© 2024 WKNO FM
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

A Look At Donald Trump's Ties To Russia


The Democratic National Committee is apologizing to Bernie Sanders for internal emails that show the DNC favored Hillary Clinton over him in the Democratic presidential race. The emails were acquired in a cyberattack earlier this year. They were posted just days ago by WikiLeaks. But the prime suspect is Russia. NPR's David Welna has this story.

DAVID WELNA, BYLINE: It was a startling charge leveled yesterday about the leaked emails, and it was made on CNN by the manager of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, Robby Mook.


ROBBY MOOK: Experts are telling us that Russian state actors broke into the DNC, stole these emails, and other experts are now saying that they are - the Russians are releasing these emails for the purpose of actually helping Donald Trump.

WELNA: Trump responded on Twitter at 4:30 this morning with a dismissive tweet. The new joke in town, Trump wrote, is that Russia leaked the disastrous DNC emails which should never have been written, stupid because Putin likes me. Later on MSNBC, Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta said while he could not confirm the source of that leak...


JOHN PODESTA: What we have is a kind of bromance going on between Putin and Trump, which is distinct from this leak.

WELNA: Indeed, Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin have lately formed something of a mutual admiration society. Here's Putin in December when asked about Trump.


VLADIMIR PUTIN: (Through interpreter) He's a brilliant and talented person, without a doubt.

WELNA: And here's Trump misquoting but standing by Putin six weeks later in Clinton, Iowa.


DONALD TRUMP: He said Trump's a genius. They wanted me to demand that he take it back. Who the hell's going to take it back? Can you - no, I want him to say it a few more times so everyone...


TRUMP: But when you think of it, what - and then they wanted me to denounce Putin. Why would I denounce him? For what?

WELNA: In stark contrast, Hillary Clinton has made clear she's no friend of Putin's. Here's Clinton today speaking to a VFW convention in Charlotte, N.C.


HILLARY CLINTON: One thing for certain you will not ever hear from me is praise for dictators and strongmen who have no love for America.

WELNA: In Russia, Trump is widely preferred over Clinton.


ALEKSANDR DUGIN: Go ahead, Mr. Trump. In Trump we trust.

WELNA: That's Aleksandr Dugin, a Russian political analyst who's been called Putin's Rasputin. In a video posted on YouTube, Dugin says while Hillary Clinton's worse than President Obama and would destroy America...


DUGIN: Donald Trump's America can be friend and ally, or at least an indifferent power that concentrates on itself and minds its own business.

WELNA: Russians' perception that Trump sees their nation as a friend rather than an adversary may stem from comments like these, which he made to Bloomberg TV four months ago.


TRUMP: We're always fighting. We're the one that wants to go to World War III with Russia over Ukraine. So we're the ones always fighting. We're the ones putting up a lot of the money for NATO disproportionately - a lot.

WELNA: In an interview with The New York Times last week, Trump suggested the U.S. might not come to the aid of NATO allies if Russia attacks them even though all NATO members are bound to do so by treaty. The expansion of NATO to include former Soviet states has rankled Russia and led to a new build-up of arms and troops along its borders.

Trump's critics say his friendly treatment of Russia, a leading U.S. adversary, which he made no mention of in his convention acceptance speech last week, may have a lot to do with Trump's ties with Russian investors in his businesses. In April, Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort played down his own past work for deposed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, a Putin ally.


PAUL MANAFORT: The role that I played in that administration was to help bring Ukraine into Europe, and we did. We succeeded.

WELNA: Yanukovych now lives in exile in Russia. David Welna, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

David Welna is NPR's national security correspondent.