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July 14, 2017

When pressed Thursday by CNN's Jake Tapper on why the Trump administration is considering returning two Russian compounds to U.S. soil, White House aide Sebastian Gorka pointed to the importance of giving "collaboration, cooperation, a chance." "The fact is we may not share the same philosophy. We may not share the same type of statesman view of the world. But the fact is there are some issues of common concern," Gorka said of Russia.

The compounds were closed down by former President Barack Obama as punishment for Russia's interference in the U.S. presidential election, and Tapper wanted to know why there would be "the possibility of a reward when there is still this issue, this cloud, of Russia's election interference." "You don't think it's weak at all to let Russia go after having interfered in the 2016 election with no punishment at all?" Tapper asked.

Gorka scoffed. "The last thing you could say about Donald J. Trump after the last 25 weeks is that he's weak," Gorka said. "So what's the punishment for Russia?" Tapper countered.

Gorka went on about how Trump had "pressed and pressed" Russian President Vladimir Putin about election meddling during their meeting last week, before coming to the conclusion that it's time to just drop it. "At that point, you have to move on, because people are dying in Syria," Gorka said. "Jake, do you not care about the devastation, the half a million people killed?"

"Of course I do," Tapper responded. "Russia is killing some of those people."

Watch the exchange below. Becca Stanek