Trump Admin Expels 60 Russian Diplomats Over Unproven Skripal Poisoning Claims

Chris Menahan
Mar. 26, 2018

Let's hope this is to distract from the Stormy Daniels affair and Trump hasn't been conquered by the deep state.

From the AP:
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Trump administration expelled 60 Russian diplomats on Monday and ordered Russia's consulate in Seattle to close, as the United States and European nations sought to jointly punish Moscow for its alleged role in poisoning an ex-spy in Britain.

Senior Trump administration officials said all 60 Russians were spies working in the U.S. under diplomatic cover, including a dozen at Russia's mission to the United Nations. The officials said the administration was taking the action to send a message to Russia's leaders about the "unacceptably high" number of Russian intelligence operatives in the U.S

The expelled Russians will have seven days to leave the U.S, said the officials. They weren't authorized to be identified by name and requested anonymity. They added that the Seattle consulate is a counter-intelligence concern because of its proximity to a U.S. Navy base.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the actions would make the U.S. safer by "reducing Russia's ability to spy on Americans and to conduct covert operations" that threaten U.S. national security.

"With these steps, the United States and our allies and partners make clear to Russia that its actions have consequences," Sanders said.
The British have still yet to provide any evidence Russia was behind the poisoning. They sent the substance to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons last week for testing, but they said it's going to take several weeks before any results come in. Notably, they have not sent the substance to Russia as the Russians requested.

The substance "Novichok" is highly questionable and can be produced by anyone.

The Russians deny having anything to do with the alleged poisoning:

Theresa May will only say it's "highly likely" Russia was behind the poisoning and "there's no plausible alternative explanation":

Honest commentators on the left like John Pilger and on the right like Pat Buchanan both says the case defies logic and looks like another repeat of the run up to the war in Iraq.

Though Trump ran on making peace with Russia, Michael Flynn and Steve Bannon were the only people in his cabinet who agreed with him on foreign policy and both were forced out.

As I noted before, foreign policy analyst Professor John Mearsheimer talked about it in an interview in January:
Mearsheimer: I think ... one of the problems Trump faced when he took office was that there were not many foreign policy experts who shared his worldview and were in favor of the policy positions he articulated as a candidate. It was sure to be very difficult for him to challenge the establishment without a team of lieutenants who really thought about American foreign policy the way he did. The few people he could find, like Michael Flynn, ended up getting themselves into all sorts of trouble right away. Steve Bannon is another case in point.
[Flynn was set up by the deep state.]
Those few people in Trump’s White House who shared his worldview ended up losing their jobs rather quickly and being replaced by establishment figures. Almost all of them are generals, but nevertheless they represent the status quo. He’s now surrounded almost completely by establishment figures who are going to great lengths to make sure he hews to the establishment line. He gets around that to some extent with his rhetoric, but rhetoric is not policy and the policy pretty much remains the same as it was under his two predecessors.

We should remember that President Obama was elected because he said that our foreign policy was bankrupt and he was going to change it. He was someone who had opposed the Iraq War, arguing that it was a foolish decision. Nevertheless, once he became president he ended up adhering to the “Washington playbook.” He made it clear in his interview with Jeffrey Goldberg in his last year in office that, basically, the establishment had beaten him down. What you see happening with Trump is very similar.
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