According to the expert, the criticism can be justified only partially.
"First of all, we have not yet started to build our relations, there are literally the first steps. Secondly, Trump clearly is not allowed to build and improve relations with Russia," the expert stated.
In Rogulev's opinion, Gates' statement is not an attempt to go against the Washington mainstream, but rather another attack on Donald Trump — albeit from an unexpected side.
"He is trying to point out Trump's mistakes: during the election campaign, he promised to improve relations, but now there is no improvement, and if there were steps in this direction, they can't be taken seriously. I believe that he does not depart from the mainstream position, it is just another portion of criticism — maybe just a little more sophisticated and better reasoned," Rogulev stated.
All in all, the analyst believes that Trump's opponents use Russia as a pretext in order to discredit Trump in every possible way.
"We see that they are trying to bind Trump's hands and feet, and Russia is used as a pretext, as a tool. This is a tricky tactic. They want to expose Trump's "links" with Russia, which will enable them to take steps to initiate an investigation and impeachment," the expert concluded.