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Trump: ‘I don’t know’ if Putin was responsible for Navalny’s death

Former President Trump continued to question the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny on Sunday, after being criticized for not explicitly blaming Russian President Vladimir Putin for what many Western leaders believe was an assassination.

Navalny died in a Russian prison last month, with little being known about his death until days later. President Biden and other Western leaders have said Putin is responsible, though Trump has so far avoided saying the same.

The former president spoke about Navalny’s death in a Fox News “MediaBuzz” interview with Howard Kurtz, which aired Sunday.

“I don’t know,” Trump answered when asked if Putin was responsible. “Perhaps. I mean, possibly, I could say probably. I don’t know. He’s a young man, so statistically, he’d be alive for a long time. You go by the insurance numbers, he’d be alive for another 40 years.”

“Something happened that was unusual,” Trump said.

When pressed by Kurtz on Navalny’s prior attempted assassination by poisoning, Trump again declined to be definitive.

“I don’t know. You certainly can’t say for sure,” he said. “But certainly that would look like something very bad happened.”

After Navalny died last month, Trump’s first comments compared the jailed opposition leader’s experience to his own legal situation, calling a civil suit against him a “form of Navalny.”

Those comments were thoroughly criticized by both Democrats and Republicans, with former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) calling them “beneath the dignity of a human being.”

“You wonder, what does Putin have on Donald Trump that he always has to be beholden to him, his buddy in vileness?” Pelosi said.

“It is so horrible you think, ‘No, somebody must have made this up. Not even Donald Trump could go this far,’” she continued. “This statement should disqualify him from running for anything, much less president of the United States.”

Trump’s interview on Sunday comes on the last day of voting in Russian elections, where Putin is expected to be elected to another six-year term in a noncompetitive vote. At noon Sunday, thousands of Russians flocked to polls at the same time in a protest effort against his regime.

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