Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton just completed a lengthy foray into immigration that went around the bend and ended up in Russia.
Trump, who has praised Russian president Vladmir Putin on numerous occasions, was put on the spot by moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News on his seeming admiration for the strongman.
Clinton pivoted from the domestic immigration question to raise the issue of Russian’s involvement in the hacking of Democrats’ emails in an attempt, she said, to influence the outcome of the U.S. election.
“Finally, will Donald Trump admit and condemn that the Russians are doing this and make it clear he will not have the help of Putin in this election. That he rejects Russian espionage of this election which he actually encouraged?” Clinton said.
Putin, Trump said, “has no respect for this person,” pointing at his opponent.
“That’s because he’d rather have a puppet,” Clinton said.
“You’re the puppet,” Trump responded.
Clinton went on the attack: “You encouraged espionage on our people. That you are willing to spout the Putin line, sign up for his wish list, break up NATO, do whatever he wants to do, you continue to get help from him because he has a very clear favorite in this race. We’ve never had a foreign government trying to interfere with our election.
“Seventeen intelligence agents, military and civilian included, determined this intelligence attacks have come from the highest levels of the Kremlin.”
Wallace intervened and pressed Trump, saying top intelligence officials do believe there is Russian involvement.
“Do you condemn any interference” from Russia? Wallace said.
“By Russia or anybody else,” Trump said. “Of course I condemn. I don’t know Putin. This is not my best friend. But if the United States got along with Russia it wouldn’t be so bad.”