US President Donald Trump told Russian President Vladimir Putin to ignore White House officials who had tried to prevent the two leaders from holding a phone conversation, US media reported.
During a phone call in March, Trump told Putin that the White House officials involved were “stupid people,” the New York Times reported on Monday, citing a person with direct knowledge of the conversation.
White House aides wanted to stop Trump congratulating Putin on his election victory, the report added. Trump, in the same phone call, also told Putin that Russia and the United States should improve relations, according to the report.
Putin and Trump are expected to meet in Finland on July 16 to discuss bilateral ties and various issues on the international agenda, which will be their first full-fledged meeting since Trump’s taking office in January 2017.
The meeting is accompanied by multiple media reports citing US and EU sources who express concerns that Trump could allegedly make disproportionate concessions to Russia in foreign affairs.