>> Let it be an arms race. President Elect Donald Trump mincing no words with MSNBC Friday in what could be his first standoff with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the most high stakes topic of them all, nuclear arms. It started with Trump's tweet Thursday calling for greatly expanding and strengthening America's nuclear arsenal.
That coming hours after Putin said his country needs to strengthen the military potential of strategic nuclear forces in the off camera phone call with MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski, Trump, without referring directly to Russia, said the U.S. "will out match them at every pass and outlast them all." Andy Sullivan is following the story.
>> What Trump's proposing here, would reverse decades of US policy, under Republican and Democratic administrations, where the United States has been trying to decrease the number of weapons it has, not increase them.>> Putin in his yearly news conference Friday played down talk of any Cold-War-like nuclear stalemate with the US.
Stressing he does not consider the US a threat, but also saying the Russian military is stronger than any potential aggressor. Later Friday, Trump's transition team releasing a letter they say Putin sent Trump on December 15th expressing a desire to work together. With a statement from Trump saying he hopes both sides are quote, able to live up to these thoughts and do not have to travel an alternate path.
>> Trump's aides are scrambling to diffuse the damage here. His newly minted communications director, Jason Miller, is saying that he wasn't talking about taking on Russia or China. He's really talking about going after terrorists. I think this is a dynamic we're gonna be seeing in the months ahead.
Trump says something provocative. His aides scramble to put it in context. Markets bounce around. People around the world are freaked out.>> While Putin did also praise Trump's understanding of the American electorate Friday. It's still a much different tone between the two leaders than during the campaign. When Democrats often attack Trump for being too close to Putin, and allegations swirled that Putin backed hackers purposefully leaked information damaging to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.