John Kelly: ‘I Don’t Get’ Praising Putin, ‘He Is a Murderer’

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    Former Trump White House chief of staff John Kelly said Thursday on CNN's “The Lead” that he does not understand the praise on the right for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    Anchor Jake Tapper said, “We've heard a lot of prominent Republicans, both in politics and in conservative media, praising Vladimir Putin, even calling him a genius. What's your response when you hear that?”

    Kelly said, “Disbelief. He's a tyrant. He is a murderer. He has attacked an innocent country whose only crime is that they want to be free and democratic, and they're working in that direction and have been working in that direction. They have been a cooperative country. They gave up, on our word, they gave up the nuclear weapons that the old Soviet Union left behind. They participated with other U.S./NATO allies. They participated in operations — peacekeeping operations in Africa and Afghanistan, places like that. They were part of the partnership for peace, although not members of NATO, they worked alongside NATO in these various good operations.”

    Kelly added, “You know, is Putin smart? Yes. Tyrants are smart. They know what they're doing. But that's — I can't imagine why someone would look at what's happening there and see it anything other than a criminal act. I don't get it, Jake.”

    Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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