Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton said opponent Donald Trump’s rhetoric toward Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, raises concerns about national security, while Trump again left open the possibility of recognizing Crimea as Russian territory and lifting related sanctions.
Clinton pointed to Trump’s comments in recent days apparently encouraging the Russian government to hack into her deleted private emails as well as the remarks about Crimea and sanctions. Trump later said that his comments calling on Russia to unearth the Clinton emails were just sarcasm.
Trump has “shown a very troubling willingness to back up Putin,” Clinton said in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.”
“I think laying out the facts raises issues about Russian interference in our elections, in our democracy,” Clinton said. “We would not tolerate that from any other country, particularly one with whom we have adversarial positions. And for Trump to both encourage that and to praise Putin despite what appears to be a deliberate effort to try to affect the election, I think, raises national security issues.”
Appearing on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, Trump said he had “no relationship” with Russia, contradicting past statements.
“You did say on three different occasions you had a relationship with him. Now you say there is not,” said George Stephanopoulos, host of ABC’s “This Week,” referring to Putin.
Trump answered, “Well, I don’t know what it means by having a relationship. I mean he was saying very good things about me, but I don’t have a relationship with him.” He again said Putin had called him a “genius,” a claim that received Four Pinocchios from The Washington Post Fact Checker.
Trump said he is looking at recognizing Crimea as Russian territory.
“I’m going to take a look at it. But, you know, the people of Crimea, from what I’ve heard, would rather be with Russia than where they were. And you have to look at that, also,” Trump said. “Just so you understand, that was done under Obama’s administration. And as far as the Ukraine is concerned, it’s a mess. And that’s under the Obama’s administration, with his strong ties to NATO….Don’t blame Donald Trump for that.”
This article was written by Michelle Ye Hee Lee from The Washington Post and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.