Fox Business guest downplays Russian interference in US elections, calls for "sanctions relief for Russia"
Christian Whiton: Russia attacked US elections "just as some of our allies do, including the Canadians"
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From the July 2 edition of Fox Business Fox Business Networks' Varney & Co.:
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CHARLES PAYNE : I want to talk to you here about national security advisor John Bolton. He defended President Trump's decision to hold a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki later on this month. Let's take a listen first and then get your opinion.
PAYNE: All right, Christian, what are your thoughts?
CHRISTIAN WHITON (FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT SENIOR ADVISER): I think that's a good idea for a first summit not to raise the bar too high. This is a relationship-building sort of exercise, so as Bolton also said, so that with Trump and Putin need to deal to get -- deal on something, it doesn't have to be in a crisis situation, it can be a little more laid back. But John also focused in on the one key area, or one of two key areas, where we can agree with Russia. We're not going to agree on Ukraine or Crimea, but the idea of pushing Iran out of Syria, of not focusing on displacing [Syrian dictator Bashar] Assad, which really isn't in our interest, finding some common ground with Russia in Syria and agreeing that we want to to push Iran out of there, and Bolton alluded that that may be on the agenda. I hope another thing is on agenda, which is oil exports and perhaps some sanctions relief for Russia.
PAYNE: What about, though, asking about Russia’s role in our elections and what their intentions may be for this year's midterms? Because I think that's what a lot of folks in America are going to be focused on.
WHITON: Yeah, I think Bolton has said that that will come up. I think Trump will raise that, but it's a bit of checking the box because the Russians will lie about it. The Russians will continue to try and influence our elections, just as the Chinese do, and just as some of our allies do, including the Canadians. The question, though, is whether it's significant interference, and the amount of money Russia spent trying to influence our election isn't enough to influence a dogcatcher election in Cleveland much less the presidential race.
PAYNE: Yeah, they didn't spend a whole lot of money, that's for sure. If you can get those kinds of results from that investment, I'm calling Facebook later on today.