Clinton Says Trump’s Remarks About Putin Show He’s Unfit

  • Democratic nominee says hacks show Russian bid to interfere
  • Clinton interview with Fox her first since convention

Hillary Clinton said Republican Donald Trump’s repeated praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his reaction to the hack of Democratic Party computer systems, including hacking tied to Russia, raises national security issues and show he’s unfit to be president.

Trump only backed away from his remarks, including a suggestion that Russian intelligence agencies look for e-mails from Clinton’s private server, after a backlash from national figures in both parties, the Democratic presidential nominee said in an interview with “Fox News Sunday.”

“Laying out the facts raises serious issues about Russian interference in our elections, in our democracy. We would not tolerate that from any other country, particularly one with which we have adversarial position,” Clinton said. “And for Trump to both encourage that and to praise Putin despite what appears to be a deliberate effort to try to affect the election, I think raises national security issues.”

Clinton, in her first major national television interview after accepting the nomination on July 28, also faced questions about Benghazi, the FBI investigation into her use of private e-mail servers while she was secretary of state, and her family’s foundation, although her answers provided no new insight or defense against criticism of how she handled those matters.

Disparaging Remarks

The interview was recorded before Trump’s disparaging remarks about the Muslim-American parents of a fallen U.S. war hero, made during an interview with ABC, were made public on Saturday ahead of a full broadcast on the network’s “This Week.”

Clinton’s first appearance in nearly five years on the conservative network’s flagship Sunday show comes as she and running mate Tim Kaine make their way through Pennsylvania and Ohio on a three-day bus tour with stops in predominately white areas along the Rust Belt that voted for Republican Mitt Romney in 2012.

Hacking attacks on Democratic organizations, including the Democratic National Committee, have roiled the 2016 campaign. The disclosure by WikiLeaks of purloined party e-mails forced Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the head of the DNC, to resign as Democrats gathered for their presidential convention last week. The breach has stirred allegations that Russia is seeking to meddle in the U.S. election, an assertion Russian officials have repeatedly denied.

‘Very Troubling’

Clinton laid blame for the hack directly on Russia: “We know that Russian intelligence services, which are part of the Russian government --- which is under the firm control of Vladimir Putin -- hacked into the DNC. And we know that they arranged for a lot of those e-mails to be released,” she said.

Trump last week urged Russia to make public “30,000 e-mails that are missing” from the private server that Clinton maintained when she was secretary of state. He later said he was being “sarcastic” after facing a barrage of criticism.

She said Trump has “shown a very troubling” tendency to praise Putin and noted that he’s also suggested that as president he might not come to the aid of NATO allies that aren’t fulfilling their defense commitments. Trump has also said he would look at lifting sanctions against Russia imposed after its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region.

Regarding public opinion polls that show a majority of Americans don’t trust her, Clinton acknowledged she has “work to do to make sure people know what I have done and what I will do.” She said she’s proud of her record of public service as first lady, senator from New York and secretary of state, but that during election campaigns “all of these caricatures come out of nowhere and people begin to undermine me.”

‘The Real Deal’

“I feel very comfortable that the more people learn about what I’ve actually done -- not the caricature -- but the real deal, as my husband said in his remarks, they will understand why I was elected twice to the United States Senate, and the second time with a 67 percent vote, and why my former opponent -- President elect Obama trusted me to be Secretary of State,” she said.

Regarding her achievement in becoming the first woman presidential nominee from a major political party, Clinton, 68, said the atmosphere for her acceptance speech on July 28 was “way over the top emotional.”

“My biggest concern going out there to make that speech Thursday night was whether or not I could control my emotions,” she said, reflecting on lessons learned from her mother, Dorothy Rodham, who died in 2011. “I thought a lot about her when I walked out onto that stage to deliver that address.”

— With assistance by Anna Edney

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