I was the note-taker during almost all those conversations. The Clinton-Yeltsin connection shares only one similarity with the Trump-Putin one: In both cases, the American president was helping his Kremlin counterpart. Other than that, the differences are as stark as the climate in Miami and Murmansk in January.
Whether he knows it or not, Trump is integral to Putin’s strategy to strengthen authoritarian regimes and undermine democracies around the world. This unprecedented aberration defiles what America stands for at home and abroad; it alienates and dispirits our allies; and—if it is allowed to persist—it will jeopardize our security.
In contrast, Clinton worked tirelessly with Yeltsin for seven years to assist his reforms. Yeltsin wanted post-Soviet Russia to join the community of democratic nations and the circle of major powers that would chart a course for a peaceful twenty-first century. He needed Western aid and encouragement, and Clinton did his best to provide both.