Jim Acosta of CNN recently asked White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders of just how “tough” President Trump and his administration has been on Russia.
Partial transcript as follows:
ACOSTA: You’ve been saying this over the last couple weeks that nobody has been tougher on Russia and Vladimir Putin than this president. Isn’t there some hyperbole in that when you say that? Obviously, Ronald Reagan said, ‘Tear down this wall,’ John Kennedy put up a blockade around Cuba, Carter boycotted the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. Obviously, there have been presidents over the course of the last several decades who have been tougher than this president. Also given the fact that this president up until just recently wasn’t really willing to criticize Vladimir Putin by name. We all saw that over the weekend and took that as a new development.
SANDERS: You cite like one example for each of those individuals. Let me list what just a few of the actions the president has taken that previous administrations haven’t. The Treasury Department issued new sanctions on numerous individuals and entities in Russia. The president’s continued other sanctions on Russia’s malicious cyber activity in response to election hacking. He’s expelled 60 Russian operatives from the United States and closed two consulates. The president’s issued four statements condemning Russia’s poisoning of U.K. citizens on U.K. soil. He’s authorized the sale of lethal aid to Ukraine. He’s authorized military strikes against the Assad regime in Syria and has repeatedly called out Russia’s actions on that front. We’ve also exported energy to our allies in Eastern Europe. Look, I think you named off one or two things. It is without a doubt this administration and this president has done a number of things to be tough on Russia.