Washington Post: ‘Darker Suspicions Persist’ about Trump and Russia

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On Friday, the Washington Post Editorial Board spoke out regarding President-elect Donald Trump’s seeming “blissfully untroubled” stance toward Russia’s aggressive geopolitical strategies.

A day after the Obama administration expelled 35 Russian officials and announced the most ambitious sanctions package ever in relation to government sponsored cyber attacks, Trump and the President have drawn very defined lines on their stance where it comes to what the U.S. intelligence agencies are unanimously calling a deliberate hacking campaign orchestrated by Moscow in order to tilt the election in Donald Trump’s favor.

The WaPo Editorial Board questioned Trump’s continuous praise of Putin in the aftermath of the U.S. sanctions, ending with his praise of “V. Putin” — as he called the Russian leader in his tweet — as being “very smart!” The President-elect’s last tweet on the matter was in reference to Putin’s decision not to take any retaliatory measures against the U.S.

“The president-elect’s dismissive response only deepens unanswered questions about his ties to Russia in the past and his plans for cooperation with Vladi­mir Putin,” the Editorial Board wrote.

“For his part, Mr. Putin seems to be eagerly anticipating the Trump presidency. On Friday, he promised to withhold retaliatory sanctions, clearly hoping the new Trump administration will nullify Mr. Obama’s acts,” the Post added.

WaPo questioned Trump’s proposed policy of friendly relations with Russia, remarking that the President-elect “seems blissfully untroubled by that country’s aggressive geopolitical aspirations.

“Mr. Trump has been frank about his desire to improve relations with Russia, but he seems blissfully untroubled by the reasons for the deterioration in relations, including Russia’s instigation of an armed uprising in Ukraine, its seizure of Crimea, its efforts to divide Europe and the crushing of democracy and human rights at home.

Why is Mr. Trump so dismissive of Russia’s dangerous behavior? Some say it is his lack of experience in foreign policy, or an oft-stated admiration for strongmen, or naivete about Russian intentions. But darker suspicious persist.”

At least one commentator, Wayne Barrett (a longtime Trump biographer) has opined that “What’s troubling him is the path could come back to his people or people he’s been associated with. He knows this is a big deal and could be a big problem for him.”

The Editorial Board came to a somewhat similar conclusion, but limited its opinion regarding Trump’s “odd behavior” toward Russia, connecting it to his business empire. “Are there loans or deals with Russian businesses or the state that were concealed during the campaign? Are there hidden communications with Mr. Putin or his representatives?” Wapo speculated.

“We would be thrilled to see all the doubts dispelled, but Mr. Trump’s odd behavior in the face of a clear threat from Russia, matched by Mr. Putin’s evident enthusiasm for the President-elect, cannot be easily explained.”

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