Putin would have preferred Clinton as President - Trump

Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump.
Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. Photo credit: Reuters

Rather than helping him, Donald Trump says Russian leader Vladimir Putin would have preferred Hillary Clinton as US President.

The remarks come a day after his son Donald Trump, Jr sensationally admitted - and provided proof - he and a number of Mr Trump's top advisors met with a Kremlin-linked lawyer last year, on the understanding she would provide dirt on Ms Clinton.

Only hours after his son set up the meeting, Mr Trump - who has always denied any collusion with Russia - held a press conference promising "very, very interesting" revelations about Ms Clinton. Nothing ever came of that, and his son on Wednesday (NZ time) said the lawyer's information was "vague, ambiguous and made no sense".

There has been speculation the Kremlin wanted Mr Trump in the White House because it holds damaging information about the President which can be used to blackmail him, but in a new interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network Mr Trump said Mr Putin would rather Ms Clinton had won - because she would "decimate" the US military and build "windmills".

"We are the most powerful country in the world and we are getting more and more powerful because I'm a big military person," he told founder and host Pat Robertson.

"As an example, if Hillary had won, our military would be decimated. Our energy would be much more expensive. That's what Putin doesn't like about me. And that's why I say, why would he want me? Because from day one I wanted a strong military, he doesn't want to see that."

Mr Trump also cited his support for fossil fuels as another reason Mr Putin wouldn't back him.

"From day one I want fracking and everything else to get energy prices low and to create tremendous energy. We're going to be self-supporting, we just about are now. We're going to be exporting energy - he doesn't want that. He would like Hillary where she wants to have windmills. He would much rather have that because energy prices would go up and Russia as you know relies very much on energy.

"So there are many things that I do that are the exact opposite of what he would want. So what I keep hearing about that he would have rather had Trump, I think 'probably not', because when I want a strong military, you know she wouldn't have spent the money on military."

Trump denies knowledge of Jr's meeting

Despite promising "very, very interesting" revelations about Ms Clinton only hours after the invitation was sent to his son, Mr Trump has denied knowing anything about the meeting.

"No, that I didn't know until a couple of days ago when I heard about this," he told Reuters. 

He backed his son's decision to go ahead with the meeting.

"I think many people would have held that meeting."

A special counsel is presently investigating the Trump campaign's links to Russia. Mr Trump's comments come as the first formal impeachment proceedings begin, over his firing of former FBI director James Comey - which the filing claims amounted to obstruction of justice.

It is unlikely to pass, as it needs a majority vote in the House of Representatives - which is controlled by Mr Trump's own Republicans.

Mr Trump is sticking to his line the accusations are a "hoax".

"The White House is functioning beautifully despite the hoax made up by the Democrats."