Giving what was essentially President Donald Trump's first news conference in nearly six months on Thursday, the President reiterated threats to the North Korean government, while taking a softer tone on Russia.
The news conference took place from Trump's New Jersey resort, where he was meeting with military leaders about the threat North Korea poses.
Trump thanks Putin
Trump told reporters on Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin did the United States a favor by expelling 775 diplomats and other staffers working on behalf of the United States in Russia.
“I want to thank him because we're trying to cut down our payroll, and as far as I'm concerned I'm very thankful that he let go a large number of people because now we have a smaller payroll,” Trump said. “There's no real reason for them to go back. I greatly appreciate the fact that we've been able to cut our payroll of the United States. We're going to save a lot of money.”
Putin's decision was put enacted after the US Congress overwhelmingly supported legislation that would increase sanctions against Russia, and prohibit Trump from being able to lift the sanctions. Trump came out in opposition of the legislation.
The legislation was enacted due to US intelligence services finding that Russia attempted to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
Trump doubles down on N. Korea threats
The war of words between Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong Un continued on Thursday as Trump said that maybe his threats of 'fire and fury' were not enough.
On Wednesday, the North Korean government said it is exploring a plot to fire missiles toward the coast of Guam. In response on Thursday, Trump said, "Maybe it wasn't tough enough," referring to his own comments from earlier in the week.
Trump would not rule out a preemptive strike against Un's government.
"We don't talk about that. We never do. I don't talk about it," Trump told reporters. "We'll see what happens."
Trump claims Russia would have prefered Clinton
Trump once again said accusations that his campaign colluded with Putin and the Russians were false, and that he simply won because he was the better candidate. Trump said that Russia would have prefered Hillary Clinton would have won. Trump claims that Clinton would have decreased the size and scope of the US military.
" I fought a smart battle," Trump said. "I didn't win because of Russia. Russia nothing to do with me winning. We had a great team and I guess I did a good job."