As the Summit Arrives, Keep in Mind that Putin Manages Trump with Carrots and Sticks

As I laid out last week, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post. 

In my post revealing that I went to the FBI with information about someone who played a significant role in Russia’s attack on US elections, I revealed that the person sent me a text less than 15 hours after polls closed indicating Trump had ordered Mike Flynn to start working on Syrian issues.

Both Jared Kushner’s public statement and Mike Flynn’s anonymous confidant’s comments corroborate that Trump focused on Syria immediately after the election. I have taken from that that conceding to Russian plans to leave Bashar al-Assad in place is one of the payoffs Trump owed Putin for help winning the election.

For that reason, I want to look at the Shadow Brokers Don’t Forget Your  Base post, posted on April 9, 2017, just three days after Trump retaliated against Syria for a chemical weapons attack on civilians. It was the first post after Shadow Brokers had announced he was going away on January 12 (which, I now realize, was the day after the Seychelles meeting set up a back channel with Russia through Erik Prince). It preceded by days the Lost in Translation post, which released powerful NSA hacking tools that would lead directly to the WannaCry malware attack in May. And while the Don’t Forget Your Base post did release files, it was mostly about messaging.

That messaging included a bunch of things. Among other things (such as that Trump shouldn’t have fired Steve Bannon and should refocus on his racist domestic policies), the post argues that Trump should just own up to Russia helping Trump win the election.

Your Supporters:

  • Don’t care what is written in the NYT, Washington Post, or any newspaper, so just ignore it.
  • Don’t care if you swapped wives with Mr Putin, double down on it, “Putin is not just my firend he is my BFF”.
  • Don’t care if the election was hacked or rigged, celebrate it “so what if I did, what are you going to do about it”.

It talks about what the people who got Trump elected expect.

The peoples whose voted for you, voted against the Republican Party, the party that tried to destroying your character in the primaries. The peoples who voted for you, voted against the Democrat Party, the party that hates, mocks, and laughs at you. Without the support of the peoples who voted for you, what do you think will be happening to your Presidency? Without the support of the people who voted for you, do you think you’ll be still making America great again?

It claims that embracing Russian foreign policy will make America great.

TheShadowBrokers isn’t not fans of Russia or Putin but “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” We recognize Americans’ having more in common with Russians than Chinese or Globalist or Socialist. Russia and Putin are nationalist and enemies of the Globalist, examples: NATO encroachment and Ukraine conflict. Therefore Russia and Putin are being best allies until the common enemies are defeated and America is great again.

And it argues (in a thoroughly muddled description of what happened) that Trump shouldn’t have bombed Syria.

Respectfully, what the fuck are you doing? TheShadowBrokers voted for you. TheShadowBrokers supports you. TheShadowBrokers is losing faith in you. Mr. Trump helping theshadowbrokers, helping you. Is appearing you are abandoning “your base”, “the movement”, and the peoples who getting you elected.

Good Evidence:

#1 — Goldman Sach (TheGlobalists) and Military Industrial Intelligence Complex (MIIC) cabinet
#2 — Backtracked on Obamacare
#3 — Attacked the Freedom Causcus (TheMovement)
#4 — Removed Bannon from the NSC
#5 — Increased U.S. involvement in a foreign war (Syria Strike)


Because from theshadowbrokers seat is looking really bad. If you made deal(s) be telling the peoples about them, peoples is appreciating transparency. But what kind of deal can be resulting in chemical weapons used in Syria, Mr. Bannon’s removal from the NSC, US military strike on Syria, and successful vote for SCOTUS without change rules?


Mr Trump, we getting it. You having special empathy for father whose daughter is killed. We know this is root cause for anti-illegal immigrant policy. Illegal immigrant shoot man’s daughter in San Francisco. Now is Syrian man daughter killed by chemical gas. We agree its needless tragedy. But tragedies happening everyday and wars endangers all the children not just Syrian.

There is, admittedly, a lot going on here, even ignoring that it sounds like a batshit insane rant.

But is also that case that Shadow Brokers had gone away in the transition period. And then shortly after Trump bombed Syria, he came back, and very quickly released tools he had threatened to release during the transition period. The release of those tools did significant damage to the NSA (and its relations with Microsoft and other US tech companies) and led directly to one of the most damaging malware attacks in history.

It is my opinion that Russia manages Trump with both carrots — in the form of election year assistance and promises of graft — and sticks — in this case, in the form of grave damage to US security and to innocent people around the world.

And Trump is poised to head into a meeting with Vladimir Putin on Monday — showing no embarrassment about the proof laid out yesterday that without Putin, Trump wouldn’t have won the election — to discuss (among other things) a deal on Syria.

Meanwhile, Trump’s own Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, says the lights are blinking red like they were in advance of 9/11.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats raised the alarm on growing cyberattack threats against the United States, saying the situation is at a “critical point” and coming out forcefully against Russia.

“The warning signs are there. The system is blinking. It is why I believe we are at a critical point,” Coats said, addressing the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC, on Friday.

