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Putin praises Trump as 'talented,' says liberalism has 'become obsolete'

Putin praises Trump as 'talented,' says liberalism has 'become obsolete'
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Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinOvernight Defense: Pentagon pulling some air defense assets from Middle East | Dems introduce resolution apologizing to LGBT community for discrimination | White House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine White House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine It's well past time for strategic defenses and counterpunches on cybersecurity MORE in a new interview praised President TrumpDonald TrumpWhite House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine Poll: 30 percent of GOP voters believe Trump will 'likely' be reinstated this year Black Secret Service agent told Trump it was offensive to hold rally in Tulsa on Juneteenth: report MORE as a "talented" person, saying that despite not being a career politician Trump knew how to relate to voters. 

“Mr. Trump is not a career politician," Putin told The Financial Times. "I do not accept many of his methods when it comes to addressing problems. But do you know what I think? I think that he is a talented person. He knows very well what his voters expect from him.”

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The comments from Putin came in an interview with The Financial Times ahead of the Group of 20 (G-20) summit in Osaka, Japan — an event where the Russian president is expected to meet with Trump. The newspaper noted that Putin was polite when discussing Trump, despite being critical of the United States as a whole. Putin reportedly referred to Trump as "Donald" several times in the interview. 

He also praised Trump's initiative to enforce stricter immigration policies along the U.S.-Mexico border while arguing that the "liberal idea" had "outlived its purpose."

“This liberal idea presupposes that nothing needs to be done. That migrants can kill, plunder and rape with impunity because their rights as migrants have to be protected," he said. “Every crime must have its punishment. The liberal idea has become obsolete."

Putin also weighed in on former 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's report, dismissing conclusions by the U.S. intelligence community that Moscow interfered in the 2016 presidential election. 

“Russia has been accused, and, strange as it may seem, it is still being accused … of alleged interference in the U.S. election," he said. "What happened in reality? Mr. Trump looked into his opponents’ attitude to him and saw changes in American society, and he took advantage of this."

Mueller's report found that Russia engaged in an effort to interfere in the presidential election. It did not find sufficient evidence to conclude a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Moscow took place. 

Trump and Putin's meeting at the G-20 summit later this week will mark the first time the leaders have met face-to-face since Mueller's report was released. Trump would not commit to confronting Putin about election interference during an interview with NBC on Sunday. 

He told reporters Wednesday that he expects to "have a very good conversation with him," adding, "what I say to him is none of your business."