US ambassador to UN defends America’s role, blasts Russia in Sunday interview

UPDATE — 4/4, 10:38 a.m. EDT: Speaking at a news conference in Ankara, Turkey, on Monday, Ambassador Nikki Haley said that while the people will have to decide for themselves, the U.S. does not believe Syrians support President Bashar al-Assad. 

“We have no love for Assad,” Haley said. “We’ve made that very clear. We think that he has been a hindrance to peace for a long time. He’s a war criminal. What he’s done to his people is nothing more than disgusting.”

Haley also said the U.S. doesn’t expect Assad to be a reliable ally in the war against ISIS, as Russia has indicated. “Now that could change and the administration could think otherwise, but right now Assad is not our No.1 person to talk to,” she continued.

 

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley justified America’s positions at the UN and clarified her stance on purported Russian election interference Sunday during an interview on ABC’s This Week.

After describing the impact of the new administration on the culture of the United Nations, an appraisal which included using her position to “beat up” on Russia over its actions in Ukraine and Crimea, Haley outlined her efforts to pull China toward cooperation related to North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

Similarly, Haley conveyed efforts to gain assistance from both Russia and China to bring about peace in Syria and the Trump White House taking a tougher stance on Iran, unlike the previous administration.

Following host Martha Raddatz inquiring over alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election, demanding Haley answer for U.S. intelligence services’ conclusions Russia definitively sought to influence the presidential election outcome, Haley responded:

“If, well, certainly, I think Russia was involved in the election. There’s no question about that. And I think when they finish with all of this process, yes, they need to address Russia. They need to act. And they need to make sure they are (inaudible) about it. We don’t want any country involved in our elections ever. And so once that information comes out, I expect that that will be handled accordingly.”

Haley’s remarks somewhat contradict President Trump’s stance on the matter; Trump has publicly stated Russian prying into the election was never as extensive as suggested, saying it was limited to cyber breaches of the DNC.

On Saturday, Trump tweeted the media’s preoccupation with Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, which includes alleged disinformation efforts — acts confirmed by U.S. intelligence agencies — is equivalent to “fake news”.

In separate tweets over the weekend, Trump followed with requests the media explore the lobbying efforts of Tony Podesta on behalf of Russia and whether Hillary Clinton offered apologies for accepting questions ahead of debates.

 

[AP] [Politico] [Reuters via Yahoo] [Photo courtesy AP via ABC News]