Trump on latest Russia provocations: 'Not good'


President Donald Trump pushed back against characterizations that Vladimir Putin is testing the new administration following the buzzing of a Navy vessel by one of Russia's fighter jets, missile tests that the U.S. government considers a violation of an arms treaty and the deployment of a spy ship off America's East Coast.

Asked about the incidents during a wide-ranging White House press conference, Trump said several times "not good," but was coy when pressed to discuss how he would respond to the developments, saying he wants to keep that kind of activity secret.

"I don't want to be one of these guys that say, 'Yes, here's what we're going to do,'" Trump said. "I don't have to do that."

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Scenes from President Trump's 2/16 press conference
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Scenes from President Trump's 2/16 press conference
US President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference on February 16, 2017, at the White House in Washington, DC. / AFP / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference on February 16, 2017, at the White House in Washington, DC. / AFP / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
CNN reporter Jim Acosta (Rear) listens to a question from Fox News Channel reporter John Roberts during a news conference by U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Vice Preisdent Mike Pence (L) and other White House staff and advisors including counselor Kellyanne Conway (R) listen during a news conference by U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. President Donald Trump takes questions during a news conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (C) laughs along with Senior Advisor Jared Kushner (L) during a news conference by U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Reporters shout questions during a news conference by U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. President Donald Trump holds a news conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump answers questions during a news conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Omarosa (C), White House director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison, takes a selfie prior to a news conference by U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Vice President Mike Pence (L-R), Senior Advisor Jared Kushner, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Special Assistant Boris Epshteyn (R) all laugh at a response from U.S. President Donald Trump during a news conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
CNN reporter Jim Acosta asks a question during a news conference by U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
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The questions were in response to reports that emerged this week that Russia secretly deployed two batteries of what U.S. officials call SSC-X-8 cruise missiles, one to southern Russia near Volgograd and another to an area defense officials wouldn't reveal, according to The New York Times. At the time of Trump's press conference, a Russian intelligence-gathering ship was still 30 miles off the coast of Connecticut near a U.S. submarine base but in international waters. Earlier on Thursday, the Defense Department released photos of a Russian Su-24 fighter jet buzzing the USS Porter in the Black Sea last week.

"It would be much easier for me to be tough on Russia, but then we're not going to make a deal," Trump said. He noted that the incidents have taken place since a series of recent news reports regarding contacts between his administration and Russian interests, and he suggested those reports have made it difficult for him to negotiate politically with Vladimir Putin.

"He's sitting behind his desk and he's saying, 'You know, 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,'" Trump said.

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President Trump's Twitter response to 'fake' Russia reports
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President Trump's Twitter response to 'fake' Russia reports
FAKE NEWS - A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!
Russia just said the unverified report paid for by political opponents is "A COMPLETE AND TOTAL FABRICATION, UTTER NONSENSE." Very unfair!
Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA - NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!
I win an election easily, a great "movement" is verified, and crooked opponents try to belittle our victory with FAKE NEWS. A sorry state!
Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to "leak" into the public. One last shot at me.Are we living in Nazi Germany?
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Trump did not specify what kind of deal he hoped to broker with Moscow but said Putin probably assumes it is not popular for Trump to make a deal with Russia.

"The tougher I am on Russia, the better. But you know what? I want to do the right thing for the American people, and to be honest, secondarily, I want to do the right thing for the world," he said.

Copyright 2017 U.S. News & World Report


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