Trump tries to walk back Ukraine claim

Trump tries to walk back Ukraine claim

Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpLawmakers prep ahead of impeachment hearing Democrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing Warren says she made almost M from legal work over past three decades MORE on Monday attempted to correct a claim that Russia would not intervene in Ukraine, following pushback from Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWill the Horowitz report split the baby? Gabbard commemorates John Lennon's passing by singing 'Imagine' Bannon: Clinton waiting to enter 2020 race and 'save the Democratic Party from Michael Bloomberg' MORE’s presidential campaign.

A day after claiming that Russian President Vladimir Putin is “not going into Ukraine,” Trump attempted to clarify that he was referring to a future in which he were president.

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“I am saying if I am President. Already in Crimea!” the Republican nominee for president said on Twitter, acknowledging Russia’s seizure of the Ukrainian territory in 2014.

Trump had been pilloried by critics for saying on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that Putin would not invade Russia’s neighbor in Ukraine, despite having done just that two years ago.

“You can mark it down,” Trump claimed.

When host George Stephanopoulos pushed back, noting the 2014 invasion that dominated headlines and caused major international powers to boot Russia from the G8 group of nations, Trump dismissed the annexation.

“Okay, well, [Putin’s] there in a certain way," he claimed.

“But I'm not there. You have [President] Obama there,” he added. “And, frankly, that whole part of the world is a mess under Obama, with all the strength that you're talking about and all of the power of NATO and all of this." 

Clinton’s Democratic presidential campaign scolded Trump over the issue, claiming the comment betrayed the GOP nominee’s ignorance about the globe and added to evidence that Trump would side with the Kremlin over NATO allies in Eastern Europe.

“This is scary stuff,” Clinton aide Jake Sullivan said in a statement.

The brief fracas came on the heels of new scrutiny about Trump's ties to Moscow, following allegations that Russian intelligence services had hacked into arms of the Democratic Party and worked to make embarrassing emails public in a potential bid to boost Trump’s campaign.

Trump has been unusually warm to Putin, a strongman met with scorn by prominent American leaders in both parties, and senior Russian leaders have appeared similarly complimentary. Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort also previously worked as a lobbyist on behalf of the Russia-backed former president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych.