State Dept. says Putin re-election 'no surprise'
WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. State Department says it's "no surprise" that Russian President Vladimir Putin was re-elected.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert says some people in Russia were paid to turn out to vote. She says opposition leaders were intimidated or jailed.
Nauert is citing a preliminary report by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe that says Russia's election took place in an overly controlled environment that lacked an even playing field for all contenders. She says the U.S. has every reason to believe that report is correct.
Nauert's comments are notably tougher on Russia than those of the White House. President Donald Trump is being criticized by Sen. John McCain and others for calling Putin on Tuesday to congratulate him for his re-election.