President-elect Donald Trump’s latest tweet about Vladimir Putin certainly won’t quiet rumors that he’s in the Russian president’s pocket.
On Friday afternoon, Trump took to Twitter — his favorite form of communication — to praise Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to not retaliate against outgoing President Barack Obama in response to his sanctions.
Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 30, 2016
After Obama ordered the expulsion of several dozen Russian diplomats and labeled them “persona non grata,” (the kiss of death in foreign policy parlance) it was rumored that Putin would reciprocate by kicking out American diplomats in Russia. However, Putin simply announced that American diplomats could stay in the Russian Federation, and that he would simply wait for the inauguration of Donald Trump before making any foreign policy decisions involving the United States.
Obama sanctioned two different Russian intelligence agencies in his official announcement on Wednesday, which he said was done in response to Russian actors hacking into the email accounts of both the Democratic National Committee and John Podesta, who was Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman. Putin dismissed the sanctions as a “provocation aimed to further undermine Russian-American relations.”
Following Obama’s sanctions, the FBI and the Department of Homeland security released a joint report detailing how the sensitive digital materials were obtained. The agencies said that two Russian Intelligence Services (RIS) sought to obtain the contents of the emails through “spearphishing,” in which a malicious link is sent to multiple email addresses in hopes that someone will click it, thereby compromising that person’s computer and granting hackers access to their emails.
Buildup over whether or not Russia interfered in the U.S. election to ensure Trump’s victory reached a boiling point after NBC News reported that Vladimir Putin himself oversaw how the surreptitiously obtained files were to be distributed, and that he did so out of a personal “vendetta” with Hillary Clinton, who cast doubt on the legitimacy of Russia’s 2011 election results.
Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States on January 20.
Tom Cahill is a writer for US Uncut based in the Pacific Northwest. He specializes in coverage of political, economic, and environmental news. You can contact him via email at [email protected], or friend him on Facebook.