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The White House fumed on Wednesday about an embarrassing leak regarding US President Donald Trump's shock decision to congratulate Russia's Vladimir Putin on his re-election, as lawmakers blasted him for feting the strongman's landslide win.

"If this story is accurate", an anonymous USA official told CNN, "that means someone leaked the president's briefing papers". Trump did so anyway during a conversation Tuesday.

"MEDIA SO DISHONEST: (Flashback) Obama calls to congratulate Putin", Fox News host Laura Ingraham tweeted.

The call was the latest indicator of Trump's personal reluctance to publicly criticize Putin.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel sharply criticises Turkish offensive in Afrin
This is the first time this Taoiseach has visited Berlin to meet the German Chancellor. AfD co-leader Alexander Gauland countered that "mass immigration continues unchecked".

Some Trump defenders noted that President Barack Obama also called Putin when he was elected president in 2012. American intelligence officials say they are certain he meddled in the 2016 American election on behalf of Trump and is trying to meddle again in the 2018 election, as well as in many European elections. "The Russians, I think, have had long experience with Mr. Trump and may have things they could expose".

Russian President Vladimir Putin won 76.69 percent of the votes in the presidential election on March 18 after all the ballots were counted, the Central Election Commission (CEC) said Friday. John McCain, R-Ariz., who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee and has pressed the Trump administration to respond aggressively to Russia's interference in the USA presidential election. "I think President Trump was right when he said there never should have been a Special Council appointed because there was no probable cause for believing that there was any crime, collusion or otherwise, or obstruction of justice!" Three of Trump's associates - former national security adviser Michael Flynn, deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates and campaign aide George Papadopoulos - have pleaded guilty to lying to investigators and agreed to cooperate. That someone in the national security apparatus was apparently willing to leak sensitive documents and information to reporters about the President's calls to other world leaders lends credence to President Trump's theory that there is a "deep state" working to undermine him.

If Trump isn't Putin's lackey, it's past time for him to prove it.

On "Morning Joe" former CIA Director John Brennan said he thinks Trump "is afraid of the President of Russian Federation".

Judge: Defamation case against Trump can proceed
Schecter, however, believes the president has no immunity and said he is subject to the laws for "purely private acts". When Zervos spoke out in the weeks before the presidential election in 2016, Trump denied her claims.

He said that during their hoped-for meeting the two men would likely discuss Ukraine, Syria and North Korea.

The Kremlin also said on Tuesday that Trump congratulated Putin on his win during their call and the leaders spoke "in favor of developing practical cooperation in various areas, including in ensuring strategic stability and combating global terrorism. If you don't like the President resign, but this ongoing pattern of duplicity holds potential for serious damage to the nation".

Just minutes before Trump's tweets, the White House staff had suggested that he agreed with President Emmanuel Macron of France on the need to "hold Russian Federation accountable".

Russia's interference - including spreading fake news about Hillary Clinton and hacking the Democratic Party's emails - in the 2016 USA presidential election did not help improve the already deteriorating relations between the two nations.

Is this Vladimir Putin's victory speech or a night at the karaoke?
In previous races, he won 53 per cent of the vote in the 2000 presidential election , 71 per cent in 2004 and 64 per cent in 2012. Near-final figures put turnout at 67.47 per cent, just shy of the 70 per cent the Kremlin was reported to have been aiming for.