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Trump calls for Russia’s reinstatement as a major ally, adding to tensions as he heads to G-7 summit

President+Donald+Trump+joins+in+clapping+as+he+basks+in+the+applause+at+a+Make+America+Great+Again+rally+at+the+Covelli+Centre+in+Youngstown%2C+Ohio%2C+on+July+25%2C+2017.+
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Trump calls for Russia’s reinstatement as a major ally, adding to tensions as he heads to G-7 summit

President Donald Trump joins in clapping as he basks in the applause at a Make America Great Again rally at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown, Ohio, on July 25, 2017.

President Donald Trump joins in clapping as he basks in the applause at a Make America Great Again rally at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown, Ohio, on July 25, 2017.

Mike Cardew/Akron Beacon Journal/TNS

President Donald Trump joins in clapping as he basks in the applause at a Make America Great Again rally at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown, Ohio, on July 25, 2017.

Mike Cardew/Akron Beacon Journal/TNS

Mike Cardew/Akron Beacon Journal/TNS

President Donald Trump joins in clapping as he basks in the applause at a Make America Great Again rally at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown, Ohio, on July 25, 2017.

By Eli Stokols, L.A. Times, Tribune Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON – Amid an escalating confrontation with American allies, President Donald Trump said Friday that Russia should be reinstated into the Group of Seven nations as he left the White House to attend the summit of the major economic powers in Canada.

“Now I love our country. I have been Russia’s worst nightmare,” Trump told reporters on the South Lawn before departing for Joint Base Andrews for the flight to Quebec. “But with that being said, Russia should be in this meeting. Why are we having a meeting without Russia being in the meeting?”

Russia was expelled from the G-7 after Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and actions to otherwise destabilize Ukraine.

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Subsequently, U.S. intelligence concluded it has interfered in the 2016 presidential election cycle, and Trump’s campaign is currently under criminal investigation for possible collusion with Russia.

The president’s comment is certain to further strain relations between the U.S. and its closest allies, many of whom have taken a more confrontational public posture toward Trump in recent days after his decision to impose steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada, Mexico and the European Union.

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