Larry King interviewed Donald Trump on Thursday night in a segment that aired on RT, the state-controlled Russian TV network. The Trump campaign insists that it was not aware that King would air the interview during his show Politicking.
The interview lasted around 10 minutes, with Trump calling into the show. King started the interview by noting that he has been friends with Trump for over 30 years and started off by asking Trump what surprised him the most about running for office.
“Well, I think the dishonesty of the media,” Trump said. “The media has been unbelievably dishonest. They’ll take a statement that you make that is perfect and they’ll cut it up and chop it up and shorten it or lengthen it or do something with it.”
Trump was then asked to give some details about his plan to stop ISIS, but refused, saying that he did not want to give away ideas to the enemy. He has a “very distinct plan,” he assured King.
Trump also said that the U.S. should never have gone into Iraq and complained about the way the U.S. left, suggesting that “the way they got out really caused ISIS, if you think about it.” He called the Middle East “a total catastrophe” for the U.S.
Later Trump said he had “absolutely no opinion” on Vladimir Putin calling the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s emails a “public service.” Trump told King to tell him “who did the hacking,” so King told him that officials are reportedly investigating if Russia was trying to influence the American election. Trump said it was “probably unlikely.”
The interview came just hours after House Speaker Paul Ryan called Putin an “aggressor that does not share our interests,” adding that, “Vladimir Putin is violating the sovereignty of neighboring countries.”
The interview with King abruptly ended after 10 minutes. When King tried to ask Trump about immigration, there was no answer. King looked stumped and said that, “We did not lose the connection.”
A Trump spokeswoman told Bloomberg that they thought King was just interviewing Trump for his podcast, not RT. “What Larry King does with the interview content is up to him, we have nothing to do with it,” the spokeswoman said.
“Mr. Trump was never told it would be shared anywhere else,” Trump spokesman Jason Miller told CNN. If they knew it was going to air on RT, Trump wouldn’t have done the interview, Miller said.
The interview with King also came after Wednesday’s NBC News forum, in which Trump said that he thinks Putin has been a better leader than President Barack Obama. “[Putin] has very strong control over a country,” Trump told Matt Lauer. “Now, it’s a very different system, and I don’t happen to like the system, but certainly in that system, he’s been a leader. Far more than our president has been a leader.”