Trump and Putin, star-crossed lovers:
Former president Barack Obama had a tense relationship with Putin. Trump said he could do better but felt stymied by the media, Congress and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.
Any conciliatory move he made toward Putin came under heavy scrutiny. “When will all the haters and fools out there realize that having a good relationship is a good thing,” Trump tweeted in November. “They are always playing politics — bad for our country.”
Privately, he complained to aides that the media’s fixation on the Mueller probe was hobbling his effort to woo Putin. “I can’t put on the charm,” the president often said, according to one of his advisers. “I’m not able to be president because of this witch hunt.”
As the months passed, the president’s options for improving relations with Russia narrowed. In late July, Congress overwhelmingly approved new sanctions on Moscow that were widely seen as a rebuke of Trump’s efforts to reach out to Putin. It took aides four days to persuade Trump to sign the bill, which had cleared with a veto-proof majority.
Read the whole thing. Sure smells like collusion!