President Trump on Friday said there is “not any proof yet” of Kremlin involvement in the poisoning of corruption fighter Alexei Navalny and urged reporters to focus their criticism on China instead. Asked about his view on Navalny at a White House press briefing, Trump said, “I don’t know what exactly happened. I think it’s tragic, it’s terrible, it shouldn’t happen. We haven’t had any proof yet, but we will take a look.” He went on to apparently question why Russia faces so much scrutiny while China doesn’t. “It is interesting that everyone’s always mentioning Russia… but I think probably China at this point is a nation you should be talking about much more so than Russia,” he said.
Navalny, the outspoken leader of Russia’s opposition, remains in a coma after being poisoned in an airport in the Siberian city of Tomsk. Toxicology tests conducted in Germany, where Navalny is being treated, identified a Russian-made nerve agent from the Novichok family as the poison used, the same nerve agent used on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in 2018. Trump remained skeptical, however, saying, “We have not seen it [proof] ourselves.” He went on to admit that he does “get along with President Putin” but said he “would not be happy at all” if the Kremlin was involved.