Donald Trump: Putin's Manchurian Idiot - Macleans.ca
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Donald Trump: Putin’s Manchurian Idiot

Scott Gilmore: It can’t be denied that Russia interfered in the U.S. election in support of Trump. But what did the president know about it?


 
DA NANG, VIETNAM - NOVEMBER 11, 2017: Russia's president Vladimir Putin (L) and US president Donald Trump during a photo session of world leaders on the closing day of the 25th APEC Summit. Mikhail Metzel/TASS (Photo by Mikhail MetzelTASS via Getty Images)

Da Nang, Vietnam – November 11, 2017: Russia’s president Vladimir Putin and U.S. president Donald Trump (Photo by Mikhail MetzelTASS via Getty Images)

“Every time he sees me he says, ‘I didn’t do that,’ and I really believe when he tells me that he means it.”

On Air Force One on Nov. 11, U.S. President Donald Trump spoke to reporters about his recent meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump was pressed on whether he had raised the issue of Russian meddling in the 2016 election. The revelations are now coming daily, and they draw an increasingly clear picture of widespread interference and direct collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

The evidence, when considered in is entirety, is overwhelming. We know that Russian intelligence agencies were in contact with various members of the Trump campaign after he won the nomination. One of those staff members, George Papadopoulos, has confessed his Russian contacts offered the Trump team emails stolen from the Clinton campaign, and that the most senior people around Trump knew this and encouraged further contact.

READ MORE: The return of the czar

The Clinton emails were then leaked by Moscow, and dominated media coverage for the remainder of the U.S. election. And recent congressional testimony from both Facebook and Twitter has confirmed that Russia also sowed political unrest and improved Trump’s odds by spreading disinformation to millions of American voters.

We know that Trump’s campaign manager, and other members of his senior team, had multiple financial links to Russian oligarchs close to the Kremlin. We also know that Trump made one single change to the Republican platform once he won the nomination: removing anti-Russian provisions regarding Ukraine.

The former National Security Agency director, both the former and current CIA directors, the former and current directors of the FBI and the Trump-appointed director of national intelligence have all publicly confirmed Russia actively undermined the presidential election. Even Russian officials, politicians and news anchors have openly boasted: “We elected Trump.”

WATCH: Collusion vs. Conspiracy: Defining the Russia probe terms

In light of all this evidence, the White House correspondents travelling with the President naturally wanted to know if he raised the issue with Putin during the APEC summit. Trump said he had, and that he believes Putin when he says it is not true. The president even worried out loud that Putin might be insulted by the accusations. The Kremlin, meanwhile, denied the issue was raised at all.

At this point, there are three things that all objective observers cannot deny. First, Russia did interfere in the U.S. election. Second, the interference was in support of Trump. And third, senior members of Trump’s campaign were aware of it. That leaves us with what is likely to become the great historical question of the Trump presidency: what did he know, and when did he know it?

There are three possible answers to that question. The most implausible is that Trump has been working with the Russians for years and that he is their “Manchurian candidate,” knowingly doing the Kremlin’s bidding. If this were true, it would be the most incredible strategic coup in modern history. But there is absolutely no evidence to support this. And setting aside partisan fever dreams, Trump’s mercurial nature and inability to keep a secret or stay on script—even for a few minutes—makes this impossible.

RELATED: Russian digital hit list reveals vast hacking operation

A more likely scenario is that the Russians saw an opportunity to support a candidate who might be an ally, trailed their coats in front of the campaign several times and got a bite from Papadopoulos and maybe a couple others. Trump eventually found out, but didn’t care—or even welcomed the help. And now he is willing to say or do anything to protect himself and avoid impeachment.

The third possibility is that Trump was indeed kept out of the loop and genuinely does not believe the accusations and indictments now being levelled at his team. My money is on this scenario. I think Trump sincerely believes there was no collusion. And in spite of the growing pile of evidence in front of him, he is constitutionally incapable of admitting a foreign power helped win the election, because that conclusion would dramatically diminish the single greatest accomplishment of his life. And like he has with NAFTA, NATO, climate change, ISIS, the Central Park Five and dozens of other issues, Trump will risk looking like a fool unable to grasp the evidence before his eyes or presented by all the experts, if accepting the truth would cause him to lose face.

This is still a strategic coup for Moscow. Washington is embroiled in what will be years of partisan chaos. The American people are increasingly disenchanted with democracy. And in the Oval Office there is a man few take seriously at home or abroad. Trump is, in short, Putin’s Manchurian Idiot.

MORE ABOUT DONALD TRUMP:


 

Donald Trump: Putin’s Manchurian Idiot

  1. I’ll go with Door Number 2: Trump was told about it – really, could Don Jr. keep his mouth closed about his meeting with the Russians? And, all those other sycophants too?

    I believe Trump’s interest in expanding his business takes priority over running the country, and that he would be willing to sell the country out to do so. Borders and boundaries mean nothing to him, except when it comes to keeping out people he sees as undesirables.

