Speaking over the weekend, after his briefing by the intelligence community on allegations that Russia hacked Hillary Clinton-related computers in an attempt to get him elected, President-elect Donald Trump has reiterated that he wants warmer relations with Russia during his administration.
“Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing,” Trump insisted, adding “we have enough problems without yet another one” in trying to deal with ongoing hostility toward Russia. Trump and Putin agreed shortly after the election to major improvements in ties.
Trump will be facing major opposition on this, both internationally among NATO members concerned he’ll be throwing less military resources at the Russian border, and from Republican hawks who insist that the US being in a not-hostile relationship with Russia is in and of itself likely impossible.
Reports from his staff that Trump is now embracing the official narrative on the Russia hacking is likely to only complicate efforts at better relations, with calls for more “retaliation” against Russia likely to pile up when he takes office, and suggestions he must at the least move away from the path of rapprochement.
Russia has repeatedly denied involvement in the hacking and continues to do so, with officials dismissing the allegations as roadblocks to improved relations being thrown up by the lame duck administration. Whether that is ultimately true or not, the allegations do seem well positioned to remain roadblocks, and a major talking point well into Trump’s term in office.