BBCI: Trump thanks Putin for ordering U.S. diplomatic staff be cut

Jordaan Di Yulio  Flickr

President Trump waited a week and a half to comment on Russian president Vladimir Putin's order to cut the USA diplomatic staff in Moscow by hundreds of people.

In response, the Russian Foreign Ministry ordered the United States to 755 staffers, the same number Russia has in the United States, by September 1.

This was seen as marking a historic new low in post-Cold war Russia-US relations but Trump, who has long argued the case for closer ties, said after a meeting with top aides in New Jersey he saw a silver lining in the crisis.

President Barack Obama's administration expelled 35 diplomats from the United States in December under sanctions imposed over Russia's messing in the 2016 election.

U.S. President Donald Trump, flanked by Vice President Mike Pence, speaks to reporters after a security briefing at his golf estate in Bedminster, New Jersey on Thursday.

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"There's no real reason for them to go back", Trump said, referring to the diplomats.

"I want to thank (Putin) because we're trying to cut down our payroll", Trump said.

Several US investigations are looking into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation, which allegedly meddled in the 2016 election.

Last month, USA lawmakers passed a law toughening sanctions imposed on Russian Federation for corruption, rights abuses, subversion of Western politics and backing Ukrainian separatists. President Trump ultimately signed the sanctions - and sanctions against Iran and North Korea - into law.

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