McConnell: 'Not Unusual for a New President to Want to Get Along With the Russians'

By Susan Jones | January 9, 2017 | 5:58am EST
President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putinin Bratislava, Slovakia, in 2005. (AP File Photo)

( - "I don't think it is all that unusual for a new president to want to get along with the Russians," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday.

"I remember George W. Bush having the same hope," he said. "My suspicion is these hopes will be dashed pretty quickly. The Russians are clearly a big adversary. And they demonstrated it by trying to mess around in our election."

McConnell said  he believes the intelligence agencies' conclusion that the Russians "were trying to affect the election; that they, naively in my view, thought that somehow they would be advantaged if Donald Trump were to be elected. I think that was a bad bet. And that it really in the end made no difference, that there is no evidence whatsoever that it changed the outcome of the election.

McConnell pointed to the incoming national security team as indicative of Trump's attitude toward the Russians: "These are clear-eyed people who understand fully that the Russians are not our friends," he said.

McConnell specifically  mentioned Trump's nominee for Defense Secretary, Retired Gen. James Mattis; his pick for homeland security secretary, retired Gen. John Kelly; Trump's nominee for CIA director, Rep. Mike Pompeo; and his nominee for director of national intelligence, former Sen. Dan Coats.

On Jan. 7, Trump tweeted: "Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. Only 'stupid' people, or fools, would think that it is bad! We.....have enough problems around the world without yet another one. When I am President, Russia will respect us far more than they do now and....both countries will, perhaps, work together to solve some of the many great and pressing problems and issues of the WORLD!"

On "Fox News Sunday," host Chris Wallace asked incoming White House chief of staff Reince Priebus about Trump's tweet: "I mean, if he accepts the fact that they (the Russians), in an unprecedented way, tried to interfere with our election, does that mean he is not going to respond, he's not going to take action against Russia?" Wallace asked.

"He's going to order the intelligence community to make recommendations, and whatever those recommendations are will be discussed and actions may be taken, but I don't think there's anything wrong with trying to have a good relationship with Russia and other countries around the world," Priebus responded.

"And that's what the president is saying, that he is going to have good relationships around the world that will put America first, bring jobs back and make a safer across the globe.  That's what he wants to do, and I think that's what he will do."


Also See:
Rep. Devin Nunes: 'We've Been Warning Obama About Russian Hacking, 'And They Did Nothing'


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