How is that the Trump administration’s policy toward Russia came to be “entirely at odds” with Trump's own pronouncements on the subject? A recent analysis suggests that part of the explanation lies in the work of senior National Security Council staffer Fiona Hill.
“For nearly two decades, Hill has followed Putin’s trajectory, from the glum apparatchik presiding over the chaotic post-Yeltsin years to the modern-day czar who flouts international law and is suspected of hiding tens of billions of dollars in personal wealth abroad. That has earned her a top position in a White House split between those who admire the Kremlin and those who fear it. Between them stands a coal miner’s daughter, trying to negotiate a path both factions can countenance,” the analysis notes
Hill, who doesn’t have any of the “usual markers of influence in the Trump administration,” has managed to assist in crafting a Russia policy that looks tougher than the Obama administration's Russia policy, “as measured by sanctions, expulsions, and military buildup.” While Trump has not always championed toughness he also apparently did not “prevent Hill and her colleagues on the National Security Council or in the State Department from doing their work.”