Andrew S. Weiss Profile picture
Jul 19, 2018 11 tweets 3 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Sometimes @realDonaldTrump doesn't get enough credit for being transparent about his secret dealings with Putin, including this week's meeting in Helsinki. 1/
Consider this eye-popping exchange with Sean Hannity on Monday about teaming up with Russia on terrorism and to stop “proxy wars.”… 2/
Trump’s answer makes it clear he’s talking about teaming up with Russian in the Middle East and Syria where, U.S. and Russian interests are, putting it mildly, far from congruent. 3/
Russia’s brutal military intervention in Syria certainly helped Assad dodge a bullet, but it won't put that badly broken country on the road to stability any time soon. 4/
On counter-terrorism, US intelligence agencies have plenty of bitter experience since 9/11 from tying to cooperate with Russian counterparts amid an adversarial relationship and a corrosive lack of trust. 5/
This is precisely the kind of Putin initiative that sounds good in principle to inexperienced people like Trump, but is nearly impossible in practice to implement. 6/
Former CIA head of Russia operations @StevenLHall1 wrote a fascinating insider’s account for @CarnegieEndow of the ups and downs in US-Russian intelligence sharing.… 7/
Russians “do not find the Western approach to intelligence sharing compelling; in fact, they find it quaint and perhaps a bit naive. For them, information truly is raw power, and sharing it—even inside the Russian govt—is viewed first and foremost through a political lens.” 8/
Yet Trump has been completely beguiled by these kinds of ideas for more than two years, including the fanciful suggestion that Washington and Moscow are somehow going to be natural partners who can team up to contain Iran. 9/
These ideas were a big part of the secret dealings that Trump, Flynn, Kushner, et al had with Russian, Israeli, and Arab counter-parts throughout the campaign, presidential transition, and early days of Trump’s presidency. Yet none of these ideas stands up to basic scrutiny. 10/
Now we learn, from Trump’s own account, that these ideas were once again front and center in Helsinki. Trump, like the easy mark in a casino, is being oh-so-easily played by a far more experienced player, and seems completely oblivious and content. #ThisIsNotNormal END/

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More from @andrewsweiss

Jan 14, 2019
THREAD: Has anyone noticed the very disturbing overlap between Trump’s insistence on preventing his own staff from learning about discussions with Putin at the Hamburg G20 meeting in July 2017 and how he handled initial revelations about the infamous Trump Tower meeting? 1/
Consider the following timeline: on July 7–8, 2017,Trump attends the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany the site of his first face to face encounter with Putin. 2/
On the morning of July 7, 2017, the New York Times informs the White House--for the first time--that it has learned about the Trump Tower meeting between Don Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and a Russian lawyer with Russian government connections, Natalya Veselnitskaya. 3/
Read 20 tweets
Aug 30, 2018
Wow. Without fanfare, a comprehensive archive of White House documents covering nearly all of Bill Clinton’s meetings and phone calls with Boris Yeltsin from 1993-1999 has been declassified and is now online.… 1/
These previously close-hold memcons, talking points, discussion papers, and diplomatic messages reveal how high-level diplomacy and the national security bureaucracy actually worked at key moments in history. 2/
The roughly 1,000 pages of documents, incl internal NSC/State Dept memos, cover a great many issues that are still front and center in US-Russian relations (Ukraine, regional conflicts, the foibles and shenanigans of Russian oligarchs, nuclear weapons, the Middle East). 3/
Read 11 tweets
Jul 18, 2018
Once again: Trump is parroting Kremlin talking points. Who on earth could have planted this riff in his head about tiny Montenegro possibly starting World War III? #ThisIsNotNormal 🤔1/
Trump was asked by Tucker Carlson: "Let’s say Montenegro — which joined [NATO] last year — is attacked. Why should my son go to Montenegro to defend it from attack?” 2/
Trump responds: "I’ve asked the same question. You know, Montenegro is a tiny country with very strong people… they might get aggressive, and congratulations, you’re in World War 3." 3/
Read 9 tweets
Jul 16, 2018
Must-read: FBI counter-intelligence agent's affidavit in connection with Maria Butina's arrest for seeking to influence US politics at direction of Russian government. This is how it works 1/…
FBI special agent explains what Russian influence operations are, the strategic intent behind and why Russian penetrations of US political institutions and policymaking circles are dangerous 2/
The FBI agent details how Butina, working at the direction of senior Russian government official Aleksandr Torshin sought to penetrate senior GOP circles and the NRA leadership. It covers activities from March 2015 onward 3/
Read 11 tweets
Jul 14, 2018
Key point in this excellent thread by Moscow-based @AlexGabuev: Putin had ample warning from within his own govt that meddling in the 2016 election would be easily traceable and create unpredictable blowback for the Kremlin 1/
Why did Putin blaze such a reckless path? Partly it's because the lesson of the war in Ukraine was that risky undertakings can really pay off--esp if Russia's adversaries are afraid of escalation 2/
It also reflected Putin's conviction that US-EU policy during this period (2014-2016) aimed at nothing less than actively seeking the overthrow of his regime. Kremlin fears of color revolution run deep 3/
Read 11 tweets
Mar 1, 2018
“Our longstanding rival Russia is exploiting a new playbook to divide us from within and to separate us from our allies” @MarkWarner #GlobalRussia
“Mr. Putin has at his disposal a wide array of nonconventional tools...these are designed to help Russia undermine its enemies in the West....many are deployed by non-state surrogates” @MarkWarner #GlobalRussia
“We are now engaged in a war in the shadows. I am not convinced we are winning” @MarkWarner #GlobalRussia
Read 13 tweets

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