Administration

Trump, Putin to talk Saturday

Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin
Getty Images/Russia Today

President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are set to speak by telephone on Saturday, the White House has confirmed.

It will be the first time the two leaders talk since Trump took office on Jan. 20.

Trump will also be speaking with the leaders of France and Germany in separate calls, according to White House press secretary Sean Spicer.

 

{mosads}Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway during an interview Friday morning refused to answer when asked whether the White House or Russia had initiated the call.

“I won’t divulge that. But it also doesn’t matter, in that we have to have leaders talking to each other,” Conway said on “CBS This Morning.”

Russia, which also announced the conversation, did not make clear what the presidents would be discussing.

Trump has expressed a willingness to ease tensions with Moscow, to the dismay of many foreign policy hawks. He has also stirred criticism for expressing admiration for Putin, at one point calling him a better leader than former President Barack Obama.

Moscow and Putin have congratulated Trump on his election and also expressed desire to improve relations.

Trump has also repeatedly questioned U.S. intelligence community reports that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election in his favor, frustrating intelligence experts. 

The conversation between Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday is expected to cover Russia.

The president’s relationship with Merkel, who leads a top U.S. ally, has been precarious ever since his election. He regularly criticized Merkel on the trail for her policy of accepting Syrian refugees.

It’s not the first time Trump will address any of these world leaders. He spoke with all three in the weeks after his Election Day victory. 

Ben Kamisar contributed.

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