Donald Trump comes out in defence of Vladimir Putin over opposition journalists

Donald Trump has defended Vladimir Putin, saying there is no evidence to support allegations the Russian president has killed opposition journalists.

Donald Trump comes out in defence of Vladimir Putin over opposition journalists

Last week Trump, the US Republican presidential hopeful, was asked in an interview on where he stood on Putin, who “kills journalists and political opponents and invades countries”.

Trump replied: “I think our country does plenty of killing, also.”

However, asked to further expand his opinions about Putin in a new interview, Trump said: “I think it was despicable if that took place, but I haven’t seen any evidence that he killed anybody in terms of reporters.

“When you say a man has killed reporters I’d like you to prove it. I have never seen any information or any proof that he killed reporters,” he said.

When asked to explain his belief that “our country does plenty of killing”, Trump took a jab at Hillary Clinton.

“I think Hillary Clinton, when she was secretary of state, made some horrible, horrible decisions, and thousands and thousands and even hundreds of thousands of people have been killed,” Trump said.

“Take a look at what we’re doing in the Middle East. We went into Iraq, we shouldn’t have.”

Trump said Clinton was a “liar” for claiming that his proposal to ban entry of all foreign Muslims into the US has aided the propaganda efforts of IS.

Speaking on NBC’s Meet the Press, Trump said Clinton had no evidence to back up a charge she made during a debate on Saturday that the Republican frontrunner is becoming the extremist group’s “best recruiter”.

“She’s a liar and everybody knows that. She just made this up in thin air,” Trump said

Trump’s call to ban all Muslims from entering the US following an attack in San Bernardino, California that killed 14 people has drawn widespread criticism from Republican rivals as well as Democrats like Clinton.

During Saturday night’s Democratic debate, Clinton said IS is using Trump’s rhetoric to enlist fighters to radical jihad.

“They are going to people, showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists,” the Democratic frontrunner said.

Counter-terrorism experts who monitor Islamist online activity have found no evidence so far that IS has mentioned Trump in its official online accounts.

Asked to comment, the Clinton campaign did not respond to Trump’s charge but reiterated that Hillary Clinton’s remark was based on evidence that supporters of the extremist group frequently cite Trump’s comments to make the case that Americans hate Muslims.

It quoted a counter-terrorism expert and linked to a tweet from a “very vocal IS supporter”.

More in this section

IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox