Durbin: Trump gets “googly eyed” when talking to Putin

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the second-highest ranking Democrat in the Senate, slammed President Trump for his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him of being “dazzled” by strongmen around the world.

“This president is totally dazzled by Vladimir Putin, by the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, by authoritarian leaders in countries like Brazil,” Durbin said on “Face the Nation” Sunday. “He gets on the phone with them and loses it, gets all googly eyed over their assertions that they have nothing to with what’s going on in Venezuela.”

The Illinois Democrat referenced a telephone call between Mr. Trump and his Russian counterpart that lasted more than an hour on Friday. The president, according to White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, discussed special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation “very briefly,” and only in the context that “it’s over” and found no “collusion.”

Although the special counsel did not establish a criminal conspiracy between Trump campaign associates and the Kremlin, his report outlined a broad, sophisticated effort by Moscow to sow discord among the American public and interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

The president and Putin also discussed negotiations to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, a potential nuclear arms treaty between the two countries and the ongoing political and economic turmoil in Venezuela, where U.S. intelligence and military officials say Russia and Cuba are propping up the leftist government of Nicolás Maduro.

After the call, Mr. Trump seemed to contradict these assessments by his administration, telling reporters that “(Putin) is not looking at all to get involved in Venezuela, other than he’d like to see something positive happen for Venezuela.”

Durbin urged the president to “listen” to administration officials like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton, who have warned about the Kremlin’s growing military and economic assistance to Maduro’s government, which the U.S. strongly opposes.

“Russia has sent at least a planeload full of these little green men that we’ve seen in eastern Ukraine and they are destabilizing the situation there,” Durbin added.

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