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President Donald Trump and Russian chairman Vladimir Putin talk during the APEC Summit in Danang, Vietnam ~ above Nov. 11, 2017. (Jorge Silva/Pool via AP)



Amid swelling proof of Russia"s interference in the 2016 presidential election, president Donald Trump driven back versus critics that say he"s offered the Kremlin a cost-free pass.

In one tweet on Feb. 20, trumped said, "I have actually been much tougher on Russia than Obama, simply look at the facts. Total Fake News!"

I have actually been lot tougher on Russia than Obama, simply look at the facts. Full Fake News!

— Donald J. Trump card (

The tweet immediately drew guffaws amongst media commentators and on social media, who conveniently plucked examples of trumped downplaying proof of a significant effort by Russia come meddle in the election. (Just a work earlier, we offered Trump a trousers on Fire for tweeting the he "never stated Russia did not meddle in the election.")

When we looked in ~ the past decade of U.S.-Russia policy, however, we found a much more nuanced picture. Tougher government policies applied under chairman Barack Obama have actually largely ongoing under Trump, even though they were frequently overshadowed — and perhaps undercut — by Trump’s trusted remarks and tweets towards Russia and President Vladimir Putin.

The election-meddling conflict

The consensus amongst experts is that Obama was an ext forceful 보다 Trump has actually been to date on countering election meddling.

"The an essential difference indigenous Obama was (Trump’s) unwillingness to take it the meddling worry head on," stated Stephen Sestanovich, a an elderly fellow for Russian and Eurasian studies at the the supervisory board on international Relations.

As we’ve detailed in ahead fact-checks, the Obama administration took plot before and after election Day. Before the election, the Obama administration publicly named the Russian government as the culprit, challenged Russian chairman Vladimir Putin in person, and also worked come secure U.S. Election facilities — every while knowledge agencies investigated the issue.

But the Obama administration’s most far-reaching retaliatory measure versus Russia came after Trump’s electoral win.

On Dec. 29, 2016, Obama ordered 35 Russian diplomats and also suspected intelligence agents to leave the unified States, and he likewise imposed small sanctions on part Russian individuals and organizations.

Trump, ~ above the other hand, has actors doubt top top Russia’s choice meddling and also repeated Putin’s denials of his government’s involvement. 

"The Trump management has continuously tried to undermine the credibility of the FBI and intelligence organ in their investigation and also assessment that the hazard to the truth of U.S. Vote by Russian operatives," said Yoshiko Herrera, a political scientific research professor in ~ the university of Wisconsin-Madison.

Herrera added that unique Counsel Robert Mueller is looking right into whether the Trump administration crossed the line right into obstruction of justice by trying to impede the examination of the Russian danger to the American electoral system.

While part experts noted that trumped signed a law calling for new sanctions versus Russia in an answer to that interference v the election, they included that the legislation was hardly the product of Trump’s hardline advocacy. Congress mainly passed the bill — v veto-proof majorities — in an answer to Trump’s downplaying the the meddling question and also his seeming attention in lifting sanctions versus Russia, Sestanovich said.

When it came time to sign the bill right into law in August, trump did therefore grudgingly. The expressed far-ranging reservations, speak it was "seriously flawed" since it usurped the executive branch’s negotiating authority.

Matthew Kroenig, an associate professor in the room of Government and also School that Foreign service at Georgetown University, said Trump had a suggest with his reservations around the legislative branch package, noting the the Obama administration made comparable arguments the congressional sanctions against Iran violation on the executive"s government to collection foreign policy.

Several specialists said the White House has been unconvinced to implement the sanctions. Sestanovich defined its implementation as "slow and half-hearted." In late January, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told lawmakers the administration would use sanctions come a new list of Russian oligarchs and senior government officials.

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"The Trump management didn’t provide the perform of who they use to until an extremely late," Herrera said. "That’s a clear sign of foot-dragging by the White House."

Susanne Wengle, a political scientific research professor at the college of Notre Dame, agreed the Trump "has no been proactive or voiced solid opposition come Russian joining in U.S. Politics," if Obama did.