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Trump boosts reputation of cozying up dictators at G-20 Summit

By
Clyde Hughes
President Donald J. Trump participates in a bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G-20 Japan Summit Friday. Photo by Shealah Craighead/UPI
President Donald J. Trump participates in a bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G-20 Japan Summit Friday. Photo by Shealah Craighead/UPI | License Photo

June 29 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump continued to embrace a reputation of cozying up to dictators, defending his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Trump made the comments during a news conference Saturday while attending the G-20 Summit in Osaka, Japan. Trump left the summit and visited South Korea, where he extended an invitation to another dictator, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to meet him at the Demilitarized Zone at the country's border.

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Trump was criticized Friday after he apparently told Putin in jest not to meddle in U.S. presidential elections. The comment, that appeared to be joke, came after a reporter asked Trump if he talked with Putin about election meddling.

On Saturday, he defended the comments.

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"Well, I did say it. You're to have to take a look at the words," Trump told reporters. "I did say it. And we had a discussion. We had a great -- actually, we had a great discussion, President Putin and myself. I thought it was really a tremendous discussion."

Special counsel Robert Mueller said in his April report that Russia used social media and other means to exploit the U.S. presidential election in 2016 and the 2018 midterms.

In regard to Salman, Trump said while he was "extremely angry and very unhappy" about the death of Washington Post journalist and Saudi native Jamal Khashoggi last October, he charged that "nobody has directly pointed a finger" at the crown prince for his involvement.

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The CIA and the United Nations, though, issued reports connecting Salman with the journalist's murder.

As far as his relationships with Putin and Salman, Trump said he gets along "with a lot of people."

"I get along with everybody, except you people [journalists]," Trump said at the news conference. "But I get along with President Putin. I get along with Mohammad from Saudi Arabia. ... But I also get along with people that would be perceived as being very nice. You have a lot of very nice leaders of countries."

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