The White House said earlier this week that they would not be reaching out to congratulate Vladimir Putin on his election victory, which came in the wake of a suspected Russian attack on an ex-Russian spy in the United Kingdom using a military-grade nerve agent.
Trump said that he called Putin to congratulate him on winning his fourth term in office, and listed policy concerns that the two leaders meant to discuss in the future, including the "out of control" arms race.
"The call had to do also with the fact that we will probably get together in the not-too-distant future so that we can discuss the arms race", Trump continued.
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, March 20, 2018, in Washington.
A White House statement said the leaders discussed "the state of bilateral relations and resolved to continue dialogue about mutual national security priorities and challenges".
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian news agencies separately that Putin and Trump had not discussed the poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Britain. Trump also sided with several European leaders last week to condemn Russian Federation over the nerve agent attack in the United Kingdom.
Trump, who initiated the call, opened it with the congratulations for Putin, one person familiar with the conversation said. He complained in a documentary released online by Russian state television on March 7 - two weeks before the country's elections - that the USA was "unpredictable", though he called Trump a potential partner.
Trump said he also wants to discuss Ukraine, North Korea, and Syria with the Russian leader. John McCain, R-Ariz., who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee and has pressed the Trump administration to respond aggressively to Russia's interference in the US presidential election.
Senate Republicans from leader Mitch McConnell to John McCain are criticizing U.S. President Donald Trump for his call congratulating Russian President Vladimir Putin. "We will not allow for any sort of arms race", he said.