Trump Must Be Confronted Over Whether He Struck A Deal With Putin, Journalist Says

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Former President Donald Trump posted suspiciously on his personal account on Truth Social on Thursday, speaking as though it was a given that a U.S. journalist currently detained in Russia would be freed if he regains the presidency this year.

What’s the basis for that stance? Does Trump know, for a fact, that the detained journalist will be returned to the U.S.? Is there some kind of covert agreement that’s being kept secret from interests like the U.S. government and the reporter Evan Gershkovich’s family?

“The political press needs to ask Trump and his surrogates whether he cut a deal with Putin to keep Gershkovich in captivity until after the election. There’s *Republican* precedent for deals like this, by the way,” journalist Bob Cesca said.

In the perhaps extreme but here suggested scenario of a secret deal to keep Gershkovich in captivity for now, it could help facilitate an impression of things going more poorly under Trump’s Democratic successor, Joe Biden. And Trump reversing that if he regains the White House later this year would, of course, tee up the opposite impression in the U.S.

Trump’s original comments were surprisingly unequivocal. “Evan Gershkovich, the Reporter from The Wall Street Journal, who is being held by Russia, will be released almost immediately after the Election, but definitely before I assume Office. He will be HOME, SAFE, AND WITH HIS FAMILY. Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, will do that for me, but not for anyone else, and WE WILL BE PAYING NOTHING!” Trump wrote on Truth Social.

Again, how would Trump know? Even in the scenario in which Trump’s just speaking in terms of what he hopes will happen, it’s arguably another instance of Trump casting a seemingly favorable light on murderous authoritarian Vladimir Putin, part of a long trend of Trump seemingly fawning after such people.