With impending confirmation hearings and the backdrop of last week's sanctions, the topic of "Russia" and how dangerous it is to the U.S. is driving a wedge between Senate Republicans and Donald Trump, The Wall Street Journal reported.
While Trump and his national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn see Russia as a potential ally in defeating the scourge of ISIS and providing leverage in global economics, Senate Republicans like John McCain and Lindsey Graham — as well as Democrats — think the president-elect is petting a grizzly bear.
"What you are seeing on Russia within the Republican Party is in some ways more a symptom of realignment across the board within American political parties," Matthew Rojansky, director of the Washington-based Kennan Institute, told The Journal. "This speaks to something very critical that's going on in our political system right now."
And hanging in the balance — Rex Tillerson's confirmation hearing as secretary of state.
Though the ExxonMobil CEO's views on Russia president Vladimir Putin are not clear now, Tillerson is sure to be grilled by Democrats about Exxon's business dealings in Russia and the nature of his relationship to Putin.
A relationship even McCain has concerns about.
"I and several of my colleagues have concerns about Mr. Tillerson, and some of his past activities, specifically his relationship with Vladimir Putin," McCain said last week.
McCain, in fact, has urged even tougher sanctions than those imposed on Russia last week by President Obama over the hacking efforts that might or might not have affected the election, calling Obama's punishment "a small price to pay for brazen attack on U.S. democracy."
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