Ryan casts doubt on Trump efforts to mend US-Russia relations

Posted at 8:50 PM, Feb 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-08 20:50:26-05

House Speaker Paul Ryan believes President Donald Trump’s attempt to mend relations with Russia is understandable yet doomed to fail.

“What the President is trying to do is not unlike what the past two presidents did with Russia. I just don’t think it’s going to work,” Ryan told PBS in an interview aired Wednesday. “New administrations do this.”

Ryan said Trump’s eagerness to work with the Kremlin was “logical” — pointing to efforts by both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama White Houses to similarly soothe tensions — but ultimately misguided.

Ryan, like much of the GOP, has long adopted a hawkish stance toward Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin. Trump has upended that orthodoxy, arguing that the US and Russia could find agreement on ways to combat ISIS.

And Trump’s personal relationships to Russia have come under greater scrutiny since intelligence agencies disclosed that Russia was behind attempts to intrude on the 2016 presidential election, a conclusion Trump has been slow to admit.

“Can we help steer Russia to being something that doesn’t conflict with our interests — and something that aligns with our interests?” Ryan said. “I’m not going to hold my breath on that.”