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Balance of Power: Dialing Moscow

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It was the call the Kremlin had been asking for.

When Vladimir Putin talked with Donald Trump Tuesday, the two leaders tried to move past the tensions triggered by last month's U.S. missile strike on Russia's ally Syria.

The White House called the conversation “very good.” The Kremlin praised its “constructive” tone. Though short on specifics, the readouts were in stark contrast to the chill visible earlier in the day when Putin met with Angela Merkel and tensions over the Ukraine conflict were on open display.

For Putin, the improved mood music with Washington is important. He's looking for a foreign policy win as low oil prices drag down his domestic economy. His diplomatic drive continues today when he meets Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with the Kremlin needing Turkish help to make a Russian-brokered cease fire in Syria stick.

But what Putin really needs are warm words from Trump to keep hopes alive that the Russian leader might get a chance to break out of his isolation. Unfortunately for him, the outlook in Washington for rapprochement with Russia doesn't seem likely to improve soon, with a new round of hearings coming on Capitol Hill into alleged election meddling by Moscow.

SOCHI, RUSSIA - MAY 2, 2017: Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel ahead of a joint news conference following their talks at Bocharov Ruchei residence. Mikhail Metzel/TASS (Photo by Mikhail Metzel\TASS via Getty Images)

Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel ahead of a joint news conference in Sochi on May 2, 2017.

Photographer: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

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Hillary Clinton cites misogyny as one reason for loss | Clinton said in New York Tuesday that she takes full responsibility for her failed presidential campaign -- but that misogyny, Russian hacking and FBI Director James Comey’s last-minute intervention played roles in her defeat. “If the election were on Oct. 27, I would be your president,” Clinton said.

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And finally... Trump's tweet storms don't shake up the foreign exchange markets as much as you might think. But when they do, it's time to get on board. That's the conclusion of a Deutsche Bank study, which says that when a currency moves by a least a quarter of a percent on his tweets, it keeps going in that direction for at least 12 hours. And that's a lifetime in the world of financial markets.

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