yahoo.com - 9 days ago
Striking proposal shows Russia wanted to do more than cause chaos during the election
A document provided to the State Department by a Russian diplomat in April outlined a broad, ambitious plan to overhaul Moscow's relationship with Washington on the heels of Russia's campaign to undermine confidence in the US presidential election and help elect Donald Trump.
The document, obtained by BuzzFeed, called for collaboration on information security, denuclearizing the Korean peninsula, the war in Afghanistan, and other areas that would lead to the normalization of US-Russian relations — including a discussion of "areas of mutual interest" between US intelligence officials and their Russian counterparts. The proposal indicates that Russian President Vladimir Putin was optimistic about Trump's willingness to repair a relationship that had plummeted to its lowest point in decades following Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea and interference in the 2016 election — unprecedented acts that the document did not even mention, according to BuzzFeed. Read more Putin was not only optimistic, but extremely eager: He dispatched a diplomat to deliver the plan — which he hoped would be implemented immediately — barely three months into Trump's presidency. By that point, the White House had already begun exploring ways to lift or ease the sanctions on Russia imposed by Obama in mid-2014 and late 2016. Scott Olson, a recently retired FBI agent who served in the bureau's counterintelligence division, said the proposal "postures the Russian side in a 'no lose' situation." "If the US side declines, the Russians are on record with having tried to take the high road," Olson said. "If the US side agrees, it will be crushed with political infighting and demands to explain why it is cooperating in the aftermath of so much bad behavior by the Russians.
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