Congresswoman Speier and former ambassador to Russia discuss Putin and Trump

- Congresswoman Jackie Speier will be speaking at a resource fair in San Mateo Sunday afternoon.

Speier says the event is a way for people to learn about grassroots organizations that are fighting against President Trump's agenda.

On Saturday, Congresswoman Jackie Speier hosted a town hall meeting on the peninsula with a former U.S. Ambassador to Russia.

Michael McFaul was the United States Ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014.

On Saturday afternoon, he sat and fielded questions from Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier and San Mateo County voters.

McFaul says Putin was educated as a young man in KGB, and that a teenage Putin was taught during the Cold War that America is the enemy and the U.S. government influences foreign opposition campaigns.

In 2011, the world witnessed the Arab Spring. McFaul says he thinks that Putin believes the U.S. helped opposition groups overthrow their county's regimes. 

Then Russia had its Parliamentary elections. Falsifications in Russia's election process was documented by Russians with smart phones and Twitter.

McFaul said, "And then they said, 'we don't want to take this anymore. We want our voices heard'. So 5,000, then 50,000, and then 200,000 people came out on the streets of Moscow for the first time in 20 years and Putin blamed us for that. He blamed secretary Clinton for statement she had made and said we are meddling in Russia's internal affairs".

The Ambassador said he also thinks Russia may want President Trump's help in dismantling NATO. If the treaty were to end, Russia's natural gas company Gazprom would benefit in selling to western Europe. 

McFaul added, "Mr. Putin believes it is easier to deal with countries in Europe on a bilateral basis, rather than go through the NATO alliance or through the European Union".

While the Ambassador said he thought Congressman Devin Nunes' visit to the White House and then press conference referencing possible incidental surveillance of President Trump's team was unusual, Congresswoman Speier was more direct.

She said, "I am absolutely convinced it started in the Oval Office. I am absolutely convinced that the President, with the aid of his national security advisors, came up with some kind of ruse to try to suggest there was some kind of validity to the President's statement". 

The former Ambassador said he think it was very odd that President Trump's transition team met with Russian officials and Russian banks with ties to Putin before officially taking office. 

He encourages the American public to continue to stay informed on this story's developments. 

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