21:30 GMT04 June 2020
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    With the midterms two months away, US-Russian relations continue to dominate the political arena. The recent events with the poisoning of the Skripal family in the UK have further exacerbated the situation, with the US promising further sanctions.

    Sputnik spoke to Stephen Ebert, a Political Commentator, on his thoughts leading up to the key November elections.

    Sputnik: We're very much in a deep trough; what can you add to that?

    Stephen Ebert: People know me as pro-Russian and anti-Trump, and my observation over the last couple of years or so has been that while I understand President Putin, who honestly in Helsinki said yes, we were (out) for him because he was for normalization, which sounds like a very reasonable political thing to say, I'd almost have to ask Russia: 'how's that working out for you?'

    And my personal belief is not well, and Trump himself, as I predicted even when I was on some of your earlier shows, he's quite a character, to say the least. In my view, I have a lot of negative views, but in general, he's just unreliable.

    So if I were Russia… I know it's popular to say that Trump wants to do the right thing but the deep state won't let him. I don't know, I'm good with conspiracy theory but my new catch-phrase is if the US had a deep state like that, Trump wouldn't be alive today. I'm serious, there are rumors about Kennedy and the deep state, (and Kennedy) being taken out, and I always have to laugh when I hear about the conspiracy that 'it's everybody stopping Trump from doing the right thing'.

    Sputnik: So you don't believe there is a conspiracy then?

    Stephen Ebert: I believe there is a deep state in the US the same way there is in Russian and in England. I believe there are people that we're working (with). I'm not a fan of the CIA or the FBI, however, Russia has the FSB and they have their own security. I believe there are people in the government indeed that actually are acting in what they perceive to be the best interest of the country, and so I hesitate to call it deep state because the US could turn the tables and say: 'In Russia there's a deep state and the deep state wants Putin.'

    READ MORE: FBI Planned ‘Media Leak Strategy' Before Trump-Russia ‘Evidence' Sent to WaPo

    So I just hesitate, I think the problem by and large is, and I've warned my Russian friends of this early; Trump kind of has a cult of personality going. He has got (the popularity rating) he had originally, which is 30-35% of the population that is quite right wing, and that's what he has got.

    We talked before about how America's political system is a little bit different from Russia's or those of other countries, so a third of the people were for Trump, a third of the people were for Hillary and the other third sat in the middle. And I always say Trump got a large chunk, but a large chunk of what he got was anti-Hillary, and Trump‘s problem is: once the election is over there is no Hillary.

    You can look at the numbers and you'll see that now he's down to 38% approval with an economy that may be booming, but it's booming for rich people to be blunt; it's not blooming for poor people or the middle class but is booming for rich people and it's unheard of in the United States, with the stock market, with (low) unemployment, with all those indicators for a President to be at 38% without having done something (negative).

    Sputnik: Well this is what he's tweeting about. He's very much focused on these figures, the figures that are coming out in terms of low unemployment, the states that have seen this type of unemployment of 3%, the lowest ever, and the highest number of states below those figures, so it's really pushing the bandwagon in terms of those key figures. He's saying that he's the actual vehicle that bought this about, do you not agree with those feelings?

    Stephen Ebert: Not at all. Mr. Trump has some serious mental deficiencies if he truly believes that. Any measurement by economists (should reflect that) when Obama came in we were going over a cliff, the financial system was gone.

    We were close to the depression era, not just severe recession, and every year of Obama's term the unemployment rate came down, the stock market went up, so there were two lines. The GDP was growing not 4% but 2-3%, unemployment was going down steadily, Obama's rate on new jobs was equal to if not better than Trump's. So Trump likes to get up and say that, but if you have somebody seriously look at statistics, he's done some things.

    READ MORE: Trump's Impeachment Would Cause Eruption in Markets — Economist

    My favorite is 'GDP at 4%', what no one mentions is, that's what happens when you dump a trillion (dollars) worth of tax cuts into an economy that was growing, it wasn't struggling. Normally you don't put a trillion dollar-stimulus into an economy that's growing a 2-2.5% a year, so how do you get to 4%? Well, you throw a trillion dollars at it, so we'll see next quarter.

    My belief is, and other people said that all the trade sanctions, that stuff, a lot of what happened in the second quarter was people just making everything they could and putting it on ships and getting out of the country to beat the tariffs, so we'll see what Q3 brings about, and there are other things for which Obama is to be blamed for too. Working class wages, they went up a little bit this quarter, but generally, it's better for the rich, I'll put it that way.

    For more information listen to this edition of Weekend Special with Stephen Ebert.

    The views expressed in this article are those of the analyst, and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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    Russia probe, sanctions, economy, approval rating, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, United States, Russia
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