JRL NEWSWATCH: “With Mueller gone, can Trump pursue his dream of a Russian reset?” – Washington Post/ Paul Sonne, Anton Troianovski, John Hudson

“… Trump came into office signaling a desire to improve relations with Moscow, pledging on the campaign trail to ‘get along great’ with … Putin and win his respect. With the conclusion of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation, the president has won more freedom to pursue that goal. But experts say the sand has shifted significantly in Washington since the inauguration, with limitations imposed by Congress and policies implemented by Trump’s own administration reducing the likelihood of any substantive rapprochement with Russia in the near term. … Despite the downward trajectory of U.S.-Russia relations, the president has repeatedly demonstrated a personal interest in improving ties…. although his Cabinet is deeply skeptical, some of the president’s informal ­advisers have urged him to take incremental steps toward rapprochement. … Trump has expressed interest in negotiating on an arms control deal with Russia dating to the 1980s, and could revive those efforts in the run-up to the 2021 expiration of the New START accord Iskander Missile with Launch file photo… [on] strategic nuclear arms. The Trump administration has begun holding meetings looking at whether to extend that agreement ….”

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