Donald Trump has long pooh-poohed any ties between his campaign and the Kremlin that might be working to undermine the presidential election. But according to officials from two of America's European allies, some of the US' NATO partners have become "alarmed" at Trump's dismissive attitude toward Moscow, particularly regarding Russia's likely role in recent email hackings, per a long read by Kurt Eichenwald for Newsweek. These officials say that Trump's comments (which a British official calls "quite disturbing") have caused consternation for a variety of reasons, including that they have caused these European partners to fear Trump maybe doesn't understand the information he's getting in intelligence briefings, doesn't believe that info, chooses not to prioritize it—or, more ominously, because he may be "misleading the American public for unknown reasons," Eichenwald writes.
Also raising eyebrows, among others, are former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort (who had murky ties with Ukraine) and retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, once thought to be in the running for Trump's VP slot, who keeps making appearances with the RT Russian news agency. These concerns, exacerbated by Trump's own "glowing statements about Putin," have made some of these overseas nations afraid that under a President Trump, the US would no longer stand with them against Moscow. "For perhaps the first time since WWII, countries in Western Europe fear that the American election, should Trump win, could trigger events that imperil their national security and do potentially irreparable harm to the alliances that have kept the continent safe for decades," Eichenwald writes. (Read his piece in full for more on how Russian propaganda has been used, a behind-the-scenes look at Russia's hacking efforts, and the "astonishing" extent of cyberattacks here.)