The day after a national security advisor for the Trump administration resigned over a series of controversial Russian calls, The New York Times reported that a Russian cruise missile had been launched which violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

The timing of this incident with the exit of the national security advisor did not go unnoticed in the media as that advisor, General Michael Flynn, was said to be vulnerable to blackmail in relation to calls with Russian officials. But the launch of a Russian cruise missile has already happened twice before, once in 2007 which the State Department did not condemn until July 2014 during the Ukraine uprising before another launch in October 2015.

Trump takes Russian cruise missile threat lightly

As before, American officials said that the Russian cruise missile launch was a violation. On Monday President Trump named military strategist H.R. McMaster as the national security advisor replacement. But it's also been pointed out that even with the replacement, there are still a lot of important positions left to fill in the State Department and at the Pentagon which makes Trump ties with Russia more profound as he has yet to fill them.

In 2014, when the Obama administration tried to pressure Russia to stop their missile program, they were still in the test phase.

Now the Times say that the Russians have two battalions and that the senior official providing this information asked to remain anonymous. It's also been reported that anonymous sources and leaks have frustrated the Trump administration, who have publicly engaged in a “war” on the media, suggesting that the story about their advisor was in fact not about Russia but that it was about the leaks which they consider a threat to national security.

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Breakdown in national security

PBS Newshour spoke with the reportesr of the latest New York Times piece, Micheal Gordon and Greg Miller of The Washington Post who wrote a piece on the resignation of the advisor, both reporters cover national security.

Gordon said that if the deployment of the missile were a violation at the heart of the agreement that the NATO alliance would have to address this issue. Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Brussels when the new advisor was announced to speak with the NATO alliance, saying that despite Trump's criticism of NATO allies who have not paid their share, that the U.S. would still support them.

Prior to this, NATO allies deployed troops to their borders in case Russia wanted to take advantage of the transition. Miller was asked if the job of the National Security Council from which Micheal Flynn resigned wasn't to focus on matters such as Russia's ground missile, questioning why there wasn't a mention of anticipating it.

He agreed that it was the council's job to be a "disciplined clearinghouse," to gather various agency views and prepare decisions for the president. But he also said that instead, the National Security Council had a 10 AM meeting for five minutes following Flynn's resignation where they had a pep talk asking members to not "head for the exits," perhaps a different "priority" likely due to potential Trump ties to Russia.

Views of Trump-Russia ties

During Trump's new advisor search, criticism was growing around the status of national security positions over disorganization at the White House, while there were other reports of a Russian spy ship sighted off the East coast.

Counterterrorism expert Richard Clarke was asked on NPR about the purpose of Russia's actions against the U.S. which includes "buzzing" an American navy ship in the Black Sea.

He said that they were being aggressive because they think the U.S. won't do anything about it, taking advantage of their friendly position with Trump who has publicly praised Putin and raised concerns that the candidate and now President threatened America's national security by conspiring with Russia, who were accused of interfering with the 2016 Presidential election.