In a strange pivot, former White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah was challenged on the reason President Donald Trump never has a bad word to say about Russian President Vladimir Putin, even when Russian aides are publically questioning the American leader.
During a press event, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov revealed that there seems to be a difference between where President Donald Trump is on the crisis in Venezuela compared to his foreign policy leaders like Sec. Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton.
Lavrov said that there is some daylight between Trump and the other men. "In his call with Putin he [Trump] didn't say anything like that. The conversation was about helping the people of Venezuela overcome the crisis," the foreign affairs minister said.
Trump said Friday that he spoke with Putin via phone for over an hour and the upcoming 2020 election and hacking and meddling didn't come up, again.
But every time Trump speaks to Putin, there is nothing but love. MSNBC host Kasie Hunt recalled all of the times Trump went out of his way to compliment the Russian leader. On some of the occasions, Trump did it against the strong objection by his advisors.
"Please, explain why it is that the president keeps having these interactions with Vladimir Putin that baffle not just Democrats but Republican -- the entire Republican Party of Ronald Reagan -- you know, 'Russia [is] not [a] friend!'" Hunt said.
Shah blamed it on Washington, saying that there was nothing Trump could do about it anyway.
"I don’t really understand sort of the obsession in Washington D.C., both sides of the aisle, with how the president speaks to Putin," he told Hunt Sunday. "Whereas if he confronted him for five minutes in the phone call, all of a sudden the election meddling plans out of Moscow would not happen."
"You’re saying that he can’t do anything about it?" Hunt asked.
"No, I think that actions speak louder than words," he retorted.
The spin from the Trump White House has been that the president has allowed sanctions to continue against Russia. However, Trump's in-action on a plethora of other issues is another act altogether.
BBC News anchor Katty Kay disputed Shah's take, saying the concern is that Trump doesn't take on Putin at all.
"The argument they didn’t have time in this conversation, this conversation apparently lasted for an hour and a half. There is time to say do not meddle in this our elections," she said. "It wasn’t just on the elections. It was also over the issue of Venezuela. The president comes out and says the Russians are not meddling in Venezuela, the president told me so. The next day his Secretary of State tweets out a video saying the Russians are responsible for why we have 3,000 refugees from Venezuela. On two big issues the president sides with Vladimir Putin."
Watch the full exchange below: