Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrat calls on White House to withdraw ambassador to Belarus nominee TikTok collected data from mobile devices to track Android users: report Peterson wins Minnesota House primary in crucial swing district MORE is defending Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinFauci: 'I seriously doubt' Russia's coronavirus vaccine is safe and effective Overnight Health Care: Russia claims it has coronavirus vaccine amid skepticism | Trump announces deal with Moderna for vaccine doses | Most states facing shortage of ICU doctors: research CNBC's Jim Cramer on 'Chernobyl II' Russian coronavirus vaccine: 'I'm gonna pass' MORE against allegations that he gave orders to kill journalists in his country.

“As far as the reporters are concerned, obviously I don’t want that to happen, I think it’s horrible,” Trump, the GOP presidential front-runner, said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “But, in all fairness to Putin, you’re saying he killed people, I haven’t seen that. I don’t know that he has. Have you been able to prove that?

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Trump, who has complimented Putin as “highly respectable,” said there is no evidence that the Russian strongman killed reporters for political gain.

“Now, I think it would be despicable if that took place, but I haven’t seen any evidence that he’s killed anybody in terms of reporters,” he said.

Trump acknowledged that there are allegations of nefarious activity by the Russian president but said Putin has “always denied it.”

“He’s always denied it. He’s never — it’s never been proven that he’s killed anybody. So, you know, you’re supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, at least in our country. It has not been proven that he’s killed reporters,” he said.

Republicans and Democrats alike have criticized the billionaire businessman for his congenial rhetoric about Putin.