    • Most sources can’t identify any time when the two leaders could have met long enough to have a decent conversation – not only to ‘settle’ Syria but straighten out America’s first class investigation! Unless they were mind-melding after midnight.

      • “Most sources can’t identify any time when the two leaders could have met long enough to have a decent conversation”

        Cutouts on yachts in the Seychelles. Ask Eric Prince.

    • He’s not even getting paid for the job. It’s his love of America that made him run. What Trump means, is the citizens voted him in on the issues he promised to work towards, not the Democrat agenda. Look at a map of the US, most governors, and state houses are controlled by Republicans. Were all these people influenced by Russian propaganda (which no doubt they have done for years), ? Absolutely not. It is the agenda of Republicans that is winning. Russians didn’t make people vote for Trump.

      • Sure, Donald Jr., Americans want more polluted air and water, more expensive healthcare, dumbed-down public schools, and tax cuts for billionaires. Meanwhile, they will revel in the hundreds of thousands of fantasy jobs to be created in the mining of a nineteenth-century fuel (coal) and in car plants that largely use robots.
        “Look at a map of the US, most governors, and state houses are controlled by Republicans.” Hint – it’s a well-paid job.

        Stupid is as stupid does. Trump voters will eventually get what they deserve – a rude awakening. Trump has only one thing that motivates him – Make Trump Great Again.

        • Is that you Hillary, still bitter and not willing to accept the election results, according to your own words that’s Un American! Are you sure kittens won’t die , after being kicked by Republicans.

      • If you don’t think Trump, his family and businesses are benefiting financially, and want to benefit even more, from this presidency — then, well, you just haven’t been paying attention.

  2. This should make it even easier for Canada’s Reform Haters to cheer Trump and trash Canada. They can fully understand the level of idiocy, now that Trump has brought that even lower.

  3. Russian collusion?

    Bill Clinton received a $500,000 speaking fee from a Russian bank while Hillary was Secretary of State. Russian entities donated millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation. Hillary approves the Uranium One takeover by a Russian controlled company.

    Hillary’s campaign funds (millions of dollars) Fusion GPS to produce the infamous Steele dossier via (as we see from the Paradise Papers, a law firm, so it doesn’t have to be disclosed). How many Russians received money to provide information and disinformation for that dossier. This same firm sends the Russian lawyers to meet with Trump Jr et al about the Magnitsky Act/adoption/dirt-on-Clintons, making the whole Donald Jr. meeting look like a Clinton setup. The Russian lawyer was technically not even eligible to be in the country legally at the point, suggesting Obama Administration collusion with the setup.

    • “Hillary approves the Uranium One takeover by a Russian controlled company.”

      I really can’t comment on the rest, but the only people I see espousing those things are alt-right conspiracy theorists – so I frankly haven’t even bothered to check on whether or not there’s any truth to any of it. There is invariably at least one item in the list of nonsense that I know is BS and so I just tune them out.

      The Uranium One nonsense is one of them. I have looked into that, and the claim turned out to be as preposterous as it appears on its face. There’s absolutely nothing shady or remotely suspect there. You crackpots see “Russian” “uranium” and “Clinton” and your imaginations kick into conspiracy overdrive.

      I’m not even going to waste my time trying to set you straight. All I’ll say is: Do some effing basic research.

      You’ve always been a bit “out there”, WSISYW, but you’ve gone completely over the alt-right edge. Whatever little credibility you had is now officially kaput.

      Thanks for the belly laugh!

      • But you didn’t look at the evidence of blackmail, bribery, and extortion by the players from Russia in the deal, and neither did the others who signed off, other than Obama , Holder, Clinton and Mueller. You must have missed that part.

        • What evidence of blackmail and bribery? And donations to the Clinton Foundation were just that — donations to a foundation that did a lot of good worldwide.

          • You mean the $145 million that found its way to the Canadian arm of the Clinton Foundation from six seniors in the uranium company that was sold.
            Or the $12 million birthday present Willy Clinton got from an Arab country.
            There is no doubt the “above the law Clintons” will get investigated.

  4. “It can’t be denied…” The statement of THE true believer. But Trump – the other half of America’s single greatest domestic issue (go figure!!!) just made headlines by reporting that Putin does deny it and Trump believes him! So, Scotty, keep on wishing and hopin’ and prayin’ – or better still, go find something Canadian to write about. Thinking about silly things – and this is the silliest the folk who gave the world Saddam’s WMDs have come up with in a while – will make YOU stupid too! Just look what it’s done to the race of noble democrats south of the border – they are , for the most part, bug-dirt loco!

    While you;re at it, check out some recent news on the UN report of Assad gassing his own people – another fractured American fairy tale.

    https://consortiumnews.com/2017/11/09/did-al-qaeda-dupe-trump-on-syrian-attack/

    This makes more sense than “they hate us for are freedumbs!” and the other codswallop that passes for patriotism.

    • But Obama publicly and loudly claimed that Russia was not a geopolitical threat, so how could there have been Russian interference? Obama wouldn’t lie about that, would he?

