White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah said that after President Trump expelled dozens of Russian operatives on Monday, "the ball is in their court," when it comes to Russia's response.
"Our relationship with Russia is frankly up to the Russian Government and up to Vladimir Putin and others in senior leadership in Russia," Shah said during the White House press briefing Monday afternoon. "We want to have a cooperative relationship, the president wants to work with Russia but their actions don't always let this happen."
Earlier Monday, Mr. Trump alleged role in poisoning an ex-spy in Britain. Senior officials said that an "unacceptably high" number of Russian intelligence operatives in the United States were working under diplomatic cover.60 Russian diplomats and also called for the Russian consulate in Seattle to close in response to Russia's
"With these steps, the United States and our allies and partners make clear to Russia that its actions have consequences," the White House said in a statement. "The United States stands ready to cooperate to build a better relationship with Russia, but this can only happen with a change in the Russian government's behavior."
Shah called Russia's alleged action in the UK "brazen" and "reckless," emphasizing the United States' commitment to its allies following the attack.
"This is not the type of conduct that the United States or our allies can accept," he said.
When asked why Mr. Trump didn't raise the issue on his recent call to congratulate Russian President Vladimir Putin, which his advisersagainst, Shah said that "some positive developments" came about on other issues while the poisoning itself did not come up. Putin recently won re-election to the Russian presidency amid widespread accusations that the voting was rigged.
"We want to work with Russia, we have areas of mutual concern," Shah said.