Top Putin spokesman: US-Russia relations 'maybe even worse' than height of Cold War

Russian President Vladimir Putin's top spokesman Dimitry Peskov told George Stephanopoulos Friday that US-Russian relations today were "maybe even worse" than they had been at the height of the Cold War on ABC's "Good Morning America."

When asked by Stephanopoulos if the US and Russia had entered a new Cold war, Peskov replied: "New Cold War? Well, maybe even worse. Maybe even worse taking into account actions of the present presidential administration in Washington."

Peskov then said "of course" relations had hit a low point, but he cited the US expelling 35 diplomats in December after the revelation that Russia had meaningfully meddled in the US's 2016 election — a decision that happened under Obama.

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Scenes from the Russian protests
Police officers detain an opposition supporter during a rally in Vladivostok, Russia, March 26, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Maltsev
Police officers detain an opposition supporter during a rally in Vladivostok, Russia, March 26, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Maltsev
Opposition supporters attend a rally in Vladivostok, Russia, March 26, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Maltsev
Law enforcement officers run in front of a van transporting detained anti-corruption campaigner and opposition figure Alexei Navalny during a rally in Moscow, Russia, March 26, 2017. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
An opposition supporter blocks a police van transporting detained anti-corruption campaigner and opposition figure Alexei Navalny during a rally in Moscow, Russia, March 26, 2017. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
An opposition supporter (C) blocks a police van transporting detained anti-corruption campaigner and opposition figure Alexei Navalny during a rally in Moscow, Russia, March 26, 2017. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
A law enforcement officer detains an opposition supporter during a rally in Moscow, Russia, March 26, 2017. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Law enforcement officers detain an opposition supporter during a rally in Moscow, Russia March 26, 2017. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Opposition supporters attend a rally in Moscow, Russia, March 26, 2017. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
A law enforcement officer climbs on a lamp pole to detain opposition supporters during a rally in Moscow, Russia, March 26, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Law enforcement officers line up along a street as they block a rally in Moscow, Russia, March 26, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin
Law enforcement officers line up along a street as they block a rally in Moscow, Russia, March 26, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin
Law enforcement officers detains an opposition supporter during a rally in Moscow, Russia, March 26, 2017. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Law enforcement officers gather as they block opposition supporters in Moscow, Russia, March 26, 2017. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Law enforcement officers detain an opposition supporter during a rally in Moscow, Russia, March 26, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin?
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - MARCH 26: Russian riot policemen stand guard as people take part in an opposition rally on March 26, 2017 in Moscow. (Photo by Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - MARCH 26: Russian riot policemen stand guard as people take part in an opposition rally on March 26, 2017 in Moscow. (Photo by Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - MARCH 26: Russian riot police detain protesters during an opposition rally on March 26, 2017 in Moscow. (Photo by Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SAINT-PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - MARCH 26: Protesters attend a demonstration against Russian Prime-minister Dmitry Medvedev on the Mars field in St Petersburg, Russia on March 26, 2017. (Photo by Sergey Mihailicenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SAINT-PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - MARCH 26: Protesters attend a demonstration against Russian Prime-minister Dmitry Medvedev on the Palace square in St Petersburg, Russia on March 26, 2017. (Photo by Sergey Mihailicenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SAINT-PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - MARCH 26: Protesters attend a demonstration against Russian Prime-minister Dmitry Medvedev on the Palace square in St Petersburg, Russia on March 26, 2017. (Photo by Sergey Mihailicenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SAINT-PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - MARCH 26: Protesters attend a demonstration against Russian Prime-minister Dmitry Medvedev on the Griboedov channel in St Petersburg, Russia on March 26, 2017. (Photo by Sergey Mihailicenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SAINT-PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - MARCH 26: Protesters is seen during demonstration against Russian Prime-minister Dmitry Medvedev on the Palace square in St Petersburg, Russia on March 26, 2017. (Photo by Sergey Mihailicenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SAINT-PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - MARCH 26: Police detain a protestor during a demonstration against Russian Prime-minister Dmitry Medvedev on the Vosstania square in St Petersburg, Russia on March 26, 2017. (Photo by Sergey Mihailicenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SAINT-PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - MARCH 26: Protesters attend a demonstration against Russian Prime-minister Dmitry Medvedev on the Nevsky prospect in St Petersburg, Russia on March 26, 2017. (Photo by Sergey Mihailicenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - MARCH 26: (RUSSIA OUT) Russian riot policemen detain an opposition activist during a protest rally at Pushkinskaya Square, in Moscow, Russia, March 26, 2017. Russia's leading opposition figure Alexei Navalny and his supporters aim anti-corruption demonstrations against Prime Minister Medvedev and President Putin throughout Russia, but authorities are denied permission. Hundreds activists were detained in Moscow. (Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - MARCH 26: Russian riot policemen stand guard as people take part in an opposition rally on March 26, 2017 in Moscow. (Photo by Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - MARCH 26: (RUSSIA OUT) Russian opposition activists hold an unsantioned protest rally in front of the Pushkin monument at Pushkinskaya Square, March 26, 2017 in Moscow, Russia. Russia's leading opposition figure Alexei Navalny and his supporters aim anti-corruption demonstrations against Prime Minister Medvedev and President Putin throughout Russia, but authorities are denied permission. Hundreds activists were detained in Moscow. (Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - MARCH 26: (RUSSIA OUT) Russian riot policemen detain an opposition activist during an unsantioned protest rally in front of the Pushkin monument at Pushkinskaya Square, March 26, 2017 in Moscow, Russia. Russia's leading opposition figure Alexei Navalny and his supporters aim anti-corruption demonstrations against Prime Minister Medvedev and President Putin throughout Russia, but authorities are denied permission. Hundreds activists were detained in Moscow. (Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)
Opposition supporters participate in an anti-corruption rally in central Saint Petersburg on March 26, 2017. (Photo by Igor Russak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Opposition supporters participate in an anti-corruption rally in central Saint Petersburg on March 26, 2017. (Photo by Igor Russak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Opposition supporters participate in an anti-corruption rally in central Saint Petersburg on March 26, 2017. (Photo by Igor Russak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Opposition supporters participate in an anti-corruption rally in central Saint Petersburg on March 26, 2017. (Photo by Igor Russak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - MARCH 26: Opposition supporters and Russian police officers are seen during an opposition rally on March 26, 2017 in Moscow. (Photo by Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - MARCH 26: Opposition supporters take part in an opposition rally on March 26, 2017 in Moscow. (Photo by Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - MARCH 26: Opposition supporters and Russian police officers are seen during an opposition rally on March 26, 2017 in Moscow. (Photo by Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
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Peskov later described the move as "occupation of Russian diplomatic property" that was "not friendly."

