Asked about Putin, Trump notes U.S. is not ‘so innocent’

Asked whether he respects Russian president, Trump tells Fox News he does not know whether they will get along

Face masks depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President-elect Donald Trump hang for sale at a souvenir street shop in St.Petersburg, Russia, Friday, Dec. 23, 2016. (Dmitri Lovetsky/AP/CP)

Face masks depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President-elect Donald Trump hang for sale at a souvenir street shop in St.Petersburg, Russia, Friday, Dec. 23, 2016. (Dmitri Lovetsky/AP/CP)

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said he respects Vladimir Putin, and when an interviewer called the Russian leader “a killer,” Trump said the United States has many of them.

“What do you think? Our country’s so innocent,” he told Fox’s Bill O’Reilly in an excerpt released by the network. The president’s interview was to air Sunday afternoon on the Super Bowl pregame show.

Trump has long expressed a wish for better ties with Moscow, praised Putin and signalled that U.S.-Russia relations could be in line for a makeover, even after U.S. intelligence agencies determined that Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign to help Trump win against Democrat Hillary Clinton. Putin has called Trump a “very bright and talented man.”

During Putin’s years in power, a number of prominent Russian opposition figures and journalists have been killed.

In the interview, Trump says, “I do respect him,” and then is asked why.

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“I respect a lot of people, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to get along with him. He’s a leader of his country. I say it’s better to get along with Russia than not. And if Russia helps us in the fight against ISIS, which is a major fight, and Islamic terrorism all over the world – that’s a good thing,” Trump said, using an acronym for the Islamic State group. “Will I get along with him? I have no idea.”

O’Reilly then said about Putin: “But he’s a killer, though. Putin’s a killer.”

Trump responded: “There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think? Our country’s so innocent?”

In the excerpt released by Fox, Trump did not cite specific U.S actions. It was not clear whether he expanded on the comment or added context later in the interview.

The Senate’s top Republican, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, distanced himself from the president.

“Putin’s a former KGB agent. He’s a thug. He was not elected in a way that most people would consider a credible election. The Russians annexed Crimea, invaded Ukraine and messed around in our elections. And no, I don’t think there’s any equivalency between the way the Russians conduct themselves and the way the United States does,” McConnell told CNN’s “State of the Union.”

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While saying he would not critique “every utterance” by Trump, McConnell said he thinks “America’s exceptional, America is different, we don’t operate in any way the way the Russians do. I think there’s a clear distinction here that all Americans understand, and no, I would not have characterized it that way.”

“I obviously don’t see this issue the same way he does.”

Vice-President Mike Pence on Sunday denied that Trump’s comments were a false equivalency between Putin’s actions and those of US leaders, adding that Trump was trying to reset the U.S. relationship with Russia, as he promised in the campaign.

“If we were able to work with Russia to hunt down and destroy ISIS and confront radical Islamic terrorism, that would be a good thing,” Pence said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” ”What you have in President Trump is someone who is not going to look in the rearview mirror so much as looking out the windshield.“

The Trump administration on Thursday revised recent U.S. sanctions that had unintentionally prevented American companies from exporting certain consumer electronic products to Russia. The change allows companies to deal with Russia’s security service, which licenses such exports under Russian law.

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The products were not intended to be covered by the sanctions the Obama administration imposed on Dec. 29 after U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russia interfered in the presidential election. The White House denied it was easing sanctions.

Also last week, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley condemned Russia’s “aggressive actions” in eastern Ukraine and warned Moscow that U.S. sanctions imposed after its annexation of Crimea will remain until the peninsula is returned to Ukraine.

But she tempered her criticism, saying it was “unfortunate” that she had to condemn Russia in her first appearance at the U.N. Security Council.

“We do want to better our relations with Russia,” Haley said.


Asked about Putin, Trump notes U.S. is not ‘so innocent’

  1. First thing Trump has said that’s true.

    • In 2016, 26,171 bombs were dropped by Obama (winner of the Nobel peace prize) in the 7 Muslim countries that are currently under a temporary US travel ban. Where was the msm outrage when the bombs were being dropped?

      • Where was your mind when you wrote that post?

      • Records show those seven countries have a lot of terrorists or their governments are unable to control the terrorist groups in them. The U.S. has had a program for years of targeting Al Qaeda and ISIS leaders using drones. That is part of their war on terrorism.

        The Vietnam war and the Iraq war were big mistakes, costing millions of lives. I understand why the U.S. entered these wars. In the case of Vietnam it was the fear of spreading Communism. In Iraq it was based on a false report of weapons of mass destruction. I also think of the thousands of people that are killed every year by guns in the U.S.

        Nevertheless, the U.S. is still one of the most democratic countries in the world where human rights are respected. The same cannot be said of Russia. Trump is expressing himself off the cuff. He is not perfect but I agree with his main policies.
        Would you agree Emilyone?