Donald Trump and Russia have a controversial history, to say the least. From allegations that Russia tampered with the 2016 presidential election to Trump’s refusal to denounce some of Putin’s shadier actions, more and more people are wondering what is really going on between Donald Trump and Russia.
Is Trump pals with Putin? Is there some sort of secret alliance? Could the former Cold War adversary be warming up to the idea of strengthening its relationship with the United States?
There’s a lot of speculation going on, and not enough answers. President Trump, naturally, keeps denying any sort of relationship with Russia, but the rest of the world is not so convinced.
Donald Trump and his ties with Russia, however speculative they may be, have the American public concerned.
Trump has shown reluctance to criticize Russia. Just a few weeks ago, in an interview with Bill O’Reilly, Donald Trump talked about his respect for Vladimir Putin, reported the Washington Post.
“I do respect him. Well, I respect a lot of people, but that doesn’t mean I’ll get along with them,” said Donald Trump about Russia’s president.
When O’Reilly declared that Putin is “a killer,” referring to reports of extrajudicial killings of journalists and dissidents, Trump still refused to criticize the Russian leader.
“There are a lot of killers. We have a lot of killers,” said Trump. “Well, you think our country is so innocent?”
Trump went on to say that the United States should unite with Russia against ISIS.
“If Russia helps us in the fight against ISIS, which is a major fight, and Islamic terrorism all around the world, major fight. That’s a good thing.”
“I don’t think we’ve ever had a more harmful statement come out of the Oval Office than that one,” Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of the House Intelligence Committee told Politico.
“Russia is a major threat to the country. They are doing their best to dismantle democratic institutions in Europe, just as they did in Russia itself. And just as they tried to do in our own country, in the election… There’s a real confrontation with a real malignant power.”
Republican Sen. John McCain also denounced Trump’s implication that America’s values are as skewed as Russia’s in a speech at the Munich Security Conference, according to the Washington Post.
“I refuse to accept that our values are morally equivalent to those of our adversaries,” said the former Republican presidential candidate. “I am a proud, unapologetic believer in the West, and I believe we must always, always stand up for it. For if we do not, who will?”
Trump’s devotion to Russia is one of the few things that Democrats and Republicans agree on, with both parties criticizing the bizarre allegiance.
The New York Times reported that “members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election,” although the president himself denies this.
“Russia is a ruse. I have nothing to do with Russia. Haven’t made a phone call to Russia in years,” said Trump, according to the Huffington Post. “I have nothing to do with Russia. To the best of my knowledge, no person that I deal with does.”
Vox reported that Congress has taken steps “toward investigating President Trump’s campaign and administrative ties to Russia.”
Donald Trump may be unreserved in his defense of Russia and praise of Putin, but Russia is not quite so blindly faithful to Trump. NBC News reported on Monday that “a dossier on Donald Trump’s psychological makeup is being prepared for Russian President Vladimir Putin.”
One of the conclusions drawn is that Donald Trump “is a risk-taker who can be naïve.”
Former Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Fedorov stated that President Trump “doesn’t understand fully who is Mr. Putin — he is a tough guy.”
The dossier is meant to prepare Putin for his yet-to-be-scheduled meeting with Trump later this year.
[Featured Image by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]