NATO Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison: Trump to "encourage" Putin to change behavior

NATO Ambassador on Trump and Putin

NATO Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison says President Trump will "encourage" Russian President Vladimir Putin to change his country's "malign" behaviors during the two leaders' upcoming summit in Finland this month. Her comments come as Mr. Trump prepares for the annual NATO meeting in Brussels this week where he is expected to ramp up pressure on allied partners to spend more on defense budgets.

"I think the president will encourage Vladimir Putin to start changing their behavior to be -- we'd like for Russia to be an ally, a trading partner. But right now, we have sanctions against Russia because of their malign influence and the things they're doing that are very disruptive -- trying to divide our alliance," Hutchison told "Face the Nation" on Sunday. 

Hutchison, a former senator, said Russia continues to "sow discontent and even false information" over social media in an attempt to divide allied nations. But she said NATO should continue to talk to Russia to "try to bring them in the tent instead of just constantly seeing them do these things that are attempting to disrupt us."

Hutchison said the U.S. would continue to "stand behind" the Ukrainian people when asked about Mr. Trump's recent comments about the Russian annexation of Crimea.

"I think that our alliance is very solid and including all of the efforts that the United States is making to shore up the sovereignty of the Ukraine. The Ukraine people -- they stood very tall in their really peaceful revolution, is what it was at Maidan. They have stood strong for their sovereignty and their right of self-governance. And we are standing behind them on that. And there is no -- there's no light between any of our allies on that very important issue," said Hutchison. 

She added, "There are so many areas where they are working against the interests of freedom and democracies and peace in the world. And it's a big part of our deterrence effort to keep them from taking over sovereign nations as they did in the Ukraine when they took Crimea in 2014."

  • Emily Tillett

    Emily Tillett is a politics reporter and video editor for CBS News Digital