Russia expert: US decision to supply arms to Ukraine a 'mistake'

Stephen Cohen, a professor emeritus of Russian studies at New York University and Princeton University, says the Trump administration's decision to supply lethal weapons to Ukraine was a "mistake."

In an interview with radio host John Catsimatidis in New York, Cohen said that it was clear that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight South Korea leader: North Korea agrees to take steps toward denuclearization Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' MORE — like former President Obama — did not want to approve a plan to provide the new arms to Ukraine, but decided to do so in an attempt to shirk allegations that he has acted as a "Putin puppet."

"Look at what Trump is accused of every day, in all the newspapers, of being an agent of the Kremlin," Cohen said. "His nervous system is clearly cracking under these charges and he thinks this will get this monkey off his back."

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Cohen, who has in the past voiced skepticism of allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, also criticized the breadth of ongoing investigations into Moscow's role in the 2016 presidential election.

He said that indictments stemming from special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's investigation into Russian meddling in the election gave the appearance of Kremlin-linked wrongdoing, but in reality had nothing to do with Russia.

"What you're ending up with as Mueller gets guys to plead to financial crimes, is you're getting 'Russiagate' without Russia," he said. "So I don't know where this is leading."

Mueller's investigation has so far turned up charges against former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortEric Holder: Trump releasing docs on Russia probe is 'dangerous abuse of power' Time for sunshine on Trump-Russia investigation Legal expert says Manafort deal could help Trump in short term MORE and one of his associates for money laundering, tax evasion and failing to register as a foreign agent, among other charges.

George PapadopoulosGeorge Demetrios PapadopoulosTime for sunshine on Trump-Russia investigation Trump to declassify controversial text messages, documents related to Russia probe The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh confirmation in sudden turmoil MORE, a former foreign policy adviser to Trump's campaign, and Michael Flynn, Trump's first national security adviser, have both pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about their contacts with people linked to the Russian government.

Trump and his allies have denied allegations that the campaign conspired with the Russian government to disrupt and influence the 2016 presidential election, and the president himself has called Mueller's investigation a "witch hunt."