So, Donald Trump yet again said something mind-blowingly insane this week. He said he believed that Putin believed that he and his cronies didn’t try to influence the US election. Trump sort of, kind of, lamely clarified that he didn’t necessarily believe that Putin and Russia didn’t try to influence the election, just that he believed that Putin believed he didn’t. But that makes no freakin’ sense.
First of all, clearly, if Putin and his cronies tried to influence the US election, Putin knows all about it. Secondly, the US CIA, FBI, and overall United States Intelligence Community concluded beyond any reasonable doubt that Putin’s team did this. We also have proof and admission now that Russia bought targeted ads on Facebook and Twitter. It makes absolutely no sense that Trump would believe Putin and doubt the CIA, FBI, and United States Intelligence Community.
So, what gives?
I think there are two potential explanations.
Explanation #1 is that Trump is so insanely compromised by Putin and his oligarch buddies that he absolutely will not say anything bad about them. If Trump turns on them, in such a scenario, they could reveal all kinds of issues that would get Trump slammed in the media and politically (and maybe even legally). Example possibilities: that Trump’s campaign heavily and obsessively colluded with Russia to disrupt the US federal election, that Trump’s in deep financial debt to Russian billionaires, that Trump has long and intricate financial ties with Russians (which seems totally obvious at this point). If Trump’s afraid of turning on his Russian supporters and then getting outed as a traitorous anti-American con man, it would make sense that he’d never talk badly about them.
Explanation #2 is that Trump is idiotic and doesn’t understand that Putin is playing him like Eric Clapton plays an electric guitar. It’s no secret: say nice things about Trump, and he’ll say nice things about you (and even lie on your behalf). Former CIA and FBI officials have said negative things about Trump, while Putin and his rich Russian henchmen basically just say positive things about Trump and treat him lavishly. A wise person would see that there’s a difference between patriotic Americans who want to do right by their country and Russian players eager to use a “useful idiot” for their own advancement at the expense of the United States of America.
That’s basically it. You could throw in the “insane” card, but I think that any leanings toward insanity just fall under explanation #2.
Of course, both explanations can be true — they aren’t exclusive. Trump could idiotically not understand how he’s being played, and he could have also worked with Russians during the campaign season (which he genuinely might not understand is so fundamentally wrong). Based on the campaign’s excessive, numerous, and broad ties to Russia, I just think it’s obvious at this point that #1 is true. However, #2 is something else that’s seen as common knowledge in many corners.