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Trump entertains Russian hockey player and Putin ally in the White House

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US President Donald Trump (right) and Russia's President Vladimir Putin talk during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders' summit in the central Vietnamese city of Danang on November 11, 2017 (AFP Photo/JORGE SILVA)

It has only been a few short days since Attorney General Bill Barr released his summary of the special counsel’s report about Russia interference into the 2016 election, and President Donald Trump is already entertaining “prominent” Russians at the White House.

The Washington Capitals were honored at the White House for winning the 2018 Stanley Cup Championship. While some members of the team declined the visit due to values, some members still attended such as Alex Ovechkin.

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“Alex Ovechkin, the team’s Russian captain, and the National Hockey League’s most valuable player, who is also a vocal admirer and personal friend of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia,” a report from The Washington Post said.

Ovechkin’s connection to Putin has been questioned.

“Mr. Ovechkin had said he is an apolitical sports star. But questions about his connections to Mr. Putin, and whether he is a participant, knowingly or unknowingly, in a Kremlin propaganda machine, have swirled around his career. They peaked when Mr. Ovechkin announced last year the creation of a ‘civic movement’  that he branded online as #putinteam, ahead of Russia’s elections,” the report said.

The Times added that Ovechkin has his own relationship with Putin.

“Mr. Ovechkin, who received a wedding gift from Mr. Putin and reportedly has his personal phone number, insisted that the hashtag and the campaign were simply his own project, involving no input or signoff from Mr. Putin’s government. There were questions, however, about whether a public relations firm with Kremlin connections was involved,” the report said.

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However, the story noted that even with the strange optics of the day, the “great pressure” was relieved from Trump since Barr released his findings of the Mueller report.

Read the full report here.


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