President TrumpDonald John TrumpNetanyahu privately condoned US arms sale plan with UAE: report Trump denies report he called U.S. service members buried in France ‘losers’, ‘suckers’ Jim Carrey pens op-ed comparing Trump to Michael Corleone in ‘The Godfather’ MORE on Friday cast doubt on the consensus from Germany that leading Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny was poisoned in an assassination attempt in Siberia, saying he is waiting to review the evidence.
“We haven’t had any proof yet,” Trump said during a briefing at the White House.
“I would be very angry if that’s the case, so we’ll take a look at the numbers and the documents, because we’re going to be sent a lot of documents over the next few days,” he added.
The president’s remarks came hours after NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said there is “proof beyond doubt” that Navalny was poisoned with the Novichok nerve agent. The NATO head called it a violation of international law that required an international response.
Navalny is currently recovering in Germany after being transferred from a hospital in Siberia when he was poisoned last week.
Germany’s pronouncement on Wednesday that Novichok was the poison used on the opposition figure received support from Trump administration officials, with White House National Security Council spokesperson John Ullyot tweeting that “Alexei Navalny’s poisoning is completely reprehensible. Russia has used the chemical nerve agent Novichok in the past.”
White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany on Thursday echoed those remarks by saying the U.S. is “working with our allies and the international community to hold those in Russia accountable wherever the evidence leads and restrict funds for their malign activities.”
Trump has been scrutinized for his positive comments in the past about Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinClinton slams Trump over Russian opposition leader’s poisoning Russia steps up disinformation with a goal to upend our elections The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Trump, Biden intensify battleground focus as 2020 race tightens MORE and wanting improved relations between Washington and Moscow. Trump has also cast doubt on the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusions about Russian interference in the 2016 election and the country’s attempts at interfering in the 2020 election.
At the same time, the president has insisted that “nobody” has “been tougher on Russia than I have.” On Friday, he noted that the U.S. opposes a German and Russian partnership for an oil pipeline called NordStream II and touted his administration imposing sanctions on Moscow over a number of offenses.
“I was the one that alerted the United States and the world, Nord Stream II, I said why is Germany spending billions of billions of dollars to Russia to get their energy from Russia and we’re supposed to protect Germany from Russia? What’s that all about and the sanctions and everything else,” he said.
– Morgan Chalfant contributed.
Updated: 8:01 p.m.