Speculation Arises That Putin Brought Up Montenegro During Helsinki Meeting With Trump

Speculation Arises That Putin Brought Up Montenegro During Helsinki Meeting With Trump

In his interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson that aired on Tuesday night, President Donald Trump was asked about the NATO obligation that member nations come to the defense of any member who is attacked. Carlson then brought up Montenegro, a small country that just joined the treaty organization last year, and wondered why we should heed the call and defend Montenegro if it came under attack.

“I understand what you’re saying, I’ve asked the same question,” Trump replied. “You know, Montenegro is a tiny country with very strong people…they are very aggressive people, they may get aggressive, and congratulations, you’re in World War III. But that’s the way it was set up. Don’t forget, I just got here a little more than a year and a half ago.”

Trump questioning Article 5, which has only been invoked one other time when America was attacked on 9/11 and has resulted in over a thousand NATO casualties in Afghanistan, resulted in swift outrage and criticism. Besides noting that the United States has been the only country so far to have other NATO countries rally to its defense after an attack, journalists and observers openly speculated whether Trump’s comments on Montenegro were inspired by Putin during the two leaders’ secretive Helsinki summit.

CNN analyst and former Commanding General of U.S. Army Europe Mark Hertling called it “stunning” that the president was bothered by NATO provisions of mutual security before asking whether Montenegro being mentioned specifically came from the Putin conversation.

Just for a bit of history here, Russia has been accused of trying to overthrow Montenegro’s government via an alleged coup attempt in 2016. The plan included a proposed assassination of the country’s prime minister, largely due to him pushing to join NATO, which Putin has long tried to prevent.

CNN correspondent Jim Sciutto brought up that coup attempt when asking if Montenegro was raised by Putin in the meeting.

Below are other observations from analysts and reporters speculating that this idea came from Putin:

Justin Baragona

Justin Baragona is the founder/publisher of Contemptor and a contributor to The Daily Beast. He was previously the Cable News Correspondent for Mediaite and prior to starting Contemptor, he worked on the editorial staff of PoliticusUSA. During that time, he had his work quoted by USA Today and BBC News, among others. Justin began his published career as a political writer for 411Mania. He resides in St. Louis, MO with his wife and pets.