Democrats’ persecution of Donald Trump partly responsible for the Ukraine situation?

In a recent video chat among friends, a Russian immigrant to the U.S., asked about the Ukraine situation, said “I am not following it closely, but I assume that Putin has a reason for doing what he’s doing. Either it will benefit the country or it will benefit him.”

I chimed in, “How could it possibly benefit Putin? Doesn’t he already have everything that he might want?”

She responded, “He may be worried about what would happen to him if he loses power. Maybe he thinks that this Ukraine action will help him stay in power and he needs to do that.”

Her perspective is at odds with much of the American and recent Western European experience. Lyndon Johnson and George W. Bush were free to go home to their respective Texas ranches after starting and/or escalating disastrous wars, for example. But the quiet comfortable retirement of former leaders is unusual when compared to what happens in most countries and what has happened through most of human history. And, even in the U.S., the new rulers may try to make life unpleasant for former rulers. Consider what the Democrats are doing to Donald Trump right now. New York State Democrats have been seeking to put him in prison for alleged financial misstatements (“2 Prosecutors Leading N.Y. Trump Inquiry Resign, Clouding Case’s Future” (NYT) for the latest on this one). Democrats in the U.S. Congress are also seeking criminal prosecution (“The Jan. 6 Committee’s Consideration of a Criminal Referral, Explained” (NYT); “The Obscure Charge Jan. 6 Investigators Are Looking at for Trump” (Daily Beast)). Democrats were, in fact, already seeking to imprison Donald Trump at least as early as 2018. “The Presidency or Prison” (NYT):

Donald Trump — or, as he’s known to federal prosecutors, Individual-1 — might well be a criminal. That’s no longer just my opinion, or that of Democratic activists. It is the finding of Trump’s own Justice Department.

On Friday, federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York filed a sentencing memorandum for Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, who is definitely a criminal. The prosecutors argued that, in arranging payoffs to two women who said they’d had affairs with Trump, Cohen broke campaign finance laws, and in the process “deceived the voting public by hiding alleged facts that he believed would have had a substantial effect on the election.”

Representative Eric Swalwell, a California Democrat and former prosecutor, told me, “This president has potential prison exposure.”

Ordinarily, you know that a democracy is failing when electoral losers are threatened with prison. But Trump’s lawlessness is so blatant that impunity — say, a pardon, or a politically motivated decision not to prosecute — would also be deeply corrosive, unless it was offered in return for his resignation.

So the original idea was to put Trump in prison for paying people who identified as “women” to do what people who identify as “women” have been doing for a long time. Then January 6 came along and the idea shifted to putting Trump in prison for “obstructing an official congressional proceeding”.

If Putin observes that Donald Trump is continuously at risk of a prison sentence, depending on the whims of Democrats working as prosecutors and serving on juries, wouldn’t he reasonably be concerned about his own post-leadership fate? The Russian legal system doesn’t offer superior protection against politically motivated prosecution compared to the U.S. system, does it?

Separately, Apple News sets up a visual comparison between Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden. One leader is using armored vehicles and soldiers holding rifles. The other leader has “sanctions”:

26 thoughts on “Democrats’ persecution of Donald Trump partly responsible for the Ukraine situation?

  1. But interestingly both Yeltsin and Gorbachev successfully retired in Russia. So Putin in theory could have done that some time ago. Looks like he is too paranoid and too megalomaniac to do it while is still was possible. Now it’s probably too late.

    • SK: Is is legitimate to call Putin “paranoid”? Aren’t there lots of people inside and outside of Russia who are out to get him? Paranoia is defined as an irrational fear.

    • I actually think he would be completely fine if he just retired at the end of his 8 years and let Medvedev took over.

      Now it’s too late.

      The biggest mystery to me how he got in in the first place. Nobody heard of him before Yeltsin announced him as successor.

