In an hour-long conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Donald trump condemned an Obama-era nuclear arms treaty between the U.S. and Russia, calling it a ‘bad deal’ for America.
The reported details of the call come from the latest leak to hit the Trump administration. The account is that of two U.S. officials and one former U.S. official “with knowledge of the call,” reports Reuters.
The treaty in question, known as New START, caps U.S. and Russian deployment of “strategic offensive arms,” including nuclear warheads. both nations have until February 2018 to comply with the restrictions.
Here are the limits under the treaty, per the U.S. State Department:
• 700 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), deployed submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and deployed heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments;
• 1,550 nuclear warheads on deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs, and deployed heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments (each such heavy bomber is counted as one warhead toward this limit);
• 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers, and heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments.
Reuters provides an account of Trump’s call with Putin based on information from the unnamed officials:
When Putin raised the possibility of extending the 2010 treaty, known as New START, Trump paused to ask his aides in an aside what the treaty was, these sources said.
Trump then told Putin the treaty was one of several bad deals negotiated by the Obama administration, saying that New START favored Russia. Trump also talked about his own popularity, the sources said.
The White House declined to comment. It referred Reuters to the official White House account issued after the Jan. 28 call, which did not mention the discussion about New START.
It has not been previously reported that Trump had conveyed his doubt about New START to Putin in the hour-long call.
During his confirmation hearings, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he supported the New START treaty and reiterated the importance of staying “engaged” with Russia.
The leaked details of the call sent Twitter into a frenzy:
— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) February 9, 2017
"The phone call with Putin has added to concerns that Trump is not adequately prepared for discussions with foreign leaders." – @Reuters
— David Gaffen (@davidgaffen) February 9, 2017
??!! "Trump did not receive a briefing from Russia experts w/ the NSC & intelligence agencies before the Putin call" https://t.co/PXTjVAw8K8
— Bianna Golodryga (@biannagolodryga) February 9, 2017