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Old 07-03-2017, 07:21 AM
Yask Yask is offline
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How should Trump respond if Putin threatens to blackmail him?

I tried posting this to a general area on Reddit, but I think the conversations here tend to be a bit more interesting to follow. Both sides and the voting system screw up questions either with “huyck-huyck Trump is evil and an idiot” and “huyck-huyck, Trumps 12D chess is really pissing off the libtards!”

Since this can get sidetracked without ever getting to the question I’m asking, for simplicity’s sake take/accept a few things as completely non-rebuttable. It’s not that they’re non-rebuttable in general, just that they narrow the thread and avoid it getting bogged down in irrelevancys. Regardless of your political leanings, underlying beliefs, credulity and etc., take the following as granted:
  • Throughout the entire campaign and presidency, neither Trump nor his staff ever intentionally or inadvertently reached out to (or were contacted by) Russian/other operatives in any meaningful way.
  • Neither Trump nor his associates have any aberrant or suspicious financial ties to Russia or elsewhere.
  • Neither Trump nor his associates have any secrets or shenanigans that could compromise them.
  • It’s a truly private meeting; once the doors close, both Putin and Trump are fully and securely sealed off from any outside or inside recording or interference.
  • Neither leader is there to sing Kumbaya and will press whatever advantage they can.
  • Putin and the FSB recognize that there is an opportunity for coercion.
  • Putin and the FSB are willing to lie and fabricate if it benefits them/Russia.
  • Putin and the FSB are reasonably competent at what they do.
  • Despite the appearance of being very impulsive and blunder-prone, behind closed doors Trump is at least as shrewd and calculating as you are (or assume he brainwashed your clone and will follow its advice)

Putin tells Trump he wants A, B and C, and is only willing to do x, y, and z as political cover. Trump does not want to do A, B or C, and even if he did, doesn’t think x,y, and z are worth it; it’s a very bad deal. A, B and C are not comically villainous, just terms that Trump finds very objectionable on their face, and certainly not worth x, y and z.

Putin says the terms are firm, telling Trump of varying levels of very believable, all be it fabricated evidence that his security operation has prepared and already planted. This ranges from petty bullshit that will keep the investigations alive and the overall issue dominant in the news cycle for years (even moreso than they are now); to heavily damaging “evidence” that will likely lead to substantial electoral losses in 2018 (i.e. flipping the House and/or Senate) and the resignation of several close aids and/or cabinet members; to extreme “evidence” that will make it very difficult for Trump to avoid impeachment by his own party. While this "evidence" may implicate some sacrificeable Russian officials/allies, it is crafted in such a way as to not significantly damage Russian interests in general or Putin/croneys himself.

From the perspective of Trump or an adviser or as a fortune-telling genie predicting what he’ll do:
  1. Is there any realpolitik reason to think that Putin and the FSB are not actually working very hard to figure out how to turn the above to their advantage?
  2. How should Trump prepare himself for the possibility?
  3. Does Trump refuse to believe that Putin and the FSB are capable of carrying out this threat?
  4. Does he call Putin’s bluff and try to rebut the steadily building stream of growing-in-importance “evidence” that starts to come out?
  5. If that “evidence” starts doing severe damage to the country and the administration, does he ever yield to Putin? If not, does he ever resign rather than further damage the country?
  6. If he refuses, how does he counter; what leverage can he muster against Putin that hasn’t been tried or used so far?
  7. If he does refuse the deal, who in his administration does he tell in order to prepare a response/try to debunk the fake evidence?
  8. Does he capitulate, risking later, even worse deals on the idea that though Russia ‘wins’ in this setting, he can do better for the country overall as long as he stays in power?
  9. What if Putin does come to Trump (now or eventually) with comically villainous demands (i.e. major CIA/NSA secrets and access, exorbitant amounts of money, assassination of Putin’s political enemies, etc.)? Does Trump ever resign with the secret honor of avoiding damage to the country?


I hope I wrote this carefully enough to be answered by supporters, detractors and everyone in between. I get it that you may choke on some of the premises, but they make the question cleaner. Noone is going to think you believe them if you don’t hijack the thread to say “but of course theres evidence he colluded!” or “but he’s already a puppet!”
  #2  
Old 07-03-2017, 08:02 AM
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is offline
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I'm not sure how we're supposed to objectively speculate on what Trump might do without being biased by our opinions of Trump's character.

