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In interview, Trump says 'Putin was 'very, very strong'

Posted at 10:45 PM, Jul 16, 2018

President Donald Trump issued high praise of his Russian counterpart in an interview following his one-on-one with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday.

Speaking with Fox News' Sean Hannity, Trump called Putin "very, very strong," and said the meeting between the two heads of state was a turning point for Russia-US relations.

"I thought President Putin was very, very strong," the President said during the interview that aired Monday night on Fox News.

He later went on to say that before the meeting, the US relationship with Russia was a "potential problem."

"I think we're doing really well with Russia as of today. I thought we were doing horribly before today. I mean, horribly, dangerously," Trump said.

"I think it was great today, but I think it was really bad five hours ago. I think we really had a potential problem," he added.

The President faced significant criticism after his summit with Putin in Helsinki, Finland, when he seemed to undermine the US intelligence community's conclusion that Russia had interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

He told reporters at a joint news conference with Putin that, although he supported US intelligence analysts, Putin was "extremely strong" in denying any interference.

"I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today," Trump said.

Trump also said during the interview that he thought the biggest threat to the world is nuclear weapons.

"To me, the most important issue is the nuclear issue, because -- I know President Obama said global warming is our biggest problem and I would say that no, it's nuclear warming is our biggest problem by a factor of about five million. The nuclear problem, we have to make sure, we have to be very careful and you know if you look at Russia and the United States that's 90 percent of the nuclear weapons," Trump said.