CHUCK TODD: You came across to me as if you welcomed Putin's involvement in Syria. You said it was sort of, like, you didn't s-- you saw very little downside. Why?
DONALD TRUMP: I'll tell ya why. I've-- I am somebody that-- and you know I've been saying this to you for a long time-- I want our military to be beyond anything, no contest, and technologically, most importantly. Because you're getting now, militaries have to be technologically advanced. So, we probably have a big advantage-- we do have a big advantage of that. But we are gonna get bogged down in Syria. If you look at what happened with the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, that's when they went bankrupt. They went bankrupt. They were there so long--
TODD: So, you think--you-- you think Putin's gonna get suckered into--
TRUMP: They're gonna get bogged down. Everybody that's touched the Middle East, they've gotten bogged down. Now, Putin wants to go in-- Putin does not want ISIS. I know they haven't hit 'em as hard as they should be hitting 'em because--
TODD: They're hittin' Assad-- they're hittin' people we've trained.
TRUMP: Excuse me. Where they're hitting people, we're talking about people that we don't even know. The rebel group-- we have no idea. I was talking to a general two days ago. He said, "We have no idea who these people are. We're training people. We don't know who they are. We're giving 'em billions of dollars to fight Assad."
And you know what? It's very po-- I'm not saying Assad's a good guy, 'cause he's probably a bad guy. But I've watched him interviewed many times. And you can make the case, if you look at Libya, look at what we did there-- it's a mess-- if you look at Saddam Hussein with Iraq, look what we did there-- it's a mess-- it's gonna be same thing.
TODD: You think the Middle East would be better today if Gadhafi, Saddam and Assad were sort of-- if Saddam and Gaddafi were still there and Assad were stronger? You think--
TRUMP: Not even--
TODD: --the Middle East would be safer?
TRUMP: --it's not even a contest, Chuck. It's not even a contest. Iraq is a disaster. And ISIS--
TODD: So, it'd be better off if Saddam were in charge?
TRUMP: Don't forget. ISIS came out of Iraq.
TODD: Right. No, I understand.
TRUMP: --the leftovers that didn't get taken care of.
TODD: Well, let me button this up. If Saddam and Gadhafi, you think things would be more stable?
TRUMP: Of course it would be. You wouldn't have had your Benghazi situation which is one thing which was just a terrible situation. But, of course, it would. Libya is-- is not even-- nobody even knows what's goin' on over there. It's not even a country anymore.
TODD: So you welcome Putin's involvement.
TRUMP: I like that Putin is bombing the hell out of ISIS-- and it's going to be ISIS. I'll tell ya why. Putin has to get rid of ISIS 'cause Putin doesn't want ISIS coming into Russia.
TODD: Why do you trust him and nobody else does?
TRUMP: I don't trust him. I don't trust him at all, other that we both got very good ratings the other night on 60 Minutes, 'cause I-- (LAUGH) it was with me and Putin. Can you believe this--
TRUMP: --of all things?
TODD: --there you go.
TRUMP: Right? So, I don't know. Did I get the ratings or did he? But the truth-- it's not a question of trust. I don't wanna see the United States-- we've spent now-- we've spent $2 trillion in Iraq, probably a trillion in Afghanistan. We're in the-- we're destroying our country.
We owe $19 trillion. We're bogged down. Russia was bogged down in Afghanistan, meaning the Soviet Union. It broke up the Soviet Union. They're gonna get bogged down, you watch. As sure as you're sitting there-- and I'm the one that said, "Don't--
TODD: So, you would--
TRUMP: Chuck, I said, "Don't do Iraq."
TODD: --you-- you would-- you would sort of-- you would pull out of what we're doing--
TODD: --in Syria now.
TRUMP: --no, I'd sit back and-- this is not usually me talking, okay, 'cause I'm very proactive, as you probably know.
TODD: I know.
TRUMP: But I would sit back and, "Let's see what's going on." Here's the problem to what you're saying in Syria. We are fighting Assad. And we're fighting for people and helping people that we don't even know who they are. And they may be worse than Assad. They may be worse, okay?
They may be worse. And if Assad never happened, if you don't have a problem in Syria, you wouldn't have the migration, you wouldn't be talking about all of these countries with what's going on in Europe. And now they're talking about taking 200,000 people that we don't even know who they are and bringin' 'em to the United States? The whole thing is ridiculous. So, I'm not just justifying Putin. But you watch, he'll get bogged down there. He'll be there. He'll spend a fortune. He'll be begging to get out.