Trump’s Russophiles under investigation, Europe remains ‘en garde’

Attorney General Jeff Sessions signs his oath of office as US Attorney General with President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and his wife Mary. Thursday, February 9, 2017. (US Department of Justice image).

Attorney General Jeff Sessions signs his oath of office as US Attorney General with President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and his wife Mary. Thursday, February 9, 2017. (US Department of Justice image).

Last Friday U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the ongoing FBI probe of the case of the Russian interference in the US Presidential elections favoring Donald Trump. He said “I have recused myself in the matters that deal with the Trump campaign.” Last September, the US intelligence agencies collective, in a joint paper, concluded that there was material evidence about Russia, and directly President Putin, having meddled in the 2016 Presidential race, helping Trump and undermining the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. At the time, Trump dismissed the report as ‘rubbish’ and indirectly accused the American intelligence services community of siding with his adversary.

Until very recently, Trump was at odds with the FBI, the Treasury Department, the CIA and the National Security Agency about Russia’s interference in the Presidential election, and he kept praising Putin and insisted to promote a rapprochement between Washington and Moscow. Sessions is the second distinguished member of Trump administration to be in trouble and investigated about his relations with the Russians. Last Thursday he was exposed of having met and otherwise communicated with Sergei Kysliak the Russian ambassador in Washington before and after Trump was inaugurated as 45th US President on 20 January. His contacts with Kislyak and possibly with other Russian officials span many months during the summer and autumn of 2016 and in the first months of 2017.

Sessions ‘forgot’ to mention

Sessions didn’t mention his contacts with the Russians while questioned in the relevant Congressional committee, during the procedure of his endorsement for the position of US Attorney General. However, after his contacts with the Russian ambassador were exposed in a groundbreaking report of the prestigious newspaper Washington Post, a number of his fellow Republican lawmakers appeared alarmed and demanded that he be excluded from the related investigations. The Democrats promptly asked for his resignation. It’s not yet certain if he will finally be forced to resign. The US intelligence agencies are still investigating his relations with Russia. It’s exactly these dealings he cannot anymore meddle with as US Attorney General. Still, his boss supports him.

Sessions was a key advisor to Trump all along the 2016 electoral fight and was rewarded with the top judicial job of the country. According to mainstream American news media, Sessions is a very influential member of Trump’s inner circle and the President rushed to support him calling the affair “a total witch hunt” and stressing he was sure “Sessions did nothing wrong”. As mentioned above, the US Attorney General is the second prominent member of the Trump administration to be investigated for his unduly relations with Russia.

Flynn left early

Two weeks ago, Trump was forced to fire his National Security Advisor, the retired lieutenant general Michael Flynn, for the same reason. Flynn had been also contacting Kislyak before Trump’s inauguration and lied about that to Vice President Mike Pence. It was revealed that Flynn discussed with Kislyak the lifting of the US sanctions against Russia, even before he was appointed as Security Advisor. The general had also met and dined with Putin and was paid to deliver a lecture in Moscow. Flynn was widely known for his positive opinion about Russia and Putin, and in his brief stay in the White House he proposed and supported meaningful intelligence cooperation with the Russian armed forces. He too, like Sessions, is investigated by the US intelligence agencies for contacts with Russia.

It becomes increasingly evident that the American establishment, including the US intelligence community, is strongly, effectively and swiftly resisting Trump’s Russian openings. Flynn and Sessions are summarily exposed and investigated about that. A fierce fight is undoubtedly taking place behind the Washington scenes around that. In the American capital there must be an all out confrontation developing between those who want to mend fences with the Putin’s oligarchy in Russia and those who support the Obama legacy of strong opposition against the Kremlin ruler and his regime, in support of the European Union.

Russophiles hunted down

Europe must be playing a role in this confrontation. The two pivotal countries of the European Union, Germany and France were alarmed with Trump’s openings to Putin’s Russia. For as long as this issue was just an eccentricity in the New York billionaire’s wild electoral campaign, it met only nominal opposition. After 20 January though, when Trump chose to promote to key government positions people well known for their ties with Moscow, things turned sour in Washington.

The American establishment and the Europeans became anxious about the American stance in Ukraine and Syria. In Ukraine, the Russian aggression in the eastern parts of the country meets no effective American response. As for the Europeans, they dread a US – Russia ‘trade’, possibly resulting in an acceptance of Moscow’s weight in both Syrian and Ukrainian deadly fronts.

Don’t forget Crimea

The Russian treachery in the occupation and then the annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in the Black Sea, Moscow’s military successes in the Syrian conflict and her latest acquired strong presence in Erdogan’s Turkey have rung the alarms in Europe. Reportedly, France and Germany fear that Washington under Trump may consider all those issues as ‘tradable goods’. The Europeans are even more upset about the fact that Trump’s US gives no hints over her new global strategy and targets. The fight against ISIS is not a convincing base for the openly sought US-Russia rapprochement. ISIS is presently under extinction in both Syria and Iraq.

