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Trump, Putin to speak for first time since inauguration

By
Eric DuVall
President Donald Trump iis scheduled to speak by phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday. Photo by Pat Benic/UPI
President Donald Trump iis scheduled to speak by phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday. Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 27 (UPI) -- U.S. President Donald Trump will speak with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for the first time since assuming office a week ago, both countries confirmed Friday.

Trump and Putin will speak by phone Saturday. Trump has begun holding initial calls and meetings with world leaders since becoming president. He hosted British Prime Minister Theresa May in Washington on Friday. He is scheduled to host Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau next week and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged a White House visit in the near future.

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The two leaders spoke by phone in November, days after Trump's election, about improving relations between the two countries.

Trump's relationship with Putin is being closely scrutinized. Trump initially refused to say it was Russia, at Putin's direction, that was behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta. Even after the U.S. intelligence community came forward with a report saying it was highly probable Russia was behind the hacking, in an effort to help Trump win the election, Trump did not initially agree with the findings.

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Trump has since said he believes Russia was, in fact, behind the hacking.

The FBI has opened an investigation into any potential ties between Trump, his campaign and the Russian government.

The intelligence community, as part of its report on Russian electoral interference, also acknowledged the unconfirmed possibility the Russian government holds personally damaging evidence about Trump -- a claim Trump and the Russian government vigorously denied.

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