The real reason Vladimir Putin just threw Donald Trump under the bus

Donald Trump couldn’t be any more of a Kremlin puppet. He kisses Vladimir Putin’s backside. He sabotages U.S. policy in a manner that helps Putin. His advisers and allies are mixed up with Putin in too many ways to count. Putin would certainly prefer that Trump win reelection. So why is Putin suddenly refuting Trump and defending Joe Biden?

Putin appeared on Russian state television today and made a point of debunking the phony conspiracy theories that Donald Trump has been spinning about Joe and Hunter Biden. According to Reuters, Putin said “It doesn’t concern us … I don’t see anything criminal about this.” To be clear, Putin can’t be trusted. But this isn’t some underhanded attempt at helping Trump. In fact this at least marginally hurts Trump, because it further delegitimizes the claims that Trump is making, at a time when Trump is betting big on this narrative. So what is Putin up to?

Putin knows how to read the polls as well as anyone. He must have concluded that Trump is very likely to lose badly, and that there’s nothing he can do to help Trump win, and so now he’s trying to curry favor with Joe Biden, whom he expects to be the next President of the United States.

Of course Putin could be betting wrong. While Trump is highly likely to lose, there is no guarantee that Trump will lose. It’s our job to turn out to vote in record-setting numbers, in order to make sure Trump loses. But this should serve as added motivation: imagine having a President of the United States like Joe Biden who’s so strong, Putin seems to be afraid of being on his bad side.