McMaster complained that Trump 'thinks he can be friends with Putin': report
© Getty Images

Former national security adviser H.R. McMaster reportedly complained during his time in the White House about President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump PACs brought in over M for the first half of 2021 Chicago owes Trump M tax refund, state's attorney mounts legal challenge Biden hits resistance from unions on vaccine requirement MORE’s stance toward Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"The president thinks he can be friends with Putin,” McMaster said, according to a report published in The Washington Post on Friday that cited U.S. officials.

"I don’t know why, or why he would want to be," McMaster was quoted as saying.

The comments came in a report looking ahead to Trump's trip to Europe next week, where he will meet with NATO allies before holding a summit with Putin in Helsinki on July 16.

ADVERTISEMENT

Trump publicly scolded McMaster in February after his national security adviser said there was "incontrovertible” proof that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election.

"General McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians and that the only Collusion was between Russia and Crooked H, the DNC and the Dems. Remember the Dirty Dossier, Uranium, Speeches, Emails and the Podesta Company!" Trump tweeted at the time.

The retired Army lieutenant general left the White House in early April as the president moved to shake up his national security team.

Trump replaced McMaster with John Bolton, the hawkish former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who worked as a Fox News analyst and at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

The White House has said that Trump's meeting with Putin later this month will serve as an opportunity for both leaders to form a closer relationship amid heightened tensions between the two countries.

The meeting comes as many U.S. lawmakers and overseas allies express fear over the Trump-Putin summit, given Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, which is currently under investigation by special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE.

During a campaign rally in Montana on Thursday night, Trump dismissed concerns that he would not be prepared for the summit while also brushing off criticisms of Putin.

"They’re going ‘Will President Trump be prepared, you know, President Putin is KGB and this and that,’" Trump said. "You know what? Putin’s fine. He’s fine. We’re all fine. We’re people. Will I be prepared? Totally prepared. I’ve been preparing for this stuff my whole life."

Putin served for years in the Soviet Union's now-defunct intelligence agency, the KGB, before eventually serving as director of its successor, the FSB.