In response to Vladimir Putin’s meddling in our election, President Barack Obama kicked almost three dozen Russian spies out of the country and took away diplomatic compounds Putin was using to conduct espionage operations within our borders. Now, having helped Donald Trump “win” the election with the help of a team of Russian hackers, a massive propaganda operation, and a broken electoral college that was created to help preserve the power of slave owning states yet still is around today (the latter bit is entirely our fault), Putin says it’s time for Trump to start repaying favors.
FAKE NEWS ABC (as we’re sure Trump will be calling it soon in his oh-so-mature hashtag attacks on the media) reports that Putin says his patience regarding the compounds is wearing thin. The dictator’s foreign affairs adviser, Yuri Ushakov, says Russia has shown great restraint in not imposing sanctions against the United States in response to Obama’s perfectly reasonable decision to boot out a bunch of spies and shutter their compounds in Maryland and New York:
Ushakov says while Russia has shown “unusual flexibility,” Moscow’s patience “has its limits.” He urged Washington to take action to “free Russia from the need to take retaliatory moves,” emphasizing that Moscow will feel obliged to respond if the matter isn’t settled.
What sort of retaliatory moves will Russia take? Most of the Trump administration, we know by now, is compromised. Will he release information? Will the rumored “pee pee tapes” involving The Donald and some nice Russian ladies he paid to tinkle for him in a Moscow hotel room surface?
Putin’s demand for quid pro quo comes as seemingly innumerable Trump administration and campaign officials are being investigated for collusion with Russia. In some cases, “collusion” is a light phrasing for what happened — like when Michael Flynn and a GOP operative worked together to directly collude with the Russians in order to obtain hacked Hillary Clinton emails:
Before the 2016 presidential election, a longtime Republican opposition researcher mounted an independent campaign to obtain emails he believed were stolen from Hillary Clinton’s private server, likely by Russian hackers.
In conversations with members of his circle and with others he tried to recruit to help him, the GOP operative, Peter W. Smith, implied he was working with retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, at the time a senior adviser to then-candidate Donald Trump.
“He said, ‘I’m talking to Michael Flynn about this—if you find anything, can you let me know?’” said Eric York, a computer-security expert from Atlanta who searched hacker forums on Mr. Smith’s behalf for people who might have access to the emails.
Emails written by Mr. Smith and one of his associates show that his small group considered Mr. Flynn and his consulting company, Flynn Intel Group, to be allies in their quest.
Those investigators have examined reports from intelligence agencies that describe Russian hackers discussing how to obtain emails from Mrs. Clinton’s server and then transmit them to Mr. Flynn via an intermediary, according to U.S. officials with knowledge of the intelligence.
Trump and Putin are scheduled to have an unusually private talk at the upcoming G-20 summit, which is being held in Germany on Friday and Saturday.
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