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Nikki Haley breaks with Trump on Russia: 'I don't think we can trust them'

Haley also clarified that Trump does not want to issue a blanket ban against all Muslims entering the United States.

By Andrew V. Pestano and Doug G. Ware
Nikki Haley breaks with Trump on Russia: 'I don't think we can trust them'
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, nominated to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, speaks as her father, Ajit Singh Randhawa (R) listens, during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday. Haley, a critic of many of President Barack Obama's foreign policies, has said she will "take an outsiders look at the institution." Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 18 (UPI) -- South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Donald Trump's pick to serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, expressed a view of Russia at her confirmation hearing Wednesday that differs somewhat from her president-elect boss's.

Haley, who would become the United States' top diplomat to the international body, made it clear during questioning that she would tell her Russian counterpart in no uncertain terms that some of the things the Kremlin has pulled is not acceptable.

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Moscow has butted international heads for the last couple years over issues, like the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its purported attempt to sway the U.S. presidential election to get Trump in the White House.

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"I don't think that we can trust them," she said.

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That line of thinking is at least somewhat different than Trump's. Since last month, the president-elect has been non-committal about punishing Russia and has stated a belief that Moscow and President Vladimir Putin can be strong U.S. allies.

Another issue that Haley has disagreed with Trump about is his controversial remark about keeping all Muslims from entering the United States. Haley said she does disagree with such a prohibition, but clarified that Trump is not looking for a blanket ban.

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"He does believe that we should be conscious as we are looking at the refugee crisis, and that we do not take any people from areas of threat" she said.

During the hearing, Haley also expressed disappointment that President Barack Obama's administration allowed the U.N. Security Council to pass a resolution last month to condemn Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

The 15-member U.N. Security Council voted 14-0 to pass Resolution 2334, a condemnation of ongoing construction of Israeli settlements in disputed Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem. The United States abstained from voting -- which critics have likened to supporting the resolution.

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"Nowhere has the U.N.'s failure been more consistent and more outrageous than in its bias against our close ally Israel," Haley said. "I will not go to New York and abstain when the U.N. seeks to create an international environment that encourages boycotts of Israel. I will never abstain when the United Nations takes any action that comes in direct conflict with the interests and values of the United States."

Trump has repeatedly been critical of the United Nations, particularly the amount of funding the United States provides. Haley also criticized the "disproportionate" funding.

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"We contribute 22 percent of the U.N.'s budget, far more than any other country," Haley said. "We are a generous nation. But we must ask ourselves what good is being accomplished by this disproportionate contribution."

Haley, 44, the daughter of Indian immigrants who was born in Bamberg, S.C., has little foreign policy experience but has worked on domestic trade and labor issues. Her foreign policy work centers on negotiating with international companies seeking development deals in South Carolina and leading seven overseas trade missions during her two terms as governor.

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