Putin slashing number of US diplomatic staff in Russia

A U.S. State Department official called Russian President Vladimir Putin's assertion that the U.S. must cut the size of its diplomatic force in Russia by more than half a "regrettable and uncalled for act."
1:58 | 07/31/17

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Transcript for Putin slashing number of US diplomatic staff in Russia
Martha, thanks very much. The white house facing escalating tensions with Russia. President Putin responded by forcing drastic reductions in U.S. Embassy staff. Cecilia Vega has the latest on that. Putin is retaliating even before president trump has signed the sanctions legislation. Reporter: Yeah, this is a direct retaliation for those sanctions, George. Vladimir Putin appeared on Russian state TV yesterday to say that there will be an expunges of hundreds of U.S. Diplomatic personnel in that country. We're talking about more than 700 people here. That would cut the staff down to just 455 people. That's the same number of Russian personnel working in this country. Moscow also seized two U.S. Diplomatic properties in Russia. Russia is saying, hey look, we will respond in kind here. Now, we know that these sanctions were payback for Russia's election meddling and we know that the president had not been happy about it. He had been critical about this legislation but he is expected to sign it at some point soon. A. Fresh start at the white house. The new chief of staff, John Kelly, being sworn in at the white house after the president fired reince Priebus late Friday afternoon. Reporter: WHA a week it was, George. Yes, John Kelly gets sworn in this morning and is expected to attend his first cabinet meeting. Can the new chief of staff be the one to bring some calm to the chaos that is still enveloping this west wing. We know the president has enraged by the leaks and the embattled attorney general expected to take action on that this week. Reporter: Exactly right, George. Jeff sessions has an active investigation into leaks. We are told that we could hear a result, at least an update on that investigation at some point soon, but look, we know this is going to also be one of task number one for John Kelly coming in looking into the problem of leaks here in Washington, specifically to this white house, George. Thank you, Cecilia. Let's get more from Matthew dowd.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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