Cheney warns of a ‘Putin wing of the Republican party’

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Former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), an outspoken critic of former President Trump’s, warned of the emergence of a “Putin wing” of the Republican party and stressed the importance of preventing its return to the White House.

In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Cheney sharply criticized Trump’s recent comments suggesting he would not defend NATO allies in the wake of an attack from Russia and his recent silence following the death of the anti-corruption, pro-democracy opposition leader in Russia, Alexei Navalny.

“I think that we have to take Donald Trump very seriously,” Cheney said on Sunday. “We have to take seriously the extent to which you have now got a Putin wing of the Republican Party.”

“I believe the issue this election cycle is making sure the Putin wing of the Republican Party does not take over the West Wing of the White House,” she continued.

In the interview, she did not make any presidential endorsements and said she has not yet decided whether she would enter the race herself. She made clear, however, that she would do whatever she could to prevent Trump’s return to the White House.

“Donald Trump, as you pointed out, said just a few days ago that he had told a NATO ally that he would encourage Putin to do whatever he needed to do, whatever he wanted to do,” Cheney told CNN anchor Jake Tapper.

“He’s basically made clear that, under a Trump administration, the United States is unlikely to keep its NATO commitments. And I think that Republicans who understand the importance of the national security situation who continue to support him are similarly going to be held to account,” she said.

Pressed later about Trump’s NATO comments, Cheney said, “It’s disgraceful. I can’t imagine any other American president of either party since the establishment of NATO saying such a thing. And it’s completely uninformed and ignorant and dangerous.”

Cheney also drew a connection between Trump’s frequent suggestions that he would investigate his political opponents in a second term and Navalny’s death.

“When you think about Donald Trump, for example, pledging retribution – what Vladimir Putin did to Navalny is what retribution looks like in a country where the leader is not subject to the rule of law,” Cheney said.

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