The Russian embassy today demanded that the U.S. return the two Russian diplomatic compounds that were seized last year by American authorities, warning of a “tit-for-tat response.”
Following Russia’s interference in the 2016 US election, then-President Obama expelled Russian officials from two diplomatic compounds in New York and Maryland. He declared that these compounds were being “used by Russian personnel for intelligence-related purposes.”
At the same time, the Obama administration also expelled 35 Russians accused of being “intelligence operatives.”
In a stunning kowtow to Putin’s wishes, however, the Trump administration has made moves to return the properties back to the Russians.
According to The Washington Post, the Trump administration “told the Russians it would consider turning the properties back over to them if Moscow would lift its freeze, imposed in 2014 in retaliation for U.S. sanctions related to Ukraine, on construction of a new U.S. consulate on a certain parcel of land in St. Petersburg.”
After expelling the Russians from the American properties, a former senior Obama official said, “We had no intention of ever giving them back.” Trump, however, directly refuted his predecessor’s claims, telling reporters at Mar-a-Lago, “I think we ought to get on with our lives.”
Even though Trump is currently under FBI investigation for his potentially treasonous collusion with the Russians, the fact that the President is still willing allow suspected intelligence agents from a hostile foreign power into our country is not only ignorant but dangerous. It seems that our strongman President is not willing to extend the same bombastic rhetoric when confronted by Moscow.
Brian Tyler Cohen is a political writer, actor, and comedy sketch director. He graduated from Lehigh University with a dual degree in English and Business. He currently lives in Los Angeles.