Trump reportedly ignored his national security advisers when they warned him to 'NOT CONGRATULATE' Putin on his election victory

  • President Donald Trump's national-security advisers reportedly gave him two sets of instructions on Tuesday: "DO NOT CONGRATULATE" Russian President Vladimir Putin on his election victory, and condemn Russia for the nerve-agent attack on a former Russian spy in the UK.
  • Trump reportedly did not follow either suggestion.
  • The revelation adds another layer to an emerging portrait in which Trump has repeatedly been reluctant to confront Putin amid an investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow to tilt the 2016 race in his favor.

President Donald Trump ignored two critical warnings from his national-security advisers when he spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the phone Tuesday.

According to The Washington Post, Trump's advisers included a warning in his briefing materials, in all caps, which said, "DO NOT CONGRATULATE" Putin on his victory in the Russian election last week.

They also instructed him to condemn Putin for the chemical attack on a former Russian spy in the UK, which both the US and UK said was ordered by the Kremlin. 

Trump apparently did not follow either suggestion. He also did not press Putin on Russia's interference in the 2016 election.

The White House said Trump limited conversation to "shared topics" on which the US and Russia could find common ground, like Ukraine, Syria, and North Korea. Trump said the call with Putin was "a very good call," and he added that he would be meeting with the Russian leader "in the not-too-distant future."

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Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump meet at G20
US President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin shake hands during a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Leaders Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin meet at the G-20 in Hamburg. 

(Image: Reuters video)

US President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin hold a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Leaders Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin meet at the G-20 in Hamburg. 

(Image: Reuters video)

HAMBURG, GERMANY - JULY 7, 2017: Melania Trump (L), First Lady of the United States, and Russia's President Vladimir Putin shake hands as they meet on the sidelines of a G20 summit. Mikhail Klimentyev/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS (Photo by Mikhail Klimentyev\TASS via Getty Images)
HAMBURG, GERMANY - JULY 07: In this photo provided by the German Government Press Office (BPA), Donald Trump, President of the USA (C) meets Vladimir Putin, President of Russia and President of the EU Commission Jean-Claude Juncker (L) during the G20 Summit on July 7, 2017 in Hamburg, Germany. The G20 group of nations are meeting July 7-8 and major topics will include climate change and migration. (Photo by BPA via Getty Images)
HAMBURG, GERMANY - JULY 07: In this photo provided by the German Government Press Office (BPA) Donald Trump, President of the USA (left), meets Vladimir Putin, President of Russia (right), at the opening of the G20 summit on July 7, 2017 in Hamburg, Germany. The G20 group of nations are meeting July 7-8 and major topics will include climate change and migration. (Photo by Steffen Kugler /BPA via Getty Images)
HAMBURG, GERMANY - JULY 07: International leaders attend the group photo on the first day of the G20 economic summit on July 7, 2017 in Hamburg, Germany. The G20 group of nations are meeting July 7-8 and major topics will include climate change and migration. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
HAMBURG, GERMANY - JULY 07: Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) talks to the US first lady Melania Trump (R) as they attend a state banquet in the Elbphilarmonie concert Hall on the first day of the G20 economic summit on July 7, 2017 in Hamburg, Germany. The G20 group of nations are meeting July 7-8 and major topics will include climate change and migration. . (Photo by Felipe Trueba - Pool / Getty Images)
HAMBURG, GERMANY - JULY 07: World leaders pose for a family photo during the G20 summit on July 7, 2017 in Hamburg, Germany. Leaders of the G20 group of nations are meeting for the July 7-8 summit. Topics high on the agenda for the summit include climate policy and development programs for African economies. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin talks to U.S. President Donald Trump during their bilateral meeting at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
German Chancellor Angela Merkel takes part in a family photo along with French President Emmanuel Macron, U.S.President Donald Trump, Indonesia's President Joko Widodo, Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto, South African President Jacob Zuma, Argentina's President Mauricio Macri, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Brazilian President Michel Temer, South Korea's President Moon Jae-in, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, European Council President Donald Tusk, European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, U.N. Secretary-general Antonio Guterres, Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Netherlands' Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Senegal's President Macky Sall, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Saudi Arabia Minister of State Ibrahim Abdulaziz Al-Assaf, Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Secretary Jose Angel Gurria, World Trade Organization (WTO) Director Roberto Azevedo, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde, International Labour Organization (ILO) Director Guy Ryder, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, Financial Stability Board (FSB) President Mark Carney and other leaders at the G20 leaders summit in Hamburg, Germany July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay
US President Donald Trump (R) and Russia's President Vladimir Putin shake hands during a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
French President Emmanuel Macron, U.S. President Donald Trump, Indonesia's President Joko Widodo, Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto, South African President Jacob Zuma, Argentina's President Mauricio Macri, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni and other leaders pose for a family photo at the G20 leaders summit in Hamburg, Germany July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay
US President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin hold a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin talks to Melania Trump during the official dinner at the Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall during the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Kay Nietfeld,Pool
US President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin hold a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (C-R) and Russia's President Vladimir Putin (C-L) hold a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (R) and Russia's President Vladimir Putin shake hands during a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
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Trump's decision to congratulate Putin on his victory prompted immediate criticism from Russia hawks in Congress like Arizona Sen. John McCain.

"An American president does not lead the free world by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections," he said in a statement.

"President Trump has 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," the statement continued.

On Sunday, Putin won more than 75% of the vote in Russia's presidential election, securing him at least another six years in power. There have been allegations of ballot-stuffing during the election, and election monitors were harassed and intimidated in the run-up to the vote.

Meanwhile, critics laid into Trump earlier this month for his lukewarm response to the nerve-agent attack on former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, both of whom are currently on life support. In response to the attack, the UK expelled 23 Russian diplomats — the biggest expulsion since the height of the Cold War — and leveled additional penalties on some Russians residing in the country.

Trump did not comment on the attack at first, a move that floored former diplomats who wondered why the US did not offer its immediate and unwavering support to its closest international ally. After multiple administration officials put out statements condemning Russia for the attack, the White House responded by imposing sanctions on Russia for the poisoning and its interference in the 2016 election.

Trump's decision Tuesday to ignore his advisers' guidance and congratulate Putin adds another layer to an emerging portrait in which the US president has demonstrated a reluctance to confront the Russian leader amid an ongoing investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow to tilt the 2016 election in his favor.

Rob Price contributed to this report.

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