Okay, I’m listening.
Courtesy of the Observer:
It’s difficult to portray the president’s legal situation as anything but grim in the aftermath of Sunday’s confessional tweet. However, Donald Trump’s real concern should not be with Robert Mueller and his veteran investigators, but with his amigo manqué in the Kremlin. Vladimir Putin no longer bothers to conceal his disappointment with President Trump. In the aftermath of our president’s embarrassingly obsequious performance in Helsinki, following their long-awaited “one-on-one date” in the Finnish capital, Trump added fuel to the political conflagration by publicly inviting the Russian president to a follow-up summit in Washington—only to have Putin turn him down.
Putin has good reason to be dissatisfied with Trump, in whom the Kremlin invested such high hopes. Everybody mirror-images, and Putin imagined that Trump, once in office, could shift American policy more to Russia’s liking. He didn’t realize that Moscow is not Washington, and our president and his top advisers don’t make all the big decisions by themselves. As a result, U.S. policies towards Russia—on Ukraine, on Syria, on NATO, on sanctions—are unquestionably tougher now than they were under Barack Obama. Congress, the Pentagon, and other key Beltway stakeholders have blocked Trump’s repeated efforts to bring Washington into line with Moscow’s wishes.
Kremlin disappointment with the White House is showing. This week, the administration announced more sanctions on Moscow for its brazen assassination effort in March against Sergei Skripal, a GRU defector living in Britain, and his daughter. The attack left the Skripals near death for a time, and lingering effects from the Russian military-grade nerve agent last month killed an innocent British woman. Moscow’s response to new U.S. sanctions has been furious. Today, Putin’s spokesman denounced the sanctions as “absolutely unlawful,” while a top Russian diplomat at the UN castigated them as “the theater of the absurd,” adding piquantly, “Only one rule: blame everything on Russia, no matter how absurd and fake it is. Let us welcome the United Sanctions of America!”
The Kremlin’s ability to harm President Trump should not be underestimated. Given the president’s longstanding ties to dubious Russians, a matter he has treated with the greatest secrecy, there’s no doubt that Putin possesses kompromat on Trump, including some of a sordid variety, to be released as needed. If the Kremlin believes that Trump has no chance of helping Russia anymore, they will sacrifice him to create ever-greater chaos in America and the West. Keep in mind that Natalya Veselnitskaya’s bombshell interview this spring was only possible with Kremlin permission.
The author of this piece points out that while Mueller is restrained somewhat by the legal system, Putin has no such restraints and can essentially unleash hell on Donald Trump the minute that he dares to cross him or he no longer seems useful.
This may be the best explanation yet given for why Trump is so submissive to Putin in public, and why he refuses to say anything negative about him even while his government is attacking our infrastructure and voting systems.
The fact that Trump is Putin’s bitch is no longer in question, the only thing not yet known is how long will Putin see him as a useful puppet, and when will he cut his strings.