He made a statement saying, against the grain, that Russia should be in the Great 8. He accepts Putin’s word that there was no meddling in the election. Then there was the one on one meeting in Helsinki. Now, he wants Putin to come to the USA.
He insisted even before the election that he would seek to work with Russia to stamp out terrorism. He believes that NATO is worthless and that the US and Russia together can solve most of the world’s problems.
I have a slightly different list:
[li]Russian banks loaned Trump money after most other financial institutions realized he was not a good risk.[/li][li]Trump loves strongmen, especially because he envisions himself as one.[/li][li]Putin flatters him. The only thing Trump loves more than “winning” is having his ego stroked.[/li][li]Russia has leverage over Trump; whether in the form of kompromat or in the form of outstanding loans, we don’t know yet (I suspect the two are one and the same).[/li][li]Trump has the intellectual depth of a turnip, and so, as Malden Capell points out, can’t really tell he’s being played.[/li][li]Trump is, fundamentally, a deeply insecure man and a coward. Despite what I said in point 5, I think a couple of neurons somewhere in the depths of his cranium have made sufficient connections to make Trump afraid of Putin, even if he isn’t conscious of precisely why.[/li][/ol]
I agree (IMHO) that what the Russians have on Trump is mostly financial.
I think that it is also important to remember that Trump has spent his whole life in New York real estate. I bet that Trump knows a lot of mob guys. He’d pretty much have to deal with them in the course of his business. The New York mob is heavily Russian influenced (at least it was in the 90s when I lived there), a lot of Russian organized crime has KGB/GRU links, and Putin is the guy that the Russian mob is scared of.
I think that has to influence Trump when he is meeting with Putin. He’s meeting the guy that guys he’s scared of are scared of.
Trump is a classic narcissist, if you are with him you are great if you are against him you are the enemy. Russia is on his side so Russia is awesome, the media our allies, etc criticize him so they are bad. It’s not complicated.
Trump relies on loans for his liquid capital, since his wealth is in physical structures. By 1990 or so, reputable Western lenders had realized he wasn’t worth his word, so they stopped lending to him.
He was screwed, until he started getting bailed out by Russia? (Why did they do it? Because they were getting money out of the country - once the Soviet Union fell, state owned assets were divided up; to really access that wealth, though, you need to get it out of the country and away from prying eyes. The easiest way to do that is to launder it through real estate. Buy a building for cash, then refinance it with a bank for the amount of its value - voila, the problematic cash has now been converted into legitimate bank proceeds.)
The money and assets that were being divided up? Putin was the divider. He is at the top of that heap of Russian money that has kept Trump afloat since the early 1990s.
Thus, the relationship of Putin to Trump is Creditor to Debtor.
And, like a lot of mobsters, Putin has no compunction about using extrajudicial means to collect his debts.
Yup. To that I will add that Putin in the richest man on earth, worth well over $200 billion. Trump possibly isn’t worth $1 billion after all his debts are subtracted from his assets. I’m sure he envies someone who is not only worth 200+ billion, but who got that wealthy by combining the power of the state and private sector. Trump has admired Putin long before Trump became president, but Putin probably represents what Trump wishes he could be. A highly popular (Putin has 80%+ approval ratings in Russia), authoritarian strongman who suppresses and kills his critics, and who made hundreds of billions of dollars by using the power of the state.
Also the kompromat is possibly sex tapes as well as proof that Trump helped the Russians launder money via real estate deals.
Trump made this tweet back in 2013, long before he was even running for president. So honestly, who knows.
Trump is not educated about the intricacies of foreign policy to put it mildly, and he is driven by vague impressions, emotion, and gut feelings.
Trump has had a long career in business, and in that capacity Putin - and other Russians - came up solely in the context of investors or potential investors. He is therefore strongly predisposed to view them in that light.
His thinking about foreign policy - to the extent that he actually thinks about it - is almost entirely focused on deals that he might make with his supposed deal-making skills. For the past several decades he’s been viewing Russia as a place where he could make real estate or other business deals, and now he thinks of it as a place where he can make foreign policy or economic deals.
On top of all that, the whole issue of Russian influence has been used to attack him in the US in various manners, so he is now deeply resistant to viewing Russia in that light on those grounds alone.
Several top U.S. diplomats and intelligence chiefs have been interviewed very recently. I think a consensus is that Putin has information Trump doesn’t want revealed. That “blackmail” material probably isn’t the “urine tapes” — they might just appeal to Trump’s base anyway — but is more likely to be financial information. Trump is very proud of his wealth and wouldn’t want it to be known that his finances were in shambles until he was bailed out by top Russian kleptocrats.