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Donald Trump: Putin more of a leader than Obama

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump praised Russian President Vladimir Putin Wednesday, saying he has been more of a leader than U.S. President Barack Obama.

During an NBC News forum in which he was interviewed separately from Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, Trump said he thinks as president he would have a “very good relationship with Putin.” He also said Russia and the U.S. have a joint interest in defeating Islamic State.

“Russia wants to defeat ISIS as badly as we do,” he said. “If we had a relationship with Russia wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could work on it together and knock the hell out of ISIS?”

He further criticized U.S. military action in Iraq under Obama, saying generals “have not been successful.” Trump repeated his assertion that the U.S. should have seized oil from Iraq.

“If we would have taken the oil, you wouldn’t have ISIS, because ISIS formed with the power and wealth of that oil.”

As a major party candidate, Trump has received confidential intelligence briefings meant to ensure that the next leader is up to speed on issues when Obama leaves office in January. When asked if he was shocked by anything he heard, Trump said Obama, Clinton and Secretary of State John Kerry did the opposite of what intelligence experts told them.

“I am very good with body language. I could tell, they were not happy our leaders did not follow what they were recommending,” he said.

Trump also touted his “great judgment” and said he was “totally against the war in Iraq.”

Clinton, who voted in favor of the war, said that decision was a mistake but that it is important to learn from mistakes. She also pushed back against Trump’s repeated assertions during the campaign that he opposed the 2003 invasion.


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