On the campaign trail, President-elect Donald Trump said that he had never met or interacted with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but newly uncovered audio footage from October 2015, in which Trump says that he "got along great" with the Russian leader, directly contradicts those statements.
In the newly unearthed footage, uncovered by political opposition researchers and released by the Democratic Coalition Against Trump, the president-elect tells conservative radio host Michael Savage in 2015 that he met Putin many years ago and that they "got along great."
"I think I would get along very well [with Putin]," Trump added, when asked if he could conduct business with Russia. I had the Miss Universe pageant, believe it or not, in Moscow two years ago … These are people, they are looking to do things."
But during an interview the following year, Trump told ABC'S George Stephanopoulos that he was not personally acquainted with Putin, when the TV host asked him repeatedly whether they had a relationship.
"I've never met him," Trump said during the July 31 interview. "I have no relationship with Putin. I don't think I've ever met him. I never met him. … I mean if he's in the same room or something. But I don't think so."
Stephanopoulos then asked whether he had ever spoken to the foreign leader over the phone.
"I have never spoken to him on the phone, no," Trump answered "… I mean, he was saying very good things about me, but I don't have a relationship with him. I didn't meet him. I haven't spent time with him… and I wouldn't know him from Adam, except I see his picture and I would know what he looks like."
Trump went on to say that he is "not going to be mean to anybody," even regarding the annexation of Crimea. He also said that, while he would not "bow," he saw allying with Russia to "get rid of ISIS" as a positive that could save "tremendous amounts of money and lives."
But in the 2015 interview, Trump told Savage something entirely different.
"I do have a relationship [with Putin], and I can tell you that he's very interested in what we're doing here today," Trump said.