President-elect Donald Trump says he will keep the latest sanctions on Russia in place “for a period of time” but is open to lifting them if Moscow cooperates on issues of mutual interest. Trump also says he is not committed to a longstanding agreement with China over Taiwan.
His remarks came in an hour-long interview with The Wall Street Journal on Friday.
While several sanctions on Russia were imposed in 2014 over its annexation of Crimea, the latest measures, as well as the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats, were imposed by the Obama administration last month in response to evidence Russia hacked Democratic Party officials during the presidential election.
Trump’s comments come days after CNN’s report regarding classified documents presented to Obama and Trump during an intelligence briefing last week that contained unsubstantiated and potentially compromising information about the president-elect.
“If you get along and if Russia is really helping us, why would anybody have sanctions if somebody’s doing some really great things?” Trump said in the Journal interview. He added, however, he would keep the latest sanctions in place “at least for a period of time.”
Trump acknowledged for the first time this week that he accepts Russia was behind the hacking. But he questioned whether officials were leaking information about their meetings with him, warning that would be a “tremendous blot” on their record.
The president-elect also told the Journal he is willing to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin after he takes office next week. “I understand that they would like to meet, and that’s absolutely fine with me,” Trump added.
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SOURCE: USA Today, Doug Stanglin and David Jackson