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Bernie Sanders: Trump 'so tough' on child separations but not on Putin

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSunday shows preview: All eyes on Biden administration to tackle coronavirus The Hill's 12:30 Report: Next steps in the Trump impeachment Sanders selling sweatshirts with his famous inauguration pose for charity MORE (I-Vt.) on Friday chided President TrumpDonald TrumpNYT: Rep. Perry played role in alleged Trump plan to oust acting AG Arizona GOP censures top state Republicans McCain, Flake and Ducey Biden and UK prime minister discuss NATO, multilateralism during call MORE over his handling of Russian President Vladimir Putin during a summit in Helsinki earlier in the week.

Speaking at a rally for local Democratic congressional candidates in Wichita, Kan., Sanders also knocked Trump for "tearing children from their families" as part of the administration's "zero tolerance" border policy.

"We say to Trump, instead of showing us your strength by tearing children from their families, where was your strength in standing up to Putin and Russia for undermining American democracy?" Sanders said to cheers.

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"How courageous he is to tear children from their families, how cowardly he is to stand up to people who are trying to undermine not only American democracy but other aspects of our lives," he added.

Sanders made similar remarks at a rally in Kansas City, Kan., on Friday night, where he and fellow self-described democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez rallied in support of Democrat Brent Welder in his bid to take on Republican Rep. Kevin YoderKevin Wayne YoderBottom line Amanda Adkins wins GOP primary to challenge Rep. Sharice Davids Sharice Davids to vote for Trump impeachment articles: 'The facts are uncontested' MORE.

“We have a president that’s so tough when he’s terrorizing little children. When he was up against Vladimir Putin, he wasn’t so tough," Sanders told those gathered.

Yoder is running for his fifth term in Kansas's 3rd District, where Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden must wait weekend for State Department pick Texas Supreme Court rejects Alex Jones request to toss lawsuits from Sandy Hook parents Paris Agreement: Biden's chance to restore international standing MORE narrowly defeated Trump in 2016.

Trump faced criticism from both sides of the aisle this week after a joint press conference with Putin on Monday during which Trump appeared to side with Putin's denials over the U.S. intelligence community's assessment that Russian interfered in the 2016 election.

The president walked back his remarks Tuesday, telling reporters that he meant to say he saw no reason why Russia "wouldn't" have been behind the efforts to undermine U.S. democracy in 2016, while leaving the door open to the possibility that other countries had been involved.

“I accept our intelligence community's conclusion that Russia's meddling in the 2016 election took place,” Trump said Tuesday, reading from a prepared statement at the White House, adding: “Could be other people also. A lot of people out there.”