February 20, 2018

What Does Putin Know?

Donald Trump continues to insist that there has been no “collusion” between his campaign and Russia. If by “collusion” is meant discussion regarding ways in which Russia could help the Trump campaign, wherein all parties had an explicit, shared objective, it may well be the case that there was no collusion. Trump’s assertion that the absence of collusion is an established fact, is simply fake news, however, or yet another instance of alternate reality in which the president indulges.

People rationally suspect some nefarious connection between Trump and Russia because (1) members of the Trump administration have a surprising number of connections to Russia; (2) Trump himself has such connections but regularly denies their existence; (3) Trump has refused to increase sanctions on Russia because of that country’s interference in our electoral process; and (4) Trump is loath to say anything negative about Russia or Putin and has, in fact, said some very positive things. Yet, anyone who has paid any attention to international affairs in recent years is well aware that Russia is not a nation friendly to the United States.

Of course, Trump seems fond of strongman leaders generally, with the exception of Kim Jong-un. Perhaps Trump is fond of dictators because he envies them. Putin, however, seems to be a special case. I have been perplexed by this, but I now have a working theory to explain it. Putin must have something so damning on Trump that our president dare not anger Putin, lest the Russian leader tell what he knows.

Given what we already know about Donald Trump, Putin’s hole card must be pretty damning indeed.

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