- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 28, 2017

President Trump spoke by phone Saturday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, engaging in a wide-ranging discussion that included how the two countries can work together to combat radial Islamic terrorism, according to the White House.

The call, which the White House described as a congratulatory call from Mr. Putin, lasted approximately one hour.

Mr. Tump and Mr. Putin specifically talked about working together to fight the Islamic State, also know as ISIS or ISIL, and ending the civil war in Syria, said the White House.

The first call between the two leaders was hotly anticipated by Washington watchers, as Mr. Putin loomed large over the presidential election because of allegations that Russia was responsible for email hacks that hurt Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and therefore benefited Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump also came under fire during the campaign for praising Mr. Putin for his strong leadership.

The White House characterized the call as positive and a significant start to improving the relationship between the U.S. and Russia.

Mr. Trump’s critics has speculated that he intends to lift sanctions on Russia, which include financial sanctions, imposed because of the country’s annexation of Crimea and other military interference in eastern Ukraine.

In response to U.S. intelligence linking Russia to the email hacks, President Obama last month expelled 35 Russian intelligence officials and shut down two Russian government compounds in the U.S.

The White House statement on the call did not mention sanctions.

In the call, Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin expressed hope that their two countries can move quickly to tackle terrorism and other important issues of mutual concern, according to the White House.

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