“Today, the digital infrastructure that serves this country is literally under attack,” he said.
Coats compared the “warning signs” to those the United States faced ahead of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Rather than doing the things to prepare for an attack, Trump has virtually stood down, firing his very competent cyber czar and providing no order to take more assertive steps to prepare for an attack.

This is why I came forward two weeks ago to talk about how quickly someone involved in the election attack learned of Trump’s policy shift on Syria. I believe Trump is cornered — has allowed himself to be cornered. And in spite of everything, Trump is prepared to go alone into a meeting on Monday with Vladimir Putin — the guy wielding both carrots and sticks against Trump — and make a deal.

Everyone is worried that Putin might release a pee tape. I think what Putin holds over Trump may be far more serious. And if something happens, know that there’s good reason to believe Trump brought it on the country himself, willingly.

96 replies
    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      Days before Trump meets Putin, Russia is cozying up to Iran in a big way

      https:// www . google . com/amp/s/

      [I am telling you one more time: omit the additional tracking content I have boldfaced here. Next time it happens I will yank this to the trash bin. /~Rayne]

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      Rayne, the URL was actually ok. Just amp and google. No tracking info. Yes, it is not always obvious.

      Did not have time to chase down original link.

      Example, a youtube link may appear as trackng info.

      Is it really? maybe, maybe not. Not obvious.

        • SpaceLifeForm says:

          Yes, I could have. But it really makes no difference.

          If you go to article thru google, or just go direct, it does not matter. NSA still sees the traffic.

          The key is that there was no obviously unique URL.

          Google is not being a VPN, they are doing redirects.

          • Rayne says:

            Look, the US and UK are up a creek because a corporation did the ‘spying’ and sold out users’ data, not the NSA. If you send someone through Google through a browser and/or through an Android device, Google adds that to a person’s search history.

            Don’t lecture anybody here in comments about technology when you can’t grasp that or refuse to respect users’ privacy and security.

            • Erin McJ says:

              This is interesting to me – do you have a reference where I can read about this tracking stuff, what adulterations to look for, etc?

              • SpaceLifeForm says:


                [Note that the tracking info is normally found from the ‘?’ to the end of the URL Some sites need the ? parameters to actually reach the proper content. Youtube for example. Cleaning the URL usually means deleting the ‘?’ to the end of the URL. But that would not work for a Youtube link]


                [Only Google and Cloudflare as CDNs (Content Delivery Networks) provide AMP caching. Using AMP not only improves performance to user, it also prevents XSS (Cross Site Scripting attacks).]

                [Using AMP does not mean that your traffic can not be watched. But if you are just reading a webpage, where it comes from is not that important. In fact, you likely never even know where it came from (in terms of geophysical server location). But once the user interacts with the website (ex: form submission), then one is no longer using AMP at that point anyway. The user would be directly talking to the origin server]

                [Using google AMP, you know that it will be fast and as secure as possible. If you do not use google AMP, it *may* go thru Cloudflare. Anything else is *LESS* secure and possibly slower]

              • Rayne says:

                Don’t make the choice between Corporate Evil Tracking A versus Corporate Evil Tracking B for others.

                We’re done with this point effective right now.

  1. Trip says:

    Not a particularly comforting thought, Ms. Wheeler. But I don’t think Trump GAF about everyone (or anyone). The threat would need to be closer to home for him, methinks.

    • cat herder says:

      Agree. No evidence up to now that he gives half a wet shit about US security or, especially, innocent people around the world – unless your definition of ‘innocent people’ includes only autocrats, dictators, Nazis, and oligarchs.

      If Putin threatened to Novichok all the oligarchs that have been laundering money through Trump properties and keeping Prez Reality Show afloat, that might be an effective stick. Cut off the money. He’d respond to that.

  2. Bob Conyers says:

    This duplicates the way Mafia bosses used to operate. They didn’t take over a business by threatening to kill the owner – that might drive him to run to the police.

    They would start slow with some easy money, then later ask for a favor for somehing small but illegal, with a veiled threat and a promise of a payoff, and see how easily the target would buckle.

    Over time the demands would grow, the threats would be carried out on occassion, and while the payouts would shrink they would never go away completely. The point was to humiliate the target but keep him complicit so that he would never dare to go to the police, and would often identify wih the mob boss even more than the boss’s actual business partners.

    Yeah, that’s Trump.

    • Trip says:

      Sounds about right. I think it could cause colossal damage to everyone (overall retribution, but Trump doesn’t care). I think it’s more about blowing over his house of cards.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I think that’s right.  I would say at this point, Trump has swallowed the bait hook, line and sinker.  All Vlad has to do is use that judo master’s grip and those bare-chested muscles and reel in.

      Were Trump or top members of his team to fight back in a serious way, Trump would discover that that pleasant tasting bait is riven with hooks and that they have barbs.  Resisting hard would tear out his gullet.

      Loan funds would evaporate, his businesses would become falling dominoes, the electoral help that benefited Trump would now help Democrats to topple key Republican seats, and evidence of Trump’s crimes would suddenly become more plentiful and easier to find.  Even a win has a limited lifespan.  And chaos is just as good for Vlad as a win.

