Boehner: Putin a 'thug'

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Thursday night called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “thug” he has no intention of meeting.

During an interview on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” Boehner called on President Obama to stand up to the Russian leader more forcefully. 

"No,” Boehner said when asked if he ever met Putin. 

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“And I don’t want to meet him,” he continued. “No, listen, I think he is a thug. I think he has treated his neighbors in a disrespectful way, and frankly I think the president ought to stand up to him, and better protect Americans' interests and our allies in Eastern Europe.”

U.S.-Russian relations have been tested over the past year during a series of disputes involving intervention in Syria, missile defense and Russia’s decision to grant amnesty to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.

Boehner made the comments ahead of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. 

Boehner defended the National Security Agency (NSA) when Snowden's name was discussed.

“All I can say is I think Snowden is a traitor to the country,” he said. “I think that the NSA may have made mistakes, but let's understand something — the NSA is there to keep Americans safe, here and abroad.” 

Boehner said Congress will look into what needs to be “tweaked” about the agency after Obama outlined a number of reforms in a speech last week.  

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