Thursday, 20 September, 2018

WaPo: Trump ignored briefing materials that said not to congratulate Putin

U.S. President Donald Trump right meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 Summit in Hamburg Germany WaPo: Trump ignored briefing materials that said not to congratulate Putin
Judith Alexander | 21 March, 2018, 08:16

US President Donald Trump has congratulated his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, on his win in the presidential election in a telephone call on Tuesday, the Kremlin press service reported.

President Donald Trump says he wants to meet with Russia's Vladimir Putin in the "not too distant future" to discuss the "arms race" between Russian Federation and the U.S.

Trump's call with Putin came less than a week after the US issued financial sanctions against a St. Petersburg-based "troll farm" and Russian intelligence services that are alleged to have meddled in the 2016 election on the president's behalf.

The White House said Monday that it was "not surprised by the outcome" of Sunday's presidential election in Russian Federation and that no congratulatory call was planned.

The White House declined to say if the Trump administration believed the Russian election was free and fair.

Mixed in, according to the White House, was Trump's congratulations.

The revelation adds another layer to an emerging portrait in which Trump has repeatedly been reluctant to confront Putin amid an investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow to tilt the 2016 race in his favor.

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Moscow and Washington are at odds over Ukraine and Syria, while US allegations that Russian Federation interfered in the USA presidential election, something Moscow denies, continue to cast a shadow over ties.

"We are spending $700 billion on our military, and a lot of it is that we are going to remain stronger than any other nation in the world by far", Trump said.

"The two leaders spoke out in favor of developing practical cooperation in various areas, including in ensuring strategic stability and combating worldwide terrorism". "The call had to do also with the fact that we will probably get together in the not too distant future so we can discuss arms, we can discuss the arms race". According to the latest update of the Russian Central Election Commission, incumbent President Vladimir Putin is scoring 76.6% of the vote.

But the two leaders did not discuss Russia's interference in the 2016 United States election or the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, the former double agent targeted with a nerve agent in the UK.

"A special attention was given to considering the issue of a possible bilateral summit, " the Kremlin statement said.

Talk of an "arms race" has increased since Putin held a blood-pumping State of the Union this month, where he showed off Russia's newest nuclear weapons, blaming the USA for leaving the anti-ballistic missile treaty, and telling his audience: "They didn't listen to us then". Russian Federation has denied the allegations. And also to discuss Ukraine, and Syria and North Korea, and various other things. Relations between the two countries instead have remained tense amid the allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 USA presidential election and the investigations of whether there was collusion between Trump's campaign and Russia.

Meanwhile, critics laid into Trump earlier this month for his lukewarm response to the nerve-agent attack on former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, both of whom are now on life support.

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