— -- President Donald Trump spent his Saturday holding a series of phone calls with world leaders, including a much-anticipated call with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The president's conversation with Putin on Saturday afternoon came a day after Trump said in a press conference that it was too "early" to decide whether to remove U.S. sanctions against Russia, though he also said, as he did previously, that it would be beneficial for the U.S. and Russia to have a friendlier relationship. Trump faces pressure from his own party against lifting the sanctions.
According to a readout from the Kremlin after Saturday's call, Trump and Putin's conversation "underlined the importance of restoring mutually profitable trade and economic connections between the business circles of the two countries."
The Kremlin also said Trump and Putin discussed many international issues, including the Middle East, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, nuclear nonproliferation, the Iran nuclear program, North Korea and the Ukraine crisis.
"Both sides demonstrated a disposition toward active joint work for the stabilization and development of Russian-American collaboration on a constructive, equal and mutually beneficial basis," the Kremlin said.
The Kremlin said the two leaders agreed on a need to "unify efforts" against the "destruction of ISIS and other terrorist groups in Syria."
Trump has repeatedly suggested the possibility of partnering with Putin in Syria, although this has sparked concern among both Democrats and Republicans because of Russia's support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's attacks against civilians in that country's civil war.
The president's phone conversations with foreign leaders followed a week of dramatic action by his new administration, mostly initiated through executive orders and memorandums that have sent signals at home and abroad that he aims to make dramatic changes to long-standing U.S. policies.
A prime example is the executive order indefinitely halting the Syrian refugee program, along with a four-month suspension of all refugees being admitted to the U.S. That order is sure to cause rifts in the relationship with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country has accepted large numbers of refugees from the Middle East.
Trump in the past publicly criticized Merkel's decision to welcome refugees as an open borders policy that invites the potential for terrorism.
Trump also spoke on Saturday with Merkel, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, French President Francois Hollande and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
After the phone conversation with Abe, Trump spokesman Sean Spicer tweeted that the president invited the Japanese leader to a meeting at the White House on Feb. 10.
According to a readout from the White House, Abe and Trump discussed the threat from North Korea and "deepening" the trade relationship between Japan and the U.S., just days after Trump's announcement that the U.S. was withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.