At a forum Thursday, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats registered his shock when he was told the breaking news from the White House about Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Here's how he reacted
Coats was being interviewed by NBC's Andrea Mitchell when she asked him if he knew that President Donald Trump had invited Putin to the White House.
"We have some breaking news," Mitchell said, "the White House has announced on Twitter that Vladimir Putin is coming to the White House in the Fall."
"Say that again?" Coats said to laughter from the audience.
"You," Mitchell added, "Vladimir Putin coming to the..."
"OK!" he said, laughing. "That's gonna be special!"
Trump had tweeted earlier Thursday about the meeting.
"The Summit with Russia was a great success, except with the real enemy of the people, the Fake News Media. I look forward to our second meeting so that we can start implementing some of the many things discussed, including stopping terrorism," the president said.
The Summit with Russia was a great success, except with the real enemy of the people, the Fake News Media. I look f… https://t.co/Au7K2BZjiZ— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1532006698.0
The news was confirmed through White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders' social media account.
"In Helsinki," Sanders tweeted, "@POTUS agreed to ongoing working level dialogue between the two security council staffs."
In Helsinki, @POTUS agreed to ongoing working level dialogue between the two security council staffs. President Tru… https://t.co/PCfmxFofiv— Kayleigh McEnany (@Kayleigh McEnany) 1532029865.0
"President Trump asked [national security advisor John Bolton] to invite President Putin to Washington in the fall and those discussions are already underway," she added.
An uneasy relationship
The interaction outlines the sensitive relationship between the intelligence community and the president, who has vacillated between attacking their conclusions in various reports, to offering complete and total support for the field agents.
Most recently Coats was asked to respond to Trump's comments at the summit with Putin in Helsinki where he appeared to deny the conclusion from the intelligence community that Russia meddled in the U.S. election. Later the president said that he had misspoke and that he believed the assessment from the intelligence community.
In yet another confusing episode Wednesday, the president appeared to deny that Russia was still targeting the U.S. with cyber intrusions, something Coats had affirmed. The White House said that statement was a mistake as well.
Watch the response from DNI Dan Coates below: