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White House Denies Report Trump Was Unaware Of U.S.-Russia Nuclear Pact

U.S. President Donald Trump speaking on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The White House denied a report on February 9 that President Donald Trump was unaware of a U.S.-Russia nuclear arms treaty during his first phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Reuters reported that Trump paused during the January 28 call to ask aides what the New START treaty was.

But White House press secretary Sean Spicer said that Trump was aware of the treaty that was forged during the Obama administration and paused because he was "seeking an opinion" from advisers.

Reuters also reported that Trump denounced the treaty during the call, saying it was a bad deal for the United States, although Putin suggested extending it for five years.

As a candidate, Trump was critical of the 2010 agreement. The treaty limits both countries' nuclear arsenals to no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads. It is set to expire in 2021.

Trump in December said the United States should "greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability" until the rest of the world "comes to its senses" regarding nuclear weapons. The remark came the same day Putin said Russia's chief military objective this year should be strengthening its nuclear capabilities.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters