Vladimir Putin’s cataclysmic endgame once elevating Donald Trump proves to have been a mistake
Russian president Vladimir Putin’s motivation for meddling in the political affairs of the West over the past two years has become easy to decipher in hindsight. He wanted to create sufficient enough internal problems for the Western world such that it wouldn’t be in a position to deter him once he began forcibly reassembling the old Soviet Union and perhaps Soviet Bloc. But what now, with his asset Donald Trump rapidly becoming a liability to him? I think I know.
Putin doesn’t want war with the United States, nor does he seem impractical enough to try to want to annex the United States. Instead, by putting a celebrity puppet into the presidential race with pro-Russia positions, even as he worked to sabotage Hillary Clinton, Putin thought he’d win either way. In the highly likely scenario that Trump lost, at least he’d have steered the Republican Party into backing off Russia, and harmed Hillary Clinton such that she’d spend her term fending off the faux-scandals he helped create. But what about the overwhelmingly unlikely scenario that the FBI further rigged the election for Trump at the last minute and he won?
For Putin, the trouble with Donald Trump becoming President of the United States is that he’s an unstable asset. He’s overly eagerly cooperative to the point of being an embarrassment. And the team of co-conspirators he put together was so bumbling, they make the Watergate burglars look like strategic geniuses. The scandal has erupted to the point that America is now more focused on Russia than ever, when Putin’s goal was the precise opposite. So what now?
KGB officers like Putin are trained to plot endgames in advance, even for unlikely scenarios. And if the Trump experiment continues to backfire for him, Putin has one way out. All that Putin has to do is leak whatever dirt he’s holding on Trump, whether it be the supposed blackmail video or merely proof of Trump’s illegal Russian financial ties, and suddenly Trump is finished. In so doing, Putin will have belatedly created the kind of internal American crisis he was aiming for when he tried to use Trump to damage Hillary before she took office. But it’s even worse, because Trump isn’t the only one Putin can take down.
This week it was revealed that the private AOL email account of Vice President Mike Pence was hacked right around the time he was picked as Trump’s running mate, and that the hackers mysteriously never published his most damaging emails. That strongly suggests Russia hacked Pence once it learned he would be Trump’s running mate, and the emails are being held as blackmail. Pence may not even know he’s been compromised by Russia. But Putin might be able to finish off Trump and Pence on the same day.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson of Exxon-Mobil is a Russian financial puppet. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was part of the Russia campaign conspiracy. If Vladimir Putin decides he has to go nuclear in order the get the result he wants, he can simultaneously take down half the people in the presidential order of succession. At that point, for the sake of continuity of government, everyone would have to hope that Speaker Paul Ryan – next in line for the presidency after Pence – isn’t compromised by Russia, just so someone viable could become President and finish out the term who isn’t Secretary of File Folders.
Paul Ryan is one of those guys who keeps managing to fail upward despite never having accomplished anything, and despite not being liked much by anyone on the political spectrum. Could we wake up one day soon and find out that a series of Russian leaks have dictated that Ryan is about to become President by default? And what if Putin does have blackmail on Ryan? While the Donald Trump administration is a cancer and must be removed from power by whatever legal means necessary, the United States should be considering another difficult possibility: what happens if Russia suddenly decides to do it for us?
Not My President • Impeach Trump Now
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report