Trump, facing intense criticism over his campaigns relationship with Russia during the election, said no reason why he should not get along with Putin

President Donald Trump, combating allegations that Russia helped him win the White House, claimed on Wednesday that Vladimir Putin would have preferred a Hillary Clinton victory despite US intelligence saying the Russian leader directed a covert effort to help defeat her.

We are the most powerful country in the world and we are getting more and more powerful because Im a big military person. As an example, if Hillary had won, our military would be decimated, Trump said.

Thats why I say, why would he want me? Because from day one I wanted a strong military, he doesnt want to see that.

In an interview with Pat Robertson of the Christian Broadcasting Network, Trump said There are many things that I do that are the exact opposite of what he( Putin) wishing to.

Trump said he got along very, very well with the longtime Russian leader, whom he met in Hamburg last week. So what I keep hearing about that he would have instead had Trump, I guess probably not, because when I want a strong military he said.

When I want tremendous energy were opening up coal, were opening up natural gas, were opening up fracking, all the things that he would dislike but nobody ever mentions that, he said.

On Saturday, Putin told reporters he had hopes for the bilateral ties after fulfilling Trump.

The Trump that you assure on Tv is very different than the real Trump, Putin told reporters at the G2 0 in Germany. He perfectly understands whom he is talking to and answers questions rapidly. I guess personal relations were established.

Decrying what he called a political witch hunt, Trump has also come to the defense of his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr, after the release of emails depicting his embrace of a Russian offer to provide derogatory information about Clinton during the campaign.

The email exchange has been described in some quarters as a possible smoking gun in the ongoing investigation by an independent prosecutor into whether Trumps campaign colluded with Moscow to get him elected.

In a separate interview with Reuters, Trump said he did not defect his son for meeting with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 presidential election campaign and that he was unaware of the meeting until a few days ago.

Asked if he knew that his son was meeting with lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya in June last year, the president told Reuters in a White House interview: No, that I didnt know until a couple of days ago when I heard about this.

Trump Jr eagerly agreed to meet the woman he was told was a Russian government lawyer who might have injury information about Democratic rival Hillary Clinton as part of Moscows official support for his fathers campaign, according to emails the son released on Tuesday.

Seated at his Oval Office desk, Trump said he did not flaw his son for holding the meeting, writing it off as a decision built in the hot of an upstart , non-traditional campaign. I guess many people would have held that session, he said.

It was a 20 -minute meeting, I guess, from what Im hearing, Trump said. Many people, and many political pros, said everybody would do that.

The emails were the most concrete evidence that Trump campaign officials might have been willing to accept Russian are contributing to win the 8 November election, a subject that has cast a cloud over Trumps presidency and prompted investigations by the US justice department and Congress.

Donald Trump Jr, in an interview with Fox News on Tuesday, said: In retrospect, I likely would have done things a little differently.

In the White House interview, the president said he directly asked Russian President Vladimir Putin if he was involved in what US intelligence says was Russian meddling in the presidential campaign and that Putin had insisted he was not.

Trump said he spent the first 20 or 25 minutes of his more than two-hour meeting with Putin last Friday in Germany on the election meddling subject.

I said, Did you do it? And he said, No, I did not. Absolutely not. I then asked him a second time in a totally different style. He said absolutely not, Trump said.

Asked if he believed Putins denial, Trump paused.

* Look. Something happened and we have to find out what it is, because we cant allow a thing like that to happen to our election process. So something happened and we have to find out what it is, he said.

About Putin, he added: Someone did say if he did do it, you wouldnt have found out about it. Which is a very interesting point.

Read more: www.theguardian.com