Is the President a Russian Agent?

Back-to-back newspaper stories have brought up the central question that motivated me when I began this blog two years ago: Is the president of the United States an agent of a foreign power?

First came the blockbuster January 11th story in The New York Times revealing that the FBI grew so concerned about the president’s behavior after his dismissal of FBI Director James Comey that they began an extraordinary investigation into whether the president was working on behalf of Russia against American interests.

That was followed by a report in The Washington Post about the “extraordinary” measures the president has taken to hide the details of his conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump reportedly grabbed the notes of his own interpreter and instructed the linguist not to tell other administration officials what he had discussed with the Russian leader.

The common thread in both of these extraordinary stories is what a criminal investigator might call Trump’s “consciousness of guilt.” The president is behaving as though he has something to hide when it comes to Russia and is acting to cover up a crime.

The president fired James Comey because his agents were investigating the president’s ties to Russia, as he told NBC’s Lester Holt. An early draft of Comey’s dismissal letter also referenced Russia. And why would Trump keep the details of his conversations with Putin secret from his own administration unless he had something to hide?

Last evening, Fox News host Jeanine Pirro put this remarkable question to the president when he called in to her show: “Are you now or have you ever worked for Russia, Mr. President?”

Trump’s answer is a “non-denial denial” — something that sounds like a denial but isn’t. Missing from this answer is the word “No.”

“It’s the most insulting thing I’ve ever been asked” goes in the pantheon of other famous non-answers like Nixon’s “I am not a crook” Mark McGwire’s “I’m not here to talk about the past” and Clinton’s “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”

Here’s the thing about espionage: Trump can be an asset of Russia and still believe he’s not. In spy terms, this would make him an unwitting agent asset — someone who is unaware that he or she is being exploited by an intelligence operative as a means of attack by an adversary. It’s like a chess piece that thinks it’s moving around on the board as it wishes, unaware it is being guided by an unseen hand.

Putin, after all, is a master manipulator, who spent 16 years in the KGB “studying studying the minds of the targets, finding their vulnerabilities, and figuring out how to use them,” as Fiona Hill, senior director for Russian and European Affairs on Trump’s National Security Council wrote in her aptly titled book Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin. (Hill, not surprisingly, was one of the ones kept in the dark about Trump’s conversations with Putin.)

Trump’s enormously fragile ego make him ripe for exploitation. You get a glimpse of how this works in a Washington Post story about phone conversations between Trump and Putin.

The Russian president complains to Trump about “fake news” and laments that the U.S. foreign policy establishment — the “deep state,” in Putin’s words — is conspiring against them, the first senior U.S. official said.

“It’s not us,” Putin has told Trump, the official summarized. “It’s the subordinates fighting against our friendship.”

We also see it in a photo op at the 2017 G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany. ,

… the Russian president leaned in to Mr. Trump, gestured to the journalists in the room, and asked: “These are the ones insulting you?”

“These are the ones. You’re right about that,” Mr. Trump responded.

What we don’t see or hear are the conversations taking place where Trump is getting fed actual Kremlin talking points. Since Trump doesn’t read and doesn’t study history how did he come to believe that the Soviets invaded Afghanistan to fight terrorism or that Montenegro was going to start World War III?

Let’s not forget all the president’s policies that support Russia’s interests and undermine America’s: his attacks on NATO, his abrupt decision to withdraw troops from Syria, and his inability to protect the United States from a repeat of Russia’s 2016 attack on our democracy. If Putin had given Trump a checklist of items he wanted take care of, the end result wouldn’t look much different.

It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the president of the United States, most likely without realizing it, is acting as an asset of a foreign power.

It may have taken most people a long time to come around to this ugly reality (if they’ve come around at all) but it’s been plain as day to intelligence officials ever since the presidential campaign.

“In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation,” Michael Morrell, former acting director of the CIA, wrote an op-ed in The New York Times in August 2016.

James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, said the same thing when he pointed out how Putin’s dealings with the president showed what a great case officer the Russian president was.

The back-to-back explosive stories over the weekend are another signal flare being sent up from inside the Trump administration. The stories, which both involved events in 2017, may have been meant to invite a congressional subpoena to the FBI agents or Trump’s translator. With the Democrats in control of the House, they may get their chance.


  1. Catherine Rustagi

    As a student of Russian history and researcher of open sources, it was plain to me that Trump had been recruited by Russia in the 1980s or earlier. In 2016 when I discovered that Konstantin Kilimnik had GRU connections, I knew that Manafort was too. And Sam Patten. These men are in business with Kilimnik, depend on him for translation, business knowledge and much, much more. Manafort shares a bank account with him. Obviously this is becoming more and more known in mainstream journalism. The big unknown is what Putin will do now. I find that as curious and disturbing as what we will do with the information that is becoming so obvious. I found your book most helpful, and would like knowing what you think might happen.

