Former President Donald Trump told Fox News on Tuesday that he and Russian President Vladimir Putin had an amicable yet stern relationship, recounting he warned the ex-KGB agent not to invade Ukraine.
Trump told “Hannity” he does not like to boast about such things, but underlined Putin seemingly understood not to invade another sovereign country while he was president of the United States.
“Putin would have never gone into Ukraine. I used to talk to him about it – I said ‘better not do it’. And he wouldn’t have – we had a very friendly conversation about it: I said, ‘Hey, Vladimir, you can’t go into Ukraine.”
While Putin executed his invasion after President Biden took office, “Hannity” host Sean Hannity asked Trump why he claims “with such conviction” that the Russian strongman would have backed down if he had been reelected.
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“Because he knew not to mess around with me,” Trump said, before footnoting “I don’t want to say that.”
“You know why? Because you’d say – Oh – I don’t like people who say ‘oh, they fear me’ like a schmuck. I don’t want to say it, but did they fear me? I suspect they did.”
Trump went on to recount gifting then-German Chancellor Angela Merkel a white flag, which in previous interviews he claimed the CDU leader did not initially understand the meaning of.
“You never heard of Nord Stream II until I came along. [It’s] the pipeline the biggest pipeline in the world – they’re building it to Germany,” he said, adding that he sent Merkel the flag as a symbol of her “surrender” to the Russians in regard to energy security.
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“I said, ‘Angela, are you crazy?’,” he remarked. “She also let millions of people into our country, which has, you know, perhaps permanently screwed up her country.”
Trump added he was laughed at by the Berlin delegation during a United Nations address during which he warned about Russia’s economic deals with European nations in that regard.
“They thought it was so funny when I said ‘Germany should not have made a deal with Russia on Nord Stream II – on a pipeline supplying their energy’… They’re not laughing anymore.”
Trump also said the Chinese spy balloon incident would not have transpired as it had under Biden’s watch – as the dirigible floated freely aross Alaska, into Canada, entering the Lower 48 in the Mountain West, and continuing unimpeded all the way to the Carolina coast where it was finally shot down over the ocean.
Hannity noted the public may not have even known about the dirigible if not for a keen-eyed Montanan with a camera.
“I wouldn’t have done anything with the balloon because it wouldn’t have happened under me,” he said.
“They wouldn’t have done it. I’m just telling you — just like Putin would have never gone into Ukraine,” Trump said.