But sources say the tide has changed since Putin revealed Russian Federation had the potential to hit the US with nuclear-capable weapons.
The official White House readout of the Putin call didn't mention such tensions, simply saying the pair "discussed the state of bilateral relations", and Trump himself described the encounter as "very good".
"With its regrettable, unwarranted decision today, it is clear that Russian Federation is not interested in dialogue about issues that matter to our two countries", Heather Nauert, the State Department's spokeswoman, said on Twitter Thursday of the expulsions.
Though Putin mentioned several weapons, including nuclear-propelled cruise missiles that have unlimited range, U.S. officials reportedly said that some of the weapons had failed during the testing process and were not yet operational.
"You have failed to contain Russia", Putin added.
Trump reportedly went on to say that he hoped Putin's presentation on Russia's new nuclear weapons, allegedly capable of evading a US -built missile shield, was election rhetoric, while touting his recently-secured record $700 billion defense budget. But Putin's unveiling of a new arsenal of nuclear weapons earlier this month apparently "got under the president's skin", an unnamed official told NBC, and he brought up such frustrations.
Trump also reportedly asked his staffers to keep his policy moves regarding Russian Federation under wraps.
One White House official told NBC News that Trump doesn't want too much public criticism of the Kremlin from the White House. "It is not something he wants to talk about". According to the officials, Trump believed that Putin would be agitated by the moves, NBC reported.