Trump I�m Not Being Tough On Russia BecauseI Want to Make A Deal.
BY KEVIN BARON.
The president, who joked about sinking Moscow�sspy ship off the Atlantic coast, didn�t say what kind of deal he wants.
President Donald Trump joked that he mightorder the U.
military to sink the Russian spy ship traveling south off the Atlanticcoast, then later said he wouldn�t, and then said he hoped he would not have to retaliatein any form.
Whatever option he chooses, he said, he won�tannounce it ahead of time.
�The greatest thing I could do is shootthat ship that�s 30 miles offshore right out of the water,� Trump told reportersin a Thursday press conference.
He was responding to questions about his administration�srelations with Russia and to allegations that he had so far responded weakly to evidenceof Moscow�s interference in American politics.
�Everyone in this country�s going to say,�Oh, it�s so great.
� That�s not great.
That�s not great.
I would love to be able to get along withRussia.
� Trump was referring to the Russian intelligenceship Viktor Leonov, spotted by the U.
Navy some 30 miles off the coast of Connecticut,as Fox News first reported Wednesday.
Its likely interest was the U.
submarinebase at Groton.
On Thursday morning, Pentagon officials saidthe ship was traveling south past Atlantic Fleet headquarters in Norfolk, Va.
The Russian ship�s presence is the latestin a series of military provocations by President Vladimir Putin since the new year.
Trump said he did not think Putin was testinghim.
�No, I don�t think so.
I think Putin probably assumes that he can�tmake a deal with me anymore because politically it would be unpopular for a politician tomake a deal,� Trump said.
�Because, look, it would be much easierfor me to be tough on Russia, but then we�re not going to make a deal.
� Trump did not specify what such a deal mightbe about.
His administration reportedly is interestedin renegotiating U.
sanctions on Russia.
The president declined to say what, if anything,he planned to do about the spy ship, echoing a declaration on the 2016 campaign trail thathe would not have announced in advance the U.
-led coalition�s invasion of Mosul.
�I�m not going to tell you anything aboutwhat response I do.
I don�t talk about military response,�Trump said.
�I don�t say I�m going into Mosul infour months.
�We are going to attack Mosul in four months.
�Then three months later, �We are going to attack Mosul in one month.
� �Next week,we are going to attack Mosul.
�� �In the meantime, Mosul is very, very difficult.
Do you know why? Because I don�t talk about military, andI don�t talk about certain other things.
You�re going to be surprised to hear that.
And by the way, my whole campaign, I�d saythat.
So I don�t have to tell you.
I don�t want to be one of these guys thatsay, �Yes, here�s what we�re going to do.
� I don�t have to do that.
I don�t have to tell you what I�m goingto do in North Korea.
� �Wait a minute,� Trump continued, as areporter tried to ask a follow-up question.
�I don�t have to tell you what I�m goingto do in North Korea.
And I don�t have to tell you what I�mgoing to do with Iran.
You know why? Because they shouldn�t know.
And eventually, you guys are going to gettired of asking that question.
So when you ask me what am I going to do witha ship, the Russian ship as an example, I�m not going to tell you.
But hopefully, I won�t have to do anything,but I�m not going to tell you.