WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement regarding Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s recent comments about President of Russia Vladimir Putin and appearance on Russia Today (RT):

“Vladimir Putin’s troops are occupying three of Russia’s neighbors, his policies are repressing Russia’s people, and his agents are cyber-hacking the American democratic system. When an American public figure appears on a Kremlin-backed propaganda mouthpiece a day after comparing Putin favorably to the President of the United States, that person is not qualified to be the leader of our country.

“Putin’s propaganda campaign aims to fracture western unity, undermine NATO, and sow doubts about democracy.  Providing fodder for that information war is providing assistance to a government that increasingly means us harm. 

“Because we have a free press in this country, we do not gag media outlets even if they are Kremlin propaganda tools like RT. But we should make no mistake about the message such outlets are spreading.”