President Donald Trump has taken a curious stance toward Russia from the very beginning of his presidency, indeed from the days of campaign. As his first year in office comes to an end, the United States finds itself in an unprecedented situation - a president whose personal insecurities endanger the security of the nation.
Nearly a year into his presidency, Trump continues to reject the evidence that Russia waged an assault on a pillar of American democracy and supported his run for the White House.
Trump's position on matters concerning Russia have affected various areas of government.
His administration has moved to undo at least some of the sanctions the previous administration imposed on Russia for its election interference, exploring the return of two Russian compounds in the United States that President Barack Obama had seized — the measure that had most galled Moscow. Months later, when Congress moved to impose additional penalties on Moscow, Trump opposed the measures fiercely.
Administration officials have said that the president has never held a Cabinet-level meeting regarding Russian interference or to devise a planned response.
Although the issue has been discussed at lower levels at the National Security Council, one former high-ranking Trump administration official said there is an unspoken understanding within the NSC that to raise the matter is to acknowledge its validity, which the president would see as an affront.
His position has also adversely affected close ally relationships, as well as prove empowering for Russia:
[O]verall, U.S. officials said, the Kremlin believes it got a staggering return on an operation that by some estimates cost less than $500,000 to execute and was organized around two main objectives — destabilizing U.S. democracy and preventing Hillary Clinton, who is despised by Putin, from reaching the White House.