Tags: Donald Trump | US Officials | Putin | Woos | Trump | Silvio Berlusconi

US Officials: Putin Woos Trump Like He Did Berlusconi

Image: US Officials: Putin Woos Trump Like He Did Berlusconi

Russian President Vladimir Putin and former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi visit a memorial to the soldiers from Sardinia killed in the Crimean War, near Mount Gasfort outside Sevastopol in Crimea, Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. (Alexei Druzhinin/RIA-Novosti, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

By    |   Thursday, 18 Aug 2016 12:54 PM

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has denied close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, but their frequent exchange of compliments echoes Putin's public friendship with former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

"The parallels with Trump are a little too disturbing," a U.S. government analyst versed in Russian-European relations told Politico. "Putin is very strategic. He would focus on people's vulnerabilities — whether their vanity or greed or financial needs."

Former acting director of the Central Intelligence Agency Michael Morell, writing in a New York Times opinion piece, accuses Putin of manipulating Trump during the GOP primaries.

Putin "was a career intelligence officer, trained to identify vulnerabilities in an individual and to exploit them," Morell says. "That is exactly what he did early in the primaries. Mr. Putin played upon Mr. Trump's vulnerabilities by complimenting him. He responded just as Mr. Putin had calculated."

"Mr. Putin is a great leader, Mr. Trump says, ignoring that he has killed and jailed journalists and political opponents, has invaded two of his neighbors and is driving his economy to ruin," writes Morell, who is publicly supporting Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

"Mr. Trump has also taken policy positions consistent with Russian, not American, interests — endorsing Russian espionage against the United States, supporting Russia's annexation of Crimea and giving a green light to a possible Russian invasion of the Baltic States."

In 2008, Berlusconi defended Putin's invasion of the Republic of Georgia, arguing against the position taken by the U.S. and much of Europe. He accused the U.S. of "provoking" Russia by supporting Kosovo's independence and implementing missile-defense systems in Eastern Europe.

"In reality, what [Berlusconi] was doing was pushing Putin's agenda," one senior U.S. diplomat told Politico, "with no real guarantee that Putin would ever compromise on our agenda. I see a similar trend with Trump."

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Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has denied close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, but their frequent exchange of compliments echoes Putin's public friendship with former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
US Officials, Putin, Woos, Trump, Silvio Berlusconi
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2016-54-18
Thursday, 18 Aug 2016 12:54 PM
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