How long do you think Vladimir Putin had been mulling the notion of rigging a US election? I’d be willing to bet for a very long time. Initially, he might have thought about it purely as an intellectual exercise, or maybe it was his wanking fantasy. But he never acted on it because, well, to what end? The risk was high and what did he stand to gain? Without an actor in the lead role who was indebted to him and would do his bidding, what was the point?
Having served as head of the KBG, Putin has, of course, tons of experience rigging elections and manipulating the masses using propaganda. Undoubtedly he had high confidence in his ability to get whomever he wanted elected president of the United States. But just because had the technical ability to do so, doesn’t mean he could find a suitable American to play the starring role. That was the real challenge. (More on this below.)
Let’s take a quick step back to Obama’s sanctions (The Magnitsky Act) over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. They were/are really cutting in to Putin’s bottom line. He can’t get his oil or other goods to market, and he’s losing a lot of money. A poor Putin is a weak Putin. And Putin will NOT be weak! To get where he is, he has to have some yuuuuuge cojones.
So, given these circumstances, maybe now Putin is thinking a little harder on this scheme. What if he can put someone in the Oval Office who will lift the sanctions? But who? It would be nearly impossible to cultivate an existing American politician (except perhaps Jill Stein but she didn’t have a chance in hell of winning) so it would have to be a non-politician with political aspirations. This person would have to be an eligible American with existing national visibility. They’d have to be fairly well-connected but also greedy and stupid enough to take the bait. It was a very specific set of characteristics this person would need to possess, and such people are few and far between.
So when Donnie appeared on his radar, Putie must have heard a chorus of angels singing.
Trump was the PERFECT patsy for Putin’s plan. This con wouldn’t have worked on or with anyone else. Only Trump had the ambition and name recognition to run for the highest office in the land, (he’d been threatening to run for years), he had the potential to gather a large and loyal following, while at the same time having absolutely no compunctions about selling out his country for personal gain.
Trump was the dream dupe! Easily flattered. Greedy. Corrupt. A complete narcissist. Absolutely no morals. Certainly no loyalty to his country. In fact, no loyalty to anything or anyone except himself. Putin must have been creaming in his jeans when he understood how easy it would be to manipulate this orange buffoon right into his trap.
The most beautiful, creative cons are those run on con men. Con men all think they are too smart to be played. That’s what makes them the perfect marks. And who is smarter than Trump, according to Trump? Nobody! It would be psychologically impossible for Trump to believe he was being played by a master, because in his mind, there is nobody more clever than himself. Ergo, easy to fool.
So Vlad slowly cultivates Donnie. As a spy, he knows how to patiently develop an asset. He has time. 2016 election is his goal.
He starts by softening up Trump by involving him in various real estate deals with oligarchs within his sphere of influence. (see Trump Tower in Baku). He gets rich Russians to buy Trump properties at inflated prices. Russians lend him money and make him indebted. (i.e. hold his marker.) They may well launder money through him. (I’m sure this will come out in Mueller’s investigation.) This gets him used to doing business with Russians; he becomes accustomed to them being a major source of his income, with promises of more to come. It also provides kompromat for Putin. (At the time and perhaps still, Trump probably had no idea that Putin was behind all these deals. He undoubtedly believes all his success with the Russians is due to his own superior deal making abilities.)
Then, in 2013, Putin ups the game. Through his intermediaries, he offers Trump an insanely lucrative real estate deal for no money down and a big upfront payment (Trump Tower Moscow, the story of which is a book unto itself. For more on that, read Seth Abramson’s Twitter thread of last week, link below in comments.) Vlad dangles this carrot over 45’s head for years, never actually giving him money, but just taunting him with it. It’s so close, Trump can shmek di gelt. (smell the money). They’re even going to name the spa in the hotel after Ivanka! (Oooh! Naked women being massaged in a spa named after his favorite daughter! Wonder if THAT gave him a woody?)
Oh, how Vlad and his cronies must have been laughing at Trump behind his back! So easily manipulated! What a perfect foil for their clever plan.
If I were watching a movie of this, at this point, I’d be rootin’ for Putin. Vlad is playing 3-dimensional chess while Trump is still trying to figure out where to fit the second piece in a 4-piece puzzle.
I’ll bet Putin (directly or indirectly) even commiserated with Trump about Obama. (No secret that Trump hates BHO. The whole birther thing was already years old at this point. And Putin obviously hates Obama, himself, due to the sanctions.) Vlad works some psy-ops on him. Maybe it was even Putin’s idea to get the hookers to pee on the bed the Obamas had slept in. How else would Trump have known which room it was? (The more I think about it, the more I sense Putin’s fingerprints on this — not merely the filming of it, but orchestrating the whole thing; putting the very idea into Trump’s head. What great kompromat!)
