President-elect Trump is signaling that the sanctions put on Russia by President Obama may be short lived.
We could probably argue all day over whether the sanctions were simply retaliation or a cautious good move. I’ve heard arguments for both.
Trump, however, is committed to keeping those ties.
“If you get along and if Russia is really helping us, why would anybody have sanctions if somebody’s doing some really great things?” Trump said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.
He didn’t specify what those “really great things” could possibly consist of, and we’ll likely have to take it all on a case-by-case basis.
For now, however, Trump is willing to keep the sanctions in place. He plans to meet with Vladimir Putin shortly after taking office next week, so that topic is sure to be on the table.
A lot has been made of Trump’s “Russia problem,” and it’s ongoing.
It began with several of his campaign hires, such as Paul Manafort and Carter Page – both with questionable ties to Russia and the Ukraine.
Even now, there are questions surrounding retired Lt. General Michael Flynn, Trump’s choice for National Security Adviser, and how much of an entanglement there may be with he and the Kremlin.
Trump said earlier in the week, for the first time, that Russia was probably behind the hack of DNC emails. He placed the bulk of blame on the DNC for not securing their emails better, however.
The Senate Intelligence Committee on Friday announced a bipartisan inquiry into Russian intelligence activities, including looking into whether Trump’s allies were in contact with the Kremlin.
The announcement came days after the public leak of an unverified outside dossier that claimed the Kremlin has compromising personal and professional information on Trump and that his campaign aides and Russian intermediaries have been in contact throughout the campaign.
Trump insists that there is no truth to the information contained in the dossier, and short of having video or audio, there’s no way to verify some of the more incendiary claims.
Still, this is something that will dog Trump for the extent of his presidency. The combative nature of the election, as well as the shifting cultural landscape will keep this topic front and center.