      Trump would do anything to avoid that outcome.  The Dems will have to help him decide he should take one for the team, because the option of retiring peacefully to a new Trump Tower Moscow, with ready access to money laundered in half a dozen tax havens, is probably not in the cards.

  3. Bittersweet says:

    This is very scary Marcy. Thank you for your hard work, dedication and tenacity! It was awesome to see you with Chris Hayes last night…makes me hopeful that some are listening to you.

    Stay safe.

  4. Rayne says:

    This bit right here:

    Mr Trump, we getting it. You having special empathy for father whose daughter is killed. 

    This is a veiled threat, IMO. The father-daughter angle is one to which more than one co-conspirator might respond — Paul Manafort comes to mind.

    So do some other very ugly things.

    • emptywheel says:

      I actually don’t think that’s what that is. I know it looks like it. But I really really don’t think it is.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I suspect that threatened disclosures of things that could topple the Trump empire and his presidency would be a stick sufficient to make Mr. Trump move the Russian cart down the road. And it would produce years of chaos that would be almost as good as a win for Vlad.

      Trump cares only about himself.  He defines himself via money and status.  They are how he protects his person and his ego from a harsh reality.  I don’t think Vlad need threaten anything else to get what he wants.

  5. Keith Gargus says:

    I agree with your last paragraph.  The ‘pee-tape’ is a red herring, even if true, it is manageable in the trump era.  No, the kompramat is much greater than that.  My guess is it’s decades of involvement with organized crime, that the entire trump enterprise is now a shell-front for the Russian mob.

  6. J R in WV says:

    This Shadow Brokers guy is news to me, and I’ve been compulsively following the Trump debacle since mid-2016.

    The quote is obviously written by someone(s) who’s birth language is not English, but who knows English pretty well. Someone who does not care for Democracy nor America at all, who is satisfied with violence and threats as a way of life. Fortunately there are competent counter intelligence folks working hard to locate such vipers.

    I’m a little astonished that someone seeking news about our current ongoing war has yet to learn about Shadow Brokers, perhaps I just forgot the name?

    Happy Bastille Day, all, listen to the words of the La Marseillaise, which celebrates freedom and joy~!!~

  7. Eutectic says:

    The Shadow Brokers are an interesting aside for me given how flagrent they’ve been and how little seems to be known about them (publicly). They actually tried auctioning off the NSA exploits at first but ended up just releasing them.

    The way the Shadow Brokers write may well be them trying to evade being identified by writing style analysis.

  8. harpie says:

    Kyle Griffin just reported, from AP:

    Ex-Nebraska Democratic congressman Brad Ashford says Russian agents hacked into his campaign emails in 2016, a few months before he narrowly lost to a Republican challenger. [AP] […] Ashford, who lost his seat to Republican Don Bacon by 3,464 votes, said hackers obtained all of his campaign’s email correspondence with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He said he was notified of the breach in the summer of 2016 by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi’s office and was told that the Russians were likely responsible. […]

    This is something about his record since:

    Tracking Congress In The Age Of Trump An updating tally of how often every member of the House and the Senate votes with or against the president.

    1] Trump score How often Bacon votes in line with Trump’s position 97.6% 2] Trump plus-minus Difference between Bacon’s actual and predicted Trump-support scores:+26.1

  9. cfost says:

    I’m very interested in the list of what DT supporters don’t care about. What foreigners see, that Americans don’t necessarily see, is the political tribalism that has decayed into moral and intellectual laziness. Voters are placing Party over country, too, despite what they see with their own eyes. So for a Trump supporter, who never wanted to be annoyed with the truth anyway, it is an easy jump to, “if Trump likes Russia, then I like Russia too.”

    Russians may not have been the first to notice this phenomenon, but they have apparently been trying to capitalize on this American weakness for some time. Putin certainly has the desire, in the same way that Hitler had the desire to accept a surrender in a certain train car as an icon of revenge and restored honor. Trump’s pride, arrogance, ignorance and indebtedness made him an easy mark many years ago.

  10. Rusharuse says:

    Maybe Putin and the Shads are threatening to create a “Lonesome” Rhodes moment for Donny Dumfuk.

  11. Wm. Boyce says:

    ” What foreigners see, that Americans don’t necessarily see, is the political tribalism that has decayed into moral and intellectual laziness. Voters are placing Party over country, too, despite what they see with their own eyes. ”

    Indeed- a nation of idiots. It remains to be seen if we can pull ourselves out of it. And many people don’t even bother voting, much less informing themselves. That the creature got close enough to steal it is indicative of a corrupt, decrepit elective process. (See the work of Greg Palast if you don’t believe it was stolen.) I will be most interested in Mr. Mueller’s concluding his investigation, but voter suppression works at least as well if not a hundred times better than hacking in changing election results to the ruling classes’ liking.

