Donald Trump is very bad at making the case that he's not Russia's favored candidate in the 2016 U.S. election.
It's not just the fact that he publicly called for Russia to hack into and obtain the emails Hillary Clinton deleted from her private email server. No, Trump actually said something else at his bizarre, fact-challenged news conference Wednesday that could bring a smile to Russian President Vladimir Putin's face.
Here's the exchange, via a transcript:Mark Hensch reports at The Hill:QUESTION: I would like to know if you became president, would you recognize (inaudible) Crimea as Russian territory? And also if the U.S. would lift sanctions that are (inaudible)?
TRUMP: We'll be looking at that. Yeah, we'll be looking.
GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump says Russian leader Vladimir Putin is "doing a better job" than President Obama.
“I said he’s a better leader than Obama because Obama’s not a leader,” Trump said in an interview aired Thursday on Fox News’s “Fox & Friends." "He’s certainly doing a better job than Obama is, that’s all.”Josh Rogin writes at The Washington Post:
In their zeal to portray Donald Trump as a dangerous threat to national security, the Clinton campaign has taken a starkly anti-Russian stance, one that completes a total role reversal for the two major American parties on U.S.-Russian relations that Hillary Clinton will now be committed to, if she becomes president.
The side switching between the parties on Russia is the result of two converging trends. U.S.-Russian relations have gone downhill since Russian President Vladimir Putin came back to power in 2012, torpedoing the Obama administration’s first term outreach to Moscow, which Clinton led. Then, in the past year, Trump’s Russia-friendly policy has filled the pro-engagement space that Democrats once occupied.
And now, for mostly political reasons, the Clinton campaign has decided to escalate its rhetoric on Russia. After Trump suggested Wednesday that if Russia had indeed hacked Clinton’s private email server it should release the emails, the Clinton campaign sent out its Democratic surrogates to bash Russia and Trump in a manner traditionally reserved for Republicans.Caroline Kelly writes at Politico:
For Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe, not only do Donald “Trump's "jokes" about Russia amount to "inviting an adversary to wage cyberwar against the U.S.," but they also "appear to violate the Logan Act and might even constitute treason,” he tweeted Thursday.Russ Choma reports at Mother Jones:
On Wednesday, Donald Trump angrily told reporters that he had no connection to Russian President Vladimir Putin. "I have nothing to do with Putin," he said. "I've never spoken to him. I don't know anything about him other than he will respect me."
But those comments contradict what he said in 2014, when he spoke at an event at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. During this appearance, he discussed US-Russian relations and claimed that he had talked to Putin during a recent visit to Moscow, where Trump held his Miss Universe pageant. Here's what Trump told the Press Club audience:Russia does not respect our country any longer. They see we've been greatly weakened, both militarily and otherwise, and he certainly does not respect President Obama. So what I would do—as an example, I own Miss Universe, I was in Russia, I was in Moscow recently and I spoke, indirectly and directly, with President Putin, who could not have been nicer, and we had a tremendous success. The show was live from Moscow and we had tremendous success there and it was amazing, but to do well, you have to get the other side to respect you, and he does not respect our president, which is very sad.