"Now that the former FBI Director [James Comey] has admitted that he leaked, only the most unobservant and simple-minded can deny a Deep State conspiracy to block any attempt to better relations with Russia," Armstrong said on Friday.
On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated in his nationally televised press conference that he wanted improved relations with the United States and named areas in which the two countries could fruitfully cooperate, including dealing with environmental problems and the war on terror.
"Russia’s president repeated what he has said many times: Russia — he and the Russian government — is open to cooperation with Washington on many matters. But Washington has closed the door and only it can open it," Armstrong noted.
Earlier this week, Republicans and Democrats in the Senate, the upper chamber of Congress, agreed to pass legislation imposing tighter economic sanctions on Russia.
Supporters of the measure have also made clear they would seek to have it approved with a two-third majority to override any presidential veto from Trump even though his policy of reducing tensions with Moscow proved popular in the 2016 election campaign.
Armstrong said the goal of Trump’s enemies was not just to block his constructive policies toward Russia, but also to politically destroy him.
"The ultimate objective is, at maximum, to reverse the election by impeachment of Trump as Putin's puppy; at minimum, to make him into a lame duck. This is all pretty evident and it's been going on, full blast, for the better part of a year," he said.
Trump anticipated political opposition to his policies, but seems not to have expected the venom and continued ferocity with which it would be applied, Armstrong observed.
"My conjecture is that Trump knew there would be opposition to his intentions, but he's pretty stunned by its extent and not sure how to counter it," he said.
"So, the question is whether Trump, who is, after all, POTUS [president of the United States] with all the considerable powers of that office, can confound the knavish tricks of his enemies," he said.
The outcome of that struggle was still in doubt, Armstrong acknowledged.
"I don't know whether he can, but it's an observable fact that Donald Trump has surprised and outwitted better people than I. So we shall see," he concluded.
Until his retirement, Armstrong was a Canadian diplomat who was a specialist on the Soviet Union and Russia. He previously served as political counselor in the Canadian Embassy in Moscow.