(WP) Imagine for one moment you are Vladimir Putin. Sitting on the desk in front of you is a file labeled “Trump, Donald.” Inside is a stack of documents your spy agencies have collected that prove that Trump took part in embarrassing or illegal activities. There are some financial documents, audio transcripts of phone conversations, and perhaps photos of Trump while he was in Moscow. How do you decide whether to reveal them to the world?
Now imagine you are President Trump and you have been informed of that file on Putin’s desk. During a lull in executive time, you ponder if and when he plans to release its contents. How do you treat Russia when you know you are being blackmailed?
This scenario may seem like it came from a spy thriller, but some very serious peoplebelieve Russia may in fact possess kompromat — compromising material — on Trump and is using it to blackmail him. Otherwise, they ask, how can we explain the many instances in which Trump and his inner circle have sought Russia’s favor or accommodated its interests? […]
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