Home / World / For Moscow, the brand Trump is now toxic
Never mind that US legislators and other world leaders have thrown the Saudi Arabian prince over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Putin’s embrace of the MBS telegraphed a message of undisturbed support to Saudi Arabia, although the Trump administration is trying to contain the political downturn from the murder.
Putin is really one who knows an opening. His personal mission is based on a growing oil alliance between Moscow and Riyadh. Perhaps more important, it comes as his well-established report with US President Donald Trump starts to look a bit wobbly.
And it follows a confrontation with the United States on arms control: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced this week that the United States will stop following a decade-old nuclear treaty in 60 days unless Russia returns to compliance with the agreement. 1
Pointed snub to Putin
How quickly have things changed since the Helsinki Summit in July. Less than half a year ago, Trump was amazed observers by showing himself to Putin over the US intelligence community saying he took the Kremlin leader in his word of his denial of mixing in the presidential elections from 2016.
The G20 Summit was originally billed as a kind of Helsinki 2.0: Trump and Putin would have a long meeting on the top line, where they would have extensive discussions on issues of strategic importance. Mueller puts the puzzle pieces on Trump ” data-src-mini=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171028084904-robert-mueller-052917-small-169.jpg” data-src-xsmall=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171028084904-robert-mueller-052917-medium-plus-169.jpg” data-src-small=”http://cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171028084904-robert-mueller-052917-large-169.jpg” data-src-medium=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171028084904-robert-mueller-052917-exlarge-169.jpg” data-src-large=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171028084904-robert-mueller-052917-super-169.jpg” data-src-full16x9=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171028084904-robert-mueller-052917-full-169.jpg” data-src-mini1x1=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171028084904-robert-mueller-052917-small-11.jpg” data-demand-load=”not-loaded” data-eq-pts=”mini: 0, xsmall: 221, small: 308, medium: 461, large: 781″ src=”data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhEAAJAJEAAAAAAP///////wAAACH5BAEAAAIALAAAAAAQAAkAAAIKlI+py+0Po5yUFQA7″/>
The bilateral meeting was dispatched after an event around the Kerch stretch, where Russian and Ukrainian ships collided on the ocean on November 25th. The conflict between Kiev and Moscow began to swell quickly: Russia seized three Ukrainian navy vessels and detained 24 officials and Trump canceled his meeting with Putin and said it would be inappropriate for him to meet while the crisis was unresolved.
It was a pointy note to Putin, who said it was a shame that he could not have a full meeting with Trump because, as he said, “time is ripe especially with the problems surrounding strategic stability.”
Trumps volte face came after his long-term lawyer Michael Cohen reached the level of new claims in court about the President’s business relations with Russia. And the Russians were quick to doubt Trump’s reasons for interrupting the bilateral meeting.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova last week proposed that “US domestic political situation” was the real reason for the G20 meeting to be interrupted.
“Was the provocation organized by Kiev in this region the real reason for termination?” Zakharova said, referring to the Kerch incident. “We simply heard just such an explanation, we noticed it. This is a reality? I think you still need to look for answers in the US domestic political situation. The dominant factor for making decisions is domestic political realities in the United States . “
Kremlin-adapted Russian media had a field day with Trump’s cancellation.
Pro Putin’s news anchor Dmitry Kiselev highlighted Putin-MBS five on his program and added: “A dissonant contrast to everyone’s mood was Trump, watching fun and sitting there with crossed hands as if he tried to protect himself from everyone else, afraid of blurring something unnecessary. Looks like he was just not prepared for a coherent meeting with Putin. “
Vladimir Soloviev, another professional-Kremlin presenter, opened a similar dig at Trump.
“Trumps volatility and unpredictability are the white brand,” he said.
Restore Never Coming
As regards Russia’s view of Trump, it has come a long way since 2016, when his election victory was treated as a potential breakthrough in Russian-American relations.
Konstantin Kosachev, a Russian Senator who chairs the Federal Council’s Foreign Affairs Committee, summarized the new Russian pessimism about Trump and the United States in an interview with CNN. Like many Russian official observers of the American political scene, Kosachev considers that Trump has been hamstered by the ongoing probe of the Special Council Robert Mueller.
“The current US policy against Russia is not about Russia or US foreign policy,” he said. America is still caught by these disagreements and feelings of the former presidential campaign. Mr. Trump is strongly attacked. One of the traces of this attack is the Russian blend of the American election, which has never been proven by any proof. So I think our bilateral relations are held hostage to some internal political interests of some political forces in the United States. And I’m afraid we will catch this situation for the next presidential election. “
It is a crucial moment in Washington, with Robert Mueller Special Council on Friday, which describes a previously undecided set of transfers and contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian citizens.
Federal prosecutor said for the first time that Michael Cohen acted against Trump when the former fitter committed two election-related crimes during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Separately, Mueller said Friday that the former Trump campaign, President Paul Manafort, lied five main issues after agreeing to cooperate with prosecutors, including his “contact with government officials”.
Mueller’s charges contribute to the fact that the special council’s team has a large amount of evidence of contacts between people near Trump – even in the White House – and the Russians during the campaign in 2016.
It is also after Mueller told a federal court that Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security advisor, had given “significant help” to Russia’s investigation and should not have imprisonment.
But with the Mueller probe that came to a head, Russia’s line has been consistent: there was no interference, the probe is therefore unconditional.
Questioned in a conference call this week with journalists commenting on the Mueller probe, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was rejected.
“We have enough other concerns, so this is not a priority topic for our attention, frankly,” he said. “I do not know what kind of breakthrough it could be. The [information] that is now available to the public in many respects is mystifying and raises a large number of questions, we have repeatedly cited examples of the absurdity of such allegations.”
Further reporting by CNN’s Mary Ilyushina in Moscow.