We’re not sure if you’ve noticed, but Donald Trump seems to rather like Russia. Or rather, he doesn’t seem to find them to be a threat, and they can operate however they’d like. Was it a coincidence that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson got fired the day after he said that Russia was ‘clearly’ to blame for the Soviet Union nerve agent used to poison ex-double agent Sergei Skripal earlier this month?
Now, an ex-CIA director has hinted that perhaps Russia could hold something over Trump and own some potentially incriminating information about him, hence his willingness to keep them happy.
John O. Brennan, who was the director of the CIA until January 2017, (the same month that Trump came to power) was speaking on Morning Joe yesterday (21 March) and said he believes the Russians “may have something on him personally” when he was asked if he thought Trump was ‘afraid’ of Putin.
This has lead to speculation that Brennan knows Russia has something, after all, if anyone would know that information, it would be the head of the CIA, surely? When asked by the New York Times, Brennan responded:
“I do not know if the Russians have something on Donald Trump that they could use as blackmail. When asked the question, I have pointed out the perplexing submissiveness of Mr. Trump toward Mr. Putin - despite continued evidence of malign Russian activities.”
He then added “I do not know why he refuses to call out Russia; that is a question that can only be answered by Mr. Trump.”
We’re all thinking the same thing, that Brennan is perhaps referring to the alleged ’pee tape’ that made headlines just before Trump was inaugurated last year. In case you missed it, a dossier handed out to top US defence chiefs contained information that the Russian KGB had video evidence of Trump engaging in some, erm, golden showers, with prostitutes, on a visit to Moscow in 2013 - if you’ve got half an hour to spare, we highly recommend this amazing New Yorker feature on it.
This would go some way to explaining Trump’s leniency with the Russians. Although he did state that the US was ‘with the UK all the way’ in relation to the recent Salisbury poisoning, and Theresa May’s decision to expel 23 Russian agents from the UK in response to the attempted murder.
Brennan isn’t the first member of the US intelligence services to speak out against President Trump, a series of retired top members of staff have come out in criticism for the president. Former CIA and National Security Agency director Michael Hayden tweeted his outrage at Trump calling CNN ‘fake news; last November:
Trump reportedly called Vladimir Putin this week to congratulate him on his recent electoral victory in the Russian election. This has drawn widespread criticism from members of his own party, including Senator John McCain, who said “An American president does not lead the free world by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections,”
He’s got to keep them on side though apparently. For what reason, we can only hope to uncover one day.