    • Should he be calling Putin a liar while he is negotiating to get the help of Putin with Syria, and N. Korea? Wow, stand there and call Putin a liar… sure , that’s how Obama would do it. Besides, if it wasn’t for the hoax Dossier paid for by the DNC , this wouldn’t even be an issue. But it’s important that the DNC, the most corrupt campaign ever, try to appease all those donors who wasted millions and millions on her campaign. Remember, the Clinton Foundation, that took in $140M from Russia, closed up shop after she lost. Doesn’t pay to play anymore.

      • Roosevelt and Churchill had to negotiate with an unscrupulous dictator – Stalin – to bring WW2 to an end, but they didn’t stoop to licking his boots. That’s the difference between real statesmen, and a cheap New York huckster who is clearly compromised up to the hilt.

        • Who’s licking Putin? You mean Obama , I’ll be more flexible after the election, or Hillary with her misspelled Reset button. As she took in $140M to the Clinton Crime Foundation (now shut down after she lost), and Bill gets $500k for a 20 minute speech, for Russians in on the deal, after having a private meeting with Putin.
          Now if Trump had done something like that, you would be ungassed! But he hasn’t.

      • Trump said PUBLICLY (aired on CNN last night), “Putin believes what he believes but I respect what our security agencies have said.” I was shocked that the least trusted name in news reported this!

  5. Really? Then why did Trump put more sanctions on Russia? Why has the Magnitsky act not been repealed? And why did the Russians give the Clintons millions of dollars for speeches and through the Clinton foundation? And why did those donations stop after Hillary lost the election?

      • Interesting article in the Hill, on how now the Russian bots are trying to damage Trump and create chaos. Is that you?

  6. Or… Trump has had long-standing shady business relationships with oligarchs tied to Putin as his only source of cash after banks worldwide stopped funding his serial bankruptcies. Young Slavic girls and hundreds of millions of dollars laundered through real estate projects.

    Sounds like Trump all over.

    • Or he doesn’t. Trump has been in business for years, no one called him a racist or mafia don, until he beat Crooked Hillary.

      • Oh, come off it ! Trump’s racist treatment, together with his equally vile father (the apple never fell far from the tree), of non-white tenants in their New York properties was widely known and reported from the 1970’s, as was his association with “lawyers” having established mob connections.

        Trump has indeed been ‘in business’ for years and it has been a rather dirty business.

  7. I came to this site out of morbid curiosity. I leave it now with a better understanding of why Americans tend to ignore Canada.

    • I left Canada , the country is filled with leftist nuts!

  8. I guess the author, wasn’t alive when Putin “interfered” or “meddled” when PRAVDA ENDORSED Obama. Further, ICYMI, the US interferes in elections and has for untold decades. And, when the “wrong” guy wins, we sometimes SHOOT and KILL the guy who did win.

  9. A more apt headline might be
    Maclean’s: Canada’s Hearstian Yellow Rag–
    –since this writer practically acquits Trump. Well, we once had an overeager housekeeper who made the beds before the family was up.

  10. Did Russians vote in the election? No. Did Russians change voting machines? No.
    Did Wikileaks leak damaging information on Hillary and the DNC? Yes. But all true. Did Donna Brazille, as head of the DNC, just admit the DNC primary was rigged? Not illegal, she says, but very unethical.
    Did the 90%+ of the press endorse Hillary, and smear and attack Trump 24/7? Yes they did.
    Does that count as interfering in the election, Yes. Do we have a fair and impartial press, No.
    So far we have seen , Hillary get out of an indictment that a lesser person would have been charged. But some how the author thinks indictments for tax fraud, money laundering (how can you launder money when there was no criminal activity)… but no one colluding with Russia to help Trump.
    But the DNC paid for a Dossier of slander and lies, and given information from Russians. Either the Russians played her with phony dirt, or Steele just made it up. Remember Steele is being sued for slander and libel for the things he put in that dossier.

    • Let’s add: Did Donna Brazile admit to fearing that she might become a victim of Arkancide after realizing she had possibly crossed the Clintons? Let’s digest that fully, shall we. Seth Rich- THE most likely candidate as the Wikileaks source for the DNC email leaks- is murdered on a DC street, and a well known director of the DNC claims to have suddenly become fearful for her life. Really? REALLY?
      Brazile’s book is THE most damning condemnation of both a political party AND a candidate possibly ever written, yet Gilmore’s hair is so enflamed by his pathological hatred of Trump he can’t bring himself to add it to the weekly Maclean’s reckoning on the 2016 election.
      Brazile has -FROM THE INSIDE- declared the Democratic Party to be so corrupt that she is aware that its upper echelon would condone murder to protect itself. This is THE bombshell of the post-election story. There is no Trump-Russia story. It’s a nothing burger. Clinton corruption is still the story, whether you like it or not, Gilmore.

      • She didn’t say that at all. Are you insane? Or just can’t read?

        • See link, about halfway down. If not her fellow Democrats, whom did she fear?

          Link-http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/politics/ct-donna-brazile-hillary-clinton-20171104-story.html

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