The White House confirmed Tuesday morning's phone call between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin did not touch on Russia's election meddling or the recent nerve agent attack in England, instead focusing on "areas of shared interest."
Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked about the call during Tuesday's White House press briefing and said the two leaders kept their conversation to a handful of topics.
"The focus was to talk about areas of shared interest," Sanders said. "We would like to be able to work with them on things like North Korea, on Iran, and both countries' shared interest in lowering the tensions when it comes to an arms race, recognizing that that's not the best thing for either country.
"So, we want to have those conversations. That was the point of [Tuesday's] call."
Earlier Tuesday, Trump said he looks forward to meeting with Putin in person in the coming months to continue talking about a number of issues. Sanders said there are no plans at the moment for either leader to travel to see each other.
Regarding the harsh words Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., had for Trump's decision to congratulate Putin on his election victory, Sanders defended the Trump administration's approach to Russia.
"There's important topics that we should discuss," she said. "That's why the president will continue to have that dialogue. At the same time, we've been clear in the actions we've taken that we'll be tough on Russia, particularly when it comes to areas that we feel where they stepped out of place. We have placed tough sanctions on Russia and a number of other things where we've shown what our position is."
The U.S. and several other nations condemned Russia's alleged role in the recent attempted assassination of a former Russian military officer and his daughter. The officer was convicted of spying for England and was later sent to the United Kingdom to live freely as part of a spy swap. Both were poisoned with a deadly nerve agent two weeks ago.
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