Democrats have been strangely silent over the past few weeks as their narrative regarding the unproven assertion that President Donald Trump colluded with the Russian government to win the 2016 election continues to crumble. That silence could continue now that the Trump administration has just delivered a diplomatic slap to those same Russians he was allegedly in league with.
According to Fox News, the State Department just gave the Russians until Sept. 2 to vacate three diplomatic facilities in the United States, retaliation for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s order in July that the U.S. close down three facilities in Russia and reduce their diplomatic and technical staff by more than half.
That retaliatory move from Putin came in response to tough new sanctions on Russia put in place by Congress, with Trump’s reluctant approval, as well as former President Barack Obama’s ordered closure of two Russian diplomatic facilities in the U.S. in December due to alleged meddling in the 2016 election.
“We are requiring the Russian Government to close its Consulate General in San Francisco, a chancery annex in Washington, DC and a consular annex in New York City,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert explained on Thursday, according to Bloomberg. “These closures will need to be accomplished by September 2.”
Nauert stated the ordered closures came “in the spirit of parity invoked by the Russians,” according to Fox, and continued, “With this action both countries will remain with three consulates each.”
“While there will continue to be a disparity in the number of diplomatic and consular annexes, we have chosen to allow the Russian Government to maintain some of its annexes in an effort to arrest the downward spiral in our relationship,” she added.
Perhaps in a bid to ease the additional tension created by this move, the Associated Press reported that the Russians currently working at the three facilities designated for closure could be reassigned to other locations within the U.S. instead of being forced to leave the country.
Furthermore, though they can no longer use them for their current purposes, Russia will retain ownership of the buildings being vacated, and can either sell them, lease them or otherwise dispose of them properly.
Not unexpected was the Russian response to the move. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in a phone call with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Thursday morning, “expressed regret about the escalation of tensions in bilateral ties.”
Moscow has yet announce an official reaction to the move, as they intend to first study the impact it may have before making any further moves of their own.
For someone allegedly under the sway of the Russian government, Trump sure hasn’t acted like he and Putin are best buds since taking office, and this move sure isn’t likely to help their relationship along at all.
We will wait to see what Democrats have to say about this, but something tells us they’ll either remain silent or hypocritically criticize Trump for damaging relations between the U.S. and Russia, as if their own hyperbolic accusations against the rival nation and insinuations of “acts of war” for months on end hadn’t already reduced that relationship to Cold War-era levels.
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