Trump, Putin talk for 30 minutes

Trump, Putin talk for 30 minutes

January 29, 2017
Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin
Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin

WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump has spoken by telephone with Russian President Vladimir Putin -- their first call since Trump's inauguration on January 20.

The planned call on Saturday came amid reports in Washington that Trump was considering the lifting of sanctions imposed on Russia by his predecessor, Barack Obama, over its interference in Ukraine and alleged meddling in the U.S. presidential election.

But there was no immediate word from the White House or the Kremlin about the topics that were discussed by Trump and Putin.

Initial reports suggest their phone call lasted about 30 minutes.

A photo released on Twitter by White House press secretary Sean Spicer showed Trump in the Oval Office during the call with Vice President Michael Pence, U.S. national security adviser Michael Flynn, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, and Trump senior adviser Steve Bannon.

Spicer said Trump spoke by telephone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel for 45 minutes before his call with Putin.

On Friday, Trump himself brushed off questions about the prospects of lifting the sanctions against Russia.

"As far as the sanctions, very early to be talking about that," Trump told reporters.

But later in the day, Trump was noncommittal, telling reporters in Washington, "We'll see what happens."

Earlier on Friday, senior Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway said the White House was considering the lifting of sanctions. 

Asked by Fox News whether the issue would be "on the table right away," Conway replied, "All of that is under consideration."

Following Conway’s comments about sanctions on January 27, both Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell – the top Republicans in the House of Representatives and the Senate, respectively -- said they opposed lifting the sanctions against Russia.

Meanwhile, U.S. Senator John McCain, the Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, warned that he would try to cement the sanctions if Trump tried to lift the punitive measures. -- Agencies

January 29, 2017