Batting for warm relations with Russia, President Donald Trump has said it is a "good thing" if the US gets along with Moscow as both the countries are nuclear powers.
"It would be great if we could get along with Russia, just so you understand that. Now tomorrow, you'll say Donald Trump wants to get along with Russia, this is terrible. It's not terrible. It's good," Trump told reporters at a White House news conference yesterday.
He was responding to a series of questions on some of the recent provocative behaviour of Russia.
Asked if Putin was testing him, Trump said he did not think so.
"No, I don't think so. I think Putin probably assumes that he can't make a deal with me anymore because politically it would be unpopular for a politician to make a deal. I can't believe I'm saying I'm a politician, but I guess that's what I am now. It would be much easier for me to be tough on Russia, but then we're not going to make a deal," Trump said.
Trump said he wanted to do right thing for the world.
"To be honest, secondarily, I want to do the right thing for the world. If Russia and the United States actually got together and got along - and don't forget, we're a very powerful nuclear country and so are they. There's no up-side. And anybody that ever read the most basic book can say it, nuclear holocaust would be like no other," Trump said.
"They're a very powerful nuclear country and so are we. If we have a good relationship with Russia, believe me, that's a good thing, not a bad thing," Trump said.
He alleged that the previous administration was soft on Russia.
"We had Hillary Clinton (Secretary of State in the Obama Administration) try and do a reset. We had Hillary Clinton give Russia 20 per cent of the uranium in our country. This thing called nuclear weapons like lots of things are done with uranium including some bad things," he said.
"Nobody talks about that. I didn't do anything for Russia. I've done nothing for Russia. If we could get along with Russia, that's a positive thing," he said, adding that his talented Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is going to meet with the Russians shortly.
"The greatest thing I could do is shoot that ship that's 30 miles off shore right out of the water. Everyone in this country's going to say 'oh, it's so great'. That's not great. That's not great. I would love to be able to get along with Russia," he said.
Trump said it was possible that he might get along well with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
"I love to negotiate things, I do it really well. But it's possible I won't be able to get along with Putin. Maybe it is," he said.
Trump attributed some of the recent provocative actions of
the Russians to the alleged dishonest reporting by the US media.
"I want to just tell you, the false reporting by the media, by you people, the false, horrible, fake reporting makes it much harder to make a deal with Russia," he said.
"And probably Putin said he's sitting behind his desk and he's saying I see what's going on in the United States, I follow it closely. It's going to be impossible for President Trump to ever get along with Russia because of all the pressure he's got with this fake story," he said.
"That's a shame because if we could get along with Russia - and by the way, China and Japan and everyone. If we could get along, it would be a positive thing, not a negative thing," Trump said.
Trump denied having any ties or relationship with Russia.
"Russia is a ruse. I have nothing to do with Russia. Haven't made a phone call to Russia in years. Don't speak to people from Russia. Not that I wouldn't. I just have nobody to speak to," he said.
"I spoke to Putin twice. He called me on the election. And he called me on the inauguration, a few days ago. We had a very good talk, especially the second one, lasted for a pretty long period of time," he said.