Flynn, forced to resign this week over his failure to disclose phone conversations with Russian ambassador about U.S. sanctions imposed on Moscow. Trump’s long-standing ties to Russia might explain why his policy is “noticeably weaker on Russia than on anything else,” said John Herbst, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine + Uzbekistan under presidents Bill Clinton + George W. Bush.
Trump told The Times of London in January he'd consider lifting U.S. sanctions on Russia for its military involvement in eastern Ukraine and alleged meddling in the U.S. presidential election to help Trump in return for a new nuclear arms reduction accord. In addition, Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed in a phone call last month possible collaboration in the fight against Islamic State and ways they might restore trade and economic ties.
Herbst said Trump's conciliatory comments about Russia are out of character for a businessman who prides himself as a tough negotiator. “He talks about driving hard bargains, and here he’s offering concessions right off the top,” Herbst said.
Trump denied in recent tweets "conspiracy theories" about his ties to Russia.
Timeline - Trump’s known connections to Russia:
1987: Trump invited to Moscow by the Soviet ambassador to the United States to discuss luxury hotel developments. Trump later told Playboy magazine that his plans to build hotels in Moscow failed because the country “was out of control and the leadership knows it.” Four years later, on Christmas Day, Soviet Union officially dissolved, Russians who had been allowed to buy state-owned enterprises amassed enormous fortunes.
1996: While wrapping up series of bankruptcies in New York, Trump talked of building a replica of his Trump Tower in Moscow and traveled there to discuss renovating Moskva and Rossiya hotels
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