Trump's call to Putin drew bruising criticism from members of his own party even before the revelation that he was advised against it.
The administration's posture fed the perception that, even as special counsel Robert Mueller has been investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, Trump is too infatuated with Putin to criticize him.
"I had a call with President Putin and congratulated him on the victory, his electoral victory", Trump said during his meeting with Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia. It was unclear if he read the memo.
"I think the reason that they picked the United Kingdom is very simple, it's because this is a country that does have that particular set of values, it does believe in freedom, and in democracy and in the rule of law, and has time and again called out Russian Federation over its abuses of those values".
Republican Senator John McCain even described President Putin as a dictator in one of his tweet, "An American president does not lead the Free World by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections".
Russian President Vladimir Putin won 76.69 percent of the votes in the presidential election on March 18 after all the ballots were counted, the Central Election Commission (CEC) said Friday. They also said there now is an internal probe of the leak but provided no other details. Many see Trump's congratulation to Putin as an endorsement of a rigged election system in Russian Federation. It did not indicate a date for the visit but reported that President Putin would continue to support the energy, oil, gas, and gold mining sectors in the African country.
Trump himself weighed in Wednesday afternoon on Twitter, arguing that getting along with Russian Federation "is a good thing" because Moscow can help solve problems with North Korea, Syria, Ukraine, the Islamic State, Iran and the arms race. The White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, later reinforced Trump's lack of interest, telling reporters it was not America's place to question how other countries conduct their elections.
Against that backdrop, it should come as no surprise that Trump has a soft spot for Putin, a former KGB agent.
Mr Trump's national security adviser, Herbert Raymond McMaster, is widely seen as likely to leave at some point, and Mr Kelly himself is said by Trump confidants to have tested the nerves of the President. According to accounts from the White House and the Kremlin, Trump did not do that either.
He also rejected the assertion by Russian Federation that it had nothing to do with the attack on Mr. Skripal and his daughter on March 4.
Trump's call came at a period of heightened tension after the White House imposed sanctions on Russian Federation for its interference in the 2016 USA election and other "malicious cyberattacks".
Trump's congratulation to Putin came not long after recent allegations of a cyber-attack by the Kremlin on the United States energy grid. Both Russia and Trump have time and again denied any "collusion".
Russian Federation says likening the 2018 World Cup, which it will host in the summer, to the 1936 Olympic Games held by Hitler's Nazi Germany is "completely disgusting" and "unacceptable", after top lawmakers in the British Parliament drew the comparison.