Ahead of Trump’s planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at next week’s G20 summit in Germany, the President has reportedly told National Security Council staff to come up with “deliverables” to offer to his Russian counterpart.

Among these concessions would likely be the return of the two Russian diplomatic compounds in Maryland and New York that were ordered evacuatedby the Obama administration following Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

According to The Guardian:

There is strong resistance in the NSC and state department to one-sided concessions aimed simply at improving the tone of US-Russian relations. There is also opposition within the administration to Trump’s preference for a formal bilateral meeting with Putin at the G20 summit in Germany, as first reported by the Associated Press.

Given the fact that Russia not only has nothing to offer the United States, but is also the subject of an ongoing probe in the United States for attacking the foundation of our democracy, perhaps amassing a list of concessions that benefit only this hostile foreign power should not be our National Security Council’s priority at the moment.

“They have been asked for deliverables, but there is resistance to offering anything up without anything back in return,” said one former official familiar with the matter.

The Senate has pushed back against Trump’s cozy relationship with Moscow by passing legislation to codify sanctions against Russia. The bill has since gone to the House of Representatives  from the Senate with unanimous consent. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) warned lawmakers in the House against trying to soften the bill.

“It’s critical, critical that Congress speak in a loud, clear and unified voice to [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin. I want to put the House on notice. If they water-down this bill, weaken the sanctions, add loopholes to the legislation, they will find stiff resistance here in the Senate.”

Despite resistance from Congress, the American people, and even his own staff, the fact that Trump is still willing to kowtow to Russia is a clear indication of where his priorities lie. And, even more obvious, terrible optics for a White House that seems to be making little to no effort to distance itself from the foreign adversary who committed arguably one of the worst attacks on American sovereignty in history. How’s that for “America First?”/washingtonjournal.com/BY BRIAN TYLER COHEN

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