In an interview with CBS Evening News at his golf club in Turnberry, Scotland, President Trump spoke with anchor Jeff Glor about his upcoming summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. An excerpt from the interview was shared on “Face the Nation” this morning and covered Trump’s expectations on the meeting, how the Mueller investigation harms US-Russian relations, FBI agent Peter Strzok being a disgrace and the European Union is a foe.
When asked what his goals for the summit are, Donald Trump replied, “I’ll let you know after the meeting” and promised “nothing bad” would come of the meeting.
Asked by CBS if he would approach Putin with the same directness he approached the conversation with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg last week, Trump spoke briefly about his expectations of the meeting before pivoting to the “witch hunt”.
“I don’t expect anything. I frankly don’t expect — I go in with very low expectations. I think that getting along with Russia is a good thing. But it’s possible we won’t. I think we’re greatly hampered by this whole witch hunt that’s going on in the United States. The Russian witch hunt. The — the rigged situation. “
He then spent some time talking about the testimony of FBI agents Peter Strzok before the House Intelligence Committee.
“I watch some of the testimony, even though I’m in Europe, of Strzok. And I thought it was a disgrace to our country. I thought it was an absolute disgrace. Where he wants to do things against me before I was even, I guess before I was even the candidate. It was a disgrace. And then he lied about it. And you know, talking about shutting it down and ‘we, we.’ And he says ‘oh I meant the American people’ all of a sudden you know, he came up with excuses. I guess given to a lawyer, but everybody laughed at it. He was a disgrace to our country. He was a disgrace to the FBI.”
The CBS anchor asked if the President will ask Putin to hand over the recently indicted Russian military officers to the US and Trump replied that he hadn’t thought of doing so. He went on to say, “certainly, I’ll be asking about it” before deflecting blame for the Russian cyber attack onto the Obama administration and blaming the DNC for allowing themselves to be hacked.
“But again, this was during the Obama administration. They were doing whatever it was during the Obama administration. And I heard that they were trying, or people were trying, to hack into the RNC too. The Republican National Committee. But we had much better defenses. I’ve been told that by a number of people. We had much better defenses, so they couldn’t. I think the DNC should be ashamed of themselves for allowing themselves to be hacked. They had bad defenses and they were able to be hacked.”
The 12 Russians who were indicted on Friday are accused of hacking not only the DNC, stealing documents and releasing emails, but also of hacking a state election board and stealing information of 500,000 voters. The Senate Intelligence Committee has backed the Intelligence Community Assessment which concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 election with the intent to harm Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump. The Department of Homeland Security warned in April that at least 21 states were targeted and state election infrastructure remains at risk for continuing attacks.
Glor asked President Trump who he considers his biggest foe.
“Well I think we have a lot of foes. I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now you wouldn’t think of the European Union but they’re a foe. Russia is foe in certain respects. China is a foe economically, certainly they are a foe. But that doesn’t mean they are bad. It doesn’t mean anything. It means that they are competitive. They want to do well and we want to do well. And we’re starting to do well.”
When the interviewer pointed out that listing the EU as a foe before Russia and China was surprising, the President explained that the EU is difficult, in spite of his parents being born in “EU sectors”.
“I mean my mother was Scotland, my father was Germany.”
Donald Trump’s mother was born in Scotland but Fred Trump, his father, was born in New York, in the Bronx on October 11, 1905. Frederick, his grandfather, immigrated to America from Germany in 1885.
The EU consists of friends and allies of the US, while Russia has been proven to have waged cyberwarfare against the electoral process of the US and while China has long been accused of intellectual property theft. Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence, said recently that “the warning lights are blinking red again.” He said the country’s digital infrastructure “is literally under attack” and warned that Russia is the “worst offender.”
The EU president, Donald Tusk, responded to Trump’s labeling the EU a foe.
America and the EU are best friends. Whoever says we are foes is spreading fake news.
— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) July 15, 2018
Presidents Trump and Putin will sit down tomorrow in Helsinki for a meeting, starting off with a private discussion between the two leaders with no aids present, as requested by the White House.