Whether or not you believe President Trump’s claim that he had no idea what his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was doing, it is now clear that the now-disgraced general didn’t act alone. Just days before Flynn’s resignation he received a sealed envelope from a foreign politician who’s trying to oust the current Ukrainian president in order to install a more pro-Russian administration. The message was delivered by one of Mr. Trump’s lawyers who – at least for the moment – still has his job.
Also involved in the effort to soften Russian sanctions is a Russian-American business mogul who was found guilty of manipulating stocks for the mafia back in 2000. Felix Sater, not only got off easy for these crimes but he is now a close friend of the President of the United States and apparently has a hand in negotiating US-Russian relations.
Meanwhile, Russia continues to engage in exactly the forms of global influence that require US sanctions. One example of which is the efforts from within the Kremlin that directly helped Mr. Trump win the presidency. Russian agencies undertook similar efforts to promote the Brexit in the UK and is currently trying to elect a far right candidate in France. Not to mention stoking tensions between Balkan nations to destabilize a region they hope to exert more influence on.
Thankfully, there are still several sane voices on the political right. Even as Trump and his sketchy entourage tries to ease sanctions Senator Lindsey Graham is fighting to expand them. It is entirely possible – though somewhat divisive – for Congress to act alone on Russian sanctions. And Senator McCain has threatened to do exactly that. But either way, with a White House willing to coddle the world’s most dangerous dictator, Putin will be able to get away with a lot more than he did under the Obama administration.
Featured image via Mark Wilson/Getty