That said, I don't see Trump ever being inclined to make any kind of personal sacrifice in favour of the country or anything else, with the possible exception of his children.
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Old 07-03-2017, 08:21 AM
ThisIsTheEnd ThisIsTheEnd is offline
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Since you are speaking of "evidence" of some act(s) to damage him politically, as opposed to say, a protection racket-style "Do X, Y and Z or else we sabotage your businesses", this is how blackmail works:

If you think you can survive disclosure, real or imagined, you either go to the police or tell the guy to take a hike.

If you don't, you do what the guy says.

So the question is, what act would he have to be accused of that Trump would consider bad enough that he couldn't survive?

Last edited by ThisIsTheEnd; 07-03-2017 at 08:24 AM.
  #4  
Old 07-03-2017, 08:22 AM
kayaker kayaker is offline
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Play hardball. Send Putin a box containing Barron's ear to show he's serious.
  #5  
Old 07-03-2017, 08:27 AM
Smapti Smapti is online now
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"I resign effective immediately."
  #6  
Old 07-03-2017, 09:31 AM
Evan Drake Evan Drake is offline
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Originally Posted by Bryan Ekers View Post

That said, I don't see Trump ever being inclined to make any kind of personal sacrifice in favour of the country or anything else, with the possible exception of his children.

I can't see Donald sacrificing his children as in Biblical or pre-columbian times, not even for the best deal he could get for his beloved homeland.


Apparently it still goes on in parts of Africa.
  #7  
Old 07-03-2017, 09:53 AM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is online now
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So the question is, what act would he have to be accused of that Trump would consider bad enough that he couldn't survive?
"Mister Trump, we have footage making it seem you shot a guy on Fifth Avenue."
"And?"
  #8  
Old 07-03-2017, 10:16 AM
Czarcasm Czarcasm is online now
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"Mister Trump, we have footage making it seem you shot a guy on Fifth Avenue."
"So what? I'll photo shop CNN's logo over the guy's face and put it on Twitter."

Last edited by Czarcasm; 07-03-2017 at 10:17 AM.
  #9  
Old 07-03-2017, 11:34 AM
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is offline
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I can't see Donald sacrificing his children as in Biblical or pre-columbian times, not even for the best deal he could get for his beloved homeland.


Apparently it still goes on in parts of Africa.
I realize I may have been unclear. I don't see Trump making a personal sacrifice for the country. He MIGHT make personal sacrifices for his children.
  #10  
Old 07-03-2017, 01:05 PM
Steve MB Steve MB is offline
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If we're presuming a universe where the first three "take the following as granted" items are true, my answer is that Trump sends a team of eleven commando elves led by Elvis up the Kremlin elevators to plant tamper-proof time bombs that will give Putin elephantitis unless he backs down.
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  #11  
Old 07-03-2017, 04:28 PM
Sage Rat Sage Rat is offline
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Since you've required us to consider him innocent and "as intelligent as yourself", bringing Trump into the equation at all is a bit pointless. You would have done better to simply ask, "What would you do?" And then you wouldn't have to worry about people getting sidetracked.

If I was innocent, but being popularly accused of treason by the press, and was being blackmailed by an enemy state - not with evidence of my guilt, just manufactured evidence of my guilt - my strategy would be to perform the following three things:

1) Make it known, to the investigators, that Putin had made such an attempt and recommend to them that they make backup copies of everything which they think might be needed for the investigation and put it somewhere that it cannot be tampered with. At the same time, I would order my lawyer and everyone that I worked with (during the campaign or in the White House) to quickly grab any and all documentation, logs, etc. and send it to the investigative team, before it could be tampered with, and that they give immediate and full approval for all invasive searches (phone records, etc.) so that the process can move as quickly as possible.

If I am innocent, then I have no reason not to be completely transparent. And if I am at risk of having information manufactured, then speed of clearance and getting data "safe" are of the greatest importance.

2) Attack Putin's personal support structure:
  • Support fracking and, possibly, start selling off the US oil reserves to drive the cost of oil down, globally.
  • Ask European countries to raid brothels owned by Russian mafia and deport foreign women to their home countries.
  • Implement interference for Russian hosted/Russian owned websites (porn, digital piracy, etc.) in European countries and the US, so that the sites are not performant, and offer money to competitors in non-Russia related countries to expand their hardware and advertise to Western nations.
  • As well as further targeted sanctions and asset seizures of prominent oligarchs.
  • Make it known to the oligarchs that business will be restored pending the removal of Putin. The US has no bone to pick with Russia itself and longs for a great, open trade network with the country and expansion of its businesses.

