US President Donald Trump has claimed that his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin was “probably” involved in assassinations and poisonings, but “it’s not in our country”.
Trump made the remarks in a CBS News interview aired on Sunday night where he also spoke about his relationship with North Korea, China, Russia, and his own West Wing staffers and Cabinet.
When asked about the accusation that he was leery of criticizing Putin, he challenged the question.
“I think I’m very tough with him personally. I had a meeting with him, the two of us,” Trump said, referring to his much-criticized summit with the Russian leader in which he declined at a press conference to endorse the US government’s assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
“It was a very tough meeting, and it was a very good meeting.”
Asked whether he thought Moscow meddled in the 2016 presidential election, Trump said he did not think that it was just Russia.
“They meddled. But I think China meddled, too. And I think other countries… And I think, frankly, China is a bigger problem,” he said.
China and the US are entangled in an ongoing trade war with Washington imposing $250 billion in tariffs. The President last month threatened to impose even more tariffs if China retaliates against American farmers or other industries.
When asked if he was ready to negotiate, Trump told CBS News: “I have a great chemistry with President Xi (Jinping) of China. I don’t know that that’s necessarily going to continue. I told President Xi we cannot continue to have China take $500 billion a year out of the US in the form of trade and other things… And I said we can’t do that, and we’re not going to do that anymore.”
Regarding North Korea, Trump said that he knew about leader Kim Jong-un’s human rights violations, but that his efforts have resulted in fewer threats to the US.
“Sure. I know all these things. I mean, I’m not a baby. I know these things,” he said.
“Look, let it be whatever it is. I get along with him really well. I have a good energy with him. I have a good chemistry with him. Look at the horrible threats that were made. No more threats. No more threats.”
Speaking about his wife and First Lady Melania Trump’s comments there were untrustworthy aides at the White House, he said: “I feel the same way. I don’t trust everybody in the White House, I’ll be honest with you.”
On mocking Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser Christine Blasey Ford at a Mississippi rally, the President said: “I’m not going to get into it, because we won. It doesn’t matter. We won.”