Trudeau mum on Trump’s defence of Putin but slams Russian leader over aggression
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday but when asked whether he also had concerns about U.S. President Donald Trump’s defence of Putin, he refused to say.
“Canada has been unequivocal in our condemnation of Vladimir Putin and Russia,” said Trudeau in a press conference in Nova Scotia, pointing to acts of Russian aggression including the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, military support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and recent chemical weapons attacks in the United Kingdom.
But when asked specifically whether he also condemned Trump’s defence of the former Russian intelligence officer, Trudeau only targeted Russia.
“As I said, we condemn Russia and the way that Vladimir Putin engages in international affairs.”
WATCH BELOW: Trump stuns world as he appears to side with Putin
Following a one-on-one meeting with Putin in Helsinki on Monday, Trump denigrated American intelligence institutions in defence of assertions by Putin that Russia was not involved in attempts to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
He sided with Putin when asked whether he would condemn Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
He also publicly questioned American intelligence agencies, which have unanimously stressed the evidence of Russian interference, as well as the federal indictments last week of 12 Russians accused of hacking Democratic emails in order to damage the campaign of Hillary Clinton.
Trump is now facing a storm of criticism, including from Republican allies such as Paul Ryan.
His comments came just hours after the U.S. Justice Department indicted 12 Russian nationals on allegations they were part of a “sustained effort” to hack Democratic and electoral computer networks in order to interfere with the 2016 election.
Also charged one day later was Maria Butina, a 29-year-old Russian national charged with using contacts she built up within the National Rifle Association (NRA) to facilitate communications between Russian officials from the Kremlin and a U.S. political party that was not named in the court documents.
In February, 13 other Russians were also indicted on similar charges.
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