Sooner or later the laws of politics catch up to every politician, even Donald Trump. When Russian President Vladimir Putin made the mistake of harming a bunch of British citizens while he was trying to take out a Russian spy in the UK, Palmer Report wrote that Trump would end up paying the price. Sure enough, as a direct result of the incident, Trump found himself forced to go along with a move today which has significantly boosted the credibility of his most dangerous enemy, Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
This week the UK made clear that it was going to push the issue of retaliation against Russia until the United States finally did something. The Trump administration realized it had to make a move before this became an even bigger problem, so today it announced that it was bringing sanctions against nineteen Russian nationals – including the thirteen Russian nationals who were recently indicted by Mueller.
Donald Trump, being in his weakest position to date and having essentially no political muscle remaining, had no real choice but to sit back and let his own Treasury Department enact these sanctions. It’s a desperation move aimed at appeasing the UK. Cracking down on these nineteen people won’t hurt Putin’s wallet in the manner that broader sanctions would. So this isn’t much of a blow to Putin – but it’s a huge blow to Trump.
By sanctioning the thirteen Russians who were just indicted by Robert Mueller for their roles in trying to rig the election in Trump’s favor, Trump is admitting two things. The first is that Russia really was working to rig the election for him. The second is that Mueller is on the right track with his investigation, his indictments are legitimate, and the Trump-Russia scandal is real. If Trump ever has to try to make the case to the American people that Mueller’s overall findings should be ignored, today’s sanctions poke a huge hole in that.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report