Speaking with CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) rejected President Trump's latest defense of improved relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. An advance excerpt of a Fox News interview between Trump and Bill O'Reilly was released Saturday, and it showed Trump suggesting those who believe the United States does not, like Russia, engage in strongman practices are naive.
"Well, look, Putin is a former KGB agent. He's a thug. He was not elected in a way that most people consider a credible election. The Russians annexed Ukraine, invaded Crimea, and messed around in our elections," McConnell said in response to Tapper's question about Trump's remarks. "No, I don't think there's any equivalency with the way the Russians conduct themselves and the way the United States does," he added. "I'm not going to critique the president's every utterance, but I think America is exceptional. America is different. We don't operate in any way the way the Russians do."
For background on America's often deadly history of messing around in other countries' elections, read this analysis from The Week's Ryan Cooper. Watch an excerpt of McConnell's comments via CNN below. Bonnie Kristian