The kompromat story becomes more plausible with each passing day.
The important information for much of the news audience is that Donald Trump allowed himself to be caught in a classic honey trap, one made all the more embarrassing because it involved a peculiar paraphilia. The accusation is that the president elect paid Russian prostitutes to urinate on him.
No matter how open minded liberals and leftists might be, or attempt to be, about such sexual behavior, many of the people who voted for Trump feel no such need. Theirs is a simpler choice between denial of the information and rejection of the deviant.
For the minority of the news audience worried about the survival of America’s liberal democratic institutions, the big story is that figures in the Trump presidential campaign were in contact with and coordinated their campaign with their counterparts in the Russian government. That amounts to treason within even the narrow definition in the U.S. Constitution and also violates U.S. statute law.
Friday we learned that former British Ambassador to Russia Andrew Wood confirmed that the dossier detailing the kompromat Russian intelligence collected on Donald Trump was compiled by former MI6 officer Christopher Steele. Compiled by Steele while working for the private intelligence firm Orbis Business Intelligence, the dossier was given to FBI Director James Comey and to John McCain.
Steele himself has gone into hiding for reasons that can be understood but not yet confirmed. Moscow has plenty of experience assassinating political opponents, including those living in London. In November 2006, Russian exile Alexander Litvinenko was murdered in London by poisoning with a minute dose of radioactive polonium-210, a lingering death that signaled that Moscow would take horrific revenge on those who dared to challenge it by revealing its secrets.
There is also reason to believe that many in the administration Trump is assembling recognize that he is damaged goods and are preparing to abandon him, perhaps in favor of vice president elect Mike Pence. Better a parochial theocrat than a pervy traitor.
Many seasoned national security professionals refused to even consider a position in the Trump administration. Former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency James Woolsey got out early by exiting the Trump transition team. Trump’s nominees for Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Mike Pompeo, sounded distinctly more suspicious of Russia than the president elect during their confirmation hearings.
Defeated Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio clearly smells blood in the water or he would not have subjected Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to sharp questioning during his confirmation hearing. Republican pundits who had dared to oppose Trump’s nomination, and more recently attempted to say nice things about the president elect to hold onto their audiences now appear to be edging away.
Who can blame them when the scattershot defenses offered by Kellyanne Conway signal obvious political vulnerability and Trump’s own tweeting screams desperation or even delusion?
Although most Republican elites have yet to cut loose themselves loose from Trump, it is probably because they are waiting for more Republicans elites to publicly do so. They may fear that our institutions have already been so delegitimized and public opinion so polarized that the president elect might be able to save himself. Alternatively they may fear that he will take many of them down when he falls from power whatever they do now.
The resemblance between their behavior and that of the apparatchiks in the decaying Leninist regimes of Eastern Europe in the 1990s is unmistakable. So too is the irony.