On Sept. 8, Donald Trump appeared on Russian television station RT America in an interview with Larry King. The Trump campaign claims King tricked Trump into allowing the interview to appear on the Russian network, while others say the GOP candidate's appearance was not accidental at all. Either way, the fact that Trump spoke about foreign policy and the political press on Russian television is a big deal.
RT America airs in several countries, according to The Washington Post. Its programs are broadcast in both Russian and English. The station is funded entirely by the Russian government.
Considering the audience the network reaches, it seems highly unlikely an interview between King, a well-known host, and Trump would accidentally appear on RT America.
Nevertheless, Trump’s campaign claims the business mogul believed the interview only would be used for King’s personal podcast, according to the Los Angeles Times.
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King’s interview with Trump touched on everything from America’s involvement in Iraq and the Middle East to the presidential race. The two also addressed the theory that Russian hackers were responsible for the Wikileaks release of thousands of emails from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
In his interview with King, Trump said he does not believe Russian President Vladimir Putin is behind the release of these emails.
“I think it's probably unlikely,” he said.
Cybersecurity experts are almost certain the hackers came from Russia and, possibly, have ties to the Russian government, the Los Angeles Times reports.
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Trump’s campaign recently lifted its ban on certain news sources. He was protesting what he perceives as biased media outlets, according to The Washington Post, which was one of the banned publications.
“The media has been unbelievably dishonest,” Trump told King. “I mean they’ll take a statement that you make which is perfect and they’ll cut it up and chop it up and shorten it or lengthen it or do something with it.”
Trump has made similar accusations against the American media throughout his campaign. If the Russian TV station did trick Trump into speaking about American policy and political press on international airwaves, Trump may have even more to complain about.
The interview is an even bigger deal if Trump knew about its final audience. This would mean that a potential future president of the U.S. appeared on international television to defend Putin and bash American tendencies.
Regardless of the knowledge that Trump had going into the interview, his appearance on Russian television will prove significant in the 2016 presidential election.
Sources: Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post (2) / Photo credit: Disney | ABC Television Group's Photostream/Flickr