Speed Reads

Phone DIplomacy

Trump and Putin have a phone date for Tuesday afternoon

President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will speak by phone on Tuesday afternoon, the White House said Monday night, with a senior Trump administration official telling Reuters that the two leaders will likely discuss the civil war in Syria. Putin and Trump have spoken on the phone two times since Trump's inauguration, once in January and another time after a terrorist attack in St. Petersburg in early April. They have not spoken since Trump launched missiles at an air base of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a Russian ally; Moscow sharply criticized the attack. The U.S. has been backing the rebels fighting to unseat Assad, though Trump's advisers have given mixed signals on his Assad policy. Both Russia and the U.S. consider the Islamic State an enemy.