  12. BobS says:

    Ms. Wheeler, I appreciate your writings on Trump/Russia, although I have to confess that as a casual obsessive on the subject I’m not able to follow everywhere you lead. Despite my inability to grasp every detail, I’m pretty persuaded by your argument as well as a couple of more easy to understand (for me) details- the consistent evasiveness/prevarication/lying of Team Trump, and ‘cui bono?’.
    All that being said, I was at consortiumnews earlier tonight reading an article by Joe Lauria in which his argument is pretty much 180 opposite yours. I don’t know whether or not you know Mr. Lauria, but I thought it might be interesting to have you two debate the issue online (I made the same suggestion at consortiumnews but my comment was rejected by the moderator). Any chance of something like that happening?

  13. Willis Warren says:

    “destroy the nanny state”

    This is the strongest evidence I’ve ever seen that the Russians are backing the ancap (libertarian) movements. Jesus Christ

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      There is no “nanny state”.  The phrase is persistent propaganda, designed to persuade people not to demand that the government they organize and pay for act on their behalf.  Nor would it be right, claims this propaganda, for any self-standing individual to accept government acting on their behalf.  Bullshit.

      Government acting on behalf of its citizens is precisely what people organize their government to do.

      Then there’s the overwhelming hypocrisy.  Businesses and wealthy families spend billions every year lobbying government to do their bidding, to subsidize their losses and their business risks, to excuse them from paying a fair share of government’s costs, and to dissuade government from acting on anyone else’s behalf.  Those lobbying costs are a small fraction of what they receive in return.

      Businesses and wealthy families have no trouble accepting government favors.  No trouble at all.  They would consider government to be failing in its duty if it didn’t help them out.  It’s what they pay servants to do.

  14. Dantes342 says:

    Marcy, this is obviously getting pretty scary, but it makes a lot of sense.  The question of what leverage Putin has over whom is one I’ve pondered a lot, especially when thinking about the American Media, from Fox News to Glenn Greenwald (who I’m DYING to know your thoughts on).

    The extremes of denial and obfuscation that so many in the political media seem willing to go to are almost baffling to me.  Do you think there’s an actual influence/blackmailing campaign in the media, or is it just good old-fashioned partisan hysteria?

  15. Rusharuse says:

    Most of what I read on this site is way over my head, but I’m pretty good when it comes to tone, sombre is the vibe now, something has spooked Ms Wheeler and that worries me greatly.

    Everyone is worried that Putin might release a pee tape. I think what Putin holds over Trump may be far more serious. And if something happens, know that there’s good reason to believe Trump brought it on the country himself, willingly.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The universe of what Putin and his oligarchs might hold over Trump is considerable. An embarrassing video of the president frolicking with Russian prostitutes and throwing epithets at Mr. Obama would be the least problematic of them.

      We’ve discussed before that one of the most likely things they have is hard evidence that Trump committed major financial crimes.  His businesses might well be fronts for global money laundering, Scotland’s Trump Turnberry golf club being the largest conflict diamond among them.

      Disclosing that would end everything: Trump’s presidency, wealth and empire.  His legacy would be political pillage and jail time for himself and the children who were officers and decision makers in his enterprise.

      Trump would give Putin anything to avoid that.  Putin could take anything if he promised the Don he would be safe.

      • Valley girl says:

        @earl  I’m struggling as to how to frame my thoughts here, so they make sense, and so they don’t come off as an “attack” (tried to find a better word) on your useful comment.  imho, of course Trump’s businesses are fronts for global money laundering.  No “might well be” about it.  My view, fwiw, is that Trump will be brought down by his money laundering activities.  Brought down by the Mueller investigation.  I don’t see how Putin can protect him from that.  But maybe you have a much more complex scenario in mind?

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          I believe that Trump’s “empire” has been built on financial crimes.  For twenty years, no major bank other than the suspect Deutsche Bank would lend to him, because of Trump’s six bankruptcies and his ability to lose money, even in the casino business.  His financing for two decades has come overwhelmingly from oligarchs.

          His real estate projects look like a string of money laundering outlets, Turnberry most prominent among them.  Tax and accounting frauds accompany that like butter on bread.

          It would explain Trump’s continuing to hold onto his businesses while in office, his failure to disclose his tax returns, his affinity for Russians, in general, and Vlad, in particular, and his desperate willingness to appease Vlad personally and through changing USG policy, when to most Republicans, Vlad would be the easiest foreigner to hate.  It would explain the ease with which Trump attempts to destroy the many alliances that have built post-war America, because they restrain Putin’s desires.

          Trump is legitimately afraid that Robert Mueller’s investigation could bring all that to light and bring him down.  But more immediately, Putin can continue to help Trump, or turn on him – because he’s no longer playing ball or to cause chaos and fear.  He could reveal what he knows in ways as artful as was his campaign to help him.  Carrot and stick, with American foreign policy as the prize.

          But I can’t prove that, which is why I said, “might”.

          • Valley girl says:

            Thanks.  Okay, now I understand why you used “might”- b/c you can’t prove it, and of course, neither can I.  My belief, based on a lot of evidence I’ve read (which you obviously have read also) is the same as yours re: Trump’s financial crimes and how he built his empire.

            Thank you for your take on what Putin can/could do more immediately.  Very helpful, and makes sense now that you’ve laid it out.  Obviously, I had a big blind spot there.

