'I respect Putin... you think our country is so innocent?' - Trump
The Kremlin has asked for an apology from Fox News after remarks made by host Bill O'Reilly during the interview
US President Donald Trump has repeated that he respects Vladimir Putin , and defended the Russian president in a new interview.
Speaking during an interview ahead of the Super Bowl with broadcaster Fox News, Trump said he thought it was better to get a long with Russia than not.
“I respect a lot of people, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to get along with them. He is a leader of his country. I say it’s better to get along with Russia than not and if Russia helps us in the fight against Isis which is a major fight, and Islamic terrorism all over the world, major fight, that’s a good thing," he told Bill O'Reilly.
“Will I get along with him? I have no idea. It’s very possible I won’t.”
When O'Reilly put it to Trump that Putin was a "killer" Trump replied:
“There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What, do you think our country’s so innocent?”
Challenged again by O'Reilly who said he didn't know of any world leader who were killers, Trump referred to the Iraq war.
“Take a look at what we’ve done too. We’ve made a lot of mistakes,” he said.
George W Bush was US president at the time of the Iraq qar, leading some commentators to speculate if Trump was equating Bush and Putin.
The former businessman also said he was against the invasion from the beginning.
However, he has made public remarks in the past which showed support for the war.
On Monday the Kremlin said it wants an apology for the remarks.
"We consider such words from the Fox TV company to be unacceptable and insulting, and honestly speaking, we would prefer to get an apology from such a respected TV company," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call.