During the final days of the 2016 presidential election, then-candidate Donald Trump had an exclusive chat with talk radio host Michael Savage — which suggests just how long the future president had been mulling over his future dealings with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Mr. Trump hoped at the time to “talk about peace with Putin,” according to Mr. Savage — and that time was over 21 months ago.
The radio host, heard daily by 11 million listeners, released a portion of that interview Wednesday, which reveals that Mr. Trump was willing to meet with his Russian counterpart even before Inauguration Day, if he was elected president.
He was that concerned.
“Putin has no respect at all for Obama. And I think that you have potentially a really catastrophic situation here, I’ll be honest with you,” Mr. Trump told Mr. Savage during their conversation. “I will say this, if I win on Nov. 8, I think I could see myself meeting with Putin, and meeting with Russia prior to the start of the administration. I think it would be wonderful.”
Mr. Savage agreed that such a move would be “fabulous.”
Mr. Trump also said that relations between the U.S. and Russia at that time were at their worst point since the Cold War, and he blamed then-President Obama and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for contributing to the disintegrating relationship.
“The problem is Putin has no respect for Obama. At all,” Mr. Trump said again.
“He doesn’t like him and doesn’t respect him. And Obama doesn’t like Putin. They have a great dislike for each other,” Mr. Trump said, also citing the influence of both Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton.
“They insult him constantly. I mean, no wonder he can’t stand Obama and Hillary Clinton,” the future president concluded....HAYDEN HAS A SAY“OMG. OMG. OMG.”That was retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, former CIA and NSA director during the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, reacting on Twitter to President Trump’s straightforward indication Wednesday that Russia was no longer meddling in U.S. elections.Helpful notes: Mr. Trump was asked whether Russia was still targeting the U.S. at the close of a White House Cabinet meeting and he simply replied “No.”For the uninitiated, “OMG” means “Oh, my God.”Then there’s an assessment from Twitchy.com, a canny group that monitors noteworthy tweets on a daily basis: “Gen. Michael Hayden hits DEFCON 3 on the OMG-o-meter with Trump’s latest on Russia.”Meanwhile, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders later explained that Mr. Trump’s “no” was not in response to Russian meddling. He was responding “no” to taking further questions from the press. For a time, #SarahSanders topped the national trends on Twitter, sparking some 45,000 tweets.And that is all part