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Russian issue one of most difficult for Trump team — expert

February 14, 22:11 UTC+3 MOSCOW

According to the expert, Flynn’s resignation was evidence of external pressure on the new administration

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© Marina Lystseva/TASS

MOSCOW, February 14. /TASS/. The Russian issue is one of the most difficult for the Trump administration, Valery Garbuzov, Director of the Institute for US and Canada Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences, told TASS commenting on the resignation of President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn.

"I believe the Russian issue is one of the most difficult for the US administration in the sense that it has not yet developed recipes on tackling the Russian issue in general and in particular. These are the issues of sanctions, the issue of Ukraine, Crimea and so on," he said. "The US president’s national security adviser is a significant figure who, along with the US secretary of state, takes part in shaping the country’s foreign policy. Flynn’s resignation indicates that internal contradictions, perhaps, internal struggle, begin to appear in the emerging US administration. Flynn’s resignation was a manifestation of this struggle. He was considered if not a pro-Russian member of Trump’s team, then a person who was committed to resuming pragmatic dialogue with Russia."

According to Garbuzov, Flynn’s resignation was evidence of external pressure on the new administration. "The administration’s top echelon has not been fully formed yet, let alone the second and third echelons, and that process may last until summer or even longer," he said. "However, high-profile resignations occur now, which indicate that the government machine is emerging with great difficulty."

In that sense, Flynn’s resignation means that very different circles, including right-wing conservatives and neo-conservatives from the Republican Party, which do not think Donald Trump is one of them, are beginning to exert pressure on him," Garbuzov said. "That is why he is trying to readjust himself to a new environment. Whether this readjustment will be successful is difficult to say now. Anyway, Trump is trying to survive at an early stage."

Who may quit after Flynn?

The situation around US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, will show how strong and stable Trump’s position is, Garbuzov noted. "Rex Tillerson was the most controversial figure," he said. "If he is forced to leave this team, everything will be perfectly clear. All Trump’s talk will remain just talk, and he will have to return to the policy pursued in recent years."

"Tying the president’s hands in this fashion is very simple," the expert emphasized. "Trump will stay alone, without supporters in Congress. The Republican majority could easily turn against Trump, considering his unpopularity in the party, while his patchy administration consisting of generals and businesspeople has no practical political experience and influence."

Problems for Trump administration just beginning

The Russian expert recalled that Trump’s polemical decisions have triggered mixed response in American society.

"Trump makes huge political blunders. If the image of the administration making ill-considered decisions, and without consent of the Congress at that, is created in the future, that will make things worse for Trump himself," Garbuzov stressed. He could become an enemy for himself. It will be easy to accuse him of authoritarian ambitions, attempts to solve all problems behind the scenes, without taking into account the opinion of Congress and the American people."

According to Garbuzov, the US president’s opponents will take a stand against him in Congress. "Now all anti-Trump forces will take shape in Congress," the expert noted. "They will try to pack all anti-Russian sanctions into a certain bill and pass it. It is unclear how he will behave - sign it into law or return. If he returns it to Congress, congressmen will easily override his veto. One can state that Trump is already coming to a dead-end in this regard."

"Trump talked a lot about Russia and President Vladimir Putin. However, we cannot do a lot, that’s obvious," Garbuzov added. "Trump’s opponents will continue to encircle him, that’s very logical. While the anti-Trump forces are trying to form a coalition in Congress, the US president shows no intention of forging his own coalition and winning over part of congressmen and senators.".

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