From The Briefing …
Trump and Putin admire each other:
Putin on Trump: “He is a bright and talented person without any doubt…an outstanding and talented personality…the absolute leader of the presidential race.”
Trump on Putin: “I think Putin’s been a very strong leader for Russia, I think he has been a lot stronger than our leader, that I can tell you.”
Trump’s inner circle has deep Russian ties. For example:
- Campaign manager Paul Manafort worked closely to help elect pro-Putin Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who supported and enabled Putin’s intervention.
- Advisor Carter Page has deep ties to Russian energy conglomerate Gazprom (and traveled to Russia shortly before the GOP platform was made more Russia-friendly)
- Advisor Michael Flynn appears regularly on Russian government TV and is an honored guest at Kremlin functions
- Advisor Michael Caputo once held a contract with Soviet media to improve Putin’s image in the U.S.
Russian officials and media openly prefer a Trump presidency:
In an interview, Trump was indifferent to the fact that Putin has had opponents jailed and journalists killed, saying, “At least he’s a leader.”Russian government TV networks are aligned with and devote extensive positive coverage to Trump (a tactic Putin has used to prop up other politicians). In this week’s New Yorker, David Remnick reports that “in Moscow, officials around Putin [believe] that Trump’s election would be welcome and would bring about better, less stressful, relations with the United States.” He also quotes a Moscow activist and broadcaster, whose words I’d like you to read directly:
“Putin wants the United States to be taken up with its own problems, and forget about things like Ukraine and Crimea,” Sergei Parkhomenko, an activist and broadcaster for Echo of Moscow, told me. “It seems to him that, if the United States elects Trump, all of America will be taken up for at least a year trying to ‘digest’ him.
“But there is a second reason,” Parkhomenko continued. “Putin is convinced that absolutely everything in this world is done for money. He is a religious fanatic, and money is his god. With money, it is possible to solve any problem, buy any interlocutor. He bought the Olympic Games, he bought the World Cup. It will be easy to deal with Trump. He won’t need to use words in negotiations, only figures. When they don’t agree, it will only be necessary to find the right price.”