Three days after an explosive New York Times report revealed that starting in May of 2017, Donald Trump was under an FBI counterintelligence investigation to determine whether he was a Russian agent, a new report by the same paper on Monday said that throughout 2018, Trump stated his intention to achieve what experts say is one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most coveted policy goals — the United States’ withdrawal from NATO.
Trumps has long expressed skepticism of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a military and security alliance that will turn 70-years-old in April of this year. Even before his inauguration in 2017, Trump worried allies by dismissing NATO as “obsolete,” according to the BBC.
And following a NATO summit in July of 2018, a CNN analysis noted that Trump “has given no sign he sees the alliance as other US presidents did, as a way of projecting American power, fortifying democracy, containing German expansionism and holding Russia at bay on a continent where twice last century, thousands of American boys went to die.”
But Trump’s view of NATO aligns closely with that of Putin who, seeing the NATO alliance as a threat to Russia, “has long tried to divide and undermine the NATO alliance,” as Vox explained.
Pulling the United States out of NATO would fulfill Putin’s wishes by dealing a death blow to the alliance, according to the New York Times, and would be “the wildest success that Putin could dream of,” former Undersecretary of Defense Michèle A. Flournoy told the Times.
“Even discussing the idea of leaving NATO — let alone actually doing so — would be the gift of the century for Putin,” Retired Admiral James G. Stavridis, former supreme commander of NATO, told the Times. But discussing a pullout from NATO is exactly what Trump did on repeated occasions last year — and top aides and administration officials now fear that Trump may soon raise the possibility of a NATO pullout again, according to the report.
Earlier on Monday, Trump told reporters that he “never worked for Russia,” NPR reported, after Friday’s report by the Times that the FBI had reason to suspect that Trump “had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests.”
Experts said, however, that the FBI would not have opened the counterintelligence investigation of Trump without “serious and substantial” evidence to indicate that Trump was actually a Russian agent, as the Inquisitr reported.