Clinton says Trump’s praise of Russia raises ‘national security issues’

Clinton says Trump’s praise of Russia raises ‘national security issues’
August 01 05:56 2016

Hillary Clinton on Sunday sharply criticized Donald
Trump over his “absolute allegiance” to Russian policy
aims, saying it raised both “national security issues”
and new doubts about his temperament.

Trump, her Republican rival in the race for the White
House, responded defiantly, saying that he had “no
relationship” with Russian leader Vladimir Putin and
had never met nor spoken to him by phone, but that “if
our country got along with Russia, that would be a
great thing.

“
He said in an ABC interview that he was not about to
disavow it if Putin praised him as a “genius” (some
Russian speakers say “colorful” was a better translation
of the word).
But perhaps further fanning controversy, Trump added
that as president he would at least consider
acknowledging Russian sovereignty over Crimea, the
Ukrainian territory that Russia annexed in 2014 in the
face of widespread international condemnation.

“The people of Crimea, from what I’ve heard, would
rather be with Russia,” Trump said.
He said, however, that he was not involved in
Republicans’ softening of their platform language to
remove a call to provide Ukraine with lethal weaponry.

The dispute over Russia is part of a broader
disagreement over US engagement abroad, as Trump
argues that a weakened America must retrench and
demand greater contributions from its allies, while
Clinton asserts that decades-old US commitments to
foreign partners must be maintained.
- Backlash over emails -
Clinton, in her comments, was responding on “Fox
News Sunday” to allegations of Russian involvement in
leaks of Democratic Party emails that embarrassed her
on the eve of the just-ended Democratic national
convention.

As that convention was underway, Trump urged Russia
to find and release several thousand emails that
disappeared from Clinton’s private server while she
was secretary of state.
”Russia, if you’re listening,” Trump said then, “I hope
you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I
think you will be mightily rewarded by our press.

“
That call, of a sort nearly unprecedented in US
presidential politics, drew sharp rebukes from
Democrats and some Republicans.
US cybersecurity experts said it raised questions about
whether Russia had attempted to influence the
American campaign in Trump’s favor. Leaked emails
published by WikiLeaks revealed the distrust of some
key Democratic leaders of Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s
former rival for the Democratic nod.

Trump’s seeming encouragement of Russian hacking,
Clinton told Fox, “raises issues about Russian influence
in our election.”
”And for Trump to both encourage that and to praise
Putin despite what appears to be a deliberate effort to
try to affect the election, I think, raises national security
issues.”
- ‘Not temperamentally fit’ -
When an interviewer noted that Trump had claimed he
was being sarcastic, Clinton replied: “If you take the
encouragement that Russians hack into email
accounts, if you take his quite excessive praise for
Putin, his absolute allegiance to a lot of Russian wish-
list foreign policy issues,” it suggests that “he is not
temperamentally fit to be president and commander-in-
chief.

“
Trump had earlier unnerved NATO member nations by
questioning the long absolute US commitment to
defend any member of the Atlantic alliance should it be
attacked by Russia.
In an interview with The New York Times just before the
Republican convention, Trump said that if Russia
attacked NATO member nations he would decide
whether to come to their assistance only if he decided
that they had “fulfilled their obligations to us.”
Trump has also said he might withdraw US troops
from European and Asian countries if they failed to pay
more for American protection.
“We are going to take care of this country first,” he told
The Times, “before we worry about everyone else in the
world.”