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GOP senators criticize Trump for congratulating Putin on win

GOP senators criticize Trump for congratulating Putin on win

The White House chaos emerged as lawmakers heard that Russian Federation - slapped with USA sanctions over its meddling in the 2016 election - remains a menace as the country gears up for congressional polls in November.

Moscow stands accused of the attempted murder of ex-spy Sergei Skripal in the city of Salisbury via nerve agent - a charge the Kremlin denies.

US President Donald Trump congratulated Russian President Vladimir Putin on his re-election despite the warnings from multiple national security advisers and briefing materials that said "DO NOT CONGRATULATE", The Washington Post reported Tuesday evening.

Very few officials would have known about the details of the call, only those at the very highest levels of the administration and the president himself.

Earlier, President Trump announced that he will meet President Putin "in the not too distant future to discuss the arms race, which is getting out of control".

The call was the latest indicator of Trump's personal reluctance to publicly criticize Putin.

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The President often makes calls to foreign leaders while he is still in the residence during what has been dubbed "executive time".

One prominent name not on the list of well-wishers, however, was British Prime Minister Theresa May, who is now locked in a diplomatic standoff with Putin over the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury, England. She also cited a preliminary report by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe that said Russia's election took place in an overly controlled environment that lacked an even playing field for all contenders.

President Trump's congratulatory call to Vladimir Putin for winning a fourth presidential term brought about rare bipartisan accord among lawmakers as both Democrats and Republicans blasted him for reaching out despite accusations of rampant fraud in the Russian election. "President Obama and President-Elect Putin agreed to continue their efforts to find common ground and remove obstacles to better relations".

He said that during their hoped-for meeting the two men would likely discuss Ukraine, Syria and North Korea. His conversation with Putin came as the president is coming under increasing and widespread criticism for his refusal to confront Putin about Russia's hacking and disinformation efforts to destabilize USA politics and, more recently, about its alleged assassination attempt in Britain using a military-grade nerve agent against Russian expatriates there. Trump should not have called Putin.

Putin has won his position for another six years after his sweeping victory in Russia's election on Sunday, a result that was expected. Two people familiar with the notecards acknowledged that they included instructions not to congratulate Putin. "We don't consider this an unfriendly act".

Just minutes before Trump's tweets, the White House staff had suggested that he agreed with President Emmanuel Macron of France on the need to "hold Russian Federation accountable". Others offered more muted responses.

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