President Trump on Wednesday backed away from his plan to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in the fall, citing the special counsel investigation into Moscow's interference in the 2016 election.
National security adviser John Bolton said in a statement the next one-on-one meeting between Trump and Putin will be "after the first of the year" and following the conclusion of the Russia probe, which he described as a "witch hunt."
"The president believes that the next bilateral meeting with President Putin should take place after the Russia witch hunt is over, so we’ve agreed that it will be after the first of the year," Bolton said.
Special counsel Robert Mueller has not indicated he plans to wrap up the investigation by the end of the year. His team has indicted or secured guilty pleas from 32 individuals thus far.
The change of plans comes days after the Kremlin showed reluctance to stage another meeting between Putin and Trump in the fall, an invitation the White House extended on Thursday.