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Donald Trump took to Twitter to defend his controversial move of calling Russian President Vladimir Putin to congratulate him on his re-election.

Although Trump said early in his campaign that he and the Russian leader were good friends, he later acknowledged that he had never met Putin.

Senator John McCain, a longtime critic of Mr Putin, said "an American president does not lead the free world by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections". Trump believes they are wrong as getting along with Russian Federation (and others) is a good thing. They also said there now is an internal probe of the leak but provided no other details.

Trump also said he and Putin might meet "in the not-too-distant future" to discuss the arms race and other matters.

Trump has insisted that maintaining a strong personal relationship with Putin is the United States' best chance of improving ties with Russia and has signalled to allies that he trusts his own instincts in dealing with the Russian president.

It was unclear whether Trump read the talking points prepared by his national security team before Tuesday's call.

In a March 21 interview with Catholic News Service, Mgr Kovalevsky said Russian Catholics would not "draw political conclusions" from the election, which Putin won with more than three-quarters of votes on a 67 percent turnout.

Former CIA director John Brennan told MSNBC's "Morning Joe", he thinks Trump is afraid of Putin, and "the Russians could have something on him personally that they could always roll out and make his life more hard".

The action and reaction fit a Trump White House pattern of declining to chide authoritarian regimes for undemocratic practices.

According to the information of the source, United States president is livid that someone else in his inner circle leaked to "The Washington Post" secret details about that phone call with Putin. Asked why Trump was "always so nice to you", Putin said that "this is not about being nice to me personally, in my view".

The New York Times reported Wednesday that Trump pushed then chief of staff Reince Priebus to direct staffers to sign nondisclosure agreements.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, told CNN, "I wouldn't have a conversation with a criminal". "Our unity, responsibility, common understanding of goals, aspirations of millions of people - we must contribute all that to the development of Russian Federation, to a powerful movement forward", Putin said. His national security advisers apparently instructed him not to call Putin through briefing materials, which supposedly included a "DO NOT CONGRATULATE" note, according to the Washington Post.

Mr. Trump began his day on Wednesday indirectly criticizing Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, for the Russian Federation investigation, continuing to attack him by name against the advice of his own lawyers.

Obama called Putin five days after the vote, "to congratulate him on his recent victory", according to an official readout of the call.