The New Abnormal
The New Abnormal
Sep 8, 2020
Who Is Trump’s Handler in Russia?
Play • 46 min

Peter Strzok, the FBI agent who helped launch the Trump-Russia investigation, says the current occupant of the Oval Office “poses the greatest counterintelligence threat of any president in modern history.” It’s not just that Trump and all of his top people have lied about their connections to Moscow, Strzok tells Molly Jong-Fast and Rick Wilson in the latest episode of The New Abnormal. (Although that is super weird.) It’s that he takes all of these inexplicably pro-Kremlin positions on issues he clearly doesn’t care about. (Montenegro? Really?) Which leads Molly to wonder: If Trump is really acting like a Russian asset, who would be Trump’s handler in Moscow? “I don't think he needs one,” Strzok responds. This isn’t some old-school spy case, with dead drops and covert communications. “The best intelligence relationship… if you want them to do something is: ‘I've got you on the hook. I know you're going to do, you know what I want. And I don't ever have to tell you because of the leverage I have over you.’ And that's what I think Russia has over Trump. How else do you explain all these fucking inexplicably things that he's doing with regard to NATO, with refusing to say word one about [Putin critic Alexei] Navalny being poisoned, about the bounties” Russia offered the Taliban for killing U.S. troops. Plus! Strzok addresses the charges that the White House dialed up his  investigation into Trump’s Russian connections. (No way, Strzok says.) Rick teases some material from Michael Cohen’s newly released book. Molly sheds tears over the sunken Trump flotilla—and reports from the raging hellscape that is Manhattan. And! Strzok reconsiders his earlier position. “I was maybe a little too flippant about saying [Trump] doesn't have a handler,” Strzok says. There are so many things Trump “says and does that are very much in Russia's interests [and] that he doesn't have an independent knowledge of.” It makes this counterintelligence veteran wonder.


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