From Washington Examiner:
Escalating tensions between the U.S. and Russia and the political hurdles President Trump faces at home are making it increasingly difficult for Trump to achieve his campaign goal of warmer relations between Washington and Moscow, according to political observers.
Trump’s decision last week to expel 60 Russian diplomats accused of secretly operating as intelligence officers prompted Russian President Vladimir Putin to eject 60 American diplomats from his own country, escalating tensions that have simmered under the surface for months.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Monday that relations are now worse than they were during the Cold War. And it may not get better anytime soon.
While Russia’s suspected role in poisoning an ex-spy living in the U.K. was the catalyst for the latest round of retaliation, Trump has come under increasing pressure at home and abroad to take tougher steps toward Moscow amid scrutiny of Russia’s aggression around the world. Trump has found his efforts to normalize ties with Moscow particularly difficult thanks to the special counsel’s investigation into his campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia.
Bradley Blakeman, a Republican strategist and former George W. Bush aide, said that for all of these reasons, Trump has little hope for stabilizing Russian relations “in the near future” due to the complexity of his legal situation at home.