Russia ‘blocked Trump appointing Romney secretary of State

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Russia ‘blocked Trump appointing Romney secretary of State

Postby Squire » 06 Mar 2018, 18:55

This article sounds very credible given that Romney was hostile to Russia and Tillerson was friendly with Russia.

Trump appears to have a very strong pro-Russia state of mind whereas security and State Department personnel are negative towards Russia.

Russia ‘blocked Trump from appointing Romney as secretary of state
, unpublished Christopher Steele memo claims’

Ben Riley-Smith, us editor
5 MARCH 2018 • 6:41PM

The Russians blocked Donald Trump from appointing Mitt Romney as his secretary of state, the former British spy Christopher Steele reportedly claimed in an unreleased memo.

The Kremlin intervened through “unspecified channels” to make sure Mr Romney was not given the job, according to the secret memo, the contents of which have been reported by The New Yorker.

Mr Steele, the ex-MI6 officer, reportedly wrote the memo in late November 2016 – after Mr Trump’s election victory – but it is yet to be published, unlike others he wrote before the vote.

Mr Romney, who called Russia the greatest threat to America in his 2012 presidential bid, met Mr Trump a number of times after the US election, fueling speculation he could become secretary of state.

However the role eventually went to Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of ExxonMobil who had a long-standing relationship with the Kremlin through his career in oil.

The memo was reportedly one of the topics which Mr Steele discussed with investigators working for Robert Mueller, the special counsel looking into Russian election meddling.

Mr Romney refused to comment and the White House said he was never a first choice for the role, according to The New Yorker. This newspaper has not seen the alleged memo.

Other reasons have been put forward for Mr Trump’s decision to meet with and then drop Mr Romney after the election, including getting revenge his fierce public criticism during the campaign.

Details of the memo came in a 15,000-word New Yorker article about Mr Steele, who is at the centre of the Russian election meddling row after looking into Mr Trump before the election.

Mr Steele, a Russian expert who left the British intelligence agencies to enter the private sector, was commissioned to investigate Mr Trump’s links to Russia in a drive funded his political opponents.

Mr Steele's memos of raw intelligence containing claims that Mr Trump got prostitutes to perform lurid sex acts while in Russia – something he has denied – eventually became public after the US election.

Since then Mr Steele has become the centre of a fiercely partisan battle in America about the Russian election meddling investigation, with Republicans seeking to portray him as politically motivated.

The New Yorker piece reports that Mr Steele has a pessimistic outlook about how the controversy will play out, allegedly saying: “I will take this to my grave.”

The most eye-catching claim is that Mr Steele wrote an additional memo in late November 2016, after Mr Trump’s win, which has not yet been revealed – unlike his other notes, which published by the website Buzzfeed.

In it Mr Steele is said to have passed on the views of just one source, a “senior Russian official”, who in turn was relaying talk circulating in the Russian foreign affairs ministry.

The memo reportedly said the Kremlin had asked Mr Trump to appoint someone who could lift sanctions imposed over Russia’s actions in Ukraine and cooperate on security issues, such as in Syria.

The New Yorker describes the memo as “fantastical”, noting: “If what the source heard was true, then a foreign power was exercising pivotal influence over US foreign policy - and an incoming President”.

Mr Romney called Mr Trump a “phony” and a “fraud” during the election campaign, but met with the incoming president after his election win and praised the Trump transition team. Eventually Mr Trump made Mr Tillerson his secretary of state.

Roger Stone, a long-time adviser of Mr Trump, said around that time that the president-elect held discussions with Mr Romney to “torture him”, given his previous criticism.

Mr Trump has repeatedly rejected claims his campaign colluded with the Russians, calling them a “witch hunt”. [/quote]
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