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U.S. President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin talk during the family photo session at the APEC Summit in Danang, Vietnam November 11, 2017. REUTERS/Jorge Silva - RC1B1EDB0E40
Op-Ed

Trump’s Russia stance isn’t criminal; it’s just unpatriotic

The Washington Post
Editor's Note:

Michael Gerson’s March 29 op-ed, “Not a Russian agent, just a Russian stooge,” was excellent, but it left out a crucial element supporting his thesis, writes Todd Stern in this letter to the editor, which originally appeared in The Washington Post

 

Michael Gerson’s March 29 op-ed, “Not a Russian agent, just a Russian stooge,” was excellent, but it left out a crucial element supporting his thesis: President Trump’s policy toward Russia, a key adversary, was corrupted or compromised by his personal interests in landing the Trump Tower Moscow deal and benefiting from Russian electoral assistance. Perhaps he was also avoiding the disclosure of Russian “kompromat,” though we don’t know that yet.

How else to explain the cavalcade of inexplicable conduct: his campaign’s pro-Russian change to the GOP platform in 2016 regarding Ukraine; the willingness of his team to consider Russian President Vladi­mir Putin’s desire to get sanctions lifted; Mr. Trump’s obsequious praise for and defense of Mr. Putin; Mr. Trump’s repeated practice of meeting with Mr. Putin alone, keeping their discussions secret even from his staff; his embrace, most embarrassingly at the joint news conference in Helsinki, of Mr. Putin’s word over that of his own intelligence chiefs regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election; and Mr. Trump’s dangerous antagonism toward NATO.

The corruption of his policy toward Russia — acting in his personal interest rather than the national interest — was not criminal; it was just unpatriotic, dishonorable, immoral and a violation of his oath of office.

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