U.S. President Donald Trump doubled down on his appreciation for Russian President Vladimir Putin in an interview with Fox's Bill O'Reilly.
"I respect him. Well, I respect a lot of people, but that doesn’t mean I’ll get along with them," Trump told O'Reilly, in an excerpt of the interview published online by Fox ahead of its airing on Sunday.
When O'Reilly pressed him, saying that Putin is a killer, Trump responded by likening the Russian president's actions with those of the United States: "There are a lot of killers. We have a lot of killers. Well, you think our country is so innocent?”
Putin and his administration have been repeatedly accused of assassinating critical journalists and political dissidents.
As pointed out by the Washington Post, the Fox interview echoed an interview on NBC's Morning Joe in 2015, in which Trump was also pressed over his apparent favor for Putin.
“He kills journalists that don't agree with him,” the show's host, Joe Scarborough, said.
“Well, I think that our country does plenty of killing, too, Joe,” Trump said.
A U.S. intelligence assessment released last month accused Putin of "ordereding" a campaign to influence the U.S. presidential election to undermine faith in the democratic process and hurt Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton,
Putin and the Russian government favored Trump in the effort, which included the hacking of Democratic Party email servers and the release of documents to WikiLeaks, according to an unclassified version of the classified report provided to former U.S. President Barack Obama and Trump.
Before being briefed on the report, Trump had questioned the intelligence and has not made clear whether he now supports the findings.
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