Administration

Trump congratulates Putin for ‘truly great’ World Cup tournament

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President Trump on Sunday congratulated France for winning the 2018 World Cup and praised Russian President Vladimir Putin for putting on a “truly great” tournament.

“Congratulations to France, who played extraordinary soccer, on winning the 2018 World Cup. Additionally, congratulations to President Putin and Russia for putting on a truly great World Cup Tournament — one of the best ever!” Trump tweeted.

France defeated Croatia 4-2 in Sunday’s World Cup final. It is France’s second time winning the tournament.{mosads}

The match was briefly interrupted during the second half by protesters who ran out onto the field. The Associated Press reported that punk band Pussy Riot, which has spoken out against Putin, took credit for the protests.

Trump offered his congratulations to both France and the host country, Russia, while he was en route to Helsinki for a meeting with Putin.

The president has drawn criticism from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle for his reluctance to speak out against Putin and Russia, particularly for attempting to meddle in the 2016 U.S. election, and for his generally friendly air toward the country and its leader.

On Friday, special counsel Robert Mueller handed down indictments against 12 Russian intelligence officers, alleging they interfered in the 2016 election. Mueller charged 11 of the officers with conspiring to hack into the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee networks.

The other officer was charged with conspiring to hack into election systems, including a state elections board website.

Trump has not condemned Putin following the indictments, instead blaming the Obama administration and the DNC for allowing the hacks to take place.

The president has said he has “low expectations” for his one-on-one with Putin.

“I don’t expect anything. I frankly don’t expect — I go in with very low expectations,” Trump told CBS. “I think that getting along with Russia is a good thing. But it’s possible we won’t.”

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