Trump calls E.U. 'a foe,' says 'nothing bad' to come from meeting Putin


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President Donald Trump is going into his much-anticipated meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin on Monday having called the European Union “a foe” of the United States and with the promise that nothing bad will come from the discussion.

“I think we have a lot of foes,” Trump told CBS Evening News in a segment of an interview that first aired on “Face the Nation.” “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.”

Asked to explain why he would describe the E.U. as a foe, considering many of its nations are U.S. allies, Trump backtracked slightly.

“No, I look at them all,” he said. “Look E.U. is very difficult … I love those countries. I respect the leaders of those countries. But, in a trade sense, they’ve really taken advantage of us and many of those countries are in NATO and they weren’t paying their bills.”

Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, disputed the claim that the E.U. and the United States were at odds.

The latest interview, in which the president had harsher words for the European Union and FBI Agent Peter Strzok than for Russia, follows a heated summit between Trump and NATO partners in Brussels and new U.S. charges against Russian intelligence officers for alleged meddling in the 2016 election campaign.

Russia earned some moderate criticism from the president Sunday, however.

“Russia is a foe in certain respects,” he told CBS News.

Trump hasn’t announced specific goals for his meeting with Putin, but said that “nothing bad is going to come out of it and maybe some good will come out.”

Image: APEC Summit 2017 in Vietnam
President Donald Trump and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin talk during a family photo session at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders’ Meeting on Nov. 11, 2017, in Da Nang, Vietnam.Jorge Silva / EPA file

But much of the country will wait to see what, if anything, the president will say to Putin about the 12 Russian intelligence officers charged with the bitcoin-funded hacking of the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign “with the intent to interfere” during the 2016 election.

The president said he might ask for Putin to send the dozen Russians who were indicted by the Mueller probe to the United States. But Trump didn’t direct his tough words toward Russia, the aggressor. Instead, the president blamed the Democratic National Committee for Russian meddling, saying their digital defenses were not up to snuff.

“I think the DNC should be ashamed of themselves for allowing themselves to be hacked,” Trump told CBS News. “They had bad defenses and they were able to be hacked.”

National security adviser John Bolton seemed to imply on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that Trump should hold Putin to account, as it would be “hard to believe” that Putin did not know that intelligence operatives in the Russian military were carrying out an operation designed to undermine the U.S. presidential election.



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