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Trump 'invited Putin to White House before expelling Russian diplomats'

04 April 2018

Trump surprised allies two weeks ago when he called Putin to congratulate him on his re-election, despite voting irregularities and little real competition.

Michael McFaul, who served as the USA ambassador to Russia under President Barack Obama, said the "symbolism of Putin standing in the East Room with the president at a news conference" would be a major goal for the Russian leader.

Just as Trump has shown a curious reluctance to criticize Putin, even when the two countries are ejecting each other's diplomats, the Kremlin and the Russian news outlets it controls have often avoided criticizing Trump directly.

@RealDonaldTrump:I called President Putin of Russian Federation to congratulate him on his election victory (in past, Obama called him also).

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the White House was among "a number of potential venues" discussed in Trump's telephone call last month with Putin.

President Donald Trump, right, and Russia President Vladimir Putin talk during the family photo session at the APEC Summit in Danang.

Mr McFaul said he feared that Mr Trump "thinks that a good meeting with [Mr] Putin is the objective of his foreign policy with Russian Federation".

Baltic leaders have increased their criticism of Russian Federation since it annexed part of Ukraine in 2014, but their White House visit comes at an unusual time for U.S. "And there's also a good possibility that won't happen".

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Dakeb defended his position by referencing the murder of Stompie Seipei and other alleged blots on Madikizela-Mandela's record. This dented her career, but she remained respected in the ANC, and was an MP until her death.

During the call, Trump didn't raise Russia's meddling in USA elections or its suspected involvement in the poisoning of the former spy and his daughter in Britain. Those moves were in retaliation to Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election and the recent poison attack on an ex-Russian spy in London.

It angered many in Washington, including some of Trump's advisers, who wanted the president to address Moscow's role in the nerve agent assault and to not congratulate the Russian leader for his victory in an election in which his best-known opponent was barred from competing. Trump denies any collusion.

"[The] symbolism of Putin standing in the East Room with the President at a news conference would be a major goal for the Russian leader", he said.

It is noted that the bunker was built during the presidency of Barack Obama. The Baltic states are seen as a bulwark against Russian aggression in Eastern Europe.

"It would confer a certain normalization of relations and we're certainly not in a normal space", said Alina Polyakova, a foreign policy fellow at the Brookings Institution.

"The risk of escalation sparking a wider conflict - deliberately, inadvertently, or accidentally - between Russian Federation and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is dangerously high", wrote Ulrich Kühn, a nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

On Tuesday, Trump told Baltic leaders he has "great respect" for them. "So I have great respect for you and for your nations".

Trump 'invited Putin to White House before expelling Russian diplomats'