April 2 (UPI) — Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said Sunday “there’s no love” between the United States and Russia, particularly since there’s “no question” Russia meddled in the U.S. presidential election.
“There’s no love or anything going on with Russia right now,” Haley told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz in an interview that was broadcast Sunday on “This Week” “They get that we’re getting our strength back, that we’re getting our voice back and that we’re starting to lead again.”
The FBI and Congress are investigating whether there is a possible link between the Russians and associates of U.S. President Donald Trump.
“Certainly, I think Russia was involved in the election,” Haley said. “There’s no question about that.”
It was Haley’s first appearance on a Sunday show since she became the nation’s top diplomat after serving as South Carolina’s governor.
Trump chose Haley though she criticized him during the campaign and endorsed Florida Sen. Marco Rubo in the Republican primary.
Haley has taken a stronger tone against Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, than her boss.
“He isn’t beating up on Russia,” Raddatz said to Haley. “Should he be beating up on Russia?”
“I am beating up on Russia,” Haley replied. “[The president] has got a lot of things he’s doing, but he is not stopping me from beating up on Russia … He’s not stopping me on how we’re working together [with Russia] to defeat ISIS.”
Raddatz countered, “President Trump has said he respects Putin, but you say you don’t trust him.”
“I don’t,” Haley responded. “President Trump has agreed, and this administration agrees, that Russia’s involvement in Ukraine is wrong.”
“The president has not once called me and said, ‘Don’t beat up on Russia’ — has not once called me and told me what to say,” she said.
“Look, he’s the president,” Haley added. “He can say what he wants, whenever he wants. But the direction we’ve gotten is to do our jobs, make sure that the United States is strong and that’s what we’ll do.”
She cited Russia’s human rights violations and said holding Putin accountable for his country’s roles in Syria and Iran is a top priority.
Putin has denied Russia meddled in the 2016 contest between Republican Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Trump, though, said Russian operatives hacked Democratic Party emails, and has repeatedly lambasted as “fake news” reports he or his campaign staff colluded with Russia on it.
On Sunday, he posted on Twitter: “The real story turns out to be SURVEILLANCE and LEAKING! Find the leakers.”
Trump has alleged the Obama administration wiretapped Trump Tower during the campaign and the transition.
Trump, who spent the weekend at the Winter White House, is scheduled to meet later this week in Palm Beach, Fla., with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Haley said the United States is pressing China for a firmer stand regarding North Korea‘s nuclear program.
“They need to show us how concerned they are,” Haley said. “They need to put pressure on North Korea. The only country that can stop North Korea is China, and they know that.”