  2. FromSouthChicago

    s Trump a Russian agent? Based on what I have been reading from open sources including your book, Trump-Russia, I believe there’s a least an 95% chance that Trump is a Russian agent. However, unlike the concerns expressed by Steele that Trump may be being blackmailed into cooperating, I believe that Trump is a willing partner, asset, agent of Putin. I believe that Trump’s willingness to be “Putin’s puppy” comes from the financial ties that Trump has built with over the decades with Russian money elites and Trump’s willing participation in money laundering of dirty Russian money. Trump has also created financial ties to other sources of overseas money such as to Saudi Arabia, but I believe that Trump’s ties to Russian money has been the ones that have sustained him and his immediate family since his many bankruptcies in the 1990s and 2000s. No legitimate financial institution will lend Trump money because of the abysmal way Trump manages money and failures to pay his debts. The only way Trump was able to make money was to license his name to construction projects and negotiate building and hotel management contracts. Money of these licensing arrangements have taken place in other countries to keep the prying eyes of the US government off of his sources of money. Licensing enabled Trump to find an entirely new way for him to make money, especially money that required laundering. The Trump brand has become a sign post, to draw those looking to launder ill gotten gains to Trump-branded projects. And money from Russia has played a special role in providing licensing fees to the Trump Organization. Finally, the Trump Tower Moscow would given Trump the largest payday of Trump’s life if only Trump would be able to remove the sanctions from a sanctioned Russian bank that would finance the project.

    Trump could have accepted Russia’s support for his campaign and then dismissed all thoughts that he had any obligations to Russia. Trump is notorious for doing such things; for Trump loyalty goes in one direction: to Trump. However, Trump has shown outward signs of his continuing connections and support of all things Russian and to Putin. Having laid out Trump’s reasons for becoming a Russian Agent, allow me to describe the outward signs that Trump is a Russian Agent.

    Restating Russian Propaganda

    I list several instances where Trump restated Russian propaganda as if they were facts and he has apparently acted on that propaganda. The first instance that I know about was at the beginning of Trump’s Administration when Trump initiated a request to look into the Poland’s possible invasion of Belarus. Second, near the time that Montenegro joined NATO, Trump suggested that the people of Montenegro were aggressive and may well be responsible for starting WWIII. At the 2017 NATO conference Trump deliberately pushed aside the Montenegrin President. Third, Trump’s recent pronouncement that Russia invaded Afghanistan because of terrorism making the invasion justified. This is particularly troubling because when Trump made the statement, it was a piece of revisionist history little known outside of the Kremlin. There can be little doubt where Trump got this information, from Putin.

    Taking the Russian and Putin’s Point of View

    Trump consistently takes Russia’s and Putin’s side on every question. Trump takes Putin’s word without question or openly considers that Putin might be lying to him. Trump appears to believe Putin more than the information his own intelligence services provide him. In fact Trump often appears to question the veracity of the information his intelligence services provide him, particularly when it comes to Russia. Numerous times Trump has attempted to deny that the Russians attempted to manipulate the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election by attacking Clinton and supporting Trump. Recently we’ve seen Trump deny Russia’s attack on our election from the podium in Helsinki after the Putin-Trump one-on-one meeting.

    Relief of US Sanctions on Russian Banks, Oligarchs, Companies, etc.

    If there is one thing that Putin wants from Trump, it’s the dropping of sanctions and the elimination or diminishment of the Magnitsky Act. I won’t go through all of the actions that Trump and his cronies have initiated to somehow provide Russia from relief from US sanctions. Probably the earliest was the so called Ukrainian Peace Plan that involved Cohen, Sater and as we have just learned, Manafort, that would lead to the dropping of the sanctions against Russia after Russia stole Crimea from Ukraine. We have seen lots of activity and discussion about how Trump’s cronies have been trying to remove sanctions. One apparent “success” appears to be the attempt to drop sanctions on Oleg Deripaska initiated by Sec. Mnuchin that has apparently run into problems.

    Trump’s Meetings with Putin and Other Russians

    For me the event that tipped me off that Trump was likely an agent of Russia was a meeting at the White House that the US press was excluded from attending where the only “reporter” was a Tass photographer (who knows what else he was). Trump disclosed that the meeting was requested by Putin and it was meeting that included the two Sergeys: Lavrov and Kislyak. The photos of this meeting were particularly disturbing because Trump especially and the Russian officials seemed to be on extremely friendly terms. What was more disturbing was when Trump told them about firing Comey, telling them that Comey was a nut, and that the “pressure was off.” These are the kinds of statements a mobster would say to his fellow mobsters, his co-conspirators. And to top it all off and as a present to his buddies, Trump then discloses top-secret, compartmented information from the Israeli intelligence. It’s no wonder that this meeting sealed it for many at the FBI that undertaking a counterintelligence investigation on Trump was a good idea.

    And now we have learned thanks to Greg Miller’s article, that there are no reports, secret or otherwise, on what happened at the Trump-Putin meetings. The US has nothing but you can be sure that the Russians have filed away detailed reports on and analysis of these meetings. Tell me, what kind of a person makes sure that nothing on his side is memorialized? It’s someone who doesn’t want his side to see what he’s up to. This applies to criminals, agents and traitors. And as it applies to Trump, take your pick. Likely it’s all three.

    You mentioned that Trump suggested that a country’s people were aggressive and could start WWIII. I believe you meant Montenegro, not Macedonia.

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