11:59 GMT18 May 2021
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    US President Donald Trump said in an interview with CNBC that if his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin does not "work out," Trump "will be the worst enemy he's ever had."

    "Getting along with President Putin, getting along with Russia is a positive, not a negative," Trump told CNBC on Thursday. "Now with that being said, if that doesn’t work out, I’ll be the worst enemy he’s ever had, the worst he’s ever had."

    In the same interview, Trump slammed former US President Barack Obama for having been a "total patsy" for Russia. Trump emphasized he has been "far tougher on Russian than any president in many, many years."

    Trump also dismissed statements that he's somehow under Putin's influence, saying that he has urged German Chancellor Angela Merkel to recall her support for a new gas pipeline that would deliver gas from Russia to Germany across the Baltic Sea.

    "I said, wait a minute, we're supposed to be protecting you from Russia and you're paying them billions of dollars. What's that all about?"

    "Now, you think that's positive for Russia? I'm talking them [Germany] out of things that they [Russia] were given billions of dolars. It's ridiculous, by the way, that that's happening," Trump told CNBC.

    In an interview, the president also urged critics to "look at the sanctions I put on Russia."

    "Look at the diplomats I threw out," Trump added, referring to the US expulsion in March of 60 Russian diplomats who had been idetified by the US authorities as alleged intelligence officials after the Novichok contamination incident in Britain.

    On Monday, Trump and Putin held their first ever full-fledged meeting in Helsinki's presidential palace. The meeting lasted for nearly four hours, with a one-on-one discussion that lasted over two hours, followed by a dinner with the two leaders' advisers.

    Earlier on Thursday, Trump said he looks forward to his next meeting with Putin so the two leaders can begin to implement the ideas they discussed during their summit.

    Meanwhile, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Thursday that Trump had asked National Security Adviser John Bolton to invite Putin to visit the United States in the fall, and the consultations on the meeting have already started.

    The US president came under fire for downplaying the intelligence assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 election during a joint presser with Putin in Helsinki on Monday.

    The US intelligence community released a report in January 2017 which it concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

    Russian officials have repeatedly denied the allegations, noting that no evidence has been revealed to back up the claims. Moreover, Moscow said the allegations have been made up as an excuse for a candidate’s election loss and to deflect public opinion from actual instances of election fraud, corruption as well as other issues.


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    relations, Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, US
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