3) Find some independent watchers to let me know if, at any point, they see me as having become unable to effectively lead the nation or as hampering the trust of the American people too deeply. At the point they tell me that the game is up, regardless of my culpability, step down. I am not the indispensable man.
  #12  
Old 07-03-2017, 04:32 PM
Sage Rat Sage Rat is offline
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And feel free to repost my answer to Reddit, if you want.
  #13  
Old 07-03-2017, 04:44 PM
bobot bobot is offline
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How should Trump respond if Putin threatens to blackmail him?

Same way as he has been up until now. It's too late to change up the routine, there's an investigation.
  #14  
Old 07-03-2017, 06:42 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is online now
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Trump will cry, 'FAKE NEWS!' and 'Failing Putin lying! Sad!' IOW, he'll just deny it, and blame his enemies, real and perceived. His base will believe him.
  #15  
Old 07-03-2017, 07:11 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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I'm no fan of Trump but if all the evidence that's being presented against him are unsubstantiated allegations by Putin, I say it doesn't matter. Unsubstantiated allegations should be ignored, regardless of who they're being made against. Vladimir Putin is no more credible than Mike Cernovich is.
  #16  
Old 07-03-2017, 07:45 PM
Ann Hedonia Ann Hedonia is online now
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"Psycho Putin threatens me with FAKE LIES. BAD SICK man! I'm President and he's not. We will covfefe #MAGA #IHaveNukes"

Crazy Monster Putin is a SAD LOSER who says BAD things. We will nuke Russia off the MAP and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! #MAGA #IHaveNukes

I think Trump's so used to getting away with whatever he wants that he's impervious to blackmail.

Now the OP is funny in that I'm supposed to pretend Trump won't act like Trump. I imagine a real President would immediately and discretely report the conversation to his security council and the major intelligence agencies. But Trump is Trump and we can be sure he wouldn't do that.

Now I'm kind of hoping that Putin tricks him into handing over his wedding ring.
http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/he...-robert-kraft/
It would make a nice addition to his collection.
  #17  
Old 07-03-2017, 07:52 PM
Sherrerd Sherrerd is offline
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Originally Posted by Ann Hedonia View Post
Now I'm kind of hoping that Putin tricks him into handing over his wedding ring.
http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/he...-robert-kraft/
It would make a nice addition to his collection.
And maybe Alaska, too!

Putin won't utter raw threats to Trump. He's much more likely to flatter Trump and say that he, Putin, is Trump's most valuable ally against the Deep State and the US media.

And then he'll get Alaska.

Last edited by Sherrerd; 07-03-2017 at 07:55 PM.
  #18  
Old 07-03-2017, 08:38 PM
Tigers2B1 Tigers2B1 is offline
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Pee on Putin's bed.
  #19  
Old 07-03-2017, 09:12 PM
kayaker kayaker is offline
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Pee on Putin's bed.
Isn't either Putin or Trump into that? I swear I read that.
  #20  
Old 07-03-2017, 10:25 PM
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is offline
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Isn't either Putin or Trump into that? I swear I read that.
It was a misunderstanding. Putin was giving Trump a tour and Trump was asking where the linens came from.

"European?" asked Trump.
  #21  
Old 07-04-2017, 12:30 PM
Morgenstern Morgenstern is offline
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Play hardball. Send Putin a box containing Barron's ear to show he's serious.
But Tweet about it for 2 days beforehand.
  #22  
Old 07-04-2017, 12:53 PM
Czarcasm Czarcasm is online now
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I realize I may have been unclear. I don't see Trump making a personal sacrifice for the country. He MIGHT make personal sacrifices for his children.
No, he wouldn't. He might sacrifice others to benefit his kids, but Trump will make no personal sacrifices for anyone else but himself...and that would only come after everyone else has been tossed into the volcano of ruin.
  #23  
Old 07-04-2017, 05:26 PM
Johnny Ace Johnny Ace is offline
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"C'mon, Vlad baby. You know I can't quit you. More importantly, I know I can't quit you...or else."
  #24  
Old 07-04-2017, 05:28 PM
Ann Hedonia Ann Hedonia is online now
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"C'mon, Vlad baby. You know I can't quit you. More importantly, I know I can't quit you...or else."
Every now and then I'll read a post and sort of instinctively go for the "LIKE" button, only to remember that we don't have one.
  #25  
Old 07-04-2017, 06:10 PM
Silver lining Silver lining is offline
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It won't happen, and if it did Trump would act the way he normally does.

