Former national security adviser for the Trump administration H.R. McMaster toured multiple media networks Tuesday, telling news anchors that President Donald Trump’s decision-making on Russia has been in large part sound.
"I felt it was my duty when I was there to present the president with the best analysis from across all departments and agencies," McMaster said on MSNBC's Morning Joe Tuesday. "What I found is: When presented with that analysis, he made good decisions on Russia. You might recall in that first year of his presidency he imposed a tremendous number of sanctions on Putin and his criminalized patronage network."
Media personalities pressed McMaster on a variety of subjects, not least of which was Russia’s behavior in world affairs.
McMaster did not deny that Russian disinformation is a major problem for American national security, noting that digital attacks on Americans have exacerbated polarization on major issues such as race and gun control, among others.
"It’s a sustained campaign of political subversion … an attack on our confidence in who we are as Americans," he warned MSNBC’s Brian Williams.
But McMaster was not shy to point out that Trump has been aware of Putin’s opportunism in multiple strategic dimensions and has accordingly punished Moscow for it. "There have been really severe consequences on Putin," McMaster told Williams. "I was really proud of the fact that the Trump administration imposed very high costs on Putin and … the oligarchs around him."
The Trump administration has extended sanctions related to Putin’s takeover of parts of Ukraine in 2014, in addition to his support of the Assad regime in Syria and violation of the Global Magnitsky Act. And the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, passed in 2017, has been applied to Putin’s network of criminals and arms dealers multiple times throughout the current administration's tenure.
Tough sanctions combined with an economy flattened by coronavirus have forced Putin to cut his defense budget by 5 percent this year.
Trump spoke favorably of McMaster following his media appearances Tuesday.
"Our wonderful General blew up [Joe] Scarborough’s FAKE two year narrative," Trump tweeted Tuesday. "Thank you General H.R. McMaster. Look forward to reading your book, ‘Battlegrounds: The Fight to Defend the Free World.'"