Trump Asks Putin to Help Him Take Down the President of the United States

If the last six years have taught Donald Trump anything, it’s that he can basically get away with whatever he wants, no matter how outrageous, batshit, or criminal it may be. Smearing gold star families? Fine! Cozying up to murderous dictators? Cool! Profiting off the presidency? No issue there! Attempting to extort a foreign country for his own political gain? Go for it! Relentlessly slandering a deceased prisoner of war? Why not?! Lying about a deadly virus? Not a problem! Having protesters pepper sprayed to do a photo op? Okey dokey! Inciting an insurrection? You do you, queen! So it was clearly with this thought in mind—to the extent that he has thoughts in his mind—that Trump publicly appealed for Vladimir Putin, the guy currently waging a horrific war in Ukraine, to help him smear the president of the United States and his son.

In an interview with outlet Just the News that aired on the right-wing Real America’s Voice network on Tuesday, Trump pushed an unproven claim—one he’s been pushing for more than a year and a half now—that Hunter Biden was paid $3.5 million by the then wife of Moscow’s former mayor. When Trump first started making this allegation in September 2020, i.e., when he probably saw the writing on the wall re: his dwindling chances of being reelected, he stuck to only accusing Joe Biden’s son of benefiting from the supposed deal in question. This week, though, he apparently decided to claim that the president of the United States pocketed the cash too, and then requested that Putin release the dirt he has on the two men.

“As long as Putin now is, not exactly a fan our country,” Trump said, “let him explain…why did the mayor of Moscow’s wife give the Bidens, both of them, $3.5 million? That’s a lot of money. She gave them $3.5 million. So now I would think Putin would know the answer to that. I think he should release it. I think we should know that answer. Now, you won’t get the answer from Ukraine, but…I think Putin now would be willing to probably give that answer. I’m sure he knows.”

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Setting aside the wild claim, it’s obviously insane that a former American president would openly appeal to a foreign leader, let alone one currently slaughtering civilians, to help him take down the current American president, who happens to be his political rival. Of course, this is not the first time Trump has done something that, if it came from a Democrat, would have Republicans ranting about treason and reminding people how the U.S. used to deal with traitors. In July 2016, the Republican nominee famously called on Russia to release Hillary Clinton’s emails, which he said at the time could be used to blackmail her. (During that same campaign, Robert Mueller concluded, Team Trump happily embraced Russia’s election-meddling efforts. Then, as president, Trump took Putin’s word for it that Russia had engaged in no such actions.) As The Washington Post notes, while it was “pretty objectionable when Trump asked Russia for help in 2016…Putin wasn’t nearly the pariah he is now.” (A recently released NBC poll showed that just 1% of Americans have a positive view of Putin, while 88% have a negative view.) And yet here Trump is, publicly putting in a request for a war criminal to help him destroy a democratically elected president— one whom he’ll likely be going up against in 2024, should he make good on his threat to run again.

And speaking of 2024:

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