As the investigation into the Russian interference continues, new information has come to light for the former presidential candidate Mitt Romney. After Donald Trump’s arrival at the White House, a report from the Salon suggests that ultimately it may have been Russia and not Trump who ruled out and prevented Romney from becoming Secretary of State.
This latest chapter between Romney and Trump was made public through a New Yorker profile of Christopher Steele. Steele is the former British intelligence officer entirely responsible for the infamous dossier and contains info as to how much Russia was involved in Trump’s presidential campaign efforts.
In the Steele memo, it contained sensitive information. It stated that Kremlin had intervened to prevent Trump choosing his initial choice of Romney as Secretary of State. In addition, Romney’s bid for the White House in 2012 revealed he was “hawkish” towards Russia and he characterized the nation as the greatest threat to the U.S.
“The memo said that the Kremlin, through unspecified channels, had asked Trump to appoint someone who would be prepared to lift Ukraine-related sanctions, and who would cooperate on security issues of interest to Russia, such as the conflict in Syria. If what the source heard was true, then a foreign power was exercising pivotal influence over U.S. foreign policy—and an incoming President,” reported Salon.
Steele memo says Kremlin intervened to block Trump's initial choice for Sec State, Mitt Romney -- who you'll remember called Russia America's "No. 1 geopolitical foe" -- per amazing @JaneMayerNYer reporting https://t.co/ma1ixvv6SS— Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker) March 5, 2018
On the other hand, there are other instances that Trump could have acted on his own free will and discard Romney’s nomination for the post. During the campaign trail, Romney was at odds with Trump. According to Time magazine, Romney had called now President Trump a “fraud’ and a “phony” during the presidential campaign.
The post was eventually offered and given to Rex Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil. The choice came as a surprise to some but it was later revealed that Tillerson had business ties with the Kremlin. Nevertheless, as stated by the New York Times, the State Department is understaffed and to date, Tillerson has not spent the money allocated to fight the Russian meddling.
What makes this saga between Trump and Romney more blurry is Romney’s latest ambitions for the Senate. The New York Times report confirms Romney is running to replace Senator Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, who is set to retire at the end of the year.
In a surprise turn of events, Trump wrote on Twitter his full support and endorsement of Romney’s political candidacy. These series of chapters between both men reveal a complex relationship.
The Russian interference in the presidential election continues and Mueller’s probe remains ongoing. The midterm elections will be a test for the current administration. Finally, how much of an impact the news of Russian meddling had on the American elections remains unclear. However, with elections coming in the fall, it will be interesting to watch and see what voters decide to do then.