WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan called Russia a “global menace led by a man who is menacing,” once more underscoring the divide over Russia between President-elect Donald Trump and some lawmakers in his own party.

Appearing at a CNN Town Hall Thursday night, Ryan fielded questions from moderator Jake Tapper and audience members on health care, immigration, trade, foreign policy and even Trump’s Twitter habits.

The speaker reiterated his view that Russia “tried to affect our elections by meddling in our elections … there is no place for that.” He said sanctions were called for, and accused the Obama administration of not standing up to Russia over the past eight years, saying it followed “too much of an appeasement policy.”

While Trump has called for a closer relationship with Russia, Ryan said, “The Russians are up to no good, we all know that.”

At the same time, Ryan contended Russian’s actions had no impact on the election and dismissed as “junk” unsubstantiated claims that Russia has compromising information about Trump.

“I don’t even want to confer any more legitimacy to this stuff by talking about it,” he said, referring to those reports. “It’s not even worthy of media.”

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