Sen. Jeff Sessions Sunday defended Donald Trump's controversial remarks about the grieving family of a heroic Muslim soldier as "respectful."
In an interview with CNN's "State of the Union," the Alabama Republican said he had read the transcript between Trump and ABC News' George Stephanopoulos in which Trump criticized Khizr Khan and his wife, Ghazala.
"Trump, you know, takes these interviews all the time, unlike Hillary Clinton, who hides from the press," Sessions said. "His interview was not unkind. It was respectful. It did express condolences to the family for their loss."
Sessions also rejected Khan's condemnation Sunday that asserted Trump had a "black soul."
"I'm disappointed that he would say that," Sessions said. "Donald Trump complimented him. He praised his son who gave his life for this country… I don't think anybody that says that we ought to slow down and be more careful about bringing in immigrants from countries that have terrorist tendencies and can't be vetted properly, I don't believe that that's a person who lacks a soul."
Sessions also pushed back on criticism of Trump over reported ties to Russian investors — calling it "not the big issue for America today" — and lauded Trump's plan to build better relations with President Vladimir Putin.
"Donald Trump is right. We need to figure out a way to end this cycle of hostility that's putting this country at risk, costing us billions of dollars in defense, and creating hostility that should not exist," he asserted.
"We have a lot of bad leaders around the world that operate in ways we would never tolerate in the United States," he added. "The question is, can we have a more peaceful, effective relationship with Russia, utilizing interests that are similar in a realistic way to make this world a safer place and get off this dangerous hostility with Russia."
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