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Trump congratulated Putin after his national security team told him not to
22 March 2018, 01:32 | Tara Lloyd
Banner promoting the vote for the Russian presidential elections 2018
President Donald Trumpcongratulated Russian President Vladimir Putin on his re-election during a phone call on Tuesday and the two leaders agreed to hold talks soon.
Mr Trump didn't bring up the sanctions or Russia's election interference in the call, nor did he raise a nerve gas attack on a former Russia spy in Salisbury, England, that the United Kingdom has blamed on the Russian government, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.
Mr Mueller is investigating claims of Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election that saw Mr Trump elected to the White House.
U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., expressed disdain over Trump's call with Putin.
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However, he said, Canada would be alert to that and work with industry partners and the Americans to make sure that didn't happen. U.S. tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum would be "very harmful" for industry and workers in both countries, he added .
John McCain, a noted Russian Federation hawk, who said "an American president does not lead the free world by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections".
During a press briefing on Tuesday, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to a question asking if the White House believed the election was "free and fair".
"We'll probably be meeting in the not-too-distant future", Trump said of Putin, though Sanders emphasized that nothing was planned. Mixed in, according to the White House, was Trump's congratulations.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was among the first Western leaders to "warmly congratulate" Mr Putin on Monday - a day after his re-election - stressing the need to continue dialogue "to address important bilateral and global challenges and find viable solutions".
Tensions between the Moscow and the West continues to mount amid worldwide concern over a nerve gas attack on a former Russian double agent living in England and questions about meddling in elections and attempting to hack infrastructure in the U.S.
Moscow and Washington are also at odds over crises in Ukraine and Syria, which Trump said would be discussed in a meeting along with the denuclearization of North Korea. On the heels of Putin publicly bragging about Russian Federation having new nuclear weapons that could overcome USA missile defenses, it's not hard to see how Trump's line of thinking could lead directly to an arms race.
It was not clear whether Trump read the notes, administration officials said. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov was quoted as saying on Tuesday he hoped Putin's win would lead to a thaw in the US-Russia relationship.
The Kremlin spokesman says it's no big deal that U.S. President Donald Trump didn't congratulate Vladimir Putin on his re-election as president.
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