The president-elect just spoke to something he has long been expected to favor once he officially takes office as president — lifting the sanctions that the United States currently has in place on an array of Russian interests.
Donald Trump spoke to these sanctions lifting plans in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that was published on Friday.
The sanctions that Trump specifically spoke to are those that were put in place relatively recently, in response to Russia’s alleged months long campaign to meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
This campaign was carried out via cyberattacks on the U.S. Democratic Party and on the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. These cyberattacks allowed for Russian hackers allegedly directed by persons from the highest rungs of Russian government — meaning the nation’s president, Vladimir Putin — to steal and leak to the public tens of thousands of private emails’ worth of information.
These emails were funneled through the so-called government transparency organization Wikileaks, before being slowly but surely picked up by major Western media outlets and the public activities arm of the Donald Trump presidential campaign itself. All of these activities were in the name of Vladimir Putin’s intense disdain for Hillary Clinton, and, as evidenced by the fact that Donald Trump is the president-elect of the United States, the Russians’ efforts were successful.
Of course, any discussion that Trump may at any point enter into over the sanctions that represent America’s response to Russia’s election meddling is automatically tilted in a pro-Russia favor. The president-elect has basically made it a policy position of his to refuse to ascribe any seriousness at all to the Russian hacking scandal.
And, on that note, when asked by the WSJ about what his plans are for the U.S. sanctions currently in place against Russia, Trump commented, “If you get along and if Russia is really helping us, why would anybody have sanctions if somebody’s doing some really great things?”
Although it’s not exactly a saving grace for Trump’s obsessive Russia love, it is notable that Trump added while speaking to the WSJ that he plans to keep the sanctions against Russia in place “for a period of time.” Still, after that conveniently ambiguous “period of time” expires, Trump has made it clear that he’s open to lifting the sanctions against Russia and thus making his personal position of just ignoring the implications of the Russia hacking scandal into a national policy.
In addition, although Trump didn’t explicitly discuss the longer standing U.S. sanctions against Russia over their invasion of the Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, those sanctions have also long been discussed as likely headed for the chopping block once Trump officially takes office. After all, there’s a 500 billion dollar oil exploration deal that was put on hold because the post-Crimea invasion sanctions were put in place. One of the partners in that deal is Exxon Mobil, and Trump literally picked the CEO of Exxon Mobil for Secretary of State.
All in all, Trump’s approach to things is summed up quite nicely by a comment he made to the WSJ: “Everything is under negotiation.”
Featured Image via Mark Ralston-Pool/Getty Images.