At first, I thought the closed-door, principals-only meeting between President Trump and Vladimir Putin would be a kind of Schrodinger’s Cat thought-exercise.
The famous physics gedanken experiment states we can never know if the notional cat is either alive or dead because any observation collapses the quantum field of possibilities. Given it was to be just Trump and Putin alone in a room, I expected that we’d never hear anything even close to the truth.
The press conference after the meeting proved me wrong; it showed us precisely what happened in that room. Donald Trump sold out his country to Russia, then proudly affirmed it, live on camera. A former intelligence agency chief just asked me, “If the Russians didn’t write Trump’s talking points, how could you tell?”
Trump didn’t just do it in the privacy of his treason boudoir; he walked out to the podium and sided consistently and passionately with Putin over America’s interests. Trump publicly stated he believes Putin is more trustworthy than America’s intelligence services. He refused to condemn any of Russia’s malicious, murderous, destabilizing behavior in the world, including its obvious and proven attacks on the United States and our allies.
Before this dumbass Yalta even started, Putin held all the cards. Trump’s loyalty to Putin is so intense, and his distrust of his fellow Americans—both his advisers and our intelligence services—is so profound that he insisted on meeting with the Russian strongman behind closed doors. American national security officials, diplomats, and spies spent the weekend shitting a collective brick, begging an immovable Trump to please, please by all that is holy not sit alone in a room with the wily KGB officer turned dictator of the Russian klepto-state.
There are two big reasons why Trump wouldn’t listen. The first is his stubborn, mulish belief that he is the greatest negotiator in the history of the world and also the greatest brand. Like most Trump marketing, this is a farrago of lies, exaggerations, self-delusion, short-and-long con games, bad decorating choices, and a fake-it-’til-you-make-it, greater-fool-theory bullshit tornado.
The second, more serious reason was that Trump didn’t want anyone in the room who could compromise his legal defenses in the Mueller probe. If I were a betting man, I’d wager that American translator signed a fearsome NDA before this meeting.
Putin knew he was going to roll over Trump before he even walked into the room; while both men are experienced liars, Putin brought decades of KGB tradecraft and manipulation to the fight. He’s a wily head-gamer who rose to the top of the bloody Russian pyramid of political power. It’s worth reminding the American people for the thousandth time that the man in that room with Putin isn’t the character he played on The Apprentice.
On his best day, Trump is a dopey man-child, an egomaniacal narcissist who wears his many tells on his sleeve. Written across Trump’s soft, jowly face is a catalog of his blatantly obvious weaknesses—for flattery, money, sex, and status. He’s a walking catalog of the seven deadly sins, and even if Trump weren’t a man with a history of failed negotiations, blown deals, serial bankruptcies, rampant infidelities, wandering-cock syndrome, lousy business outcomes, and general stoogery, Putin would still be a formidable opponent.
By the end of the press conference, even Putin looked slightly embarrassed. He wanted Trump to go down in the third round like a bought-off boxer, but Trump kept laying it on thicker and thicker, swooning over the Russian leader, making winky-googly eyes, and repeating the worst tropes of Russia’s propaganda machine. Trump didn’t just roll over. He rolled over, stuck out his tongue, and begged Vladimir Putin to slap on a choke collar and rub his belly. An American president has never before abased himself like this before a foreign leader, and the horrified eyes of every American outside the Trump cult watched in horror.
Vladimir Putin is sitting on his flight back to Moscow right now laughing maniacally for one reason: His spy services have achieved the most significant single intelligence coup in world history. He has entirely, utterly, and absolutely compromised and controlled an American head of state. Putin has all the proof he needs that all of Trump’s tough-guy talk, bully bravado, and fake-alpha male posturing is an utter fraud, an impotent show for Trump’s credulous base. Trump gave him the green light to run rampant in Europe and around the world—to put his thumb on the American electoral scales in 2018 and beyond.
By the end, I almost expected Putin to demur: “No, Donald, keep Alaska. It’s fine.”
Congressional Republicans will do the usual “furrowed brows and deep concern act” while continuing to work vigorously on the Trump-Putin agenda of ending the Mueller probe, ignoring Russian attacks on our democracy and our system of government, and this president’s obvious Putinphilia. Within a few days, they’ll move on to more comic-opera hearings and press stunts about how special counsel Robert Mueller and the FBI are the real threats to America, not an intelligence campaign conducted by Putin and countenanced by Trump.
In the 2016 election, the alt-right chan-kid wank-squad popularized the word “cuck” as an expression of their contempt for the Establishment Republicans they considered deficient in courage, strength, and testosterone. It was a term of art describing a humiliation fetish of men who enjoy watching their wives with other men. I wonder how they feel today, watching their “God Emperor” bow and scrape, quivering like a bowl of aspic and making I-just-cain’t-quit-ya eyes at the Russian killer at the other podium.
Even Putin couldn’t have expected the meeting to turn out like this, with the American president capitulating passionately, obviously—and yes, it’s time to use the word—treasonously.