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Trump Loves Putin and Mother Russia

• August 17, 2016 12:51 pm

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Donald Trump has a great fondness for Russia and Vladimir Putin, and he’s hardly been shy about discussing it during his presidential campaign.

He jokingly called on the Russians to find Hillary Clinton’s infamous missing 30,000 emails from her server, in light of what many suspect was a Russian hack of the Democratic National Committee last month.

But his praise predates the campaign.

"You look at Putin, who is absolutely having a great time," he said at a conservative summit in 2014. "Russia is like—I mean, they’re really hot stuff … I mean, what he’s done for Russia is really amazing, and he’s done it by outsmarting our country at every single step."

Trump has repeatedly said on the campaign trail "wouldn’t it be nice" if the U.S. got along with Russia, citing Moscow’s potential assistance in the war on the Islamic State terrorist organization.

"I think I’d get along very well with Vladimir Putin," Trump said in July.

Trump was particularly delighted when Putin reportedly called him "brilliant," although the Russian president later denied saying this.

"Why would I denounce him? For what?" Trump said during an Iowa rally in January.

In one of the only times during the primary season when Trump irked MSNBC’s Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough pushed back in December when the billionaire embraced Putin’s praise. When Scarborough pointed out Putin killed political opponents and journalists, Trump shrugged that "our country does plenty of killing" as well.

"When people call you brilliant, it’s always good, especially when the person heads up Russia," Trump said.

"Well, also it’s a person that kills journalists, political opponents and invades countries," host Joe Scarborough said. "Obviously, that would be a concern, would it not?"

"He’s running his country, and at least he’s a leader, you know, unlike what we have in this country," Trump said.

"Again, he kills journalists that don’t agree with him," Scarborough said.

"Well, I think our country does plenty of killing also, Joe, so, you know," Trump said. "There’s a lot of stupidity going on in the world right now, Joe. Lot of killing going on, a lot of stupidity, and that’s the way it is. But you didn’t ask me the question. You asked me a different question, so that’s fine."

He spoke similarly to Fox News host Howard Kurtz that same week:

KURTZ: Vladimir Putin bear hugged you, practically endorsed you, said you’re an outstanding–talented and welcoming your call for tighter and deeper relations with Russia. Could Putin’s praise signal to voters that you are not taking a tough enough towards Russia?

TRUMP: It could and you know, the smart people would say that’s a great thing. What do we need problems for? Obama and Putin don’t get along. What do we need problems for, Howie? He even called me brilliant. Isn’t that nice?

KURTZ: You said that was an honor.

TRUMP: Of course it’s an honor. Hey, I complement people sometimes, maybe sometimes you don’t mean it, but I think he meant it. I tell you what. What’s the purpose? I do feel that Russia, instead of being this group that we don’t talk to, we’re always–I think they can be used for the good. We want to knock out ISIS. They want to knock out ISIS as much as us. They’re knocking out airplanes that are Russian-owned airplanes.

Trump also has people with pro-Russian ties at key positions in his campaign. Campaign chairman Paul Manafort received millions in undisclosed cash payments from a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party for consulting work.

Trump’s knowledge of the situation with Russia and Ukraine is suspect, however. He insisted to ABC host George Stephanopoulos last month that Putin "was not going to go into Ukraine."

"You can mark it down, you can put it down, you can take it any way you want," Trump said.

"Well, he’s already there, isn’t he?" Stephanopoulos asked.

"Well, he’s there in a certain way, but I’m not there. You have Obama there," Trump said, suggesting any Putin aggression would be stopped by his leadership once he was president.

Published under: Donald Trump, Russia, Vladimir Putin