President Donald Trump claimed Wednesday that his Russian counterpart would rather see Hillary Clinton as president.
Russian President Vladimir Putin “would like Hillary” because she would lead a weak military and energy prices would increase under her administration, Trump told CBN founder Pat Robertson in an interview set to air in full Thursday morning on “The 700 Club.”
“There are many things that I do that are the exact opposite of what he would want. So what I keep hearing about that he would have rather had Trump, I think ‘probably not,’ because when I want a strong military, you know she wouldn’t have spent the money on military,” Trump said. “When I want tremendous energy, we’re opening up coal, we’re opening up natural gas, we’re opening up fracking, all the things that he would hate, but nobody ever mentions that.”
Trump praised America as the most powerful country in the world and argued that it’s only getting stronger “because I’m a big military person.” Had Clinton won, he said, “our military would be decimated” and “our energy would be much more expensive.”
“That’s what Putin doesn’t like about me,” Trump said.
That’s also why the president said he questions why Putin would want him elected over Clinton, as the U.S. intelligence community has concluded.
“He wants what’s good for Russia, and I want what’s good for the United States,” Trump said. “From Day one I wanted a strong military. He doesn’t want to see that. ”
Robertson interviewed Trump on camera at the White House on Wednesday morning, putting the president in public view for the first time since his return from the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, last weekend. Trump has had very few events on his schedule since returning to Washington, D.C., on Saturday.
The interview also comes after Trump Wednesday morning broke his silence on his son, Donald Trump Jr., who’s been ensnared in the Russia story that has dominated his father’s presidency. The New York Times revealed over the weekend that Trump Jr. met last year with a Russian government lawyer promising dirt on Clinton.
Emails Trump Jr. released Tuesday show that the intermediary who set up the meeting had told him it could yield “very high level and sensitive information” about Clinton in what was described to him as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
Nevertheless, the president called it “the greatest Witch Hunt in political history” in a Wednesday morning tweet that said his son was “was open, transparent and innocent.”
The Trump Jr. revelations have dominated Washington since Trump’s return from Germany, where he met for more than two hours with Putin last week.
“Everyone was surprised by the amount of time but that was a good thing and not a bad thing,” Trump said of what he described as an “excellent meeting.” “Yeah, I think we get along very well and I think that’s a good thing. That’s not a bad thing.”
The president criticized skeptics who said he shouldn’t get along with Putin, asking, “Well, who are the people that are saying that?”
“I think we get along very, very well,” he continued. “We are a tremendously powerful nuclear power, and so are they. It doesn’t make sense not to have some kind of a relationship.”
That relationship resulted in an agreement for a ceasefire in parts of Syria “where there was tremendous bedlam and tremendous killing,” Trump said, noting that it’s held for four days, unlike previous ceasefires.
“Those ceasefires haven’t held at all. That’s because President Putin and President Trump made the deal, and it’s held,” he said. “Now, I don’t know what’s going to happen. Maybe as we’re speaking they start shooting again. But this has held unlike all of the other ceasefires that didn’t mean anything.”
Trump tweeted Sunday that he had also “strongly pressed” Putin on Moscow’s election meddling, which he said the Russian leader denied. He also declared Sunday that it was “time to move forward in working constructively with Russia!”
“I do believe it’s important to have a dialogue and if you don’t have a dialogue, it’s a lot of problems for our country and for their country,” Trump told Robertson. “I think we need dialogue. We need dialogue with everybody.”