Trump Broaches Nuclear Disarmament With Putin in Phone Call

U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin attend a dinner in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018.

The call was revealed by White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, who gave details to reporters during a gaggle, and later by Trump himself.

The leaders also discussed trade and a potential nuclear agreement including China but spent a "good bit of time" focused on the push for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to denuclearize.

China isn't party to either agreement.

US President Donald Trump spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday about nuclear weapons, the possibility of getting China into a three-party arms control pact and the ongoing crisis in Venezuela where Moscow is propping up the current government over the US-backed opposition.

Trump has raised election meddling with Putin in past conversations, but has tended to play down the impact of what happened in 2016 out of concern that his victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton might seem illegitimate.

The president's national security team, including Bolton, acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy John Rood and the commander of the U.S. Southern Command, Navy Adm. Craig Faller, met Friday in a secure Pentagon room that is reserved for top-level discussions of sensitive issues and military operations.

"The president is going to do what is required, if necessary", she said.

Mr Trump said Mr Putin described the Russia investigation as "something to the effect that it started off as a mountain and it ended up being a mouse", adding the Russian president "knew there was no collusion whatsoever".

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Trump also said that he did not warn Putin not to meddle in the next election, which drew outrage across Washington.

The two leaders also discussed Ukraine.

Asked whether Trump had spoken directly to Putin about Russian interference in the election, Sanders did not answer directly.

The Russian president underlined that Pyongyang's "good-faith fulfillment of its commitments" should be accompanied by reciprocal steps to reduce the sanctions pressure on the DPRK, the Kremlin said in a statement.

"Had a long and very good conversation with President Putin", the U.S. president tweeted.

She said during the call Trump reiterated the "need and importance of Russian Federation stepping up and continuing to help". Kim has yet to agree to a disarmament deal.

A reporter asked Trump if he told Putin to not interfere again in a US election, and Trump shut the question down.

"Beijing possibly is more interested in a nuclear deal than trade", Trump said.

President Trump also called out the mainstream media over its coverage of unproven collusion with Russian Federation, saying "when will the radical left wing media apologize to me for knowingly getting the Russian Federation collusion story so wrong".

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