USA

Donald Trump is ‘open to visiting Moscow’

President Donald Trump is "open to visiting Moscow" once he receives a formal invite from Vladimir Putin, the White House says.

It comes after the Russian president said he issued an invitation to Mr Trump for a face-to-face meeting in Moscow.

"President Trump looks forward to having President Putin to Washington after the first of the year, and he is open to visiting Moscow upon receiving a formal invitation," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, referring to the beginning of 2019.

Mr Putin was speaking during a trip to Johannesburg when he revealed that he had made the offer, but added that the conditions for his US counterpart to visit "need to be right".

He also said he was "ready to go to Washington" in light of an invitation from Mr Trump.

Image: Mr Putin was speaking from a summit in South Africa

Mr Putin was in the South African city for a meeting of the BRICS nations.

BRICS is made up of five of the major developing global economies – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

During the conference, he suggested that sanctions against his country have turned currency "into a weapon" – and pointed out that the Chinese yuan was growing in influence.

His comments come amid an ongoing political storm in the US, with the president denying reports that he knew in advance about a meeting between his son and a Russian lawyer.

Trump Jr waded into the Twitter spat
Image: Donald Trump Jr is at the centre of the latest storm surrounding the White House

Natalia Veselnitskaya has denied acting on behalf of the Russian government.

The meeting was set up ahead of the US presidential election, allegedly to glean compromising information on the opposing Clinton campaign.

Mr Trump described the reports as "ridiculous" in a series of tweets, in which he again denied that there had been any collusion between his campaign and Russia.

In the final entry of a three-tweet series, the president said: I did NOT know of the meeting with my son, Don jr.

"Sounds to me like someone is trying to make up stories in order to get himself out of an unrelated jam (Taxi cabs maybe?). He even retained Bill and Crooked Hillary's lawyer.

"Gee, I wonder if they helped him make the choice!"

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about the economy while delivering remarks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., July 27, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Image: President Trump speaks about the economy on the South Lawn of the White House

His outburst came ahead of giving a statement at the White House on the US economy, which has surged to its fastest growth rate since 2014.

In the April to June quarter, it went up by 4.1% – and Mr Trump said he expected it to climb further.

"We are the economic envy of the entire world," the president said.

"America is being respected again and America is winning again because we are finally putting America first.

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"We have added 3.7 million new jobs since the election and the American unemployment rate has reached the lowest level in recorded history."

Mr Trump has been keen to highlight economic growth ahead of the 2018 mid-term elections.

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