    • TheraP says:

      I’m with you – as far as comprehending the emotional message without being able to follow all the details. My Trust is in Patriot Marcy’s repeated “alerts” reminds me of Paul Revere with his dead serious message, coupled with those (impossible to tune out) National Weather Service “digital noises” which precede their TV warnings.

      Marcy’s messages, along with Trump’s strange behavior vis a vis Putin, tell me Trump, the sadist, has met his match. He obviously minds his Master. While covering that with obfuscating nonsense: One message meant for the Master. Another for the Rubes. That’s what Trump is doing.

      To be honest, I’m not sure my Alarm Meter can go any higher than it’s been for some time, going back before the election. Then the “election” and, god help us, the Sin-auguration. It’s been Sin(!) ever since – in Trumplandia.

      But the mind, protecting us from total “alarm” on a continual basis, ‘adjusts’ (as if this were normal). So Ms Patriot’s “midnight rides” continue. (Thank you, Marcy!)

      We all need to protect ourselves as best we can, while heeding the abundant evidence that “this is (seriously!) not normal.”

      I wish we had a full court press of world experts and volunteers, comparable to the amazing wealth of assistance that saved the trapped boys and their coach in Thailand, coupled with worldwide prayers or positive thoughts. Even the rescuers were stunned that no one died and that nothing failed until “just after” the rescue concluded when “everything failed” (pumps, the weather, etc.).

      If only the same level of “concern” were focused – like lasers – from billions of people on this looming disaster Putin is orchestrating. Even if you can’t follow all Marcy’s historical evidence and sleuthing hints, we see the abundant effects all over the place. Put that together and… dear Lord!

      • xmidway says:

        I’m sure no one doubts Ms Wheeler’s patriotism nor the importance of the work she does, but I find this hero worship language more than a bit uncomfortable.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The logical extension to that is that this Republican Party will have brought it on the country, intentionally and willingly, with full knowledge of where it might lead.

      Top Goopers are exceptionally well placed in DC’s  political, military and intelligence grapevines.  They know exactly what Trump is.  They voluntarily jumped on his band wagon.  They are riding point, rear and protecting the whole wagon train.  They are all in for Trump.  Whatever Trump does or sells, they’ve already bought it.  He and it are on them.

      • posaune says:

        Agree strongly.   But when will a majority of voters realize this?   I can only hope that Bacon from NE-2 becomes the real-life example of Russian quid pro quo.   His congressional voting stats (cited above) are so scary.

  16. Kick the darkness says:

    As the possible scale of this emerges, it sure does start to feel like a goal is to frame us inside of one of Surkov’s stories. A scary thing is if Trump’s not the real protagonist of the story, just a disposable character who is gone by the end of chapter 1. That would be bad.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      One of Manafort’s “accomplishments” was to insist on and get Mike Pence as Veep, a guy so whacky that even conservative Indiana didn’t want him.

      Pence is not just a Dan Quayle, a rich, pretty, empty suit who is just there to make the president look smart and energetic by comparison.  Pence is there because he’s a whacky ueber-conservative and because his makeup makes him so prostrate, servile and willing to listen to his master’s voice. Mike Pence is Plan B.

      • posaune says:

        earl @ 8:12    Ugh.  Sadly, I think you’re right.   Along with “Mother.” Another Ugh.

      • Kick the darkness says:

        Bobblehead Pence.  Wish Molly Ivins had made it long enough to have a go at him.

  17. getouttahere says:

    Pence fits in “nicely” (sorry) with Putin’s promotion of Russian Orthodox Christianity.

  18. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Journalist: Mr. Trump, what is your goal for your meeting with Mr. Putin?

    Trump: I’ll let you know after the meeting. Nothing bad’s gonna come out of it.

    Because the Russians are so polite, they will accept the “American” proposal that Mr. Trump meet alone with Mr. Putin, with only Mr. Putin’s “translator” also in attendance. Nope, nothing bad’s gonna happen.

    And what president would not prepare for a one-on-one meeting with Vlad by playing golf two days in a row and having a short “briefing” call with the Israeli president, who can tell him all he needs to about everything.

  19. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I realize that Scottish links courses are notorious for narrow fairways, deep bunkers, and slippery greens.  But of all these pics of the Don at Turnberry, not too many show his ball in the fairway.  He should have borrowed Mr. Goldfinger’s caddy.

  20. Pete says:

    I freely admit that I can usually follow along though the apparent breadth and depth of what is going on is staggering and that Marcy can do what she does leaves me in awe. And many here obviously have a very deep grasp of the forest(s) and the trees.

    With all that is apparent some more relevant than others (I’m gonna mix some “metaphors” in this soup: PutinCo has Trump by the testicles, Mueller with card(s) yet to play, oversight committees grandstanding and threating Rosenstein, Trump dissing allies and embracing though guys, tariffs, add in remove what you like…

    You game theorists – what are the most likely paths and outcomes wrt to Trump’s survival.  Shudder that may include probability of a second Trump term.

    Ima going to watch me some futbol now.  Go Croatia.


