Russian Federation had sweeping plan to normalize relations early in Trump's term

Putin, Merkel agree on changes to UN forces deployment in Ukraine proposal

The Russian government confirmed on Wednesday a BuzzFeed News report that Moscow proposed a sweeping normalization of relations with the United States to the Trump administration in March.

News of the plan first came to light in a BuzzFeed News report after the outlet obtained a document which outlined the proposal a top Russian diplomat made directly to the US State Department.

The plan would have restored military, intelligence, and diplomatic channels that were cut in the wake of Russia's actions in Ukraine and Syria.

Amid the ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, Putin's desired reset was stopped in its tracks. On Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security said all government agencies must stop using Kaspersky Lab products within 90 days, fearing that the Moscow-based cybersecurity company might be susceptible to Kremlin influence.

Merkel's spokesman said in a press release that the Chancellor has told Putin during the phone call that she welcomed his initiative "in principle", but also underlined that several changes to the proposal were needed.

Perhaps even more revealing is the document's assumption that "Trump wouldn't share the lingering US anger over Moscow's alleged interference in the 2016 election and might accept a lightning fast rapprochement", BuzzFeed noted.

A Russian official confirmed to CNN that the document was authentic.

"It carefully and deliberately sidesteps the sources of controversy and disagreement in the bilateral relationship and implicitly takes for granted that contact between Trump and Putin will provide a completely new direction and impetus for restoration of cooperation and mutual trust", Weiss said. Trump went on to propose a joint US-Russia cyber effort, then after sustained criticism of the proposal, Trump said he knew "it can't" happen.

While Donald Trump continues to seethe over the Russian Federation investigation that James Comey refused to drop and the expanding collusion probe now overseen by Robert Mueller, his administration is quietly cracking down on Moscow as relations between the two countries continue to sour. Congress has since passed a measure that restricts the Trump administration's ability to lift sanctions on Russian Federation.

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