A handful of Democratic Senators were fuming on Thursday as Donald Trump and the White House could be on the verge of giving back two compounds to Russia that were shut down by the Obama administration.
The compounds were closed as part of a larger punishment, which included sanctions, for Russia’s 2016 presidential election meddling. The Democrats are appropriately telling the Trump administration that Moscow hasn’t done anything to earn them back.
An administration official will be meeting next week with a Russian diplomat, and there are understandable fears that the Putin-friendly White House will return the compounds.
More from CBS News:
Four Democratic senators have written a letter to Undersecretary Tom Shannon, who will be meeting with his Russian counterpart on Monday, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov.
“We strongly urge the State Department not to return the diplomatic compounds in Maryland and New York to the Government of the Russian Federation at this time,” they wrote. “Simply put, the Russian government has done nothing to deserve renewed access to these compounds.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York hail from the two states where the compounds are located. They believe that keeping the compounds closed and being vigilant in the meeting next week will help “deny the Russian government the ability to advance its interests from within our own states.”
As CBS News also noted, “The closure of the Russian compounds in November of 2016 took place in conjunction with new Russian sanctions that included the expulsion of 35 Russians who the U.S. said were spies operating under diplomatic cover.”
So, let’s break down the lunacy of all of this, shall we?
It hasn’t even been a year since the 2016 presidential election, the investigations into both the Russian hacking and the Trump campaign’s involvement are still ongoing – and becoming more explosive each day – and this White House is considering easing punishment imposed by the Obama administration just eight month ago?
All of this even after knowing it was the Russians who waged an attack on American democracy.
Meanwhile, the President of the United States – and he alone – is the only man or woman on the face of the earth, besides Vladimir Putin, who says that maybe it wasn’t Russia, after all. And day after day, more information comes out that draws a direct connection between Trump’s closest advisers – and family members – and the Kremlin.
The latest development being that Donald Trump Jr., along with Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, secretly met with a Russian lawyer connected to the Kremlin in hopes of getting damaging information about Hillary Clinton.
Perhaps there was no collusion. Perhaps the Trump campaign all of the meetings with Russians taken by the president’s campaign were all just coincidental, and they all just happened to forget about them – until, of course, the media uncovered them.
But regardless of all of that – regardless of whether Trump’s team was working with Moscow to defeat Clinton, it’s clear that Trump is giving the Russians exactly what they wanted when they were working to get him elected in 2016.