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Trump said in the interview with Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, which is scheduled to air Sunday, that he respects Putin, but doesn't know if he'll get along with him.
"I respect a lot of people but that doesn't mean I'm going to get along with him," Trump said. "He's a leader of his country. I say it's better to get along with Russia than not and if Russia helps us in the fight against ISIS, which is a major fight and Islamic terrorism all over the world, major fight -- that's a good thing. Will I get along with them? I have no idea."
But when O’Reilly hinted at Putin's reputation as a "killer," and Trump said there are "a lot of killers."
"What do you think? Our country's so innocent?" Trump said.
This comment in particular has captured the attention of the U.S. foreign policy establishment. Michael McFaul, former U.S. Ambassador to Russia addressed it on Twitter.
"Mr. President, our soldiers dont carpet bomb cities. We dont assassinate government critics," McFaul tweeted.
Mr. President, our soldiers dont carpet bomb cities. We dont assassinate government critics. Google: Grozny, Aleppo, Nemtsov, Litvinenko,etc https://t.co/N8grtIAPvA— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) February 5, 2017
The rest of the interview with President Trump will air at 4 p.m. ET on Fox.