The White House press secretary says FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is a "bad actor" but Russia might be a friend.
That's the message White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders delivered during Thursday's daily briefing when she used similar terminology to describe both Vladimir Putin and retiring FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe within seconds of each other.
Sanders was first asked, by NBC News' Peter Alexander, whether Putin is "a friend or foe."
Sanders didn't condemn Putin.
"Russia will have to make that determination," she said. "They have to decide whether they want to be a good actor or a bad actor."
On the very next question, Sanders was asked if Trump wants the Justice Department to fire McCabe, against whom Trump has waged a bitter smear campaign.
"That's a determination that we would leave up to Attorney General Sessions," Sanders replied. Then she added that McCabe "is a bad actor." It was a much harder judgment than what she had to say about Putin only seconds earlier.
Trump has also refused to condemn Putin over the attack on 66-year-old Sergei Skripal and his 33-year-old daughter, Yulia, who remain comatose.
"It certainly looks like the Russians are behind it," Trump said Thursday, but he declined to denounce Putin.
Shortly after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson slammed Putin for the nerve attack earlier this week, Trump fired him.
Trump has consistently refused to criticize Putin, even after Putin showcased a video demonstrating a Russian nuclear attack on Florida, and has fought against sanctioning Russia over its election interference every step of the way.
It seems there is no line that Vladimir Putin can cross that will cause Trump to criticize him. The same cannot be said for our own country's law enforcement leaders.