President Trump phones Russian President Putin, other world leaders

President Trump phones Russian President Putin, other world leaders

President Donald Trump is spending his Saturday holding a series of phone calls with world leaders, including a much-anticipated phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The series of calls follows a week of dramatic action from Trump's new administration, mostly initiated through executive orders that have sent signals both at home and abroad that the new president aims to make dramatic changes to longstanding U.S. policies.

A prime example is the executive order putting an indefinite halt to 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 borne the brunt of the refugee crisis in the Middle East.

Trump has in the past publicly criticized Merkel's decision to welcome refugees as an "open borders" policy that invites the potential for terrorism.

The president also held a call with Putin on Saturday afternoon as the president faces pressure from his own party not to lift existing sanctions against Russia. 

Trump said in a press conference Friday it was still too "early" for him to decide whether to remove the sanctions, though he said -- as he has previously -- that it would be beneficial for the U.S. and Russia to have a friendlier relationship. 

 Other world leaders to whom Trump is reaching out Saturday include 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.

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