National Security

Trump open to removing Russia sanctions

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President-elect Donald Trump on Friday said he would be open to lifting sanctions on Russia if he feels satisfied by the relations between the two countries.
“If you get along and if Russia is really helping us, why would anybody have sanctions if somebody’s doing some really great things?” Trump said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.
He said that for “at least for a period of time,” he would keep the sanctions imposed by President Obama on Russia in December after the intelligence community concluded the Kremlin interfered in the U.S. election.
{mosads}Trump also said he would be willing to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin soon after his inauguration next week.
“I understand that they would like to meet, and that’s absolutely fine with me,” he said.
Trump on Wednesday acknowledged for the first time that Russia was likely behind the hacks of Democratic groups and operatives during the election that led to damaging leaks. 
“As far as hacking, I think it was Russia,” he said at his first news conference since last summer. 
Trump had long been skeptical of Moscow’s links to the hacks, even after the U.S. intelligence community publicly blamed Russia in October. And even with his acknowledgment this week, the president-elect has focused his blame on the Democratic groups for not sufficiently securing their data from hackers.
The Senate Intelligence Committee on Friday announced a bipartisan inquiry into Russian intelligence activities, including looking into whether Trump’s allies were in contact with the Kremlin. 
The announcement came days after the public leak of an unverified outside dossier that claimed the Kremlin has compromising personal and professional information on Trump and that his campaign aides and Russian intermediaries have been in contact throughout the campaign.
Trump has slammed the dossier as “fake news.” 
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