  21. Erin McJ says:

    There’s something I fundamentally don’t understand. Where does a guy who’s never been anything but a con artist learn how to play the mark instead? He has no self control, no humility – how is he smart enough to admit to himself that he is owned? I just can’t get inside his head.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      He’s not smart enough.  That’s the problem.  Apart from his greed, ignorance, willfulness, and overwhelming narcissism.

    • TheraP says:

      Ooooh… A question I can answer! (Raising hand in class…)

      When we learn relationships, we learn both sides. We internalize both “parties” to the relationship. I would make a guess that Trump’s dad was a bully. And his mom? Likely she catered to dad. (And to Trumpie!). So picture sadomasochism: Trump knows both sides of it. He learned from Cohen too. He’s seen groveling. He’s loves groveling! So, likely, does Putin. Ergo…

      To learn way too much about this, it’s called “Object Relations” – but I’ve summarized part of it above.

      We who use empathy learned from having our feelings hurt. We did not “identify with the aggressor” but with our own feelings. And not wanting wanting others to feel that way. We know what care-taking is. How someone responds to a crying child, for example. That’s why most of the entire planet is very disturbed by Trump’s policy of separating children from parents. We learn such things very early. (Trump has admitted he struck a teacher at age 6!) I, on the other hand well recall telling myself – at age 3 – when something or someone had hurt my feelings: “Whem I grow up, I’m going to remember that “children have feelings.”

      So, encoded in our neurons are these internalized relationships, along with the sequence of actions and feelings that they entail. We all internalize them, even the worst of them. But, for normal people, the negative relationships form part of our “basic bullshit detector.” We avoid them.

      Trump ‘gravitates’ to negative relationships. (He has a detector to spot “marks” – as sociopaths do.) Also, gravitation to Strong Men. And as the Earl has said above, they can sometimes be far smarter and cannier and “play”him – as we see in Putin and NK.

      • posaune says:

        Thank you, TheraP.   But will Trump ever realize he’s been played by Vlad?   what happens to Trump when and if he comes to that realization?  That he’s been bested by the bigger bully?   does he implode?   stroke out?   what’s the usual denouement?

        • TheraP says:

          I don’t think there is a “usual” outcome. Trump surely will never come out and admit his role in this. And how could there not be a conscious role for a man who micromanages his business, his campaign, and his Mal-administration – to horrible disasters?

          Someone as paranoid and self-confident (to a lunatic degree) as he could certainly decompensate (go stark raving mad). But I’d guess those around him would seek to hide even that just as much as they now seek to hide his daily obsession, tirades and “god knows what else.” But what’s surprising here is a paranoid individual so bent on currying favor. Then again, his paranoid fears have come true in Vlad! He’s so self-obsessed and delusional that he likely just tunes everything out – except himself and his Delusions of Grandeur.

          To be honest, it once interested me to try and understand this sick sociopath, riddled with psychopathology. He’s a Psych Textbook and a Bar Exam wrapped up in one tangled bundle. I’m worn out trying to wrap my mind around it. People will be writing books for centuries. If the world isn’t blown to smithereens during his tenure. Or the nation.

          I’m not placing bets on any of it! It’s that bad, in my view. I can’t believe it’s happening. But it is!

      • Trip says:

        I can’t tell you whether this true, but…

        There was another article I read a while ago, (didn’t save) that after she gave birth to Donald, she was either sick or had postpartum depression, and really spent no time with him.

        His father supposedly paid attention but was a rigid asshole nazi-like bully.

        From one anecdote I read, (I think it was Junior?), Trump was picking up his son from college to go to a baseball game, and when the son wasn’t dressed in a suit, he hit him. So it gives some insight into (all of) his own kids, who he wasn’t all that interested in, who were basically raised alone by their mothers, until they became useful to the Donald (as adults).

        • TheraP says:

          There are so many intriguing questions, Trip. We may never know the answers to his past. So better to leave that to history. Try to let go, if you can, of the unanswerables.

          We need to focus on the now, whatever facts we can glean, whatever we personally can do about them (nor not), and, especially, we need to take care of ourselves as well.

        • cat herder says:

          The suit-thing was Barron, not Junior. So it wasn’t all that long ago. Such a strong, positive role model! Hey I know, let’s let him run the richest, most powerful nation in human history. Sounds awesome.

  22. dimmsdale says:

    For a long time I’ve resisted projecting ahead of “what we know currently,” but the concern expressed by Marcy and Nick Akerman on that Chris Hayes segment, plus the collective tenor of this comment thread, and especially EoH’s comments on the pervasiveness of Republican thugs (even if in pockets) at all levels of government, has somewhat altered my perhaps naive assumption that somehow, however bad the facts turn out to be, the nation will survive and recover.
    I suspect now that there may well be some sort of titanic struggle in the offing; forces of totalitarianism (substitute your own favorite word) operating at the top of all our givernmental instututions, a media perhaps bought (or neutered) in ways we don’t yet know, a military riven by conflicting interpretations of “preserve protect and defend,” and vast sums of money (Russian and right-wing American) available to finance…well, whatever!
    I wonder if there’s anyone on “our side” in a position to respond to the above (and I don’t know who that might be TBH) who is gaming this out, preparing countermoves?
    Having now thoroughly scared myself, I’m off to the gym. Fortunately, they have punching bags.

