President Donald Trump on Wednesday defended his "congratulations" to Russian President Vladimir Putin in his Tuesday morning call, saying in a pair of tweets that "getting along with Russia (and others) is a good thing, not a bad thing."
Noting that former President Barack Obama telephoned Putin on his first election victory in 2012, Trump said "the Fake News Media is crazed because they wanted me to excoriate him" in one post:
He added in the other tweet that Russia "can help solve problems with North Korea, Syria, Ukraine, ISIS, Iran" — and "even the coming arms race" before slamming his predecessors on their dealings with the Kremlin.
"Peace through strength," Trump said:
The president came under fire for congratulating Putin for his election victory Sunday, though critics alleged it was amid widespread voter fraud and other corruption that amounted to a sham election.
Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Chuck Grassley of Iowa ripped Trump for the call — and the negative media reports kicked up later Tuesday after The Washington Post disclosed the president "did not follow specific instructions" from his national security staff in talking to Putin.
President Trump's briefing materials included the warning "DO NOT CONGRATULATE" in capital letters, according to the Post.
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