- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 5, 2017

In just one interview, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Sunday publicly clashed with President Trump on a host of subjects, including Mr. Trump’s recent praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin, his claim of millions of illegal votes being cast in November’s elections, and his weekend criticism of a federal judge.

Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” the Kentucky Republican first said he disagrees with how Mr. Trump has spoken of Russia’s leader.

In an interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly that will air during Sunday’s Super Bowl pregame show, Mr. Trump responded to a question about Mr. Putin being a “killer” by equating him with some unnamed individuals in America.

“We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think? Our country is so innocent?” the president said.

Mr. McConnell quickly distanced himself from those comments.

“I would not have characterized it that way,” the Senate majority leader said. “I obviously don’t see this issue the same way he does.”

On Mr. Trump’s claim that millions of illegal immigrants voted in November’s elections, Mr. McConnell also disagreed and shot down the administration’s call for a federal probe into voter fraud.

“There’s no evidence that [voter fraud] occurred in such a significant number that would’ve changed the presidential election and I don’t think we ought to spend any federal money investigating that,” he said.

Mr. McConnell also criticized the president for singling out a federal judge. Over the weekend, Mr. Trump referred to federal Judge James Robart as a “so-called judge” after Judge Robart reversed the president’s executive order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority nations.

“I think it’s best not to single out judges for criticism,” Mr. McConnell said. “I think it’s best to avoid criticizing judges individually.”

• Ben Wolfgang can be reached at bwolfgang@washingtontimes.com.

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