After months of denials, Russian President Vladimir Putin is now finally acknowledging that the 2016 U.S. election was indeed hacked, and that people in Russia just might have done it (source: NY Times). Some have suggested that Putin is merely taunting a wounded Trump by kicking him while he’s down. But I think we’re seeing something else: Putin knows what’s coming next, and he’s trying to get out in front of it.
The appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller means that Donald Trump no longer has any realistic way of stopping the Trump-Russia investigation from taking its course. Jeff Sessions and Devin Nunes were supposed to be Trump’s backstops, but they’ve been forced to recuse themselves after having taken things too far. Trump thought Rod Rosenstein was on his team, but he clearly isn’t. Trump’s desperate next step of firing James Comey backfired and resulted in the Special Prosecutor. There are no further cards for Trump to play here. He can and will continue to try various antics, but at this point everything is going to come out eventually, and he can’t stop it.
Throw in the accelerating pace of the Trump-Russia leaks, which will probably accelerate further now that Trump has declared war on Europe and enraged its intel community in the process, and it’s clear that this is going to get ugly fast for Trump. Putin can see it as well as any other observer. And he knows it’s just a matter of time before evidence leaks out confirming beyond any doubt that Russians did indeed work with the Trump campaign to hack Trump’s opponents in order to rig the election.
At this point it seems clear to me that Vladimir Putin is trying simply trying to cover his own ass, in anticipation of what he knows will end up surfacing. By admitting that it just might have been Russian hackers after all, but insisting those hackers must have acting independently of the Russian government, he’s laying the groundwork for throwing his own hackers overboard once their identifies and roles leak out. And Putin must suspect it’s coming fairly soon, or he wouldn’t be talking about it now. If you’re a regular reader, feel free to support Palmer Report
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report