Donald Trump and Kompromat

TL;DR: There is none. Putin isn’t holding some terrible secret over Trump’s head to get him to dance to the Russian’s tune. It’s far far worse than that.

Recently Nancy Pelosi, among others, have been in the news wondering aloud (again) “You wonder, what does Putin have on Donald Trump that he always has to be beholden to him, his buddy… in vileness?” (via Newsweek). I’ll admit, in 2016 and 2017, I wondered the same thing. But I’ve since decided I don’t really believe that. First of all, I don’t think Trump is the kind who can keep secrets himself of that level. All of the help he enlists to protect his secrets seems incompetent and flawed, and of course, he himself has no filter. Second, this would be the biggest story of the past decade so you’d expect at least some hint in major publications. Since 2016, the Democrats have controlled both the Presidency and both houses of Congress, and that’s included both investigatory and oversight capacities. Would no one have given in to the temptation to leak — from either a sense of noble patriotic duty or a need to inflate their own importance?

But the overwhelming reason I don’t believe Putin is using damaging information to get Trump to do his bidding is… Putin doesn’t need it. Donald Trump isn’t some semi-tragic figure pressed into Russian service by dint of his flawed nature or sordid past. Donald Trump is a willing and happy participant. I doubt Putin is sending Trump messages, because he doesn’t need to. Left to his own devices, Donald Trump will single-handedly trash American institutions, American alliances, the American economy, and our standing in the world. There is little, if anything, that Putin could have wanted from Trump that exceeds what Trump did for him unbidden.

Donald Trump is a small, small man, a coward of the first water. Deathly afraid of his own powerlessness, he puffs himself up and struts and squawks. Being a coward, he finds himself drawn to the sort of tough man he wishes he was… he admires thugs and dictators because he imagines that this is what power is: The ability to break heads. Idolizing violent men he yearns for the approval of those who act without restrain, while he chafes under any and all rule systems … even the one that handed him a life of wealth beyond any merit. He smashes rules and undermines norms because he feels them wrapped around him, rendering him impotent. From that position of psychological weakness, he can’t but help worshipping crooks and murderers, of whom Vladimir Putin is the ne plus ultra, the apotheosis of the abyss.

Putin doesn’t need to issue instructions to Donald Trump and he doesn’t need kompromat to force Trump to do his bidding. Like any good lap dog, Trump senses his master’s desires and scurries to satisfy them without requiring explicit instruction. Trump isn’t a mole and he isn’t a Manchurian candidate. He’s a willing stooge, and he’s too dumb to even realize it.


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