Trump Downplays Putin’s Role In U.S. Cyberattacks In An Interview On Russian State TV

On Wednesday night, Donald Trump spent an inordinate amount of effort in lavishing praise on Russian President Vladimir Putin during NBC’s Commander-In-Chief forum. He commended Putin’s “strong control” over Russia and called him more of a leader than President Obama. The next day, Trump’s claims were reinforced by his VP pick, Mike Pence, who heartily agreed how it’s “inarguable” that Putin is superior to Obama.

Matt Lauer displayed scant sentience during the NBC forum, but he did mention to Trump that Putin could be tasking hackers — who Trump encouraged — with infiltrating Democratic organizations throughout the United States. Trump then stated he’s thrilled when Putin calls him “brilliant,” and no one’s really sure if Putin is the boss of the hackers. Well, Trump phoned Larry King on Thursday for an interview on Kremlin-controlled TV. Yes, Larry King. On Russian State TV. King listened to Trump dole out shades of Russian propaganda. He wondered aloud if Trump believed the hacking was meant to hinder the Democratic nominee and aid Trump’s quest for the White House. And of course, Trump denied believing any of it:

“I think it’s probably unlikely. I think maybe the Democrats are putting that out. Who knows? But I think that it’s pretty unlikely … I don’t have any opinion on it. I don’t know anything about it. I don’t know who hacked. I’m not sure. You tell me. Who hacked? Who did the hacking?”

Wellll, the last handful of sentences sounds an awful lot like last summer’s discussion between Trump and a bewildered Don Lemon, who listened to his guest argue that Mexicans are drug dealers and rapists: “Somebody’s doing the raping, Don. The thing is women being raped, well, then who’s doing the raping?” At least Trump’s consistent in his speaking patterns.

Trump also denied having any opinion on Putin calling the DNC hack “a public good.” The real estate mogul also touched upon other subjects, including how he feels indifferent to Gary Johnson’s “Aleppo”-gate crisis. Trump isn’t interested in Johnson attending the general election debates, and he claims to want to only debate Clinton.

Naturally, the Republican nominee made mention of how the Iraq war was shameful, “Period. We should have never gone in.” Because this wouldn’t be a Trump talk if he didn’t try to pretend that he opposed the Iraq war from the get go. But no matter how many times he repeats himself, Trump did indeed support invading Iraq. Man, he’s so exhausting.

UPDATE: Trump now appears to claim (via Ira Goldman and Bloomberg’s Kevin Cirilli) that he never knew he’d be talking on Kremlin controlled TV and simply believed he’d be chatting with Larry King on a podcast. (No one has better excuses than Donald Trump…)

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