Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump continued his defense of Russian President Vladimir Putin Sunday, saying on ABC’s This Week that there was no evidence Putin’s killed anyone

“Does he know for a fact that he kills journalists?” Trump asked of Romney. “I don’t think anybody knows that, it’s possible that he does, but I don’t think it’s been proven. Has anybody proved he’s killed reporters?”

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“You know, he feels good about me. I feel, frankly, good about him. I think that we can do things with Russia that are to our advantage… It’s a mutual advantage,” Trump said during a rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Saturday afternoon. “Now, they’re jealous as hell because he’s not mentioning these people. He’s not going to mention them, so they’re jealous as hell. So a couple of them came out with: ‘Oh, well, you don’t want to be friends.’ Oh no, we don’t want to be friends. No, we want to spend another five trillion dollars continuing to fight. We gotta be smart. Now, we gotta really be smart because we don’t have any money any more. You know we’re a poor nation — we’re a debtor nation.”…

“Isn’t it sort of nice if, like, countries that we’re always fighting with, maybe we get along? Let them do…” Trump said early in the rally, as he was drowned out by cheers. “Right? I mean, look: We’re all tough guys. But wouldn’t it be nice if, like, Russia and us could knock out an enemy together? Not us bear the full cost, sometimes? You know, we’re always fighting.”…

Trump then said that some of his GOP rivals have suggested that they would refuse to meet with Putin or work with him.

“Then what do they want to do? They want to have a World War III, okay? World War III. For what? For what?” Trump said. “And they have problems, we all have problems. Russia has got plenty of problems. But I’ll tell you what: If Putin likes me, and if he thinks that I’m a good, smart person — which I hope he believes, you know, I am. Actually he’s right, I am brilliant. You know that, right?”

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Charles Krauthammer explained he is going to “conceal carry for the time being” because Donald Trump accepted praise from Vladimir Putin, a leader known for having journalists and political opponents mysteriously die…

Wednesday at a campaign rally at the Phoenix Mesa-Gateway Airport, Trump poured gasoline on the feud between himself and the syndicated columnist proclaiming,”I got to tell you, Krauthammer is terrible to me. He is the worst! And I’m not allowed to criticize him so I’m going to be very nice. Krauthammer, he’s terrible. He’s terrible!”…

On “Special Report” later on Friday, Krauthammer told Bret Baier, “Well on the thing about the killing the journalists, I took it as a heads up. After all, on Wednesday, he called me the worst of the worst so I’m going to conceal carry for the time being.”

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Republican presidential candidates trailing Donald Trump are making it clear they don’t want the same endorsement the billionaire businessman and entertainer got from Russian President Vladimir Putin

No thanks, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said in so many words on the Sunday political talk shows. Even Rick Perry, the former Texas governor and GOP presidential candidate, weighed in.

“What’s next, Fidel Castro?” Perry said on a panel on “State of the Union” on CNN.

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“He’s jailed and murdered journalists, political opponents. He bombed an apartment building as a pretext to attack the Chechens. He is responsible for the downing of the Malaysian airliner over Ukraine, because he provided the antiaircraft weaponry that was used for that,” Rubio said in an interview that aired Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”…

Rubio said, “From a geopolitical, realistic level, we have to deal with him but because he’s the leader of an important country that, between them and us, control over 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons. But he is not someone who is going to go down in history as a great leader.”

In an interview with MSNBC on Friday, when Trump pressed about accusations that Putin uses brutal tactics – including killing journalists and political opponents, Trump said, “I think our country does plenty of killing also.”

Rubio hadn’t yet heard Trump’s response, but said if he did say that, “it’s outrageous.”

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“Donald Trump is like that stray dog anybody can pet and it will follow you home,” former top Romney adviser Stuart Stevens told POLITICO. “Putin praises him so he loves Putin. It’s embarrassing and sad. He’s a seriously damaged individual who is deeply insecure and needs attention and praise and the source doesn’t matter.”

Another former Romney adviser, who did not want to be named, said emails were flying around Friday morning among ex-staffers and friends after Trump on MSNBC heaped praise on Putin and hesitated to condemn the Russian leader for allegations the Kremlin has killed high-profile journalists critical of Putin, saying “our country does plenty of killing also.”…

One foreign policy adviser to a rival GOP campaign, however, pointed out that a contingent of Republican Putin-admirers do exist.

“There is a circle within the Republican Party—people like Pat Buchanan and others—who think that Putin is the best thing since sliced bread,” said an advisor to one of the Republican candidates who is also a Russia scholar. “And I don’t know if Trump would want to be associated with Buchanan or not, but his comments put him in that category.”

