Trump tried to blame Obama and then claimed that China meddled in the election when he was asked about Russia during the 60 Minutes interview.
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) October 15, 2018
Stahl: Okay, people don’t understand why you never have a harsh word for Vladimir Putin.
Trump: Okay, you ready?
Stahl: I don’t understand it.
Trump: I have been– you don’t know what I talked about with Putin in the meeting prior to the press conference–
Stahl: No, I mean publicly. You never say anything harsh about him publicly.
Trump: Excuse me, I didn’t? I’m the one that gave Ukraine offensive weapons and tank killers. Obama didn’t. You know what he sent? He sent pillows and blankets. I’m the one– and he’s the one that gave away a part of Ukraine where Russia now has this–
Stahl: Well, I mean him personally, Vladimir Putin–
Trump: I think I’m very tough with him personally. I had a meeting with him. The two of us. It was a very tough meeting and it was a very good meeting.
Stahl: Do you agree that Vladimir Putin is involved in assassinations? In poisonings?
Trump: Probably he is, yeah. Probably. I mean, I don’t–
Trump: Probably, but I rely on them, it’s not in our country.
Stahl: Why not– they shouldn’t do it. This is a terrible thing.
Trump: Of course they shouldn’t do it.
Stahl: Instead, do you believe–
Trump: That’s your–
Stahl: –Do you believe that the Russians interfered in the 2016 campaign election? Our election–
Trump: They– they meddled. But I think China meddled, too.
Stahl: But why do you–
Trump: And I think other countries–
Stahl: –Say China meddled, too?
Trump: And you want to know something?
Stahl: Why do you say chi– why don’t you just say the Russians meddled?
Trump: Well, let me ask you– because I think China meddled also. And I think, frankly, China–
Stahl: This is amazing.
Trump: –Is a bigger problem.
Stahl: You are diverting the whole Russian thing.
Trump: I’m not doing anything.
Stahl: You are, you are–
Trump: I’m saying Russia, but I’m also saying China.
Trump can’t handle questions about Russia
That was a long transcript, but it is important to see in writing how Trump blames, distracts, and deflects when the subject of Russia comes up. Trump first blamed Obama when he was asked why he hasn’t said anything publicly critical of Putin. He followed that by refusing to clearly state and condemn Putin’s involvement in assassinations, and he closed by casting doubt on Russia’s involvement in attacking the 2016 election by blaming China.
Trump went into full crack-up mode and never gave a straight answer on Russia. Trump is hiding something, and the 60 Minutes interview only made him look more guilty.
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Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association