President Trump: 'Very Early' to Talk About Lifting Sanctions Against Russia

President Trump holds his first press conference since taking office.

ByAlexander Mallin
January 27, 2017, 1:47 PM

— -- President Trump told reporters at the White House on Friday that he believes it's still "very early" to be talking about lifting sanctions against Russia. His comments came a day ahead of a planned phone call between Trump and Russian President Putin on Saturday.

"As far as the sanctions, very early to be talking about that but we look to have a great relationship with all countries ideally," Trump said at a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May. "If we can have a great relationship with Russia and with China, and with all countries, I'm all for that."

The press conference is the first for President Trump since taking the oath of office one week ago, and his words could offer some reassurance to members of his own party who support maintaining sanctions against Russia.

Sen. John McCain, responding to comments by Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway on Friday that sanctions could be up for review, said he would urge Congress to codify sanctions against Russia into law if the administration were to make such a move.

President Trump said in the press conference, "I will be representing the American people very, very strongly, very forcefully," in dealings with Russia. "How the relationship works out, I won't be able to tell until later."

In other news that could help to calm any jitters among America's international allies, Prime Minister May said Trump privately indicated to her that he has a "100-percent" commitment to supporting NATO.

"We are united in our recognition of NATO as the bulwark of our collective defense and today we reconfirmed our unshakeable commitment to this alliance," May said. "Mr. President, I think you confirmed that you’re 100 percent behind NATO."

During his campaign for the presidency, Trump heaped criticism on the NATO alliance, calling it "obsolete."

According to May, Trump accepted a visit from Queen Elizabeth for a state visit to the U.K. "later this year."

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