It sounds like the stuff of conspiracy theorists and the tinfoil brigade.
It’s even straight out of Cold War fiction.
But in the shadowy world of espionage, accusations and counter-accusations, how can the ordinary citizen tell if the next U.S. president is actually an agent of the Kremlin?
Good news: We’ve got your back.
Here are 10 “telltale signs” that a U.S. president might be a Russian spy, and how we might be able to swear in a “Comrade-in-Chief” next month.
1. U.S. intelligence concludes that the Kremlin helped put him in power.
That’s usually a pretty strong giveaway right there. The CIA has never before accused the Kremlin of interfering in a U.S. election. They’re probably not 0-for-1.
Mind you, when Russian hackers pointedly attacked and embarrassed Donald Trump’s opponent, but left him completely alone, you have to ask: Did we really need a report by the CIA?
2. The new president sides with the Kremlin against the CIA.
Trump’s dismissive response to this news includes three classic spin techniques: shooting the messenger, by attacking the CIA; misdirection, by raising doubts about the CIA’s competence, namely the claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when it didn’t; and begging the question, by implying we should now “move on.”
Neither is a serious argument. Indeed, if the CIA’s report is accurate, why on Earth would we “move on”?
Imagine Ronald Reagan or Dwight Eisenhower reacting this way to a CIA statement about Kremlin activities in the U.S.
Go on — try.
3. He receives vast sums of money from mysterious Russians.
This even includes an astonishing $95 million that Trump personally received from a Russian billionaire during the 2008 collapse.
In Vladimir Putin’s kleptostate, there is no fine line between the state and the private sector, the president and the oligarchs.
As Trump’s son Eric confessed: “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. … We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”
4. His election suddenly makes a lot of people rich … in Moscow.
You think Wall Street has done well since Trump’s election victory?
The S&P 500 stock index SPX, +0.65% of the U.S. is up about 5% since Nov. 8.
Moscow’s RTS index: 20%.
Yes, really — from 973 to 1,148. Let the vodka flow! It’s not just about the oil rally, either. The RTS’s increase is more than twice that of global energy stocks.
Putin and his pals were nursing painful losses for several years. But no longer — Moscow stocks are back to their highest levels since the Ukrainian crisis.
5. He wants to end Russia’s global isolation.
Vladimir Putin’s sinister state has been subject to global sanctions since 2014, and for good reason. He’s destabilized Ukraine and annexed Crimea. The British government concluded he had “probably” assassinated a critic in London. He helped arm the people who blew up Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, killing 298 people.
Trump’s response? He praises Putin’s leadership, wants to “get along” with Russia, and hints strongly at ending those sanctions — something he can do by executive order.
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