Trump Criticized For Congratulating Putin On Sunday's Election Win

Russian President Vladimir Putin center gestures as he speaks at his campaign headquarters in Moscow Russia

US President Donald Trump called his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to congratulate him on his re-election, leading to fresh criticism of his muted tone towards Moscow amid an ongoing probe into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election.

Trump supposedly ignored the order and called Putin on his own, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

President Trump offered Russian President Vladimir Putin kind words on his reelection win Tuesday - despite growing evidence of the Kremlin's attempts to sow discord across the globe.

During a press briefing on Tuesday, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to a question asking if the White House believed the election was "free and fair".

US House Speaker Paul Ryan has said he has been assured that President Donald Trump is not considering firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

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Senator John McCain, who has been a vocal Republican critic of Trump, quickly issued a statement about the president's discussion with Putin.

Putin won his fourth term in Sunday's presidential election with 77 percent of the vote.

Trump "emphasized the importance of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula", the White House added in a separate statement.

Trump's optimistic attitude regarding a meeting with Putin comes as sanctions were imposed on Russian Federation in retaliation for its efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Meanwhile, critics laid into Trump earlier this month for his lukewarm response to the nerve-agent attack on former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, both of whom are now on life support.

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"I think probably we'll be seeing President Putin and the not-too-distant future", Trump told reporters during a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. "Also to discuss Ukraine, Syria and North Korea and various other things".

The UK government blamed the nerve agent attack on Russian Federation, which denies any involvement.

Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying the two leaders didn't discuss the poisoning of Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal in Britain. He's also pressed the Trump administration to respond aggressively to Russia's interference in the 2016 US presidential election.

"It's blatantly obvious that he has just an inexplicable level of support for President Putin", said Julie Smith, a European security expert who served as deputy national security adviser for former vice president Joe Biden.

In 2012, President Barack Obama also congratulated Putin on his election victory.

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