Trump, Putin Speak on Phone for Over an Hour

White House: Primary focus of talks was Venezuela

President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on the phone for over an hour on Friday, a significant occurrence for an administration that has been very reticent to engage in dialogues with Russia.

According to White House officials, the focus of the talks was on Venezuela, with Trump making it clear that the “United States stands with the people of Venezuela,” which of course means regime change.

Russia obviously would’ve been aware of that position already, since we’re just days out from a failed US-backed coup in Venezuela. It’s not clear what specifics would have been focused on, but some US officials were blaming Russia for the coup’s failure, which may have been a topic of discussion.

Russia has been backing the Maduro government in Venezuela, while the US has long sought regime change, and since January has recognized the nation’s opposition leader as the rightful president.

Trump also indicated that the talks included Ukraine, North Korea, arms control, and election interference. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders says Trump made clear that he wouldn’t allow election interference.

There was no elaborating on Ukraine, but the North Korea topic focused on both nations wanting denuclearization, with Trump urging Russia to “put pressure on North Korea” after a recent Putin-Kim summit. Putin had urged the US to show flexibility in such a deal, but so far the US has just thanked them for helping and shown no signs of policy change.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.