The Trump Administration has been tough on Russia, but a lot of that was driven by a Congressional mandate. I think it goes to show that we aren’t an authoritarian regime yet. Trump did campaign on lifting sanctions - this link is amusing.
However, TRUMP fails to approach Putin and Russia with the requisite cynicism and caution. In other words, TRUMP still kisses up to Putin, even as his administration screws him, in a weird geopolitical three-way,
A lot of that is because Trump is stupid and easily manipulated. He has no understanding of geopolitics and he seems cool with the abuses of authoritarian regimes. This is evidenced by his insistence on calling Putin a “competitor”.
In the span of a week, he
Tried to get the G7 to readmit Russia
Promoted an “incredible deal” he wanted to make with Putin. We would give Putin’s investigator’s access to the Mueller investigation ( so they could “help”) in exchange for handing several American citizens - including a former diplomat - over to Russian police.
This one astounds me most of all. Because Trump is giving up two things that are against US interests in exchange for nothing.
Suggested that the Russians would’ve been stronger in their persecution of Hillary than the US if she’d been Russian - or something, it was garbled, maybe he was advocating handing Hillary over to the Russians.
Told the world that he believed Putin over his own intelligence agencies.
Invited Putin to the White House without consulting with his security advisors.
According to Russian state media - which is how we find things out about Trump and Russia, Trump is considering endorsing “free” elections on Crimea. This is among the crap that Putin left Trump to “mull over”
And there was the time he invited all those Russians into the Oval Office to brag about firing Comey. When asked why, he said something to the effect of “Putin asked me to, am I going to say no?”
That said, I think Putin and Russia are learning about Trumps dealmaking style the hard way. Because apparently “the art of the deal” is to agree to whatever your “competitor” wants when he’s at the table. But then you only deliver what you want to deliver and make the guy sue you. Because Trump is basically a wimp, even though he talks big and he can’t stand up for himself at the negotiating table.
So Putin and Russia did get a raw deal when they helped Trump win.
The Republicans should not be so cavalier about the election interference. It might not work in their favor next time.