Trump defends call to Putin, White House hunts for leaker

A prominent Washington DC lawyer who specializes in national security and free speech-often of current or former federal employees-has offered his firm's services on a pro-bono basis for any White House staffer who signed a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) at President Donald Trump's urging.

"Getting along with Russian Federation (and others) is a good thing, not a bad thing", Trump said, adding that Russian Federation can "help solve problems" from North Korea to "the coming Arms Race". John McCain, who strongly condemned the call in a statement on Tuesday, saying an American president shouldn't congratulate "dictators on winning sham elections".

The agreements stipulated officials could face monetary penalties if they disclosed confidential White House information to the press or others, and were meant to remain in effect after Trump was no longer president, according to the report.

Intelligence officials have determined Russian Federation interfered in the U.S.' 2016 presidential election.

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The Associated Press reported in June 2016 that "Trump requires almost everyone to sign legally binding nondisclosure agreements prohibiting them from releasing any confidential or disparaging information about the real estate mogul, his family or his companies".

Update: Updated with White House denial.

"[Trump White House turnover] is double the rate of the Obama and Bush White Houses at the end of their first years in office", said director of undergraduate studies and professor in the Texas A&M Department of Political Science Joe Ura. "President Trump will gladly speak with the leader of Venezuela as soon as democracy is restored in that country". The US, and not President Trump, would also be responsible for enforcing the agreements, said law professors Heidi Kitrosser of the University of Minnesota and Mark Fenster of the University of Florida.

What they didn't discuss on Tuesday was noteworthy as well: Trump did not raise Russia's meddling in the USA elections or its suspected involvement in the recent poisoning of a former spy in Britain. What about former White House officials who had access to secret information? "It didn't come up on today's call".

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It said they had also discussed Syria, Ukraine and North Korea, and spoken about strengthening economic links between the two countries. Sanders insisted that the administration has scolded Putin at the appropriate times.

I am hopeful that the precedents being set in the Trump administration will not be too precedential.

The White House had said Monday that it was "not surprised by the outcome" of Sunday's presidential election in Russian Federation and that no congratulatory call was planned. Many others, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, sent congratulatory telegrams.

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