Projection… or Just Out Of Ideas So They Need To Reboot Old Debunked Ones?
President Trump is “an unwitting agent” of Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to the retired Army officer and former National Security Council official at the center of the Ukraine impeachment controversy.
“President Trump should be considered to be a useful idiot and a fellow traveler, which makes him an unwitting agent of Putin,” Alexander Vindman told the Atlantic.
Vindman, who testified against the president after listening to his phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, defended his denunciation of Trump as a necessary corrective to the president’s desire for Zelensky “to conduct a corrupt investigation” into Joe Biden in the midst of the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries. Yet he stopped short of endorsing the oft-repeated Democratic suspicions that Putin has illicit influence over Trump.
“He has aspirations to be the kind of leader that Putin is, and so he admires him. He likes authoritarian strongmen who act with impunity, without checks and balances. So he’ll try to please Putin,” Vindman suggested. “In the Army we call this ‘free chicken,’ something you don’t have to work for — it just comes to you. This is what the Russians have in Trump: free chicken.”
Putin’s presumed hold on Trump has been a consistent theme of Democratic critiques of the president’s posture toward Russia, such as his willingness to give credence to Putin’s denial of responsibility for the 2016 election interference when the two leaders met in Helsinki in 2016. State Department officials have countered that the Trump administration has enacted aggressive and punitive policies to counter Russian aggression.
Still, Trump’s rhetoric has allowed the rumors to persist throughout federal investigations into the 2016 election interference and the Ukraine scandal. Veteran journalist Bob Woodward’s forthcoming book about the Trump administration, Rage, includes the claim that Trump’s first director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, a former Republican senator from Indiana, had “reservations” about Trump’s independence from Putin despite a lack of evidence.