06:07 GMT05 December 2020
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    On Thursday, Trump called Putin following the Russian President's annual press conference and thanked him for acknowledging the strong economic performance of the United States, according to a readout issued by the White House. Among other issues, the presidents discussed such urgent problems as the North Korean nuclear settlement.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) Former US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul said he was shocked by US President Donald Trump's decision to call Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    "It is shocking to me that the phone call gets through… To me this does not serve America's national interest, to make that call, at least the way it has been read out so far," McFaul told MSNBC.

    The US political establishment has been wary of any close contacts between the White House and the Kremlin amid the ongoing investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and allegations that Trump's election team colluded with Moscow.

    READ MORE: Putin, Trump Discuss Russia-US Relations, North Korea in Phone Call

    A number of Russian officials have repeatedly refuted the claims, calling them groundless and stressing that no evidence had been revealed to support them.

    Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said this November that McFaul had been barred from entering Russia for intentionally "harming the bilateral relations" between the two nations.


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