      On the same note attempted persecution of president Trump is really stupid idea. This just creates incentives for future presidents to cling to power. Note how Trump didn’t push for persecution of Hilary or Biden. Guess he learned from his mistakes now, lol.

  2. There’s that Chinese saying about riding a tiger. While you keep riding the tiger can’t bite you (well, it can, in reality, but that’s not how folk wisdom works:) – once you get off, angry tiger can and will turn on you in instant. Political power works just like that (both in governments and criminal gangs, but I repeat myself).

    You cannot get on top without making lots of dangerous enemies. While you’re on top you can use the power to suppress your enemies. Once you’re out, you’re fair game for them. That’s the real reason (and not any external threats) why former US presidents remain protected by Secret Service. Without that kind of guarantees nobody would willingly retire; Soviet leaders basically had only one exit – as corpses. Gorbachev was the first one to get away alive amid the chaos of disintegrating Soviet Union, and he quickly moved abroad afterwards, too.

  3. If only NATO had more transgender and queer people of color in leadership positions, they would’ve been strong enough to stop Russia from invading Ukraine.

    • Never underestimate the power of grotesquely swollen balls paraded right in the faces of advancing enemy to make the enemy puke and scatter in disgust. (I’m not making that up… I lived near SF for a long time, and that sight was one of the recurring themes in street events in the city.)

    • There is a meme showing a picture of the current Russian defense minister and pictures of 6 of Europe’s most powerful defense ministers. It tells you all you need to know about who will win WWIII.
      I don’t actually think WWIII is going to happen but I expect many sternly worded letters and screeching speeches.

    • GB,
      Current Russian “defense” minister is a Putin’s crony who reportedly has not served in the military before being appointed defense minister. He indeed matches European defense minsters even if he decorated himself with more brass.
      Russian troops invading Ukraine are attacking in columns without cover. In a fight with any pre-woke western military they would be massacred the way they were under Deir el-Zour in Syria during Trump tenure
      Ukrainian troops too contained Russian attack in first 24 hours in places where Ukrainian military was actually deployed in Eastern Ukraine. And multiple Russian paratroopers forces attempts on Kiev and Kharkov were contained with few survivals if any.
      Of course, after longer bombing and cruise missile campaign this might change and as Russian military advances through not protected Southern Ukraine.
      And off course, if western armies would not fight a band of alpha cavemen with clubs would beat them.
      I think that criticism,often useful, of western decadence does not have to include over-estimation of Putin wisdom.
      You can try to run to Russia if you think that Putin runs things well but I would not suggest it to anyone I do not dislike.

    • I’m not running to Russia because I am not Russian. Looks like a flawless Russian victory. Without a lot of carnage, all the live cams look rather peaceful except for very specific targets. Russia won this in less than 24 hours. Ukraine’s current leaders got in by hiring snipers to shoot their own people, being free of those ‘leaders’ will be good for the Ukrainian people.

    • GB, Russia has not won yet. You are reading some strange news, if you are not writing it.

    • Ukraine’s current gov’t is done. Fini. As a country they will be better off soon. Once they get rid of their nonUkrainian leader. They’ll be better off with a Ukrainian Russian controlled puppet then having a total foreigner as leader. Russia doesn’t want empire, Russia will help the Ukrainians rule themselves and keep out outside actors with bad intent toward the country.

    • GB, who told you that Zelensky is not Ukrainian? I agree that he is a comedian by trade and not a great war time president but he is Ukrainian born and raised. Or are you referring to his grandparents being born Jewish? Zelensky is from Kryvyi Rih, Christian Orthodox by religion, has Christian Orthodox Ukrainian wife and children, attends Christian Orthodox services (maybe superfluously, not different of other 80% of church-goers) and got over 70% of vote in last Ukrainian election.
      He also performed bordering on anti-Semitic comedy in the past.
      I am not huge fan of his but if I had to choose between him and Putin as my country leader I would have chosen him.
      Your information is not correct and your position seems to be to venerate Putin no matter what. I am afraid it could be a side effect of long covid lock-downs

  4. This is an interesting angle that might have influenced Putin. The real problem of course is that Trump wasn’t elected. Relying again on the British boulevard press, which seems to uphold journalistic standards, here is Trump on geopolitical issues, admonishing Germany to seek other energy sources and build up its military:

    Germany could have 50% nuclear energy by now if not for the horrible Merkel politics.

