In the latest leak in the Trump administration, it was revealed that President Donald Trump and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin had an hour long conversation. The two discussed the “New START” treaty that was implemented by the Obama administration.
The treaty, in a nutshell, consists of caps for the U.S. and Russian’s deployment of nuclear warheads. In what was reported to someone with “knowledge” close to the two parties, Trump called the treaty a “bad deal for the United States.” The conversation marks the first time Trump spoke to Putin as president.
Trump, who had conveyed concerns about the treaty previously before the conversation, stated in the 2016 election that Russia has “outsmarted” America by receiving the better end of the deal.
The treaty pushes for nuclear disarmament, and by February 2018, the two countries must have no more than 1,500 nuclear weapons which would mark the lowest arsenal in over a decade. The treaty also outlines the possibility of nuclear submarines and land-based missile silos, according to Reuters.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson supported the treaty and echoed that Russia and America need to keep their diplomacy. America needs to “stay engaged with Russia, hold them accountable to commitments made under the New START and also ensure our accountability as well,” he said during confirmation hearings.
The alleged person that leaked the transcripts to the press was briefed by administrative officials. The “New Start” treaty can be extended to 2021 if the two leaders choose to do so. If the two choose to null and void the treaty, it could be the start of a new arms race, an idea that Trump has reportedly welcomed.
The conversation capped off with Trump denouncing the Obama administration for not making a more positive deal for America. The White House declined to comment on the alleged phone conversation.
The leak has created hysteria among social media as the possibility of a nuclear arms race became more plausible. It’s currently unclear if the treaty will be restructured or if it will just be thrown out entirely.