Can Donald Trump Really Be a Compromised Agent of Russian Influence?

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Media Outlet: UK Spectator

Paul Wood wrote for the UK Spectator about whether Donald Trump has been compromised by Russia, and contributed to two related podcasts:

During the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, American parents found politics to be a painfully embarrassing subject to discuss in front of their children. The TV news stayed off at dinner time. But even before taking office, Donald Trump has surpassed Bill Clinton. The details of what’s said to have taken place in a Moscow hotel room with a group of prostitutes are lurid enough to damage even someone with Trump’s sexual history. Trump himself has described the allegations as “fake news”. Their significance is that, if true, the President-elect of the United States would be vulnerable to blackmail by the Russians. The CIA believes it “credible” that the Kremlin has such kompromat – or compromising material – on the next US Commander in Chief. At the same time a joint task force, which includes the CIA and the FBI, has been investigating allegations that the Russians may have sent money to Trump’s organisation or his election campaign.
Claims about a Russian blackmail tape were made in one of a series of reports written by a former British intelligence agent. As a member of MI6, he had been posted to the UK’s embassy in Moscow and now runs a consultancy giving advice on doing business in Russia. He spoke to a number of his old contacts in the FSB, the successor to the KGB, paying some of them for information. The Washington political research company that commissioned his report showed it to me during the final week of the election campaign. I did not write about it then, for the very good reason that without out seeing the tape – if it exists – it could not be known if the claims were true.  The entire series of reports has now been posted by BuzzFeed so it’s probably only a matter of time before they are common knowledge.

Author:

Paul Wood is an Eric & Wendy Schmidt Fellow at New America. He has covered a dozen conflicts in a 20 year career as a BBC foreign correspondent in: Afghanistan, Iraq, Chechnya, Darfur, Libya, Israel and the Palestinian territories, the Balkans, and Ukraine.