  5. I think something happened between March and July 2018 that convinced Russia to go down the route toward autarky.
    The punitive actions are the latest escalating step by the US to punish Putin’s inner circle for interfering in the 2016 election and other ongoing aggressions across the globe in Crimea, Ukraine and Syria.

    The White House said such targeted sanctions would help to ensure that Russian oligarchs profiting from the Kremlin’s destabilizing activities, including its interference of Western democratic elections in 2016 and 2017, would face consequences for their actions.
    Russia has rapidly sold off the vast majority of its stash of American debt.
    Between March and May, Russia’s holdings of US Treasury bonds plummeted by $81 billion, representing 84% of its total US debt holdings.

    The sudden debt dump may have contributed to a short-term spike in Treasury rates that spooked the market. 10-year Treasury yields topped 3% in April for the first time since 2014.

    It also sparked a guessing game about Moscow’s motivations. Maybe Russia just wanted to diversify its portfolio, as the central bank stated. Or perhaps Russia was seeking revenge for Washington’s crippling sanctions on aluminum maker Rusal.

    • Steve, Russia had been talking about de-dolarization for at least a decade before that and gas sold Treasuries several times before. Other countries central banks and sovereign funds and China absorbed most of the Treasuries. Russia has been loosing money on each of their politically motivated transactions

    • Russia reduced USD debt in 2013-14, but the balance had been stable near $100 billion until Q2 2018; then it was abruptly taken close to zero. Some of the earlier sales lost money, but the gold purchases greatly outperformed USD.

      So what happened in Q2 2018? Perhaps getting sanctioned (in part) for Team Hillary’s Russian collusion hoax altered Putin’s view of the USA?

    • Steve, $100 billion is a small part of outstanding treasuries amount and would not put Russia even in top 5 US debt holders. Russian sell is pretty insignificant event for US and was probably driven by internal Russian financial decisions, given that Russia is a major gold miner with thousands of tons of gold in proven reserves and hundreds of tons of gold annual production. Or maybe the explanation is here
      On April 6, OFAC designated seven Russian oligarchs, 12 oligarch-controlled companies, 17 senior Russian government officials, a state-owned Russian weapons trading company and a Russian bank to the SDN list.5 At the time, several of these parties held significant ownership stakes in major international companies, which resulted in the temporary blocking of certain companies pursuant to OFAC’s “50 percent rule.”6″
      ” More at the link

  6. Pretty sure Trump was getting equally persecuted both in & out of power. Blancolirio had a good video on possible actions a more competent leader than Fred Rogers 46 could do, like denying Russia air superiority over Ukraine & air dropping aid to the Ukraine military. It just isn’t happening with the current snoozer in chief.

    • 100% Russia has the initiative and everyone has to listen to Putin’s nonsense. Did not happen under Trump. Trump created facts on the ground, now Putin creates facts on the ground.

    • Please. You think a Youtube general’s (Blancolirio) ideas are novel and sound? If only the US had a few military minds with actual experience contemplating and simulating these things full time. The two scenarios you suggest are fraught with unavoidable escalation in which we’re essentially just going to war at their inception.

  7. Sirs:

    For the time being, I thought it might be appropriate to post some recent Foto Funnies that pertain tangentially to the conversation in this thread.

    This roadside inn is going a little wobbly after two years of COVID. But maybe they just visited…

    …This Psychic Reader 500 feet down the road who will tell you what is happening in the Present as well as the Past and Future…

    …It just opened with a nice handicap-access ramp. I hope they can tell the Biden Administration what is going to happen…

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