Trump, Putin speak for second consecutive day
President Trump on Friday spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the second time in as many days, discussing oil production and the coronavirus pandemic.
The White House said in a 43-word readout of the conversation that Trump and Putin talked about combating the virus, maintaining stability in energy markets and other “bilateral and global issues.”
The two leaders spoke by phone on Thursday as well as part of a conversation with King Salman of Saudi Arabia. A trade war between Moscow and Riyadh has led to an oversupply in the oil market as the coronavirus brings the global economy to a standstill, crushing demand for petroleum.
The two sides reportedly agreed to cut oil production to stabilize the crashing markets.
Trump told reporters on Thursday night that Russia and Saudi Arabia were “getting close to a deal.”
“I think it was a very good call. We’re going to see what happens, but it was a very good call,” he said. “They’ll probably announce something either today or tomorrow, one way or the other. Could be good. Could be not so good.”
Oil was trading at roughly $23 a barrel as of Friday morning, down from a February high of $53 per barrel.
Trump and Putin have been in regular contact as the coronavirus pandemic has killed thousands of people worldwide and crippled markets worldwide. The two men also spoke on March 30.
Trump has had a complicated relationship with Russia. He has imposed sanctions on Moscow but has also drawn criticism for repeatedly praising Putin, pressing for a better relationship with Russia and casting doubt on the U.S. intelligence community’s finding that the country interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
Former special counsel Robert Mueller said in a report released last year that he could not establish a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia in 2016.
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