President Donald Trump is scheduled to speak with several foreign leaders Saturday including Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a schedule released by the White House.
Trump will speak with the prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Putin in the morning. In the afternoon the president is scheduled to speak with the president of France, Fran ois Hollande, and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
It will be the first time the president has spoken with any of the leaders since his inauguration.
Earlier Friday, Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway refused to say who initiated the scheduled call between Trump and Putin.
“I won’t divulge that,” she said during an appearance on CBS on Friday. “But it also doesn’t matter in that we have to have leaders talking to each other. We have to forge better relationships around the globe.”
Conway said the two men would discuss how to fight terrorism, among other issues “where you can find common ground,” though she did not elaborate.
Trump has come under intense scrutiny for taking a softer position on the Kremlin than his predecessors, as well as for routinely questioning U.S. intelligence community reports that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election in favor of his candidacy.
Trump has also expressed a willingness to review U.S. sanctions placed on Russia after the country annexed the Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, and sanctions placed by former President Obama in his final days in office. (The Hill)