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:
[ul][li]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.[/li][li] Neither Trump nor his associates have any aberrant or suspicious financial ties to Russia or elsewhere.[/li][li] Neither Trump nor his associates have any secrets or shenanigans that could compromise them.[/li][li] 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.[/li][li] Neither leader is there to sing Kumbaya and will press whatever advantage they can.[/li][li] Putin and the FSB recognize that there is an opportunity for coercion.[/li][li] Putin and the FSB are willing to lie and fabricate if it benefits them/Russia.[/li][li] Putin and the FSB are reasonably competent at what they do.[/li][li] 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)[/ul][/li]
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:
[ol][li]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?[/li][li]How should Trump prepare himself for the possibility?[/li][li]Does Trump refuse to believe that Putin and the FSB are capable of carrying out this threat?[/li][li]Does he call Putin’s bluff and try to rebut the steadily building stream of growing-in-importance “evidence” that starts to come out?[/li][li]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?[/li][li]If he refuses, how does he counter; what leverage can he muster against Putin that hasn’t been tried or used so far?[/li][li]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?[/li][li]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?[/li][li]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?[/ol][/li]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!”