Washington, D.C. — A new report from CAP Action’s Moscow Project shows that since the beginning of the Trump administration, the White House has demonstrated a clear and consistent pattern of behavior toward Russia by not only calling for better relations with the Kremlin, but also by actively advancing Russia’s foreign policy objectives.
There is no clear geopolitical or policy rationale for President Trump’s behavior, which often comes at the cost of long-standing American foreign policy interests. Nor is there a political rationale. Amid special counsel Robert Mueller’s collusion probe, which has already resulted in indictments and guilty pleas, it would almost certainly benefit President Trump to distance himself from Russian President Vladimir Putin and dispel rumors that he is beholden to his Russian counterpart. Instead, at every opportunity, President Trump has embraced Putin and adopted positions that raise suspicion about Trump’s motives and rationale.
“Vladimir Putin took a big risk by interfering in the 2016 U.S. election, but President Trump’s pattern of behavior has made clear that Russian efforts paid off in a big way,” said Max Bergmann, director of the Moscow Project and co-author of the report. “At every turn, Trump has helped fulfill Russia’s most important foreign policy objectives.”
Putin’s return on investment from Trump’s presidency has been significant, including in the following ways:
- President Trump undermines U.S. relationships with European allies and calls the United States’ commitment to NATO into question.
- America’s closest allies are explicitly suspicious and distrusting of the United States because of Trump’s rhetoric and actions.
- Trump tries to roll back, impede, and blunt the impact of sanctions at every step.
- Trump repeatedly praises and defends Putin, lending the weight of the U.S. presidency and providing validation towards Putin’s cause.
- Trump publicly says that Crimea is part of Russia and calls for Russia to be welcomed back into the international community with no concessions.
- Russia seeks to sow political, cultural, and social divisions inside America, which the Kremlin views as a way to distract and weaken its adversaries; Trump attacks U.S. institutions while driving divisive politics and eroding democratic norms.
- Trump dismisses Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and has done nothing to prevent future meddling, putting him at odds with his own intelligence community.
Click here to read the report: “Putin’s Payout: 10 Ways Trump has Supported Putin’s Foreign Policy Agenda” by Max Bergmann, James Lamond, and Talia Dessel.
For more information or to speak with an expert, contact Morgan Finkelstein at email@example.com or 202.478.5311.