In case you missed it, the political turmoil that's playing out in the halls of government has to do with whether Russian President Vladimir Putin colluded with Trump's campaign to help elect him president. But when it comes to Russian meddling, the U.S. president isn't easily convinced. Now, Trump is suggesting Putin wanted Hillary Clinton to win — despite all kinds of evidence to the contrary.
President Trump was speaking to rightwing broadcaster Pat Robertson of the Christian Broadcasting Network Wednesday and the topic turned to Trump's long meeting at the G-20 with Putin. The president tried to spin that as a "good thing not a bad thing," and said ultimately that while the two get along, a Clinton victory would have been Putin's first choice:
We are the most powerful country in the world and we are getting more and more powerful because I'm a big military person. As an example, if Hillary had won, our military would be decimated. Our energy would be much more expensive. That's what Putin doesn't like about me. And that's why I say, why would he want me? Because from day one I wanted a strong military, he doesn't want to see that.
He also talked about energy policy, noting that the United States will be energy self sufficient soon. "He doesn't want that. He would like Hillary where she wants to have windmills," Trump said, arguing it would cause energy prices to go up, and in turn, supposedly help Russia.
"There are many things that I do that are the exact opposite of what he would want," Trump continued; those would seemingly be military spending and investment in coal power. Trump also stressed that both countries are "tremendously strong" nuclear powers and thus dialogue is important.
This was Trump's first public appearance since the news broke that his son, Don Jr., set up a meeting with a Russian lawyer to obtain supposed dirt on Clinton. Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders denied that Trump has been in hiding since, The Washington Times reported, and said that he has been in closed meetings on trade and cybersecurity.
"There's nothing secret about having meetings ... with members of his staff and members of the administration," Sanders told reporters.
The President had an incredibly robust schedule overseas in both Poland and Germany, and he's preparing to leave this afternoon [for France] where he'll be spending quite a bit of time with a lot of those of you who are traveling.
On Thursday he will be appearing at a news conference with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris.
As for his good relationship with Putin, it definitely seems to be mutual, based on the Russian leader's reaction to the G-20. "The Trump that you see on TV is very different than the real Trump," Putin told reporters in Germany. "He perfectly understands whom he is talking to and answers questions quickly. I think personal relations were established."
If Macron wants to obtain a similar amount of influence with the American president, he's going to really have to step up his game.