Russia: Trump camp sending mixed messages

The Secretary of State isn't letting Russia off the hook for recent actions

(CNN) – President Trump’s news conference Thursday may have only added to the confusion about his Russian policy. Now, even the Russians are questioning whether members of the tTump administration are on the same page about relations with the Kremlin.

Friday, a Russian spy ship lurks off the American east coast. U.S. defense officials, told CNN the Kremlin is testing the new administration, to see how it will react.

That’s different from what President Trump believes is Moscow’s motivation, in part, blaming the press! “You people, the false, horrible fake reporting makes it much harder to make a deal with Russia. And probably Putin said, you know, he’s sitting behind his desk and saying, ‘You know, I see what’s going on in the United States. I follow it closely. It’s going to be impossible for President Trump to ever get along with Russia because of all the pressure he’s got with this fake story.’ Ok? And that’s a shame.”

But at his epic news conference Thursday, Trump said he still thinks he can deal with Putin. “The greatest thing I could do is shoot that ship that’s 30 miles off shore right out of the water. Everyone in this country’s going to say “Oh, it’s so great.” That’s not great. I would love to be able to get along with Russia.”

He didn’t dismiss Russia’s provocations:

When asked, “The spy vessel off the coast of the United States,” “There was a ballistic missile test that many interpret as a violation of an agreement between the two countries; and a Russian plane buzzed a U.S. destroyer.” Trump responded, “Not good.”

At the same time though, Defense Secretary James Mattis, now meeting with his NATO counterparts in Germany is taking a much more definitive line:  “We do not – or are not – in a position right now to collaborate on the military level, but our political leaders will engage and try to find common ground or a way forward. Russia’s aggressive actions have violated international law and are destabilizing.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson isn’t letting Russia off the hook. “The United States will consider working with Russia. Where we do not see eye to eye, the United States will stand up for the interests and values of America and her allies.  We expect Russia to honor its commitment to the Minsk agreements and work to de-escalate the violence in the Ukraine.”

Russia would not comment on President Trump’s unexpected words, saying they had more important things to do than watch his news conference. However, a prominent Russian lawmaker himself had some pointed tweets aimed at the white house:

Which Translates to, “Trump hopes to make a deal with Russia.  Mattis thinks (in vain) that he can put pressure ‘from a position of strength’.  Tillerson is playing a 2nd kerry.  Three lines from 1 administration”.