The Russian Angle in US Elections – What we know so far…

The intrusion into the Democratic National Committee’s computers, allegedly by Russian hackers, has put a renewed spotlight on Donald Trump’s connections to Russia and its leader, Vladimir Putin.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has slammed Donald Trump for his “absolute allegiance” to Russia that raises “national security” concerns, prompting her Republican rival to deny having any “relationship” with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“We know that Donald Trump has shown a very troubling willingness to back up Putin, to support Putin, whether it’s saying that NATO wouldn’t come to the rescue of allies if they were invaded, talking about removing sanctions from Russian officials after they were imposed by the US and Europe together, because of Russia’s aggressiveness in Crimea and Ukraine, his praise for Putin which is I think quite remarkable,” she said.

“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,” the Democratic presidential nominee alleged.

She also said that Trump has absolute allegiance to Russia.

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Last week, Trump during a news conference had appeared to have asked Russia to find out the missing 30,000 emails of Clinton and release them.

Trump later said he was just kidding and being sarcastic. Clinton, however, did not appear to be convinced by that clarification.

“I think if you take his encouragement that the Russians hack into American e-mail accounts, if you take his quite excessive praise for Putin, his absolute allegiance to a lot of Russian wish-list foreign policy position, his effort then to try to distance himself from that backlash which rightly came not just from Democrats, but Republicans, independents and national security and intelligence experts leads us once again to include he is not temperamentally fit to be president and commander in chief,” Clinton said.

I have no relationship with Putin: Donald Trump

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said he has no relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin as being alleged by his opponents.

“I have no relationship with him (Putin),” Trump said, adding that he had praised him the in the past because he had said some nice things about him.

“He said very nice things about me, but I have no relationship with him. I don’t — I’ve never met him,” Trump said.

“I mean he treats me … with great respect. I have no relationship with Putin. I don’t think I’ve ever met him. I never met him. I don’t think I’ve ever met him,” Trump reiterated.

The real estate mogul said he has never spoken to Putin on the phone.

“When we had the Miss Universe contest a number of years ago, we had Miss Universe in Moscow, in the Moscow area, he was invited. He wanted to come. He wasn’t able to come. That would have been a time when I would have met him,” he said.

However, Trump insisted that there is nothing wrong in having a good relationship with Russia.

“If our country got along with Russia, that would be a great thing … But if we can have a good relationship with Russia and if Russia would help us get rid of ISIS, frankly, as far as I’m concerned, you’re talking about tremendous amounts of money and lives and everything else, that would be a positive thing, not a negative thing,” Trump said.

He also attacked his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, calling her a dishonest person with a bad temperament.

“She’s a very dishonest person. I have one of the great temperaments. I have a winning temperament. She has a bad temperament. She’s weak. We need a strong temperament and that’s all it is, I have a strong temperament,” Trump told ABC News in an interview.

Appearing on a Sunday talk show, Trump claimed that he is leading in polls and is headed to win general elections in November.

“I think I have a great temperament. I beat 16 very talented people in and I’ve never done this before. You don’t do that with a bad temperament. I’m leading her in the polls,” he said and alleged that Clinton She doesn’t know how to win.

“She’s not a winner. She doesn’t know how to win … I had a flawless campaign … She could barely beat Bernie,” he said.

Trump’s earlier comments suggesting a relationship with Putin

Here are four occasions between 2013 and 2015 when Trump touted his ties to Putin.

  • When Thomas Roberts of MSNBC asked Trump, “Do you have a relationship with Vladimir Putin? A conversational relationship or anything that you feel you have sway or influence over his government?” Trump responded, “I do have a relationship, and I can tell you that he’s very interested in what we’re doing here today. He’s probably very interested in what you and I am saying today, and I’m sure he’s going to be seeing it in some form.” — interview, November, 2013
  • “You know, I was in Moscow a couple of months ago. I own the Miss Universe Pageant and they treated me so great. Putin even sent me a present, a beautiful present.” — address at the CPAC conference, March 2014
  • “Russia does not respect our country any longer. They see we’ve been greatly weakened, both militarily and otherwise, and he certainly does not respect President Obama. So what I would do—as an example, I own Miss Universe, I was in Russia, I was in Moscow recently and I spoke, indirectly and directly, with President Putin, who could not have been nicer, and we had a tremendous success. The show was live from Moscow, and we had tremendous success there and it was amazing, but to do well, you have to get the other side to respect you, and he does not respect our president, which is very sad.” — address at the National Press Club, May 2014
  • “As far as the Ukraine is concerned … if Putin wants to go in — and I got to know him very well because we were both on 60 Minutes. We were stablemates, and we did very well that night.” — portion of an answer at the Fox Business News debate, Nov. 2015. (The notion that the two men appeared together on 60 Minutes has been debunked. As Time magazine put it succinctly, “In fact, they weren’t even on the same continent.”)
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