(CNN) – President-elect Donald Trump called Russian leader Vladimir Putin “very smart” Friday for withholding sanctions on the U.S., at least for the time being.
Earlier, Putin discarded a recommendation from his government to impose restrictions on the U.S. All this, following president Obama’s decision to punish Russia for reportedly interfering with the U.S. election. Tonight president elect Donald trump is out with new praise for Vladimir Putin, applauding the Russian President for withholding retaliatory sanctions on the U.S.
Trump tweeted “Great move on delay by V. Putin – I always knew he was very smart!”
As the President elect determines his next move responding further to Russia and the new U.S. sanctions his advisers are calling out the Obama administration for what they see as politics at play.
KellyAnne Conway, Trump’s senior advisor said, “We’ve been talking about this for a while. I think that, you know all we heard all through the election was Russia, Russia, Russia. Whenever it came to anything Donald trump said or did it seemed most days and now since the election is just this fever pitch of accusations and insinuations.”
Trump transition officials are speculating that the administration’s sanctions against Russia are a distraction to undermine his win, and tie his hands on Russia before he becomes president
Conway went onto say, “I will tell you that even those who are sympathetic to president Obama on most issues are saying that part of the reason he did this today was to quote box in president-elect trump. But that would be very unfortunate if politics were the motivating factor here.”
Since the sanctions were announced Trump himself has only issued a blunt two line statement Thursday night saying “It’s time for our country to move on to bigger and better things.”
A posture he has taken publicly in recent days
Donald trump continued to say “I think we ought to get on with our lives. I think the computers have complicated our lives very greatly. The whole age of computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what is going on.”
But the president elect has now agreed to sit down with the intelligence community.
Reince Priebus, Trump’s Chief of staff said, “We just need to get to a point ourselves where we can talk to all of these intelligence agencies and find out once and for all what evidence is there, how bad is it?”
That closed door meeting likely to take place in New York next week where Trump will be presented with the evidence the intel community says points a finger at Russia for the hacks
Priebus went onto say, “Maybe at that time or maybe later he’ll have a response. But right now we’re just not in a position to sit here and respond to all of these details before we have a full blown intelligence report on this particular matter.”
In the past Trump and his aides have publicly been skeptical of the intelligence community’s conclusion
Trump added, “I don’t think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds okay?”
He has attempted to deflect blame away from the Russian vowing during the campaign to improve the relationship with Russia saying, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we actually got along with Russia and these other countries, wouldn’t that be a positive thing?
Once sworn into office in January Trump has the power to reverse the sanctions or keep them in place. That decision is hanging in the balance.