Donald Trump is planning to hold his first phone conversation with Russian president Vladimir Putin since being sworn in as president, according to a new report from NBC’s Hallie Jackson.
News: President Trump and Vladimir Putin are expected to talk by phone this weekend, per administration source. 1st call since inauguration.
— Hallie Jackson (@HallieJackson) January 27, 2017
While we can safely assume that the first thing Trump will say to the Russian leader will be “thank you,” it appears that the new U.S. president won’t be the only one feeling grateful.
As Chris Hayes noted tonight on MSNBC’s ‘All In’, there are related reports that Trump has an executive order ready to roll back the crippling sanctions on Russia that were enacted under President Obama. The actions could be taken as early as this weekend – around the same time the Trump-Putin call is set for.
Trump to speak with Putin, could roll back sanctions on Russia as early as this weekend via @allinwithchris pic.twitter.com/17AGk6ovM0
— Sean Colarossi (@SeanColarossi) January 27, 2017
NBC News has learned from one source in the administration familiar with the planning that President Trump will speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin by phone this weekend. Also, there are reports an executive order to roll back sanctions placed on Russia by the Obama administration could come as early as this weekend.
Trump has been silent on Russia since taking office last week, instead devoting most of his time to arguing about crowd sizes, non-existent voter fraud, and other alternative facts.
Meanwhile, the intelligence community continues to look into Russia’s interference in last year’s presidential election when the foreign government successfully influenced the contest in Trump’s favor. There are also separate investigations into whether Moscow was in any way working directly with the Trump campaign.
As Thursday’s news indicates, though, Trump seems ready to brush all of that under the rug and instead plans to reward Putin by dropping the sanctions implemented by the Obama administration.
Add all of this to the fact that the highest levels of the State Department have now been cleaned out as Putin pal Rex Tillerson is set to take over, and it’s beginning to look like the Trump administration is at least somewhat under the influence of a foreign government.