Dispatch May 4, 2018

Ukrainian Weapons and the RNC Platform

Two interesting Ukrainian weaponry threads are in the news this week. First, of course, is the fact that Ukrainian investigators are freezing their cooperation with the Mueller investigation so as not to upset the administration amid anti-tank missile sales.

Second, Mueller is still reportedly investigating a decision to remove language supporting lethal weapons for Ukraine from the GOP party platform, a surprising reversal of a key attack on President Obama’s Ukraine policy. While Republicans—House Intel Committee members in particular—have tried to downplay that event, consider it in the broader timeline of Trump-Russia collusion. This could be a down payment on a quid for Russian interference quo. In other words, the platform change is a clear and tangible deliverable from Trump to Russia.

It was an odd change.

But it didn’t happen in a vacuum. Other events in July of 2016 show a broader pattern: the Trump campaign repeatedly handing the Kremlin gifts.

For the Kremlin who, like everyone else, didn’t think Trump would become president, softening the platform of a historically hawkish party would be a huge foreign policy achievement.

Considering the platform change in the broader context of small but tangible pro-Russia deliverables—moves that would barely register in a heated campaign, but would make waves abroad—shows a concerning larger pattern.