Russia’s Puppet

Though defense did not play a huge role in the third and final debate, Russia’s relationship with the two presidential candidates and its influence on the current election was front and center. Donald Trump said Russian President Vladimir Putin “has no respect” for Hillary Clinton or for President Barack Obama, saying things would be so much better if the US and Russia “got along well.” Clinton accused Trump of being Putin’s “puppet,” saying 17 intelligence agencies have confirmed the Kremlin is attempting to influence the American election. Though Trump said he does not support a foreign government intervening in the elections, Clinton said, “It’s pretty clear you encouraged espionage against the American people,” referring to comments made earlier in the campaign when Trump asked Russia to turn over Clinton’s missing emails. “She doesn’t like Putin because Putin has outsmarted her at every step of the way. … We are so outplayed on missiles, on cease fires. Our country is so outplayed by Putin and [Syrian President Bashar al] Assad and by Iran, nobody can believe how stupid our leadership is,” said Trump, citing Russia’s alliance with Syria and the New START treaty as examples. “They create warheads and we can’t. The Russians can’t believe it,” said Trump. Clinton responded, “I find it ironic that he’s raising nuclear weapons. This is a person who has been very cavalier, and even casual, about nuclear weapons. He’s advocated more countries getting them. He’s said, ‘we have them, why don’t we use them,’ which I think is terrifying.”