Politics - News Analysis

Ex-KGB Officer Says Trump Has Been a Russian Asset Since 1987 and Was Very Easily Manipulated

We need to get to the bottom of this, and many of us believe that we’re not even close. Three things must be done to have confidence in any finality with respect to Russia’s relationship with Trump. First, Robert Mueller was not allowed to investigate Trump’s financial past; someone must. Two, we need to know about Deutsche Bank and why Trump was treated like God when no other bank on earth would touch Trump. Last, we need to know what our own intelligence agencies know. Admittedly, the last one is harder, what with sources and methods and all. All of this should be part of the DOJ’s case regarding the theft of the classified documents that were stored at Mar-a-Lago and spread from there.

We also need to listen to witnesses coming out of Russia, though we must also acknowledge that Putin only benefits by causing more suspicion and division within our country. Even if Trump admitted to being a Russian asset, 25% of the country would just say it was all part of a bigger and better plan. Ten percent of the country would love him more. Russia is white, after all.

Regardless, Jonathan Chait from the Intelligencer released a column last year in which he states that, in his opinion, it is more likely than not that Trump was and is a Russian asset. He quotes Craig Unger’s findings in his book to back it up:

A second reason is that reporter Craig Unger got a former KGB spy to confirm on the record that Russian intelligence had been working Trump for decades. In his new book, “American Kompromat,” Unger interviewed Yuri Shvets, who told him that the KGB manipulated Trump with simple flattery. “In terms of his personality, the guy is not a complicated cookie,” he said, “his most important characteristics being low intellect coupled with hyperinflated vanity. This makes him a dream for an experienced recruiter.”

Donald Trump and his wife Ivana at the Palace Square in Leningrad, USSR, July 1987. (Maxim Blokhin/TASS/Getty)

Sounds like our boy. It is so easy to hear Trump bragging about it. “The Russians loved me so much they gave me some things to do to help both countries. Plus, I’m building the world’s biggest tower in Moscow, it’s gonna be great.  It’s all good, crazy.” Does that sound implausible? Remember, we’re talking about a guy whose teenage daughter sat in Putin’s chair; we assume that Putin was not also sitting in it at the time. Regardless, how many rich Americans can claim the same? How many other wealthy Americans care about Russia at all? (We exclude the oil companies.)

Chait goes on:

This is what intelligence experts mean when they describe Trump as a Russian “asset.” It’s not the same as being an agent. An asset is somebody who can be manipulated, as opposed to somebody who is consciously and secretly working on your behalf.

Shvets told Unger that the KGB cultivated Trump as an American leader and persuaded him to run his ad attacking American alliances. “The ad was assessed by the active measures directorate as one of the most successful KGB operations at that time,” he said, “It was a big thing — to have three major American newspapers publish KGB soundbites.”

In 1987, on his first trip to Russia, Trump visited the Winter Palace with Ivana. The Soviets flew him to Moscow—all expenses paid—to discuss building a luxury hotel across from the Kremlin.
Maxim Blokhin/TASS

No fcking way would the Russians make Trump an “agent.” He would be just as easy to turn as he was to recruit. Like any other job, Trump could only do well if he didn’t know he was doing it at all. Putin could have told Trump, “This is better for the world,” and Trump would totally agree and act on it. He wanted that building.

If something like the most sinister plausible story turned out to be true, how much would it matter? Probably not that much. Don’t get me wrong: Russia having secret channels of leverage over an American president isn’t good. I have merely come to think that even if we could have confirmed the worst, to the point that even Trump’s supporters could no longer deny it, it wouldn’t have changed very much. Trump wouldn’t have been forced to resign, and his Republican supporters would not have had to repudiate him. The controversy would have simply receded into the vast landscape of partisan talking points — one more thing liberals mock Trump over, and conservatives complain about the media for covering instead of Nancy Pelosi’s freezer or Antifa or the latest campus outrage.

That would be true at the end of Trump’s presidency but not necessarily so at the beginning. In the first two years of Trump’s tenure, there remained a few people in Congress, Paul Ryan, the Pre-MAGA Lindsey Graham, etc., who would have been willing to do a lot to get Trump out. MAGA was just feeling its oats back then. Even MAGA world would be a little concerned had it come out in the beginning.

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive to waiting media during a joint news conference after their summit on July 16 in Helsinki, Finland. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

But now? It probably doesn’t matter that much, which is different than saying it doesn’t matter at all.

We still need to know. We need to know so that everyone knows. Who cares if the MAGA world rejects it? They are only 35% of the country, and half of them believe that Democrats eat baby poop or something worse. But everyone else needs to know, including every other country on earth. By 2018, other nations knew that Trump posed a massive threat. If the rest of the world aligned against the U.S. over Trump – because of obvious Russian ties – they could threaten and impose sanctions. The world has never turned on us, but their patience is running thin, especially now that “some country’s” defense plans and nuclear capability is out “loose” with Trump. God only knows what else he has or, worse, had.

They need answers. We need answers. We know the steps that must be taken, and, ultimately, we need to know the roots of the siege on the Capitol because it came together much like the type of thing we’d see in a foreign country. We have heard it over and over in the last two years: “It looked like something one would see in some fascist country!” It sure feels like something that should be a part of any investigation into January 6th and the current matter of the files.


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