Unbeknownst to Trump, through various means and contacts, Putin utzes him to run for president. The goal is for Donnie to believe it’s his own brilliant idea. Perhaps guys like Felix Sater and Boris Epshtyn also thought it was a good idea, and were happy to do some freelance utzing. Or maybe they were/are paid agents of Putin’s. Either way, “Oh, Donald, you’d be a great president! The country needs a man like you!”
So, in 2015, Trump declares his bid for POTUS. From everything I’ve read, he didn’t even really want to be president. He was just trying to get some leverage to renegotiate a better contract for The Apprentice and to increase the value of his “brand.” Remember, Trump rarely uses his own money on real estate deals. He essentially sells the rights to his name for a percentage of the profits, and gets a hefty management fee. The more his name is worth, the bigger the licensing fee he gets.
All the while, Vlad is watching slyly from the sidelines, rubbing his hands with ghee (In my fantasy, he’s just eaten paratha.) He waits until Trump has vanquished all his opponents in the primaries – Little Marco, Low Energy JEB!, Grandpa Munster, The Brainless Surgeon – not exactly a sterling field of competitors — before he makes his move (or perhaps his bots and emissaries were already working at this point on the down low, to help Trump win.)
Once Donnie has secured the nomination, Putin makes him an offer he can’t refuse, again through intermediaries. Remember, through an agent of Putin (Aras Agalarov), he’s signed Letter of Intent on the Trump Tower Moscow deal so in Trump’s mind, they are already business associates and equals, which makes him amenable to listening to the offer. And he trusts Putin not because Putin is trustworthy, but because Putin is the gateway to Trump making a lot of money. That’s the only kind of “friendship” Trump understands.
The deal offered is this: Putin will help Trump win IF (and here’s the quid pro quo Mueller needs to have the smoking gun on) he agrees to lift sanctions on Russia once he is in office. To sweeten the pot (because Trump really didn’t want to be president…he only cares about money), Putin (through Carter Page) offers Trump .5% of the commission on the sale of 19.5% of Rosneft (Russian state oil) in exchange for lifting sanctions on Russia once he’s POTUS. This commish is worth, oh, I don’t know…half a billion dollars? A billion? Let’s just call it a lot of fucking money.
When Vladimir Putin offers you a billion dollars (thereabouts), and promises you a win, you put aside any apprehensions you might have about actually being president, and agree to give it a shot. I don’t think Trump believed Putin could do it. I’m not even sure PUTIN believed he could pull it off but he was willing to give it the old Spy College try.
Meanwhile, even though it started as kind of a game, Donnie is digging the adoration from the deplorables who are eating up his brand of hate. He quickly becomes addicted to their cheers and applause. For a narcissist such as himself, it must have been like heroin spiked right into the carotid artery.
The plan is, once sanctions are lifted, Putin can, in partnership with ExxonMobil (who is the only company who has the necessary technology/equipment; and no coincidence that Rex Tillerson is SoS), extract the oil from the gigantic reserves in Siberia. These reserves are worth TRILLIONS of dollars — IF he can get it out of the ground and to market.
And if that Rosneft commission is paid in SHARES and the sanctions are lifted? Quatrinkle the amount Donnie might get.
Remember that this is not RUSSIAN money even though it’s Russian oil. No. All that money essentially belongs to Putin himself. He controls the banks; he controls every single manufacturing business in Russia. Not a single major transaction happens in that country without him getting a hefty chunk of it. If he could get that oil out of Siberia, he would be more than the richest man on earth, he would be the most powerful man on the planet. Maybe ever. He could buy anyone and anything. He could restore Mother Russia to its rightful place among world powers. He could literally control the world.
He has to know this game he is playing is very dangerous. If it backfires i.e. if Hillary gets elected and this all comes to light, things might actually get worse for him. Hillary is a formidable opponent. She could make his life really uncomfortable. (As SoS, she already did.) But he really needs those sanctions lifted, any way, any how, for a variety of political reasons. The price of oil has been steadily falling and what Russia already pumps is not supporting Putin’s power and influence. Without that steady stream of billions, Putin is vulnerable. He’s getting desperate. He’s willing to take the risk.
All he has to do is get Clownface von Fuckstick elected (Pffft! Child’s play!), and pay him off in exchange for lifting sanctions. Et voila! Putin can start pumping oil and take over the world.
And when you understand the master plan and how much money and power is at stake, everything else makes sense.
The question now is, what happens when Trump is no longer useful to Putin? Or worse, when he becomes a liability?
At the moment, even without the lifted sanctions, Putin must be pretty happy having undermined a US presidential election, thrown our political process into disarray, and caused huge, deep rifts in our society. OK, it’s not the outcome he was hoping for but maybe that was a long shot anyway. But to fuck over Hillary AND set our country back a century culturally, politically, scientifically, must feel like a nice kind of win anyhow.
And the game ain’t over til the fat lady sings. I doubt he’s given up on getting those sanctions lifted. He just has to figure out another way to do it. Perhaps he’ll have to buy Congress.