Former Ambassador Michael McFaul explained how President Donald Trump failed in his Friday phone call with Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin.
The Stanford professor was interviewed on MSNBC’s “The 11th Hour” with guest-host Steve Kornacki.
“Michael McFaul, I wonder from the standpoint of Putin and folks around him in Russia how this conversation — at least as we now understand it — how they read it,” Kornacki said. “If this is something that the president initiated, they certainly know that the Mueller report came out recently. The president has this conversation, does not bring up this topic of election interference, what does that read as to Putin and folks in Moscow?”
“Great news,” McFaul replied.
“If you read their readout, number one initiated by us, so it is a good question why did we initiate the call? What was the objective of the call? But then when you read off the Russian side, they are putting down their markers about their policy,” he noted.
Prior to his Senate confirmation as ambassador, McFaul served in President Barack Obama’s White House as his senior Russia advisor. He explained how that experience informed his take on Trump’s call with Putin.
“Steve, I used to work at the White House for President Obama, I used to set up these phone calls with the Russians. We would write the readout of the call before the call happened, tweak it perhaps to state what our policy objectives were.
“So, for instance, if I were writing the readout, I would have said we talked about how Russia should not interfere in Venezuela. We talked about how Russia should withdraw their forces and their support for separatists in Ukraine. We talked about dire consequences if they intervene in our elections in 2020,” he explained.
“The president’s readout had none of that kind of language,” he noted.