In any case, Trump’s apertures to Russia are under heavy fire in both shores of the Atlantic Ocean. In view of that, he has watered down his electoral rhetoric about ‘friendly’ Putin. Last week this was evident in his first address of the joint session of the US Congress. This speech was termed by his critics as his more ‘Presidential’ so far, but still Trump insisted that the Europeans have to pay more for the American ‘protection’ and NATO.

In conclusion, Trump’s openings to Russia may have now receded and Sessions and Flynn are more or less neutralized, but the core policy is probably still there. The Europeans are not at all at ease.

 

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Emotional control and introspectivity in times of pandemic

New UN finance panel to push Global Goals forward

These are America’s most dangerous jobs

Financial Transaction Tax: More money for future bank bailouts?

Pandemic: another look at the self

An analysis of the impacts of climate change on human health

Commission tries to solidify the EU statistical system

Pakistan: a long road ahead

Commission reports on the risks of investor citizenship and residence schemes in the EU and outlines steps to address them

Gynecologic care in the 21st century

A Brussels antithesis reveals where the EU is heading

What’s the difference between carbon negative and carbon neutral?

Climate Change and Human Health: Two Faces of The Same Coin

EU budget agreement rejected by the European Parliament

The Mental Health Hero in You

Inclusion and diversity isn’t just good for employees – it’s good for the bottom line

The challenges of mental health among the Syrian medical students

Women’s rights face global pushback from conservativism, fundamentalism – UN experts warn

What we need for a better European Solidarity Corps

Why EU’s working and unemployed millions remain uncertain or even desperate about their future

COP24: Paris agreement remained alive but fragile while the EU attempts to slow down CO2 emissions for new cars

Responding to the anger

Yemen war ‘a test of our humanity’, and we’re ‘badly failing’ warns UN Children’s Fund chief

Paris, Rome, Brussels and Frankfurt to confront Berlin over growth and the Athens enigma

One migrant child reported dead or missing every day, UN calls for more protection

Lithuania vs Parliament over 2014 EU budget

Global warming: our responsibility

Antibiotics are contaminating the world’s rivers

7 shocking statistics that show the cost of corruption

Parmesan cheese on shelves in Italy (Copyright: European Union, 2014 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Daniela Giusti)

CETA at risk again: Italy says it won’t ratify EU-Canada trade deal over product protection fears

Why our future relies on more inclusive and transparent innovation

In a time of rising xenophobia, more important than ever to ratify Genocide Convention

How to make primary healthcare a favourable career choice for medical students: strategies and reflections

The next EU President will first have to drink his tea at Downing Street

“The Belt and Road Initiative should be mutually beneficial for EU and China and every participating country”, Vice-President Papadimoulis of the European Parliament underscores from European Business Summit 2018

European Citizens’ Initiative: Commission registers ‘Mandatory food labelling Non-Vegetarian / Vegetarian / Vegan’ initiative’

Airships, solar planes and Soviet-era sea skimmers … here’s how we fix air travel

EU budget 2021: An annual budget focused on European recovery

How drones can help rural Africa take flight

Shifting Tides: Policy Challenges and Opportunities for the G-20

UN chief welcomes DR Congo President’s promise to stand down

Sustainable finance: Commission publishes guidelines to improve how firms report climate-related information and welcomes three new important reports on climate finance by leading experts

Young people demand a transparent job market: new campaign launches on international interns day

“Financial crisis will not happen in China!”, the Chinese Premier underlines from Switzerland; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

EU: All economic indicators in free fall

We can meet the SDGs using the wisdom of crowds. Here’s how

Refugees in Greece: MEPs demand solidarity, warn about impact of health crisis

WHO reports ‘very strong progress’ in battling DR Congo Ebola outbreak

“Who do I call if I want to call Europe?” Finally a name and a number to answer Henry Kissinger’s question

Science leads the response to COVID-19. These 25 scientists are tackling the other global challenges

New UN forestry project bids to help countries meet climate change commitments

South Africa’s cabinet is now 50% women for the first time ever

Your smartphone may know more about your mental health than you

Are Halloween pumpkins a problem for the planet?

Is Universal Health Coverage really available for all in the European Union?

UN-backed intercultural dialogue forum urged to keep working to ‘bridge gap between the like-minded’

Member States and Commission to work together to boost artificial intelligence “made in Europe”

Family incomes stagnate in the EU; people excluded from ‘moderate recovery’

Parliament commemorates the victims of the Holocaust

Somalis ‘will not be deterred’ by Friday’s terror attacks – UN chief

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s