Weekend Open Thread: TrumPPPoodle (The 2nd “P” is for “Putin’s”)


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I’m about to go onto a series  of posts about world politics, as they “suddenly” seem seem to be impinging on domestic U.S. politics in a way that no one — at least no one within Trump’s inner circle — could have foreseen.  Before doing so, though, I want to offer this summary in the Weekend Open Thread:

Whether or not there was ever a “Pee Tape”,
the “Pee Tape” Theory was correct: Trump is Putin’s Poodle

The “Pee Tape” story had four main components:

  1. While visiting Moscow for the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant, which he then owned, Trump allegedly paid for a couple of prostitutes to urinate on the bed in Room 1101 the Presidential Suite of the Moscow Ritz Carlton, where Barack and Michelle Obama had once slept right across from the Kremlin, because even if someone doesn’t know they’re being degraded there is still pleasure to be had in degrading them.
  2. One or another Russian Secret Service agencies (probably the FSB, which is the successor to the KGB) — or perhaps whoever arranged the ceremony — videoed it.
  3. The Russian government, which we’ll abbreviate as “Putin,” has a copy of the tape and is therefore blackmailing Trump over it.  (It’s worth reading the whole story at that link.)
  4. A conservative newspaper called The Washington Free Beacon hired an opposition research firm named Fusion GPS after it was hired by to do opposition research on several candidates, including Trump.  (At the time, many conservatives thought that the best way to win the Presidency was to edge the “unelectable” Trump out of the race.)  Christopher Steele, a former agent for MI6, the British counterpart to the CIA, was hired to compose a dossier on Trump based on British intelligence.  Eventually, Trump was doing well enough that no Republican with clout was going to try to blackmail or embarrass him out of the race.  Perkins Coie, a law firm identified with the Democratic Party, then took over sponsorship of the research in April 2016.  One of the events identified and addressed in the research was “the pee tape.”  (And that moves us back to point 3 above.)

The pee tape doesn’t have to exist for use to believe that the Russian government (which, remember, we’re calling “Putin,” because in effect it is) is engaging in something like what’s described Point #3 — because Point #3 above only is the Pee Tape Theory: an explanation of the political significance of the otherwise merely prurient (if that) “pee tape.”

Trump could have become “Putin’s Poodle” — as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was famously accused of being President George W. Bush’a  “Poodle” last decade — for reasons other than the pee tape.  One such possibility has already gotten lots of press.

Testimony by Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen — yes, the one in the role now sort of occupied by Rudy Giuliani — suggests that what Trump really wanted from Russia was approval for a Trump Moscow hotel, rather than withholding of an incriminating video.  In that case, the hold Putin would have over him would be characterized as “extortion” — an illegal quid pro quo demand —  of which blackmail is a subcategory.  But this hypothesis of wrongful action between Trump and Moscow was first broached in the context of the pee tape, which is one of the few things that might make it seem thinkable at all.

What I think that we have to acknowledge at this point is that over the past 33 months, in a lot of parts of the world, being aligned with Russia (and usually opposed to Russia’a strategic opponent  China) has been a good way to end up on the good side of American policy.  And that raises the question: is Putin pulling Trump’s strings?  We’ll go over the specifics in the days ahead — Ukraine, Syria, India, North Korea, Brexit — but the combined story is that that the leader of the greatest geopolitical opponent of the U.S. seems to be pulling the President’s strings — and that that rather than any single event, is what the Founders had in mind when thinking of a basis for impeachment and removal from office.  (The existence of the pee tape is neither necessary nor sufficient for impeachment.)

At a minimum, it’d all wholly weird — and if that’s all there is to it then we might as well enjoy it.

This is your Weekend Open Thread, pissing you off for about a decade now.  Don’t get too degraded in your comments, or you may end up despoiled.


About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Deposed as Northern Vice Chair of DPOC in April 2014 (in violation of Roberts Rules) when his anti-corruption and pro-consumer work in Anaheim infuriated the Building Trades and Teamsters in spring 2014, who then worked with the lawless and power-mad DPOC Chair to eliminate his internal oversight. Expelled from DPOC in October 2018 (in violation of Roberts Rules) for having endorsed Spitzer over Rackauckas -- which needed to be done. None of his pre-putsch writings ever spoke for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level, nor do they now. One of his daughters co-owns a business offering campaign treasurer services to Democratic candidates and the odd independent. He is very proud of her. He doesn't directly profit from her work and it doesn't affect his coverage. (He does not always favor her clients, though she might hesitate to take one that he truly hated.) He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)