Speed Reads

'under consideration'

Kellyanne Conway defends Trump's proposal to roll back Russian sanctions, saying it's in line with 'America first' stance

The day before President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin's scheduled phone call Saturday, top Trump aide Kellyanne Conway said the administration is still considering walking back sanctions imposed on Russia. The U.S. has placed sanctions on Russia for its annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its involvement in the conflict in Ukraine, as well as for its meddling ahead of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. "All of that is under consideration," Conway said Friday when asked during an interview on Fox & Friends if Trump is considering easing sanctions "right away."

Trump has previously suggested rolling back the sanctions imposed over Crimea if Russia agrees to a nuclear arms reduction. Conway in her interview claimed it is in the United States' interest to improve relations with foreign leaders, and to work with Putin if he wants to join the fight against "radical Islamic terrorists."

"But don't they have to change their behavior in order to get those sanctions lifted?" one of the hosts asked, pointing to Russia's actions in Syria. Conway responded by reiterating Trump's focus on "America first." "Yes, he will call out other nations when he believes it's not in the American interest and in the interest of humanity, but that's what these conversations are for, these private conversations with world leaders," Conway said.

As for whether it was Trump or Putin who initiated their chat, Conway wouldn't say. "I won't divulge that," Conway said, when the question arose on a separate interview with CBS News on Friday. "But it also doesn't matter in that we have to have leaders talking to each other."

Catch a snippet of Conway's Fox & Friends interview below. Becca Stanek