  23. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Elizabeth de la Vega makes two important points on twitter about criminal charges. Agency can be and often is mutual. Frankie could be Johnnie’s agent and Johnnie could be Frankie’s agent for the purposes of committing or completing a crime.

    It is not an arcane principle. Partnerships are built on mutual agency and mutual vicarious liability. By law, each partner can bind the others in contract and make them jointly responsible for civil wrongs.

    De la Vega points out that under federal criminal law, someone can commit a crime by doing it or by causing someone else to do it. Causing someone to commit computer fraud and abuse – Russia, bring me those stolen computer files, or publish them to my benefit – is as much a crime as causing someone to deliver a truckload of cocaine to Mar a Lago.

    “As Mueller’s RU GRU indictment demonstrates – to any clueless person who did not already know – computer hacking and stealing of info is a federal crime. Therefore, under both aiding & abetting and agency theories, Trump’s urging another to do these acts may also be a crime.

    “…In legal effect, Trump’s “Russia, if you’re listening” invite was no different than saying, “El Chapo, if you’re listening, please deliver 8 tons of cocaine to Mar A Lago.”

    Performance, added to the request, and acceptance of that performance takes us outside the realm of, “I was just kidding,” however, much Trump might want to play Farley Granger to Vladimir’s Robert Walker.

  24. Rapier says:

    The Grand Bargain is a feint accompli. By election time 2016 Russia had turned the tide against the various jihadi groups. Crimea has been a Russian protectorate since 1783 and Ukraine from Kiev on East has been Russia since there was the idea of Russia 600 years ago. Khrushchev, from Ukraine decided to make it a sort of erzatz independent country of it’s own in 1954. A polite fiction. If Putin would have stood by and let the last two go, Ukrainian nationalists who are part NATO partners and part unreconstructed Nazi’s it would have destroyed him politically. It would be like a President letting Mexico or Canada allowing China to build massive military bases there. I can’t think of a better analogy. Cripes, the US reserves the ‘right’ via the Monroe doctrine, to destroy a PLA outhouse erected on the tip of Patigonia. while Kiev is 500 miles from Moscow.

    I am sure most will object to all or parts of this summary but Hillary and her crew of Neocons, ie, Victoria Fuck the EU Keegan would have had no options besides harsh words for Russia as opposed to Trump’s ass kissing. Unless they were willing to get into direct warfare with Russia and risk nuclear war. Remember the 50 ‘diplomats’ open letter to the NY TImes in summer 16 urging a no fly zone in Syria. A guarantee we would shoot down Russian planes. Again, a situation that would lock Putin into fighting back or the collapse of his political power. Which was the idea all along. Regime change in Moscow. Where one can suppose they dreamed that a ‘free market’ leader would let JPM and GS have offices in Moscow and put Russia up for sale. Or something like that.

    It’s all quite a mess and terribly sad and frustrating because among the ironies is that Putin is essentially a fascist and for sure the social messaging war they are engaged in is meant to stoke fascists in the US, and it worked. I suppose that’s a better outcome than nuclear war because the fascists can be defeated. Which is the job of the IC as far as I’m concerned. Being an old man who since about the time that 70% of Americans wanted John Calley pardoned figured out the only real fight in America was always about keeping fascism at bay.

    This post should probably not see the light of day but occasionally some historical perspective is good to have. There are damn few good guys in this story. Perhaps the somewhat naive liberals in Maidan Square.

    • Trip says:

      You mean William Calley, maybe?

      I think everyone put too much stock in the “Putin will start a nuclear world war if Clinton wins” narrative. That was part of the scare propaganda. He was fighting dirty, even with Trump in office. That’s why they had the Warner mercenaries attacking the US in Syria (without the Russian people even knowing).

      Putin is a fascist. Period.

      Putin is a globalist, but with dirty money stolen from the Russian people. There is no such thing as a “Free Market”. Monopolies and oligarchs across the globe control and manipulate the market. What country controlled a region historically is supposed to be the determinant of modern day control? Well, then the UK should be running the US, or perhaps the Native Americans, and other parts by Mexico.

      As far as neocons, are you serious? Look at Trump’s pack of goons.

      I’m a little lost on your what your point is.

  25. Mulder says:

    If you haven’t listened to Marcy on OTM please do. It’s very good. She warns about the danger to everyone and consequently partisanship is at this point, beside the point.

    I’ve subsequently spent a couple hours retracing my and her steps in past posts related to the Shadow Brokers, NSA and all things cyber related. I cannot fathom how she keeps it all in her head.

    This bit from one (WaPo 12/10/16) of her many linked articles struck me, “At one point during the discussion in the secure room, a Republican lawmaker turned to his Democratic colleagues and said the back-and-forth suggested that “Republicans are from Mars, Democrats are from Venus,” according to an aide who was present, adding: “We’re looking at the same evidence and drawing very different conclusions.”

