Ex-Russia ambassador: Trump's approach is 'blame America first'

Michael McFaul, the former U.S. ambassador to Russia, on Monday slammed President Trump after he blamed the U.S. for poor relations with Russia ahead of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump "tweeted that America is at fault, blame America first for the tensions in U.S.-Russia relations,” McFaul said during an appearance on MSNBC Monday morning.

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“Not mentioning the fact that Russia annexed territory in Crimea and sparked a war — 10,000 people have died in Eastern Ukraine. Not mentioning he supports this brutal dictator in Syria where half a million people died, and not mentioning the fact he violated our sovereignty in 2016,” the former ambassador continued.

“So all of those things, in my view, are the reasons why there’s tensions in U.S.-Russia relations," McFaul added. "For President TrumpDonald John TrumpLondon terror suspect’s children told authorities he complained about Trump: inquiry The Memo: Tide turns on Kavanaugh Trump to nominate retiring lawmaker as head of trade agency MORE to just insinuate as he just did in his initial remarks today, well bygones — let’s forget about all that stuff and move on because I want a great relationship with you, Putin. That’s just not serving America’s national interest, in my view.”

McFaul’s remarks came as the president sat with Putin for a high-stakes meeting in Helsinki that Trump said would be focused on trade, arms control and China.  

The president’s meeting with Putin arrived just days after special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian intelligence officials for their role in hacking the Democratic National Committee (DNC).  

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Many Democratic lawmakers voiced opposition to Trump’s summit with Putin following the special counsel indictments, but the president said before the meeting that “getting along with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing.” 

McFaul also called out the president for labelling the European Union "a foe" because of its economic policies.

"I think we have a lot of foes. I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now you wouldn't think of the European Union, but they're a foe," Trump said from his golf course in Scotland on Sunday.

McFaul called the president’s remarks “really disappointing."

“The EU is not our foe — that’s ridiculous,” McFaul said. “Most of the countries in NATO are also in the European Union, they are our allies and partners.”