The expiration date on this Janus-faced approach to Russia has arrived. The specific moment was on Tuesday after Trump had fired his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson. Speaking to reporters before boarding Air Force One, Trump couldn’t bring himself to endorse the findings of the British government that Russia poisoned Sergei and Yulia Skripal in the U.K. He hedged. “As soon as we get the facts straight, if we agree with them, we will condemn Russia or whoever it may be,” he said.
Trump here is either deliberately or accidentally playing into Russia’s disinformation campaign. Since the attack last week, when the former Russian spy and his daughter were poisoned with a neurological toxin developed by the former Soviet Union, Russia’s propaganda networks have flooded their airwaves with speculation about a false flag.