Donald Trump calls for closer ties between US and Russia

January 8, 2017 7:20 pm

This combination of pictures created on December 30, 2016 shows a file photo taken on December 28, 2016 of President-elect (L) in Palm Beach, Florida; and a file photo taken on December 23, 2016, of Russian President Vladimir Putin speaking in Moscow.

US President-elect Donald Trump has called for a closer relationship between and Russia despite allegation of Moscow’s meddling in the US presidential election, adding that only “stupid” people or “fools” would think close ties were unwise.
Trump made the comments in a series of tweets on Saturday, a day after the release of a damning US intelligence report on Russia’s wide-ranging cyber attacks to influence the 2016 US presidential race.
The US has “enough problems around the world without yet another one,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
He vowed that Moscow would “respect us far more than they do now” after he enters the White House, and said that the two nations could perhaps work together on the international stage.
A report released by US intelligence agencies on Friday said that “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election.”
Trump has consistently dismissed the intelligence agencies’ conclusions as politically motivated, but he appeared to accept Russian involvement in the election after receiving an intelligence briefing on Friday.
On Sunday, Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham called for greater sanctions against Russia for meddling in the US election and said Trump is in danger of being in conflict with Republicans lawmakers in Congress if he doesn’t get tougher on Putin.
In a joint interview on NBC’s Meet the Press, they also said the US intelligence community’s evidence of Moscow’s interference during the American presidential campaign is overwhelming, and that Trump should accept those findings.
Last week, outgoing President Barack Obama ordered a series of economic sanctions against Russia, as well as expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats over the hacking allegations.
Washington and its allies had already levied broad economic sanctions against Russia and blacklisted dozens of its citizens after Moscow’s alleged intrusion in Ukraine and reunification with Crimea in 2014.
Graham said he and McCain will introduce bipartisan legislation to introduce additional sanctions against Russia that go beyond what Obama has done and “hit them in the financial sector and the energy sector where they’re the weakest.”
Even before the hacking allegations, relations between Washington and Moscow were already tense over the Ukraine crisis.
Ties between the US and Russia further deteriorated when Moscow last year launched an air offensive against Daesh terrorists in Syria, many of whom were initially trained by the CIA to fight against the Syrian government.
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