In another present for Vladimir Putin and the Russians, the Trump administration is now planning give back two American-based compounds to Russia – the first sign that the White House is planning to ease punishments imposed on the Russians for their meddling in last year’s election.
The news comes as the administration continues to get buried under the weight of an investigation into a slew of connections between key figures in Trump’s orbit and Russian officials.
More from The Washington Post:
The Trump administration is moving toward handing back to Russia two diplomatic compounds, near New York City and on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, from which its officials were ejected in late December as punishment for Moscow’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.
President Barack Obama said Dec. 29 that the compounds were being “used by Russian personnel for intelligence-related purposes,” and gave Russia 24 hours to vacate them. Separately, Obama expelled from the United States what he said were 35 Russian “intelligence operatives.”
Let’s break this down.
Former President Barack Obama slapped these punishments on Russia in December specifically because Moscow was meddling in the United States election in order to help Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton.
Yet, before we even know if the Russians were colluding with the Trump campaign to help him win the White House, the administration is already lifting some of them – less than six months later.
Meanwhile, many former and current Trump officials, including the president’s own son-in-law, Jared Kushner, are under investigation for their ties to the Russians.
Just tonight, in fact, it was reported that Jeff Sessions is being investigated for a third undisclosed meeting with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Regardless of the motivations behind the latest Trump move, it’s clear the Russians are getting exactly what they had hoped for by helping this president win the White House in 2016.