Trump Scrambles To Undo Goof On Russian Invasion Of Crimea

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After Donald Trump appeared to forget that Russia invaded the Ukrainian territory of Crimea in 2014 during an interview aired on Sunday, he attempted damage control on Monday morning, insisting that he was talking about preventing future Russian aggression in the region.

During the interview on ABC’s “This Week,” Trump categorically declared that Russian leader Vladimir Putin will not “go into Ukraine,” even though Putin invaded and annexed the Ukrainian territory of Crimea in 2014.

“He’s not going into Ukraine, okay? Just so you understand,” Trump said of Putin. “He’s not going to go into Ukraine, all right? You can mark it down. You can put it down. You can take it anywhere you want.”

Stephanopoulos jumped in to ask, “Well, he’s already there, isn’t he?”

Trump then mentioned that that Putin invaded Crimea, but pivoted to place blame on Obama.

“Okay, well, he’s there in a certain way. But I’m not there. You have Obama there,” Trumps said. “And frankly, that whole part of the world is a mess under Obama, with all the strength that you’re talking about and all of the power of NATO and all of this. In the meantime, he’s going away. He take — takes Crimea.”

Stephanopoulos also noted that during a press conference, when asked if he would recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Trump said he would be “looking at that.”

“I’m gonna take a look at it,” Trump said on ABC. “But you know, the people of Crimea, from what I’ve heard, would rather be with Russia than where they were. And you have to look at that, also.”

Trump then brought up the NATO alliance, which he has suggested he won’t be fully committed to if elected president.

“Just so you understand, that was done under Obama’s administration. And as far as the Ukraine’s concerned, it’s a mess. And that’s under the Obama’s administration, with his strong ties to NATO.”

Clinton’s campaign responded to Trump on Sunday afternoon, criticizing him for giving a muddled depiction of Russia’s relationship with Ukraine.

“While Trump hasn’t mastered basic facts about the world, he has mastered Putin’s talking points on Crimea (which, of course, the United States and most of the world still recognizes as part of Ukraine). Today, he gamely repeated Putin’s argument that Russia was justified in seizing the sovereign territory of another country by force,” Clinton senior adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement. “This is scary stuff. But it shouldn’t surprise us. This comes on the heels of his tacit invitation to the Russians to invade our NATO allies in Eastern Europe.”

Trump’s comments about Putin and Ukraine came when ABC host George Stephanopoulos asked the Republican presidential nominee about his campaign’s efforts to soften a portion of the Republican platform about the United States’ commitment to helping Ukraine.

“I was not involved in that,” Trump said on ABC about his campaign’s work on the GOP platform. “I’d have to take a look at it.”

“Do you know what they did?” Stephanopoulos asked.

“They softened it, I heard. But I was not involved,” Trump replied.

Stephanopoulos explained that the platform does not call for the U.S. to supply arms to Ukraine, a position widely supported by Republicans.

“It’s — look, you know, I have my own ideas,” Trump said in response.

Asked about Trump’s comments on Russia and Ukraine, campaign co-chair Sam Clovis said that Trump was likely “thinking about something else” while responding to the question about Russia.

“The phenomena I thought of when I was listening to the interview is that Mr. Trump was thinking about something else and he answered the question when he was thinking about something else,” Clovis said on MSNBC. “I’m not trying to offer an excuse. But I will say, this is the — this is — the circumstance sometimes that, that — that happens. I think what was really at the heart of this.”

“The notion here is that we do not understand the consequences of what’s going on,” he added. “So rather than making a rash statement, or a statement that would put us in a position of where we would probably have to sit there and walk it back at some point, I think it’s much better to say that we’re going to look at the circumstances, find out what the ground truth is, and then think about the consequences of actions.”

Watch part of Trump’s interview via ABC News:

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