While US-Russian relations may not have reached Cuban missile crisis-levels, they have deteriorated in several meaningful ways.

Importantly, Russia broke the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty, a hallmark agreement between the nuclear superpowers which headed off the outright nuclearization of Europe during the height of the Cold war.

On Thursday Putin denied any involvement in the US election, which Peskov echoed, blaming "fake news" and "slander" for implicating Russia. Peskov said Putin preferred Trump in the 2016 election simply because he seemed "empathetic" towards Russia, and that he expressed interest in getting along with the Kremlin.

Peskov also categorically denied that former US Army general and Trump's first National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, who was caught and subsequently fired for having "unambiguous and highly inappropriate" about possibly easing sanctions on Russia, could have any impact on sanctions.

"Neither ambassador Kislyak nor Gen. Flynn could have been involved in decision making," said Peskov.

Currently, both the House and Senate have open investigations into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian influencers.

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Tom Barrack

The close friend to Donald Trump and CEO of private equity firm Colony Capital recommended that Trump bring in Paul Manafort for his presidential campaign.

R. James Woolsey

Woolsey, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), has cooperated with Mueller's investigation and worked with Michael Flynn and was present at a meeting where they discussed removing the controversial Turkish Muslim cleric Fetullah Gulen from US soil. 

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The former senior Trump campaign official and White House adviser was present and crucial during the firings of Michael Flynn and James Comey.

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Jeff Sessions

Former U.S. senator Jeff Sessions from Alabama joined Trump's campaign as a foreign policy adviser in February 2016. Sessions was nominated to be U.S. attorney general by President Trump and was then confirmed by the Senate. Reports then emerged that Sessions had spoken twice with Sergey Kislyak while he was senator -- a fact that he left out of his Senate hearing testimony. Instead, he said in writing that he had not communicated with any Russian officials during the campaign season. Sessions defended himself saying he had spoken with Kislyak specifically in a senate capacity.

Paul Manafort

Paul Manafort signed on as Donald Trump's campaign manager in March 2016. A longtime Republican strategist and beltway operative, Manafort had previously served as an adviser to former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich -- a pro-Russia leader who was violently ousted in 2014. Manafort resigned from his campaign position in August 2016 amid questions over his lobbying history in Ukraine for an administration supportive of Russia. The former campaign manager reportedly remained in Trump's circle during the post-election transition period.

Michael Flynn

Gen. Michael Flynn was named President Trump's national security adviser in November of 2016. Flynn reportedly met and spoke with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December, at one point discussing sanctions. Flynn originally told Vice President Pence he did not discuss sanctions -- a point the Department of Justice said made the national security adviser subject to blackmail. Flynn resigned from his position in February.

Donald Trump

2016 election winner Donald Trump is at the center of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russia's handlings.

Sam Clovis

Clovis, a former member of the Trump campaign, arrives on at the U.S. Capitol December 12, 2017 to appear before a closed meeting of the House Intelligence Committee. Clovis worked with George Papadopoulos, a former Donald Trump campaign foreign policy advisor who struck a plea deal on charges of lying to the FBI.

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Roger Stone

Stone is a longtime Republican political consultant who served as a campaign adviser to Trump who continued to talk with the then-GOP candidate after stepping away from his adviser role. Stone claimed last year that he had knowledge of the planned WikiLeaks release of emails pertaining to Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee. Stone recently admitted to speaking via direct message with "Guccifer 2.0" -- an online entity U.S. officials believe is tied to Russia. Stone says the correspondence was “completely innocuous.”

Carter Page

Page worked for Merrill Lynch as an investment banker out of their Moscow office for three years before joining Trump's campaign as a foreign policy adviser. During his time with Merrill Lynch, Page advised transactions for two major Russian entities. Page has called Washington "hypocritical" for focusing on corruption and democratization in addressing U.S. relations with Russia. While Page is someone Trump camp has seemingly tried to distance itself from, Page recently said he has made frequent visits to Trump Tower.

J.D. Gordon

Before Gordon joined the Trump campaign as a national security adviser in March 2016, he served as a Pentagon spokesman from 2005 through 2009. Like others involved in Trump-Russia allegations, Gordon met with ambassador Kislyak in July at the Republican National Convention, but has since denied any wrongdoing in their conversation. He advocated for and worked to revise the RNC language on and position toward Ukraine relations, so it was more friendly toward Russia's dealings in the country.

Former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo (L)

Caputo waves goodbye to reporters after he testified before the House Intelligence Committee during a closed-door session at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center July 14, 2017 in Washington, DC. Caputo resigned from being a Trump campaign communications advisor after appearing to celebrate the firing of former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Denying any contact with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign, Caputo did live in Moscow during the 1990s, served as an adviser to former Russian President Boris Yeltsin and did pro-Putin public relations work for the Russian conglomerate Gazprom Media.

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White House Senior adviser Jared Kushner
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White House Communications Director Hope Hicks
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US Vice President Mike Pence
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Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci
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