Trump Says Putin Would Have Preferred Hillary Clinton as President

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President Putin and President Trump meeting in Hamburg, Germany.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and U.S. President Donald Trump meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017.Credit: Evan Vucci/AP

President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that his lengthy meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit was a good sign and showed the two countries can work together on issues like the cease-fire in Syria where they share interests.

In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Trump said: "I think we get along very, very well. We are a tremendously powerful nuclear power, and so are they. It doesn't make sense not to have some kind of relationship."

The U.S. leader also took a dig at his Democratic presidential rival, Hillary Clinton, saying Putin would have been much happier with her as president because she wouldn't have spent as much on the U.S. military as he plans to.

In other developments related to U.S.-Russian relations, Trump's pick to head the FBI, Christopher Wray said on Wednesday that he would refuse to pledge loyalty to Trump and rejected the president's description of the probe into Russian election meddling as a "witch hunt."

Wray, who seems headed for U.S. Senate approval to fill the 10-year post, testified during a 4 1/2-hour hour Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing amid an uproar in Washington over 2016 emails released on Tuesday involving the president's son, Donald Trump Jr.

The emails showed the Republican president's son agreeing last year to meet a woman he was told was a Russian government lawyer who might have damaging information about Hillary Clinton as part of Moscow's official support for his father. Wray deflected specific questions from Republican Senator Lindsey Graham about the president's son's emails, saying he had not read them. But Wray added: "Any threats or effort to interfere with our election from any nation-state or any non-state actor is the kind of thing the FBI would want to know."

The Russia matter has dogged Trump's first six months in office. Wray said he had no reason to doubt the U.S. intelligence community's conclusion that Russia interfered in part by hacking and releasing emails damaging to Clinton, a claim Moscow denies.

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