Ben­net: Putin “couldn’t ask for bet­ter friend” than Trump

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Jesse Paul Jesse Paul: 303-954-1733, jpaul@den­ver­ or @JesseAPaul

U.S. Sen. Michael Ben­net said Thurs­day that Rus­sian leader Vladimir Putin “couldn’t ask for a bet­ter friend” than Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

“(Trump is) run­ning down NATO. He’s run­ning down the Euro­pean Union. Putin couldn’t ask for a bet­ter friend than that,” the Colorado Demo­crat said in a CBS News-led dis­cus­sion with a dozen law­mak­ers in Washington.

Ben­net also said he hopes that a sanc­tions bill tar­get­ing Rus­sia is brought be­fore Congress.

Ben­net also had an an­i­mated ex­change dur­ing the dis­cus­sion with U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa.

“If we’re more con­cen­trat­ing on the Rus­sians in­ter­fer­ing with our elec­tions as op­posed to the Rus­sians in­ter­fer­ing with our econ­omy right now, and us turn­ing away from our real job of get­ting peo­ple back to work, see­ing wages rise again, see­ing fam­i­lies be able to be to­gether …” Kelly said. Ben­net then in­ter­jected. “But Con­gress­man, look: The Rus­sians at­tacked our elec­tions. We need to re­spond to the Rus­sians,” an em­phatic Ben­net said, wav­ing his fin­ger.

“And we need to do the work you’re talk­ing about on the econ­omy. What we don’t need to do is come here week af­ter week af­ter week and do noth­ing.”

Trump and his ad­min­is­tra­tion have been un­der in­creased scru­tiny this week about their al­leged ties to Rus­sia.

That’s af­ter news broke last week­end that Don­ald Trump Jr. met with a Rus­sian lawyer who wanted to pass on neg­a­tive in­for­ma­tion about Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton dur­ing the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion cam­paign.

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