Trump, Russia, And The Dossier Of Doom

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(Image by Morit Chatlynne)

CNN has reported that Russian may have compromising information on President-elect Trump. Buzzfeed has released the dossier. Now what?

The world has always been a strange place. Lately, it’s become more apparent that it is exceedingly full of chaos and cruel irony. It is often wildly unpredictable as well. Economists and statisticians always factor in a margin of error, a logical awareness of the disorder that permeates our existence. Lately, we’ve just caught up with that concept in an immediate and painful sense.

I’m talking about Trump, of course. We’re always talking about Trump, anymore. To be fair, it sometimes seems as if he possess a natural (if thoughtless) gift of controversy. Everything that he says or does could tip off an angry article or Twitter screed somewhere. If he weren’t poised to take on one of the most powerful political positions in the world, perhaps we could continue laughing at his buffoonery. Yet, you don’t need yet another thinkpiece to tell you that it’s become all too serious.

The latest intrigue springs up from Trump’s presumptive relationship with Russia. Though the president-elect himself claims to have no ties whatsoever to the country and its president, Vladimir Putin, other sources say differently.

For one, there’s the conclusion made by multiple U.S. intelligence agencies that Russian hackers interfered with the U.S. election, with the intention of securing a Trump win. Trump has said, vehemently, that he has had nothing to do with Russia. His demurrals have become so forceful at times as to make some wonder if the President-elect doth protest too much.

Trump has now spent months heaping praise upon Putin and the Russian government, from praising Russia’s bombing efforts in Syria, to hinting that he supports the annexation of Crimea, to practically fawning over Putin himself. In one exchange, he said, “I will tell you, in terms of leadership, [Putin is] getting an A, our president is not doing so well.”

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 Then, there’s the most recent report.

In short, it details possible blackmail against Trump held by Russia as “kompromat”, or compromising information. Other than that, much is up in the air. We don’t know who in Trump’s camp may have communicated with Russian agents. It’s unclear whether or not said agents worked directly for Putin’s government.

Despite the jokes currently inundating Twitter, we’re not even sure what exactly Russia might have on Trump. It could be salacious personal exploits. Or, it could be damning financial information. It could be the fact that ties between Trump and Russia run far deeper than we may have thought.

Here’s what is mostly clear, as of now. Late Tuesday night, CNN reported that U.S. intelligence officials had alerted Trump that Russia had compromising information about him. A former British intelligence operative had compiled a memo supposedly detailing the compromising information. That memo is said to have been in circulation since this past summer.

Said memo then made its way into the hands of Arizona Sen. John McCain, who then gave it to FBI Director James Comey in December. The New York Times claims that other top government officials, including President Obama, were also briefed on the memo’s contents.

If this truly happened, it would be unusual even for our increasingly wild modern government. The contents of the memo are, as of now, largely unsubstantiated. They are also possibly slanderous, in a very real legal sense. For them to be included in such high-level briefings would be practically unprecedented.