Space was intended for portrait of Trump but officials have not received any donations towards cost of painting him

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An unidentified prankster struck the Colorado state capitol this week, placing a portrait of Vladimir Putin in a space intended for a picture of Donald Trump.

Putins portrait was placed on an easel underneath a wall of portraits of Trumps presidential predecessors, up to Barack Obama. State senator Steve Fenberg, a Boulder Democrat, tweeted a picture of the impostor before it was removed by an alert tour guide.

Colorado Citizens for Culture Steve Fenberg (@SteveFenberg)

As seen in the Colorado State Capitol Hall of Presidential Portraits today…#putinpotus pic.twitter.com/cW2cmqtmWM

July 26, 2018

According to Colorado Citizens for Culture, the group that pays for the presidential portraits, the pictures cost about $10,000 and are paid for through donations. Local TV stations reported the group had not received a single dollar towards the cost of painting and hanging Trumps picture.

The president of the group, Jay Seller, told local TV it had taken about four months to collect the money for the portraits of Obama and George W Bush.

Trump has been in office for 18 months. He took the White House in 2016, in a contest intelligence agencies say was subject to Russian interference directed by Putin and meant to help him win.

Last week, Trump and Putin staged a private meeting and joint press conference in Helsinki. The American president was subject to withering criticism at home, over his refusal to make public what was discussed behind closed doors and after he took the Russian leaders side in answer to questions about election interference.

Back in Washington the day after the summit, Trump said he accepted the conclusions of US intelligence agencies, though he added: It could be other people also. Theres a lot of people out there.

He has since taken a number of contradictory positions, while inviting Putin to the White House. On Friday, Putin said he had invited Trump to Moscow.

In Helsinki, Putin was asked two questions by an American reporter: President Putin, did you want President Trump to win the election? and And did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?

According to the instantaneous English translation, Putin replied: Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the USRussia relationship back to normal.

The exchange was initially missing from the White House transcript of the meeting. This week, it was restored and its meaning fiercely contested.

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