mead berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn bayles
No Puppet
Still Waiting for Evidence of Trump’s Russia Collusion

Amid today’s news that tensions between the U.S. and Russia are escalating in Syria—with Moscow threatening to attack American aircraft in retaliation for America’s downing of a Syrian jet—it’s worth considering the continuing failure of the “Trump is a Russian puppet!” theories to explain the administration’s approach to the world.

Over the weekend, TAI contributor Jamie Kirchick concisely laid out a description of Moscow’s relationship with the President that is far more likely than the maximalist conspiracy theories that have become mainstream in much of the liberal press. From Kirchick’s Los Angeles Times column:

Here is one scenario that explains Donald Trump’s relationship with Russia.

When the Manhattan businessman announced his presidential bid in the summer of 2015, Moscow perked up its ears. Here was a candidate arguing against America’s traditional world leadership role, who attacked American allies as scroungers, who wanted to make “America first” and whose amoral, transactional worldview rendered him an outlier among a crop of Reaganites. Here was a reality television show host whose outbursts made American politics – and, by extension, America – look like a foolish country. And here was a businessman who had dealings with some minor Russian oligarchs, whose understanding of Russia was limited to the glitz and glam on offer for big spenders in Moscow.

Combined with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s personal loathing of Hillary Clinton (owing mostly to his paranoid belief that she orchestrated protests against him in 2011), all these factors convinced the Kremlin to intervene on Trump’s behalf through a combination of hacks, leaks and disinformation.

This President is not a democracy-loving Wilsonian. His public remarks for decades show a pattern of admiration for leaders who “show strength” rather than bowing to liberal niceties. As Kirchick says, this is troubling for those who put a premium on America’s moral example and global leadership of democratic countries—but it does not mean that Trump is under Putin’s thumb, or that his foreign policy will be particularly accommodating to Russian interests.

The notion that Trump made a secret deal with Russia in exchange for their help during the election has been a very useful one for Trump’s political opponents—it has driven the President up the wall, causing him to act rashly and generate even more investigations that could bring him down. But it continues to not be supported by any credible intelligence reports or by the administration’s actions so far.

Features Icon
show comments

    Like I said before there are three different claims being made, and essentially zero, big doughnut hole for evidence.
    1. Russia hacked the actual election voting. No evidence anyone did that. None. nada.
    2. Russia indirectly interfered by releasing details of Clinton and DNC corruption. Somebody did that and that’s a good thing [unless you love corruption?] but no evidence it was Russia. Could just as easily be the mysteriously murdered Seth Rich.
    3. Trump, somehow, colluded with the Russians in doing #2. No evidence. None. Nada.

    • sacip

      1. Be patient. These things take time. But, so far at least, you’re right.
      2. Glad you at least acknowledged (implicitly, perhaps), that hacked emails and other robo activities had an impact on the eventual outcome. Two-points in such a close race really matter. As for who did it, I’m betting the whole thing being orchestrated out of the pizza basement in DC where Hillary was running her child porno ring.
      3. Personally, I don’t think Trump himself was complicit. Putin’s hatred of HRC is plenty enough reason to launch an attack on her…..he’s quite a paranoid whack job.

      • TPAJAX

        Right, and exposing corruption is a good thing. I guess the Democrats wanted people voting without all the knowledge. Sickos. Just real sick. But that’s all we know. Just as likely that Seth Rich was assassinated for it.

        • KremlinKryptonite

          And Putin does have good reason to be upset with her (and Sam Power). They pushed the UNSCRs on the Libya intervention claiming that they’d be very limited, geared towards preventing a possible bloodbath in east Libya, and that they did not seek regime change.
          Well, that turned out to be a lie. They were seeking regime change. Intervention was not so limited. And HC said “we came we saw he died” in reference to Qaddafi being killed by Islamists…her partners.

  • ——————————

    “Amoral”?…such as?….
    “Made America look foolish”?…such as?
    “Act rashly about Russia”?…such as?
    “Generate even more investigations”?…Trump is generating the investigations?…no that’s not what is going on.
    “Could bring him down”?…wishful thinking for some, but not reality….

    • D4x

      Hard to let go of moral equivalency, in that it is still somehow POTUS’ ‘rash actions’. Perhaps Russia! was looking for better optics. Today POTUS & FLOTUS welcome President Juan Carlos Varela and Mrs. Varela of Panama to the White House. Have we ever had a First Lady like this?
      Could not resist posting this. Earlier today, google’s algorithms refused to acknowledge any results of a search for “Melania Trump news”. All it took to over-ride that blatant interference with NEWS was, two hors later, this photo at UK’s Express.

