Trump, Putin Expected to Speak by Phone on Saturday

Vladimir Putin
January 27, 2017

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are expected to speak by phone on Saturday, marking the first time that the two leaders will converse since Trump's inauguration.

A spokesman for the Kremlin said Friday that the phone call was scheduled to take place on Saturday, which was later confirmed by the White House.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Putin will congratulate Trump on the call and that the two would broadly discuss relations between the United States and Moscow, which have deteriorated in recent years.

"This is the first telephone contact after President Trump took office, so one can hardly expect from such a telephone conversation any substantive contacts on all the issues on the agenda," Peskov said, according to a report in Russia's TASS news agency. "Let's see, let's just be patient."

Peskov would not say whether the two will discuss an in-person meeting.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Friday that Trump will speak with Putin on Saturday as well as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande.

Kellyanne Conway, a top aide in Trump's White House, indicated during a television appearance Friday that the conversation between Trump and Putin will likely broach potential cooperation between the United States and Russia on fighting terrorism.

"I assume they will discuss, in the interests of their respective countries, how to come together and work together on issues where you can find common ground and where these two nations could maybe defeat radical Islamic terrorism," Conway told CBS News.

Efforts by the Obama administration to cooperate with Russia on fighting the Islamic State in Syria and solving the years-long conflict there were unsuccessful.

The results of the phone call between Trump and Putin are likely to be closely watched by lawmakers and the media, as Trump's positive statements about Putin stewed controversy throughout the presidential campaign. Trump has indicated that he would like to build better relations with Russia, though many Republicans have urged him to be tougher on Russia than Obama.

The phone call will also take place following the U.S. intelligence community's conclusion that Russia engaged in a wide-ranging cyber and disinformation campaign against the presidential election aimed at undermining American democracy and damaging Democrat Hillary Clinton, Trump's opponent. Russia has described the allegations as baseless.