Trump administration drafts decree to lift sanctions against Russian Federation

Trump administration drafts decree to lift sanctions against Russian Federation

Trump has come under intense scrutiny for taking a softer position on the Kremlin than his predecessors, as well as for routinely questioning US intelligence community reports that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 presidential election in favor of his candidacy.

But the idea of coziness with the Kremlin is highly controversial.

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

Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican, on Friday called on Trump to "reject such a reckless course" and remember that Putin is "a murderer and a thug who seeks to undermine American national security interests at every turn". "If he does not, I will work with my colleagues to codify sanctions against Russian Federation into law".

A spokeswoman for the European Union foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, declined to comment on "rumours" that sanctions would be lifted by the US. "For one thing, I think nuclear weapons should be way down and reduced very substantially, that's part of it", Trump was quoted as saying by the Times.

Trump's first contact with Putin as president comes after months of speculation over the Kremlin's role in the 2016 election - starting with Trump's frequent expressions of admiration for Putin and culminating in the assessment of the USA intelligence community that Russian Federation interfered in the campaign on Trump's behalf. Trump added, speaking of Putin: "He shouldn't be doing it".

The notoriously hawkish senator rebutted that idea, too: Putin "will never be our partner, including in fighting ISIL", McCain wrote, using an alternative name for the Islamic State.

The two massive personalities have sparked comparisons to Cold War-era brinkmanship between the US and the old Soviet Union.

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The president also plans to speak today with French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

CNN quotes visiting British Prime Minister Theresa May sounding a note of caution for Trump: "With President Putin, my advice is to engage, but beware".

A photo released by the White House shows President Trump on the phone in the oval office.

May announced she had gotten Trump to commit to remaining in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and congratulated him on a "stunning" election victory.

Some Republicans who have differed with Trump on Russian Federation, including Sens.

"There goes that relationship!" he joked.

Trump gave a noncommittal walk-back later Friday. Trump's pick for secretary of state who remains unconfirmed by the Senate, was not present at the meeting.

"Let me remind you that [Putin] called 18 months ago for the formation of a full-fledged, universal front for fighting terrorism, and this initiative is still on the table", Lavrov said on January 23.