President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by phone on Tuesday, a senior White House official confirmed to the Washington Examiner, just one day after the White House told reporters that the two leaders had no plans to talk.
Putin won re-election on Sunday by an overwhelming margin in a contest some international observers described as being rigged in his favor.
The White House said Monday Trump was “not surprised” by the outcome, but stopped short of denouncing Russia’s electoral system.
Trump’s relationship with Putin has been under intense scrutiny since he took office amid allegations his campaign colluded with Russians to sway public opinion during the 2016 presidential race. While congressional and FBI investigators have yet to unveil evidence of collusion, Russia’s efforts to interfere in the U.S. election have prompted the Trump administration to issue sanctions against Moscow and keep a diplomatic distance from a leader Trump as a candidate promised to befriend.
The Kremlin characterized the call between Trump and Putin as a congratulatory gesture Trump extended to his Russian counterpart.
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