Written By: - Date published: 9:46 am, August 10th, 2018 - 99 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, Donald Trump, International, Politics, Russia, Spying, us politics - Tags: donald trump, novichok, sanctions, vladimir putin
The US State department has announced significant sanctions against Russia for the assassination attempt against Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy.
Skripal and his daughter Yulia were hospitalized and treated for a nerve-agent attack in March. Both survived, but local resident Dawn Sturgess died on 8 July after she and her partner Charlie Rowley were exposed to Novichok after finding a small perfume bottle in which the nerve agent was contained.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert accused Russia of violating international law. Having come to that conclusion, US federal law (the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991) requires the State Department to act. The sanctions will go into effect on August the 22nd, however the ruble has already plunged in response to the announcement.
The strangest thing about this situation is the silence from Donald Trump.
The prolific tweeter has not said a dicky bird about the sanctions.
Its safe to assume he’s not in favour of anything that harms Russia, but he cannot overrule the law in this matter, so he appears to have decided to pretend its not happening.
James Clapper, a former intelligence chief who believes Russia nobbled the 2016 election, might know why:
“I have been trying to give the president the benefit of the doubt,” Clapper said last month “But more and more … I really do wonder if the Russians have something on him.”
And what the Russians have on Trump is most likely a money trail. Dollars to donuts they are threatening to expose his financial links to Moscow, which, Trump having denied they exist, would almost certainly lead to moves for his impeachment.
In the meantime, his son Donald Jr, is edging closer to charges of Russian collusion himself. The President did Trump Jr no favours when he recently tweeted:
“Fake News reporting, a complete fabrication, that I am concerned about the meeting my wonderful son, Donald, had in Trump Tower. This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics – and it went nowhere. I did not know about it!”
This contradiction of the original defence that the meeting was about child adoption was meant to help his son. Its had the opposite effect.
With the UK Police apparently close to naming the Russian agents suspected of carrying out the Novichok attack, and his own State department showing worrying signs of independence, it gets harder and harder for Trump to say Putin is a good guy. The best!
But if he isn’t able to act as Russia’s point man in Washington, what use is he to Moscow? Why would the Kremlin continue to protect him?
So for the first time in years, Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States of America, is lost for words.