True news or false news?
Or plausible news? That’s the point: if a source claimed that Obama, Clinton, or either Bush had been consorting with prostitutes in Moscow and was being blackmailed by a foreign leader, people would consider it preposterous.
But every time rumors of misbehavior by Mr. 46% circulate, they seem pretty plausible.
So we are already at the point of wondering whether he can continue functioning as a public figure.
When Nixon proclaimed in 1973 that “I am not a crook,” he was manifestly on a downhill trajectory. He added “I welcome this sort of examination” but that welcome didn’t last long and within 9 months he was out of office.
When a leader loses the ability to lead, in a democratic system he is done for.
In the world of spies, which is so much in the news now, agencies scrutinize their agents for signs they could be blackmailed. It’s obvious that Trump can be blackmailed. Whatever Putin has on him is obviously useful to Putin and harmful to the United States.
Maybe Putin is working both sides of the news, both praising and tearing down Trump, in order to confuse and divide the United States and diminish our democracy and our standing in the world. Well of course he would; the point is that Trump has made himself the perfect subject for such manipulations.
And Putin is not the only one. Trump’s accountants have his tax returns and so do IRS employees. His business associates know whom he cheated, which contractors his malfeasance destroyed, and which lenders he defrauded. His lawyers know what maneuvers allowed him to pay pennies on the dollar or to walk away from debts he incurred and others had to pay off. Any number of members of the intelligence community, which has been on Trump’s hit list, could leak damaging documents. And then the private contractors hired by the intelligence services are an obvious weak point in the secret state: think Ellsberg (RAND) and Snowden (Booz Allen Hamilton).
Deep Throat in the Watergate case turned out to be Associate Director of the FBI Mark Felt. J. Edgar Hoover used the FBI to spy on and pressure political figures. Anyone who thinks that can’t happen today is out of touch with recent political life.
Trump is too compromised, too manipulable, too subject to blackmail to be president.