Trump Rejects Putin Hysteria, Reminding 'Haters' That Obama Made a Deal With Iran, 'No Problem'

By Susan Jones | February 7, 2017 | 7:37am EST

( - President Donald Trump's first tweet on Tuesday dealt with the continuing furious reaction to his remarks about Russian President Vladimir Putin, aired Sunday in Trump's pre-game interview with Fox News.

"I don't know Putin, have no deals in Russia, and the haters are going crazy - yet Obama can make a deal with Iran, #1 in terror, no problem!"

In the Sunday interview, Trump told Bill O'Reilly he respects Putin.

"Well, I respect a lot of people but that doesn't mean I'm going to get along with them," Trump said. "He's a leader of his country. I say it's better to get along with Russia than not. And if Russia helps us in the fight against ISIS, which is a major fight, and Islamic terrorism all over the world -- major fight, that's a good thing. Will I get along with him? I have no idea."

O'Reilly reminded Trump, "But he's a killer though. Putin's a killer."

"There are a lot of killers," Trump responded. "We've got a lot of killers. What, you think our country's so innocent? You think our country's so innocent?"

"I don't know of any government leaders that are killers," O'Reilly said.

"Well, take a look at what we've done, too. We've made a lot of mistakes," Trump said. "I've been against the war in Iraq from the beginning...A lot of mistakes, OK, but a lot of people were killed. So a lot of killers around, believe me."

Republicans, and especially Democrats, pounced on Trump's remark:

"I want to know what the Russians have on Donald Trump," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday. "I think we have to have that investigation by the FBI into his financial, personal and political connections to Russia, and we want to see his tax returns so we can have a truth in the relationship between Putin whom he admires."

Appearing on CNN Monday afternoon, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) told Jake Tapper, "Well, if Vladimir Putin really was pulling the strings of this administration, these are the things that President Trump would say. I mean, that is a fairly outrageous defense of Vladimir Putin, to try to equate the fact that Vladimir Putin kills his political opponents with things that the United States has done to protect its national security."

Murphy added, "it should make everybody nervous that he (Trump) seems to hold Putin on a pedestal for what is a really, really autocratic way of running his country."

Many Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, disagreed with Trump's defense of Putin:

"He's a thug," McConnell said of Putin on CNN's "State of the Union." "He was not elected in a way that most people would consider a credible election. The Russians annexed Crimea, invaded Ukraine, and messed around in our elections. No, I don't think there is any equivalency between the way the Russians conduct themselves and the way the United States does."

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