On Thursday evening, Rachel Maddow used her MSNBC show to connect a fascinating series of dots which revealed that Donald Trump is using decades-old Kremlin propaganda talking points about Afghanistan, and that Trump could only have gotten those talking points from the Kremlin. It was a brilliant piece of reporting, but Maddow left one question unasked: how is Putin still getting these talking points to Trump?
It’s not difficult to figure out how Vladimir Putin could have been feeding instructions to Donald Trump in the earlier days of the Trump White House. The likes of Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn were widely suspected of being Kremlin assets, but they hadn’t yet been indicted or arrested, and it’s easy to imagine that they could still have been acting as go-betweens to get Putin’s marching orders to Trump. But those folks have all been taken off the table. So who’s the go-between these days?
Donald Trump is now so cut off from the outside world, it pretty much has to be someone who’s officially in his administration. But at this point there are almost no White House officials left. There is every reason to have a very low opinion of the likes of Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Mick Mulvaney, and Kellyanne Conway, but there is no reason to suspect they’re Kremlin assets. So who is it?
Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton is smack in the middle of the Trump-Russia scandal, thanks to his financial ties to Cambridge Analytica and his personal ties to Maria Butina. Is Putin using Bolton to get talking points to Trump? If it’s not Bolton, who else is left? Perhaps a member of Trump’s family? It’s got to be someone. Donald Trump isn’t just figuring out on his own that he’s supposed to pull out of Afghanistan while quoting decades-old Kremlin propaganda that has never been embraced anywhere on the American political spectrum. He still has a Kremlin go-between.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report