What does Vladimir Putin have on Donald Trump?
From the moment Trump became president, he has behaved like an agent of the Russian government, going so far as to take the word of their leader over our intelligence officials. Sure, he’s probably grateful for their help in achieving his surprising and unlikely victory in 2016, but there has to be something more sinister at play.
Of course, we can’t know what it is exactly. Perhaps Trump’s tax returns hold the missing piece of evidence, and that’s why he has guarded them with every weapon in his legal arsenal. Maybe Putin or the Russian government stepped in to help Trump out of one of his several disastrous business dealings? Maybe there is some kind of embarrassing sex tape, as has been suggested? It’s all speculation.
One thing is indisputable. Trump will not waver when it comes to the Russians. Since before his presidency began, he has bent over backward for Russia. He has never criticized them, while at the same time attacking our allies and partners. Trump even once shared highly classified intelligence with two senior Russian officials.
When our intelligence agencies insisted Russia interfered in the last presidential election on Trump’s behalf, he said he didn’t believe it. He then went even further during a summit in Helsinki, telling the world that he took Putin at his word. If Putin denies it, that’s good enough of Trump.
If Vladimir Putin shot someone in the middle of 5th Avenue, Donald Trump would be the first to defend him.
If one didn’t know any better, you would think the United States and Russia were rock-solid allies. The New York Times shattered that false notion this week with its bombshell report that Russia was paying bounties to Afghan militants in order to murder U.S. military personnel.
Trump’s response: It’s another hoax.
Since receiving intelligence of the bounties, Trump lobbied for Russia to be readmitted to the G7. Advocating for a country that is paying to have our soldiers killed is straight-up treason, a new depth for even for this lawless administration.
We know Trump admires Putin, because the Russian oligarch is everything the American president wishes he could be. Putin is reportedly one of the wealthiest men alive, unlike Trump, whose stated wealth is exaggerated by most accounts.
Putin is an autocratic despot, who has been cleared to stay in power for another 16 years -- on top of the 20 he has already served -- as a result of a shady election held this week. Trump, on the other hand, will need a Herculean voter-suppression effort, or outright fraud, to extend his presidency past January. Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden leads him by double-digit margins in every reputable poll just four months from the election.
Putin has everything Trump will never achieve. But admiration isn’t enough to explain Trump’s behavior. Trump has an affinity for most political strongmen, but his obsequiousness for Putin takes it to another level.
The only logical explanation is Putin has the goods on Trump and turned him into an asset.
How did Putin do it? And what is Trump hiding? We may never know.