WASHINGTON: The US and Russia have "common interest" in confronting radical Islamic terrorism and defeating ISIS, Vice President Mike Pence said today.
"Russia has a common interest in confronting radical Islamic terrorism and especially ISIS. And if we have opportunities to work together I think the President is looking for an opportunity to begin that relationship anew," Pence told ABC News in an interview.
"But make no mistake about it, those decisions will await action and they'll be very dependent on how the Russians respond in the days ahead," he said.
Pence said there is kind of changes in posture by Russia. "The opportunity perhaps to work on common interests. The President's made it clear the top priority of this administration is to hunt down and destroy ISIS at its source," he said.
"He's directed our military commanders and our Secretary of State to collaborate and to develop a strategy in the region to bring together the resources and the allies necessary to do that," the Vice President said. Responding to questions, Pence told Fox News in another interview that the Trump Administration is determined to reform financial regulations.
"The message that we're sending to Main Street is that we're going to pull back this mountain of red tape that is stifling access to capital loans particularly for small businesses across this country and we're going to get this economy moving again," Pence told Fox News.
"The action that the President took this week is just the beginning of that effort, and we're going to continue to work hard while we protect consumers along the way. We're going to continue to work hard to advance that kind of regulatory reform that will make resources and loans available for a growing America," he said.
Pence also defended Trump's decision to make changes on religious liberty. "The President's made it clear that he wants to take action on the Johnson amendment," he said.
Back in the 1950s, the Congress passed a law that essentially threatened the tax-exempt status of churches and synagogues and religious institutions if they were seen to be involved in political expression, he added.
"I don't think we'd have ever made it to these hallowed halls back in 1790 if the pulpits of this country had been silenced from speaking about what they thought was right and wrong. The President provided real leadership in the campaign where he identified the Johnson amendment and he told people of faith of every background across this country that he would work to repeal it," Pence said.
Trump has directed the administration to begin to look at ways, both legislatively and through executive action to do that, he said.