REPORT: Trump Insider Sends Senator A Letter Threatening US Troops, Russian Media Claims
Russian Propaganda Issues A Threat From A Trump Proxy
A Russian state media publication claims that a former foreign policy adviser to president-elect Donald Trump sent a letter to Senator John McCain issuing a vague but chilling threat to the United States.
Sputnik News–a publication wholly owned by the Russian government, and pegged by an EU study as biased and openly hostile propaganda–first reported on the alleged letter. Trump controversially quoted misleading information from Sputnik during the campaign. Sputnik claims that the letter was sent by Carter Page. Page is a former foreign policy adviser to Trump who has very strong business ties to Russia and who recently spoke on Russian media calling CIA reports of Russian meddling in the US election “fake news.” Page was investigated by US intelligence during 2016 under suspicion that he was serving as a back-channel link between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and that he might be facilitating a secret negotiation to lift US sanctions against Russia.
Related: BREAKING: Trump Adviser Under Investigation By U.S. Intelligence For Back-Channel Ties To Putin
Sputnik claims that Page sent a letter to Senator John McCain in which he threatened US national security. Sputnik News claimed,
Attempts by a number of US congressmen to prevent a new administration’s reset in relations with Russia, including a call to set up a special panel to investigate Russia’s alleged interference in the US presidential campaign, may bring about national security threats, former advisor to Donald Trump’s campaign Carter Page wrote in a letter to Senator John McCain, seen by Sputnik.
“Any efforts by members of Congress now to undercut potential new approaches to Russia would risk U.S. national security and innumerable service members lives,” Page said in a letter to McCain, who serves as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, sent late on Tuesday.
“American citizens are largely tired of failed interventionist policies. … The number of proxy wars involving Washington and Moscow across the globe still put countless lives at risk today,” Page wrote.
Reverb Press made several attempts to contact Senator John McCain’s office for a statement before publishing. The existence of the letter and the content of the letter could not be independently verified. Reverb Press does not assume that Sputnik‘s reporting is accurate.
Sputnik‘s reporting is inherently questionable. But if the letter does exist and it was sent to McCain, and its content is as described, it amounts to blackmail. It constitutes a piece of extremely hostile diplomacy. It implies threats against the lives of American troops and US interests. The nature of the letter, coming from an American businessman who routinely and aggressively defends Russia against the US, sent to a US Senator who has vocally criticized Russian meddling, underlines the inherently problematic nature of the incoming Trump administration: that it seems to be more loyal to Russian interests than American interests, and is increasingly aggressive against the American political establishment in pursuing those interests.
On the other hand, if Sputnik‘s reporting is inaccurate, it could represent an attempt by official Russian propaganda to sow discord, confusion, strife and intimidation in Washington. The reporting’s goal may be to weaken the United States by heightening divisions within the US government, especially between the traditional Republican party and the incoming Trump administration.
On Thursday, the Barack Obama administration announced new sanctions targeted at Russian intelligence and ejected Russian diplomats from the US in retaliation for Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election. Russia promised to retaliate. In a statement, Senator John McCain called for even stricter sanctions and pledged to lead the charge in the next Congress.
Trump agreed to meet with the US intelligence community to get “updated on the facts” even though he has already been briefed about Russian hacking and dismissed US intelligence conclusions. He also said it was time for the country to “move on” from the Russian hacking that allegedly helped get him elected president.
Photo by Alexander Aksakov/Getty Images