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Trump slams 'haters and fools' playing politics with Russia

Trump said he believes Russia can "greatly help" in Syria [Getty]

Date of publication: 12 November, 2017

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US President Donald Trump slammed those who question his efforts to improve ties with Russia, after he and Putin shared common ground on the Syria war.
US President Donald Trump on Sunday slammed "haters and fools" who questioned his efforts to improve ties with Russia, a day after saying he believes President Vladimir Putin was sincere about not meddling in the US election.

"When will all the haters and fools out there realize that having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. There (sic) always playing politics - bad for our country. I want to solve North Korea, Syria, Ukraine, terrorism, and Russia can greatly help!" Trump wrote on Twitter.

Trump said on Saturday he believes Putin is being sincere when he denies meddling in the US election that propelled Trump to power, adding that the Russian leader felt "very insulted" by the allegations.

But in Washington, the director of the CIA said he stood by the US intelligence community's assessment that Russia did try to meddle in the election.

Trump, whose key former aides are under US investigation for possible collaboration with the Kremlin, said he repeatedly asked Putin about the claims during their chats at the APEC summit in the Vietnamese resort of Danang.

"He (Putin) said he didn't meddle. I asked him again," Trump told reporters on Air Force One as he flew to Hanoi for a state visit.

"You can only ask so many times... He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election," Trump said, adding he felt Putin seemed "very insulted" by the persistent accusations, which was "not a good thing for our country." 

"I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it," added Trump, who is marking one year since his shock election victory. 

In May, US intelligence chiefs told Congress that they agreed with their analysts' conclusion that Russia had meddled in the election.

And in January, 17 US intelligence agencies took the extraordinary step of stating publicly that they believed Russia did try to interfere in the election.

Trump and Putin met three times on the margins of the APEC summit, sharing warm handshakes and brief words.

Asked by reporters on Air Force One if he believed Putin, Trump said he was keen to move on to other issues.

"Look, I can't stand there and argue with him," Trump said. "I'd rather have him get out of Syria, I would rather get to work with him on the Ukraine."

The exchanges produced a rare common ground on the war in Syria, a bloody six-year conflict which has seen the US and Russia back competing factions.

In a joint statement, the leaders said there was "no military solution" to the war, an agreement that may mark a small step toward peace.

Short and fat

His tweet on Sunday was part of a storm of missives in which he took a tongue-in-cheek dig at North Korea's "short and fat" leader Kim Jong-Un.

Taking exception to descriptions by North Korean officials and state media of him as an "old" man, Trump suggested he was disappointed by what he took to be a personal attack from the North's young leader.

"Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me "old," when I would NEVER call him "short and fat?" Trump said.

"Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend - and maybe someday that will happen!" he added.

North Korea is extremely sensitive to any remarks - even when not meant seriously - that might appear disrespectful of the country' ruling Kim dynasty, whose members are revered as near deities.

Since becoming president, Trump has engaged in an escalating war of words with Kim, trading personal insults and threats of military strikes and raising concerns about an outbreak of hostilities.

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