In a Sunday interview that aired before the Super Bowl, President Trump told Bill O'Reilly he had "no idea" if he would get along with Russian President Vladimir Putin—but Putin apparently has an idea on his own relationship with O'Reilly, and he already wants an apology. USA Today reports on the Fox News host calling the Russian leader a "killer" during his sit-down with Trump, to which the president replied, "We've got a lot of killers. … You think our country's so innocent?" The Kremlin latched onto O'Reilly's initial prompt, with a Putin spokesman telling reporters Monday that O'Reilly's descriptor of Russia's president was "insulting" and "impermissible." "We would prefer to hear apologies addressed to the president from such a respectable television network," the spokesman added.
This development comes against the backdrop of allegations that Russia hacked the US election to help sway it in Trump's direction, as well as Trump noting he wants to forge stronger ties with the US' traditional foe, per Reuters. Putin has long been suspected in the deaths of journalists, political opponents, and others he may have found threatening, including ex-KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko, but Trump has stood up for Putin on the Litvinenko charge in the past. "First of all, he says he didn't do it," Trump said last year, per the Telegraph. "Many people say it wasn't him. So who knows who did it?" So far, no word out of Fox's or O'Reilly's camps on whether an apology will be forthcoming, Reuters notes.