This Administration’s policy toward Russian aggression and interference around the world has been tougher than the actions taken by the three previous administrations when confronted with the same behavior by Vladimir Putin.

The United States has launched its greatest military build-up in 15 years, and the administration has pushed NATO nations to build up their military forces as well. Unlike President Obama, President Trump has sent lethal aid to Ukraine. Trump has twice enforced red lines in Syria that Obama drew and refused to enforce. And Congress has enacted tough sanctions against the Putin regime.

None of these actions have pleased the Russians.

Clearly, the tone and substance of (the July 16) press conference involving presidents Trump and Putin are at odds with the administration’s own record of countering Russian misbehavior around the world.

The president should make it clear that Vladimir Putin and the men and women serving in our intelligence agencies are not morally equivalent. Putin’s Russia has invaded two neighboring countries, illegally seized Crimea, cooperated with a brutal dictatorship in Syria and tried to destabilize democratic regimes around the world. And the Putin regime appears to have been involved in the murder of critics and defectors at home and on foreign soil.

Clearly, neither Vladimir Putin nor the regime he heads can be trusted, and their egregious actions must be countered at every turn.