    After tracking back, it does make a lot more sense to me now and amplify my state of alarm. The Solar System is blinking Red.

    And as an entirely self serving footnote, I also came across Marcy’s post that reminded of Mitch McConnell and his role as head Martian in the Sept. deliberations. He is a ratfuking blojobber.

  26. cfost says:

    Seems like a good time to re-up my assertion that Trump has been summoned to a meeting with Putin tomorrow in order to receive instructions and get a psyops “tune up.” Be prepared for a photo (released by the Kremlin, of course) of Trump with a funny look on his face, as if he just woke up. Do not expect a transcript, or if there is one, a transcript that bears any resemblance to the actual words exchanged.

    • Rusharuse says:

      I would like at the very least an update on the impenetrable Cyber Defence unit. I mean where is it at? Why is it on the back burner? Hope its not a funding issue. Here we are spending 4% of GDP propping up a bunch of beer swilling, brat munching, burping, farting Europeans yet we can’t find a few bucks for the really important stuff. Come Monday Trump needs to sort this out . .

      • cat herder says:

        The Cyber thingie is already in effect and working perfectly. See, how it goes is, we give Vlad all our passwords, and he keeps it all safe for us.

    • Palli says:

      or we can-at our peril pretend it was “feint” accompli   

      something feigned;  specifically : a mock blow or attack on or toward one part in order to distract attention from the point one really intends to attack  (Merriam-Webster)

  27. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Donald Trump says that his bff Vlad is a “competitor” he can get along famously with, but the EU is a “foe”.

    Trump can’t resist shouting the obvious from the rooftop and then saying, “So what? I’m in the tank for Vlad and ain’t nuffink you can do about it.”

  28. Aneela says:

    Wondering what the experts are saying about the person(s) behind ShadowBrokers. Clearly the writer is American, right? The foreign-sounding syntax is very strained, and unlike any syntax that non-English-speakers actually use. Plus, there is the liberal use of American culturalisms: “the grinch who stole X”; “BFF’; “get er done”, etc.

    I being from India and never hearing of grinch before coming to us. Never speaking like ‘get er done’ either.

    • lamsmy says:

      9I agree with Aneela – this is definitely a fluent English speaker trying to sound foreign. There is complex sentence structure, high level word usage, and very current phrasing (“double down” etc.) all executed perfectly, and then very simple errors with basic pronouns and dead easy verb conjugation. I have lived all over the world and listened to the constant mangling of the English language (the beauty of English being that you can still understand the speaker.) Non-native speakers just don’t sound like this.

      On another note, could the reason that the GOP lackeys fought the Page FISA issue so strongly be that they know there are a lot more of those coming down the pipeline?

  29. Andrew C. White says:

    Putin owns Trump and Co. I mean that literally. He started buying him back in the 1980’s and today owns him lock, stock, and barrel. Even if a pee tape exists it doesn’t matter. Even if it is video of him with an under aged girl it doesn’t matter. Kompromat doesn’t matter in this case. As ShadowBrokers said, his base won’t care. What Trump cares about is money. He has been living high off the hog since Putin bought him and he knows that could all come to an end if Putin says so. That is what matters to Trump. For Trump it is all about the money.

  30. Rapier says:

    I might be the only one who thought that Putin’s mention of the strong stock market under Trump, I forget the date, in January I think, was exceedingly odd. The market was flying up in January after the tax cut and then the day before the State of the Union, where a record high would have provided a sort of substantiation of Trump’s greatness, the market got kneecapped.

    Now liquidity is tightening, interest rates rising, and EM’s, Emerging Markets, and their currencies are stumbling badly.

    Well anyway. Nice stock market you’ve got there. It would be a shame if something happened to it. It should be alright. The market is in a melt up channel from last week and a continuation during the meeting would be a powerful substantiation for Trump, and Putin I guess.

  31. tatere says:

    the proof laid out yesterdaythat without Putin, Trump wouldn’t have won the election

    That’s a pretty bold claim, I don’t quite follow the chain of thought behind it? Is it a belief that the endless coverage of the hacked emails depressed Clinton voters and energized Trump voters enough to make the marginal difference?

    • TheBluePatriot says:

      Voter systems were hacked, results were hacked, voter ID’s were changed in the swing states, electoral college & state governors were compromised and got their electoral college reps to vote a certain way.

      • bmaz says:

        Well, if so, there is no substantial direct evidence of that, nor even substantial indirect evidence.

  32. TheBluePatriot says:

    I’ve not heard anyone suggest that instead of Kopromat, maybe Putin has offered Trump the one thing he has always craved … to be a real billionaire.  Maybe Putin has promised him Oligarch status, to be the richest among his oligarchs ….maybe that is the end game.

  33. Tracy says:

    About the veiled threat: fathers and daughters @Rayne and @emptywheel, it could mean any nut job, not necessarily Russians or whoever are a threat to these principals’ daughters. Also, @Bmaz, really? Did you HAVE to go there about Tiffany? It was a little disrespectful of @Rayne’s concerns/comments. And, no. I’m not a troll. So don’t go there with me, either.

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