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US political advisor says Trump and Putin likely to start things off on different footing

January 19, 8:14 UTC+3 WASHINGTON
All the US administrations have attempted to get the relationship with Russia back to normal after the Cold War but never succeeded, the analyst has noted
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WASHINGTON, January 19. /TASS/. US President-elect Donald Trump may get on well with Russian President Vladimir Putin to start things off on the different footing in the US-Russian relations, Mark McKinnon, a US political advisor and television producer, told TASS.

McKinnon is a creator and the host of The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth documentary series that pulled back the curtain on the 2016 US presidential race.

In the past, McKinnon worked for some Republican presidential nominees, including George Bush Jr. and John McCain.

Unprecedented

Answering a question on what the electoral campaign could be compared to, McKinnon said: "The fact that Trump would embrace or at least be friendly toward Russia is as confounding to the elites and the media as Trump is himself. But, for Trump and his supporters there is probably no greater signal that he is willing to go against conventional wisdom and do things differently than his embrace of a country historically considered a foe."

All the US administrations have attempted to get the relationship with Russia back to normal after the Cold War but never succeeded. In the current situation, there is a distinctive difference, McKinnon says. "Trump respects Putin and Putin respects Trump so that suggests that starts things off on completely different footing," he said.

Key lesson

"The lesson of Trump’s surprising election is that it reveals just how strongly many Americans believe things need to be turned upside down and approached completely differently than has been done in the past. Including relations with Russia," the US political advisor said.

"I think the big question now is not what does Donald Trump do but what does Vladimir Putin do to send a signal that he too is willing to look at things differently when it comes to the relationship between Russian and the United States," McKinnon said, but did not elaborate what the signal should be like.

Besides, he explained the failure of Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton to make a safe bet as Russia-bashing work as "conventional and expected. It’s hard to be a candidate for change and advocate the status quo." Nevertheless, he proceeds from the assumption that President Barack Obama’s outgoing administration still plays the same card "because they are not thinking about political benefit but what they think is the right policy."

The 26-episode Circus, a joint project of the Showtime TV channel and Bloomberg Politics, was aired throughout last year and the farewell hour-long episode about President-elect Donald Trump was released in November.

Trump’s inauguration will take place on Friday, January 20.

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