Trump says he may scrap Russia sanctions

Trump says he may scrap Russia sanctions
US sanctions against Russia could be scrapped after President-elect Donald Trump takes office, the controversial incoming leader hinted, according to an article published on Friday.
2 min read
14 January, 2017
Trump will take office on 20 January [AFP]

Sanctions against Russia could soon be lifted, US President-elect Donald Trump hinted according to a Wall Street Journal interview published on Friday.

The incoming president said he would keep intact "at least for a period of time" sanctions President Barack Obama's administration imposed on Russia last month over Moscow's alleged cyber attacks to influence the US election.

But, if Russia helps the US on key goals such as fighting violent extremists, Trump suggested he may scrap the punitive measures altogether.

"If you get along and if Russia is really helping us, why would anybody have sanctions if somebody's doing some really great things?" Trump said in excerpts from an hour-long interview.

He also said he was prepared to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin after taking office on 20 January.

Trump has on several occasions expressed admiration for Putin, and only reluctantly accepted US intelligence's conclusion that Russian hackers acting on Putin's authority interfered in the US elections.

On Wednesday, Trump attacked the media and US intelligence agencies and denied explosive allegations about his ties with Russia - while admitting for the first time that Moscow had likely meddled in the US election.

The 70-year-old angrily accused CNN of being "fake news" and slammed BuzzFeed as "a failing pile of garbage" after it published the dossier with the allegedly incriminating material, drawn up by a former British intelligence agent hired to do "opposition research" on Trump.

"It's all fake news. It's phony stuff. It didn't happen," he said, referring to allegations of lurid behavior in a Moscow hotel room.

Trump, who is only six days away from holding office, also suggested that the information in the dossier may have been released by the intelligence agencies, which would be a "tremendous blot on their record," he said.

"That's something that Nazi Germany would have done and did do," he said, explaining an earlier tweet in which he asked: "Are we living in Nazi Germany?"

The Kremlin has dismissed the dossier as a "total fake" aimed at damaging bilateral ties.