      • Andrew Allison

        Haven’t you been paying attention? EVERYTHING is POTUS’s fault!

        • D4x

          Apparently Google’s malicious algorithms must also be POTUS’ fault. I do have confidence that Footwear News will prevail, in breaking those malicious algorithms. 🙂

          • Andrew Allison

            Not a chance. Haven’t you noticed that if you eliminate WaPoo and NYTrash, there’s not much left?

          • D4x

            Yes, but at least they now try to use different adjectives in their headlines & ledes. During the election, you could tell who was using same DNC talking points just from scanning.
            I was only referring to the mischief with “Melania Trump” news this morning. “No results”!

          • Andrew Allison

            Expecting any meaningful news, as opposed to attacks on the President and his family, from the US MSM is an exercise in futility. Even the BBC (just as biased but not as visible here) managed to report the exposure of the personal info of over half the US population ( and that Princess Lea was apparently an addict (

          • D4x

            Now google – image is messing with FLOTUS. Someone noticed that Vogue stopped the boycott of FL fashion in May. Even adding ‘today’ fails.
            This is beyond too creepy.

      • ——————————

        I have heard Google is bias in their search results.

        Oops, just in: US fighter just shot down armed Iranian drone in Syria.
        Russia making threats.
        Here we go!

        I think this US Russia, Iran thing is something that needs to be settled…quickly, and with extreme prejudice….

        • D4x

          Thanks for armed Iranian drone tip. It was threatening US coalition at al Tanf. A 48-hour ceasefire in Deraa had ended, with Assad+Russia bombing, and who knows what happened to the closed-door USA-Russia talks in Jordan this weekend.

          As for settling quickly? Not a chance – this has now gotten the attention of too many who want Congressional hearings and a vote to authorize the USA having boots on the ground in Syria.

          As for google? Guess I should let you search for FLOTUS images on your own. Let’s just say she should no longer wear any dresses in any color that resembles ‘nude’, like blush, or champagne.
          I am removing her rear-view image from my earlier comment.

  • Beauceron

    “this is troubling for those who put a premium on America’s moral example”
    Just as it’s troubling that those who, when it suits their purposes, chide us about America’s “moral example” and how we must not fail it, are often the very same ones who, again when it suits them, sneer condescendingly at both the very idea of morality and the notion that America has any claim to moral superiority.
    And this investigation has very little to do with Russia anymore. Russia and their hacking is just a convenient hook upon which to hang attempts to disrupt and damage Trump’s administration, and if possible remove the man no one in the deep state wanted to win.
    2016 was, in effect, a modern day peasant’s revolt. And the lords of the manor aren’t going to let that go unanswered or unpunished.

  • Isaiah6020

    I think the article pooh-pooh’s the danger for Democrats. Going back to voters saying you have done nothing but chased your own shadow around is not a good look. So far it appears worldwide investors are all-in on American economy. Stocks are up, bonds have almost recovered…. If you own assets denominated in USD, you’re in pretty good shape.

  • Do you think there was a chance that someone on his team was complicit?

  • jeburke

    Nonsense. The preliminary evidence — more than enough to justify thorough, independent investigation to establish all the facts:

    1) It is indisputable (though some Trumo die hards continue to contest it) that Russian ran a massive campaign of interference to damage Hillary and boost Trump.

    2) It is indisputable that at several points in his campaign, Trump praised the interference and cheered it on. Is that not by itself “collusion”? Doesn’t Putin have a TV set,

    3) It is indisputable that Trump spent 18 months pooh poohing any and all criticism of Putin and recent Russian aggression, praising Putin, denigrating NATO, and portraying the United States as morally on a plane with Putin’s Russis. Wink, wink, nod, nod, don’t you think?

    4) It is indisputable that a half dozen close Trump aides and friends engaged in a remarkable number of “contacts” with Russians in 2015-16 and to a man sought to conceal them.

    The line, “There is no evidence that Trump colluded with Russia,” has become the last defense of the Trumpentariat — on a par with Nixon’s “I am not a crook.”

    We shall see.

    • seattleoutcast

      I knew you would show up. Thanks for making my day 🙂

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    What destruction? This is a big nothing burger, whose only damage to the Trump Administration has been in Leftist’s minds. Rasmussen has Trump’s approval rating rising to 50% in their latest polls. American’s are demanding evidence and sneering at the MSM’s fake news.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2017 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service