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Trump congratulates Putin on victory in election fraught with ballot stuffing accusations

Trump says he may meet soon with Putin
Trump suggests meeting with Putin to discuss "arms race" 03:09

President Trump has congratulated Russian President Vladimir Putin on his reelection win, he told reporters Tuesday. Mr. Trump, speaking in the Oval Office Tuesday, said he had a great call with Putin, and congratulated him. Mr. Trump said they will likely get together in the not-too distant future to discuss the arms race, which Mr. Trump said is getting out of control. 

According to a White House statement, the two leaders also discussed denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. A Kremlin statement said the two leaders also discussed Syria and Ukraine.

Mr. Trump's congratulatory call comes after the U.S. and other ally nations have condemned Russia over a suspected nerve gas attack in London. British Prime Minister Theresa May said it is "highly likely" the Kremlin is responsible for the attack. 

There are accusations of widespread ballot stuffing in the Russian election, with video emerging appearing to show people actually cramming ballots into boxes at polling stations. Putin won with 77 percent of the vote. Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, blasted Mr. Trump's decision to congratulate Putin on his "'election'" victory. 

"An American president does not lead the Free World by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections," McCain said in a statement. "And by doing so with Vladimir Putin, President Trump insulted every Russian citizen who was denied the right to vote in a free and fair election to determine their country's future, including the countless Russian patriots who have risked so much to protest and resist Putin's regime."

Shortly after Mr. Trump and Putin spoke, the top members on the Senate Intelligence Committee held a press conference condemning Russia for allegedly attempting to meddle in the 2016 presidential election. Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, R-North Carolina, said it was "clear" the Russian government was looking for vulnerabilities in the U.S. election system, although there is no evidence any votes were changed. 

This is a developing story and will be updated. 

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