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Trump says he had 'a very good call' with Putin, sees 'tremendous potential' for Russia relationship

Key Points
  • President Donald Trump sees "tremendous potential" for a "good/great relationship" with Russia after his call on Friday with President Vladimir Putin.
  • U.S.-Russian relations have been strained by Moscow's interference in the 2016 presidential election and its support for the Maduro regime in Venezuela.
  • Trump suggested the media is misleading Americans about the relationship between the U.S. and Russia.
President Donald Trump speaks to the media before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., Friday, April 26, 2019.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

President Donald Trump on Saturday continued to promote his phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying there is "tremendous potential" for the two countries to have a good or great relationship.

Trump suggested the "Fake News Media" is not covering that potential fairly. He alleged the media misled the public about special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's interference into the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

"Very good call yesterday with President Putin of Russia. Tremendous potential for a good/great relationship with Russia, despite what you read and see in the Fake News Media," he tweeted.

Trump and Putin spoke for over an hour on Friday, the White House said. The two discussed the Mueller report, Venezuela, Ukraine, North Korea and nuclear arms control.

Tensions between the U.S. and Russia are currently heightened on several fronts.

Washington backs Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido in his bid to push strongman Nicolas Maduro from power, while Moscow is supporting the Maduro regime. The Trump administration also suspended a major nuclear arms treaty with Russia this year, and U.S. sanctions remain in place on Moscow over its annexation of Crimea and its role in the war in Ukraine.

The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 election in order to hurt Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and bolster Trump. Mueller indicted 13 individuals and three entities in Russia on charges of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. by posing as Americans to stoke political and racial tension on social media during the election.

Mueller's report concluded that the Trump campaign welcomed Russia's assistance in the 2016 campaign but found insufficient evidence to bring a charge of conspiracy. American law enforcement warns that Russia will likely step up its efforts during the 2020 election.

Trump continued his long-standing criticism of the media's coverage of the investigation on Saturday, saying "Look how they have misled you on 'Russia Collusion.'"

"When will the Radical Left Wing Media apologize to me for knowingly getting the Russia Collusion Delusion story so wrong? The real story is about to happen!" Trump tweeted earlier on Saturday.

Trump questioned why the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN and MSNBC are allowed on Twitter and Facebook. He said much of their work is "FAKE NEWS."

In fact, Mueller's investigation did not attempt to assess whether collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia took place. Collusion is not a legal term. The special counsel considered whether there was evidence of criminal conspiracy.

— CNBC's Tucker Higgins contributed to this report.