Saturday, March 24, 2018

Trump To Expel 'Dozens Of Russian Diplomats' In Response To Skripal Poisoning

By Tyler Durden - March 24, 2018 at 02:56PM

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On Friday, French President Emmanuel Macron and German leader Angela Merkel said that following a meeting of the European Council, that UK PM Theresa May had shared "proof" of Russia's involvement in the assassination attempt against former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, "convincing" the two leaders that Russia was behind the attack. And yet, despite the "convincing" evidence, no "proof" has yet been publicly disclosed. Furthermore, even as all leaders said they are in agreement that Russia was "the only reasonable culprit", the EC opted not to take any immediate action against Moscow, except issue a harshly worded statement.

Here things get even more bizarre because the EC statement issued said that it "agrees with the United Kingdom government's assessmentthat it is highly likely that the Russian Federation is responsible and that there is no plausible alternative explanation."

Wait, there is either proof that Russia did (or did not do) the attack, or there isn't.

Claiming that something is "highly likely" and that "there is no plausible alternative explanation" is what you say when there is no proof, and when you send in Colin Powell to the United Nations to lie to the world that a vial of sand is really anthrax and one should immediately launch a war to crush an evil regime just because, well, a vial of sand.

It also explains why on Saturday, the Russian Embassy in the UK once again demanded that London produce the complete UK info on "Skripal's Case" and disclose details on a program to produce weapons-grade toxic substances in Porton Down. The UK has so far refused to comply.

* * *

In any event, with the UK yet to publicly present proof that Russia was behind the attack, and as Boris Johnson claimed, Putin himself that was behind the nerve agent attack on the former Russian double agent, on Saturday morning Bloomberg reported that President Donald Trump is "preparing to expel dozens of Russian diplomats from the U.S." in response to the nerve-agent poisoning of a former Russian spy in the U.K.

Quoting two people "familiar with the matter", Bloomberg reports that Trump agreed with the recommendation of advisers and the expulsions are likely to be announced on Monday. And while the aides said that Trump is prepared to act, he wants to be sure European allies will take similar steps against Russia before he does so, which could be prolematic since Russia controls roughly a third of Europe's natural gas supplies and thus the volume of any potential response (and also why despite "proof", Europe responded with nothing more than a harshly-worded statement).

The advisers reached recommendations for a U.S. response to the U.K. attack at a National Security Council meeting on Wednesday and honed the proposals on Friday.

Among the advisors that Trump approached on Friday to discuss the matter were U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Defense Secretary James Mattis, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, outgoing National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and others.

In other words, virtually everyone in Trump's inner circle is desperate for the president to engage in damage control for last week's gaffe in which he congratulated Putin on his election victory despite being ordered by his anti-Russian wing "do not congratulate."

Trump has agreed to adopt increasingly tough policy stances on Russia, but - infuriating the Military-Industrial Complex, after all the stock price of Boeing must go up not down, and the neocons - the president places a priority on maintaining a personal relationship with the Russian president, refuses to publicly attack him, and doesn’t see any benefit to the U.S. in confronting Putin in one-on-one encounters, one administration official told Bloomberg on Thursday.

Trump defended his call with Putin on Twitter Wednesday, dismissing those who “wanted me to excoriate him.”

“They are wrong!” Trump wrote. “Getting along with Russia (and others) is a good thing, not a bad thing.”

We can assume that if Trump again refuses to do as his advisors urge him to demonstrate just how opposed to Russia he is, that his new National Security Advisor, John Bolton - with the full blessing of the US establishment - will demand nothing less than a nuclear strike somewhere in Siberia to finally prove to Mueller, and the world, that Trump is not a Russian operative.

Reprinted with permission from ZeroHedge.

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