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McCain Calls Out Trump For Applauding Putin On 'Sham' Election Victory

McCain Calls Out Trump For Applauding Putin On 'Sham' Election Victory

U.S. President Donald Trump has congratulated Vladimir Putin two days after the Russian leader's landslide election victory, saying he hopes the two leaders will soon meet to discuss several crises around the world.

In a statement, McCain called Trump's phone call to Putin an insult to "every Russian citizen who was denied the right to vote in a free and fair election to determine their country's future".

But on Tuesday, Trump told reporters at the White House about his call with the Kremlin: "I congratulated him on the victory, the electoral victory".

"An American president does not lead the free world by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections", said Senator John McCain.

What they didn't discuss on Tuesday was noteworthy as well: Trump did not raise Russia's meddling in the US elections or its suspected involvement in the recent poisoning of a former spy in England.

Outgoing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said it's "almost beyond comprehension" why a state actor would deploy such a unsafe substance in a public place in a foreign country where others could be exposed. President Barack Obama previously congratulated Putin on reelection in 2012.

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Putin received calls from a number of other foreign leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The election was marred by alleged fraud, pressure to vote, and what worldwide observers said was the lack of a "real choice".

Trump praised Putin and called repeatedly for better ties with Russian Federation during his campaign, but relations have remained tense.

The State Department, in their May 5 statement on the election, noted the concerns of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe about the election, including that it wasn't a level playing field to begin with, that government resources were used partisan purposes, and that there were procedural irregularities on the day of the election.

Russian Federation has repeatedly said it hoped for better ties with the USA under Trump. John McCain, R-Ariz., who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee and has pressed the Trump administration to respond aggressively to Russia's interference in the US presidential election. After the president approved the release of a controversial memo authored by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee last month, McCain suggested that Trump was "doing Putin's job for him".

The White House said Monday that it is "not surprised by the outcome" of Sunday's election, and that no congratulatory call was planned.


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