What's lost in the " news " are things are getting better. For example, un-employment is at its lowest level in eight years.
  #26  
Old 07-04-2017, 06:14 PM
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is offline
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It won't happen, and if it did Trump would act the way he normally does.

What's lost in the " news " are things are getting better. For example, un-employment is at its lowest level in eight years.
Thanks, Obama. He entered office with a high unemployment rate left by the previous Republican president and left the system in such good shape that even a few months after leaving his office, his impact is felt.

Now you'd best hope Trump doesn't fuck it up.
  #27  
Old 07-04-2017, 06:44 PM
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Since Trump has already admitted in his books to a bunch of things like infidelity that would have ended most political careers, without consequences, it would largely depend on what was involved.

Years ago there was a story going around, I believe supposedly about Sukarno, the head of Indonesia, that the Soviets tried to blackmail him with some sexually incriminating film. Sukarno's reported response was to order extra copies to send to his friends.
  #28  
Old 07-04-2017, 06:46 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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What's lost in the " news " are things are getting better. For example, un-employment is at its lowest level in eight years.
This is factually accurate. However, unemployment has been steadily declining since 2010.
  #29  
Old 07-04-2017, 09:47 PM
E-DUB E-DUB is online now
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whitetho wrote: "Years ago there was a story going around, I believe supposedly about Sukarno, the head of Indonesia, that the Soviets tried to blackmail him with some sexually incriminating film. Sukarno's reported response was to order extra copies to send to his friends."

trump'll just say that it's Baldwin and his supporters will all believe it.
  #30  
Old 07-04-2017, 10:35 PM
notheretoargue notheretoargue is offline
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Haha yea, Republicans amirite.
  #31  
Old 07-05-2017, 01:09 AM
Johnny Ace Johnny Ace is offline
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Every now and then I'll read a post and sort of instinctively go for the "LIKE" button, only to remember that we don't have one.

Last edited by Johnny Ace; 07-05-2017 at 01:09 AM. Reason: Hint hint, mods :)
  #32  
Old 07-05-2017, 02:24 AM
Superdude Superdude is offline
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Since you've required us to consider him innocent and "as intelligent as yourself", bringing Trump into the equation at all is a bit pointless. You would have done better to simply ask, "What would you do?" And then you wouldn't have to worry about people getting sidetracked.

If I was innocent, but being popularly accused of treason by the press, and was being blackmailed by an enemy state - not with evidence of my guilt, just manufactured evidence of my guilt - my strategy would be to perform the following three things:

1) Make it known, to the investigators, that Putin had made such an attempt and recommend to them that they make backup copies of everything which they think might be needed for the investigation and put it somewhere that it cannot be tampered with. At the same time, I would order my lawyer and everyone that I worked with (during the campaign or in the White House) to quickly grab any and all documentation, logs, etc. and send it to the investigative team, before it could be tampered with, and that they give immediate and full approval for all invasive searches (phone records, etc.) so that the process can move as quickly as possible.

If I am innocent, then I have no reason not to be completely transparent. And if I am at risk of having information manufactured, then speed of clearance and getting data "safe" are of the greatest importance.

2) Attack Putin's personal support structure:
  • Support fracking and, possibly, start selling off the US oil reserves to drive the cost of oil down, globally.
  • Ask European countries to raid brothels owned by Russian mafia and deport foreign women to their home countries.
  • Implement interference for Russian hosted/Russian owned websites (porn, digital piracy, etc.) in European countries and the US, so that the sites are not performant, and offer money to competitors in non-Russia related countries to expand their hardware and advertise to Western nations.
  • As well as further targeted sanctions and asset seizures of prominent oligarchs.
  • Make it known to the oligarchs that business will be restored pending the removal of Putin. The US has no bone to pick with Russia itself and longs for a great, open trade network with the country and expansion of its businesses.

3) Find some independent watchers to let me know if, at any point, they see me as having become unable to effectively lead the nation or as hampering the trust of the American people too deeply. At the point they tell me that the game is up, regardless of my culpability, step down. I am not the indispensable man.
I agree. This is what I'd do, as well. But I'd go a step further (farther?), and also make sure that my camp would be the side that the press heard the news from. Better to have them hear it directly from me than to accuse me of trying to cover the story up.
  #33  
Old 08-06-2017, 11:44 AM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is offline
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Originally Posted by Sage Rat View Post
Since you've required us to consider him innocent and "as intelligent as yourself", bringing Trump into the equation at all is a bit pointless. You would have done better to simply ask, "What would you do?" And then you wouldn't have to worry about people getting sidetracked.

