In the year of my birth, 1959, an author named Richard Condon published a political thriller entitled, The Manchurian Candidate. Americans are probably most familiar with the Hollywood movies which were released in 1962 and 2003 staring Frank Sinatra and Denzel Washington.
The plot of Condon's thriller involves the scion of an influential political family being brainwashed by communists while a POW in the Korean War. Upon returning to the U.S. the war hero is used to facilitate a coupe designed to install the communists' chosen candidate. Viewed at the height of America's Cold War with the Soviets the prospect of Americans ensconced in positions of power working in pursuit of Soviet interests was horrifying.
In 2017 the Russian coupe' has succeeded and Donald Trump is Vladimir Putin's Manchurian President. KGB-trained Putin identified in Trump a narcissistic, needy, ultimately insecure personality which, when combined with the leverage provided by Trump's Russian business dealings, allowed him to manipulate Donald Trump to Putin's ends.
Putin's minions even penetrated the inner sanctum of America's government and photographed Trump while he derided James Comey, bragging about firing the FBI Director. Imagine for a moment the amusement this accomplishment must be providing those in the halls of the Kremlin.
The Russian espionage operation, which served to install Trump as Putin's puppet president, though publicly apparent since the fall of 2016, is now coming into focus. The timeline of Administration contacts with Russian agents is becoming apparent and the Trump organization's dealings with Russian oligarchs will come out through the Special Counsel's investigation.
The ultimate question will NOT be whether Donald Trump and his confederates worked with Russia to seize the presidency in 2016; the question is what the Republic will look like when all of the conspirators are impeached, resign, are pardoned or imprisoned.
Political "dirty tricks" have been conducted since the days of the Founders. Arron Burr, murdered Alexander Hamilton, however, that was inter-family! Trump's scandal involves bad acts conducted in cooperation with America's primary foreign adversary, Russia. In the face of evidence which would rise far above that which would constitute "probable cause" in a court of law, one of America's two political parties and a majority of its followers are thus far willing to disregard Trump's compromised position.
GOP leaders are willing to ignore the damage which potentially has, and is, being done to America's Intelligence efforts due to Putin's co-oping of the Commander-in-chief and because of their fear of not being reelected.
Whether these leaders ultimately uphold their Constitutional Oaths or continue to support their disloyal president remains to be seen and their response will determine not only their places in history but whether Trump's followers accept the facts of Trump's Russian compromise and facilitate a reintegration of American domestic politics or foretell a new era of open political civil war.
Journalists are my heroes, journalists who, despite unprecedented attempts by Trump's Administration to muzzle them, insult them, marginalize them and prompt attacks on them constitute a Constitutional check on the misbehavior of our Manchurian President. America's Founders were intimately aware of the power and necessity of a free press in maintaining the democratic experiment they were embarking on. Congress remains in deadlock and the Judiciary grinds on in its own time but a free press holds the politicians' feet to the fire of public scrutiny.
Thomas Boyers, V is a Gallatin attorney.