President Donald Trump has once again come to the defense of Russian President Vladimir Putin in a new interview with Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly, saying he respects the Russian leader.
“I do respect him … I respect a lot of people but that doesn’t mean I’m going to get along with him,” Trump said during an interview which is scheduled to air Sunday afternoon before the Super Bowl.
“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. Will I get along with him? I have no idea.”
O’Reilly pressed Trump, saying, “But he’s a killer though. Putin’s a killer.”
“There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What, you think our country is so innocent?” Trump responded.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) February 4, 2017
Trump’s defense of the Russian President comes a day after one of his fiercest critics was hospitalized after suffering sudden organ failure, the BBC reports.
Opposition activist and journalist Vladimir Kara-Murza was put on life support in a medically induced coma, according to his wife. This weeks hospitalization is nearly identical to that of an incident in 2015, when Kara-Murza almost died from sudden kidney failure.
Tests later determined that the kidney failure had been caused by a poisonous substance.
The Hill adds:
[quote style”2″]Vladimir Kara-Murza, a coordinator for the pro-democracy group Open Russia, was a close associate of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, who was murdered in 2015. At the time, Nemtsov was allegedly working on a report detailing the Kremlin’s role in supplying weapons to Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Kara-Murza posted a tribute to Nemtsov on Facebook, showing a dozen roses placed on the bridge where the opposition leader was killed. “We’re here. We remember,” the post says.
In the U.S., Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) called Kara-Murza’s hospitalization a “test for the Trump administration,” and urged President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to speak out on the issue.
He also suggested that the activist’s sudden organ failure may have been the result of a deliberate attack.
“We do not know the details on the cause for this most recent health issue, but it appears to be part of an alarming trend where Russian political opposition are targeted for their work,” Cardin said in a statement.[/quote]