If I was innocent, but being popularly accused of treason by the press, and was being blackmailed by an enemy state - not with evidence of my guilt, just manufactured evidence of my guilt - my strategy would be to perform the following three things:

...
Overall I agree with your entire post as a desiderata. The hypothetical honest public spirited President (such as President Sage Rat) ought to do as you suggest. Since that's not what Trump is, that's not what he will do. Which sorta fails to answer the OP's challenge to predict the hypothetical future using the real Trump.

But there's a bigger fly than that in your ointment for almost any President. The "If I was innocent..." part is really a two parter and you ignored the second part:
If I am innocent of the Putin fabrications then disclosing my/my staffs' records can help debunk Putin's false claims.

But if I or my people are guilty of anything else, even something that's legal but just looks bad, then disclosing those records adds to the fire not quenches it.
Rest assured any complete records dump of any campaign will contain enough material that a hostile group (such as the other party) will be able to make hay with some of it.

For the person I think Trump actually is, that second part is potentially far more damaging than anything Putin's goons can concoct.

Last edited by LSLGuy; 08-06-2017 at 11:45 AM.
  #34  
Old 08-06-2017, 01:04 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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It won't happen, and if it did Trump would act the way he normally does.

What's lost in the " news " are things are getting better. For example, un-employment is at its lowest level in eight years.
But wait.... I thought the Trump and the Trumpniks were saying the numbers were fake when Obama was in office, but now that Trump is, they're real? I am so confused!
  #35  
Old 08-06-2017, 05:48 PM
Sherrerd Sherrerd is offline
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But wait.... I thought the Trump and the Trumpniks were saying the numbers were fake when Obama was in office, but now that Trump is, they're real? I am so confused!
I'm actually quite curious about how Trump defenders spin that little fact. Some of them are bound to remember that he said the numbers were fake.

It's just one of a list of cognitive dissonance hurdles the T-fans have to jump. Most recently, of course, we've seen the disconnect between Trump's frequent claims that he'd never go on vacation or even leave the White House, and the uncomfortable reality that tens of millions of taxpayer dollars are being spent on Trump's many trips to his properties.

Sure, the power of doublethink permits T-fans to erase one or the other of the conflicting realities---but to do that over and over and over again, as they've had to do...how long can they keep it up?
  #36  
Old 08-06-2017, 06:34 PM
kunilou kunilou is offline
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If we accept the first three assumptions, the questions is actually

How does a totally innocent U.S. President respond if Putin threatens to blackmail him?

In which case the correct response is something like the First Duke of Wellington when faced with scandal in 1824:

Publish and be damned!

Last edited by kunilou; 08-06-2017 at 06:35 PM.
  #37  
Old 08-06-2017, 08:20 PM
Sage Rat Sage Rat is offline
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Originally Posted by LSLGuy View Post
Overall I agree with your entire post as a desiderata. The hypothetical honest public spirited President (such as President Sage Rat) ought to do as you suggest. Since that's not what Trump is, that's not what he will do. Which sorta fails to answer the OP's challenge to predict the hypothetical future using the real Trump.

But there's a bigger fly than that in your ointment for almost any President. The "If I was innocent..." part is really a two parter and you ignored the second part:
If I am innocent of the Putin fabrications then disclosing my/my staffs' records can help debunk Putin's false claims.

But if I or my people are guilty of anything else, even something that's legal but just looks bad, then disclosing those records adds to the fire not quenches it.
Rest assured any complete records dump of any campaign will contain enough material that a hostile group (such as the other party) will be able to make hay with some of it.

For the person I think Trump actually is, that second part is potentially far more damaging than anything Putin's goons can concoct.
Looking bad only matters if you're near an election. If you watched the polls before the 2016 election, there was a significant dip after each occasion when Trump broke out of the political news and into the mainstream consciousness (pussy-grabbing and the two debates). Within two weeks, those had corrected back to the partisan baseline. Human memory is short and doesn't last long in the face of peer pressure.

With the election not until 2020, unless there are non-Russian crimes, publish away.

If there are non-Russian crimes, then keep quiet for a month or two while reviewing documents, and look not for completeness, but sufficient to explain all Russian encounters and demonstrate an inability to have been involved with them.
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