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What the two men share, and recognize in each other, goes beyond strong polling numbers, an affinity for incendiary language and a contempt for those (with President Obama leading the list) they regard as weak. What really attracts them is a common worldview in which money talks and democratic norms are for suckers.

Much as Mr. Putin has muzzled free expression in the media, marginalized political opponents and scrapped contested elections, Mr. Trump has blithely endorsed shutting down parts of the Internet, praised President Franklin D. Roosevelt for interning Japanese Americans during World War II and openly contemplated registering Muslims in America.

Where Mr. Putin sees corruption as the norm, Mr. Trump similarly regards public service as a marketplace in which anyone and everyone can be bought. “I give to everybody,” Mr. Trump told a New Hampshire audience in the summer. “They do whatever I want. It’s true.”…

But believe the American tycoon when he says that Mr. Putin is a man with whom he would “get along,” and who, “in terms of leadership, he’s getting an ‘A.’ ” The feeling is mutual, and revealing.

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The thinking goes: Putin wants to see a Trump presidency because the billionaire is someone he knows how to deal with, a straight shooter who would put aside things like human rights and armed invasions and get down to business. And they have similar styles, macho and brusque, with varying undertones of authoritarianism.

But Putin’s embrace of Trump is much darker — and echoes the endorsements the Kremlin has made elsewhere. This isn’t an autocrat seeing a fellow strongman. It’s an adversary who has found a new tool…

Trump’s antics have made the U.S. the laughing stock of the world, coupled with the idea that his cocky, xenophobic, uninformed pronouncements have revealed the country’s true face. Each week brings a new round of the circus, coupled with endless soul searching about what it all means (this week: either it will lead to Weimar America or the end of the Republican Party). This is the sort of chaos and destruction that Putin thrives on.

Putin supports Donald Trump because of the threat that Trump poses to the U.S.

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He was not caught in a “gotcha.” He was not misquoted. He was not led down the garden path by the “liberal” or “mainstream” or “pro-Obama” media. Rather, he said, as plain as day, that he has “always felt fine about Putin”; he called him “strong” and a “powerful leader”; and he suggested that he should be respected for his “popularity within his country.” Nothing could prise him from this reverence. When it was pointed out to him that Putin is a man who “kills journalists, political opponents, and invades countries,” Trump said flatly, “At least he’s a leader,” which I can only imagine sounds an awful lot better in the original German…

This, it should go without saying, is a disgrace of the highest order. It would, of course, be unseemly to hear anybody in the United States downplaying the murder of dissenters. But a presidential aspirant? In the Republican party? Two of Donald Trump’s opponents in this race are in America because their parents were forced out of Cuba by exactly the sort of regime that Trump is now applauding. How quickly the center of gravity would change were he the nominee. “I know not what course others may take,” Patrick Henry exclaimed in 1775, “but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” “Freedom is one of the deepest and noblest aspirations of the human spirit,” argued Ronald Reagan in his second inaugural. “He’s running his country, and at least he’s a leader,” says Donald J. Trump.

This will not “finish” Trump off, of course, for Trump is the focal point in what has essentially become an unfalsifiable conspiracy theory in which the “establishment” is always wrong and Trumpism is always the solution. Facts, frankly, no longer enter into this calculation; reason, too, has become an afterthought. It is quite the spectacle to watch a group of voters simultaneously slamming Barack Obama as an inexperienced, Constitution-hating celebrity, and then to enthusiastically propose a mirror-image as his replacement. But watch this you can. Fire up Twitter right now and scroll through the excuses that are being advanced in favor of Trump’s pro-Putin lovefest. Do you think the incumbent president would have got away with this? Would Ted Cruz?

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When informed that her country’s president, Vladimir Putin, had called Trump “brilliant,” [Maria Alekhina of Pussy Riot] told The Huffington Post, “When Putin came to his first term or second term, nobody [in Russia] actually thought that this is serious. Everybody was joking about it. And nobody could imagine that after five, six years, we would have a war in Ukraine, annexation of Crimea, and these problems in Syria,” in which Russia has become involved…

“You have to seriously think about giving a microphone and opportunity of public speaking to persons like Donald Trump. Because we have so many serious problems, and to follow and comment [on] every word of this man is really not the best idea.”

Alekhina, who as a member of Pussy Riot is currently taking part in the “Recycling Religion” group art show at SoHo’s WhiteBox Art Center, offered this advice to American voters: “If you want in your country to have your own Putin, you can vote for Donald Trump.”

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Via Kasich 2016: