President Trump defended his controversial congratulatory call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, blaming the media for the backlash.Trump, who has long faced criticism for his willingness to work with Putin, reportedly ignored a warning from top national security advisers insisting he not make the call.

“I called President Putin of Russia to congratulate him on his election victory (in past, Obama called him also),” Trump wrote. “The Fake News Media is crazed because they wanted me to excoriate him. They are wrong! Getting along with Russia (and others) is a good thing, not a bad thing.”

Trump’s desire to cuddle up to Putin in the wake of his questionable re-election victory raised questions across Washington.

Both Republicans and Democrats chided the President for not confronting Putin about his alleged sham win, election interference in the U.S. and other countries, atrocities in Syria or a recent high-profile assassination attempt in England.

“I haven’t heard anybody in the legislative branch say they think it’s a great idea,” Sen. John Cornyn, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, said of the friendly call. “I don’t think it’s a great idea.”

The blowup over the call became entwined in a debate about White House leaks after reports circulated that Trump was warned against speaking to Putin.

Aides had included guidance in Trump’s talking points for the call to Putin stating: “DO NOT CONGRATULATE,” a senior administration official told the Washington Post.

The White House said in a statement it would be a “fireable offense and likely illegal” to leak Trump’s briefing papers.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said he wouldn’t comment on the call, but said he “wouldn’t have a conversation with a criminal.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) didn’t objected more to the leaks than Trump’s chuminess with Putin.

“You know what I like even less? There’s somebody close to him leaking this stuff out. If you don’t like the guy quit,” Rubio said. “To be this duplicitous and leak stuff out, it’s dangerous. So I don’t like what he did,” Rubio said. “But I really hate that’s there’s someone in his inner circle that’s willing to leak this stuff. If you don’t like working for the president you should resign your job.”

Russia has faced global condemnation after Britain blamed Moscow for the recent nerve gas attack that sickened former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter. The Kremlin has denied any connection.

Trump’s call also came just days after the White House imposed sanctions on Russia for its interference in the 2016 U.S. election and other “malicious cyberattacks.”

The President’s eagerness to work with Russia and his calls for warmer relations have faced added scrutiny as special counsel Robert Mueller’s team investigates Moscow’s meddling in the 2016 election.

Mueller is also examining whether anyone in the Trump campaign coordinated with the Kremlin and possible obstruction of justice on part of the President.

Former CIA chief John Brennan said Wednesday he believes the Russians may “have something” on President Trump.

“I think he’s afraid of the president of Russia,” Brennan told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “I’m saying that perhaps the Russians have something and that’s why Mr. Trump is concerned.”

Trump and his supporters have incorrectly asserted that Mueller’s investigation was founded on a salacious dossier that included claims that the Russian government could blackmail the President.

Trump said he and Putin discussed the possibility of a meeting in the near future.

He tweeted that Russia can “help solve problems” from North Korea to “the coming Arms Race.”

He also knocked previous administrations attempts at easing tensions between the U.S. and Russia, mocking President George W. Bush as not have the “smarts” to work with Putin, whom he had nicknamed “Pootie Poot.”

Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “didn’t have the energy or chemistry” with the former KGB agent, Trump tweeted.

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http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/trump-defends-congratulating-putin-blames-media-backlash-article-1.3888419

On – 21 Mar, 2018 By Denis Slattery

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