*Russian governing style suggests more purges to come. Expect Trump to try to use the mid term elections to purge the Republican party by sending compliant candidates into the race.
For me, one of the strongest proofs that Donald Trump and Jared Kushner are really being handled by Vladimir Putin has come from his autocratic style of government. Trump imitates almost exactly how Putin governs Russia as Time has noted in an insightful piece.
Trump’s style is a radical departure from every president before him, difficult to explain even bearing in mind that Trump’s grandfather was a German brothel keeper and Kushner is the son of a felon and grandson of a Belarussian migrant. Trump and Kushner are not exactly the product of countries or professions renowned as pillars of constitutional republics or democracies.
Still, Trump behaves so much like a cross between a dictator and imperial emperor like Putin that it raises questions about what kind of communications might be taking place on those back channels
What American president would it ever occur to purge half his entire original government list and transition team one day after an election? Or put his unelected daughter in his seat at the G 20? Or to allow his unelected son in law to become the shadow secretary of state making deals? Or to fire the FBI Director as evidence of his ties to Russia emerges? Or to try to fire the Attorney General as the probe continues? What American president would craft an Obamacare replacement bill that is even more unpopular with the electorate than Obamacare, making it difficult for democratically elected Republican Senators to support it? What American president expecting free elections would spend so much time lying about improvements in the US economy rather than effecting them?
Also, Time makes the important point that Russian journalists work for Putin. That means the journalists who interviewed me in Larisa last year were almost certainly secret service working for Putin.
I am beginning to get a feel for Russia from my experiences in Greece. Alexis Tsipras and his oligarchs, Soros and Geoffrey Pyatt, have corrupted almost every single institution. The way this network has used blackmail or bribery to obstruct justice in my case could become an historical document. There is no independently functioning institution in Greece left. The opposition is almost as corrupt, explaining why my case is never taken up even though I have spoken twice with a Nea Demokratia lawmaker here in Larisa on his invitation and given him all the evidence.
Tsipras has purged his party lists during the election in 2016. Any critic was left off the ballot paper. Expect Trump to try to use the mid term elections to purge the Republican party.
The cultural misunderstandings work both ways. The corrupted Greek politicians, clergy and police and prosecutors don’t get how I have managed to accumulate so much evidence of their corruption in the form of court documents, and they don’t get why they are in trouble because, in any northern European country, they would be in jail long ago, no matter if they were the son of Tsipras himself.
Excerpts from Time Magazine…
“Each collapsed when that leader was confronted by the limitations of democracy: term limits, a free press, an independent legislature, an unhappy electorate, or any of the other checks and balances built into their constitutions. But with each new attempt at a friendship with the West, Putin seemed to hope that his counterparts could override these curbs on their authority the same way Putin has done in Russia.
“Since Trump cannot handle his own lawmakers, it means he is weak,” the Russian political analyst Alexei Makarkin wrote in an analysis of the sanctions bill.
But the point Makarkin missed was the one that Putin also seems incapable of getting his head around: that members of the U.S. Congress, including the Republicans, are not Trump’s “own lawmakers.” They represent a co-equal branch of government, much like the judiciary that has repeatedly blocked Trump’s agenda on immigration.
That confusion over the limits on executive authority goes back to the early years of Putin’s presidency, when he established control over the Russian media and began to assume that his Western counterparts could do the same in their countries.
But that’s just it – he doesn’t. A few years into my stint as a reporter in Moscow, I lost track of the number of officials who tried to explain to me that there is no such thing as an independent journalist. One official even started our interview by exclaiming that American reporters are all just secret agents in disguise. This is how Pavel Astakhov, then the Kremlin ombudsmen for children’s rights, greeted me one afternoon in 2013: “The CIA is here!” he shouted, laughing, to his assistant. “Send him in!”