mueller.

According to a translation of Putin's remarks, the Russian leader specified that "we would interrogate" and "hold the questioning of these individuals who he believes are privy to some crimes" if Mueller made such a request.

Trump took that offer a step further while responding to the question of whether he believes his own intelligence agencies, who say Russia meddled in the election, or Putin, who says Russia did not.

"President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today," Trump said, adding that Putin "offered to have the people working on the case come and work with their investigators with respect to the 12 people. I think that’s an incredible offer."

President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin hold a joint news conference after their meeting in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018. 
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin hold a joint news conference after their meeting in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018. 

The White House did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment. The special counsel declined to comment on Putin's offer.

In that response, Trump refused to side with his own administration's intelligence community, which unanimously agrees that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. He instead blamed "both countries" for the strained relationship and questioned the whereabouts of the Democratic National Committee server hacked by the Russians.

"I really do want to see the server," Trump said after contending that "I don’t see any reason why it would be" Russia who hacked the opposition party.

When Putin explained his offer during the press conference, he also accused U.S. officials of committing crimes against Russia and said his government would want to question them in return.

He specifically cited Bill Browder, a former high-level investor in Russia who has become one of Putin's most oft-cited enemies for his role in lobbying for the U.S. sanctions bill known as the Magnitsky Act.

That bill, which imposed punitive sanctions against Russia, was named after Browder's lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, who died in police custody in Russia.

During the press conference on Monday, Putin said Browder's associates sent $400 million in campaign contributions to Hillary Clinton's campaign during the 2016 election.

In a CNBC interview shortly after the press conference, Browder said that the claim was not true, and added that he has not been a U.S. citizen for years.

WATCH: Kremlin critic Bill Browder on Putin accusation