Those who watched Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s testimony to the Senate on Wednesday about the content of the President’s meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin could be forgiven for thinking nothing has changed in U.S.-Russia relations. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), who is co-authoring legislation with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to increase sanctions against Russia including targeting investors in the Eurasian country’s sovereign bonds led the questioning of Pompeo.
To the Secretary of State’s credit, Pompeo defended Trump’s prerogative to meet one on one with Putin and just their translators in the room as hardly unprecedented for great power summits. He also emphasized that U.S. policy with regards to non-recognition of Crimea’s accession to the Russian Federation and the Ukraine sanctions had not changed as a result of the Trump-Putin meeting. What has changed is the deep state’s recognition of defeat in Syria and constructive talks between Moscow, Washington and Tel Aviv on ending the conflict in that country — despite the provocative Israeli shoot down of a Syrian Air Force jet along the Golan Heights.Read More