Congress is slowly ratcheting up the pressure on two popular targets: the Kremlin and U.S. President Donald Trump’s well-advertised desire to “get along” with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. The political logic is all too easy to understand. Anger and distrust toward Russia crosses party lines in Washington, and there has been no softening in Moscow’s increasingly assertive foreign policy. Making matters even more politically fraught are Trump’s reluctance to offer meaningful criticism of Russian malign activities, his professed skepticism about Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and his frequent attacks on the U.S. intelligence community, key U.S. allies, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and the European Union (EU). It is hard to recall any precedent for such an enormous gap in the views of the commander in chief, career national security officials, and influential members of Congress on an important national security issue.
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