A New Yorker article coming out today focuses upon a lesser known Steele memo, one which noted that Russia and Putin blocked consideration of Mitt Romney as Secretary of State. Putin demanded that Trump appoint someone in favor of lifting sanctions against Russia as a penalty for Russian intervention into the Ukraine.
Moscow had asked Trump to appoint someone who would be willing to lift sanctions related to Ukraine and cooperate with Russia’s involvement in Syria. Romney, long a vocal hawk on Russia, declined to comment for the report. The White House said the former GOP presidential nominee was never a first choice for the job, and declined to comment on “any communications that the Trump team may have had with Russia on the subject.”
Rex Tillerson’s Russian ties concern many people (including Senator Lindsey Graham), indeed at times it has appeared that the only means to earn a senior post in the administration was to first have significant ties to Russia. Tillerson won the “Order of Friendship” medal in 2013 as the Exxon CEO who negotiated a $500 billion partnership for the production of oil in the Arctic Sea as well as further investigation of the deep waters in the Black Sea.
For those who considered the appointment beyond coincidence, it is devastatingly logical that Russia would reject the idea of Romney as Secretary of State, as Romney has been a hawk with regard to Russia and Russian sanctions. Trump still refuses to enforce sanctions against Russia, and refuses to order U.S. Cyber-Command to take steps needed to stop Russian involvement in the 2018 mid-term elections.