Press: What dirt does Putin have on Trump?

Press: What dirt does Putin have on Trump?
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One thing for sure, the Trump presidency is anything but boring. In fact, almost every week, if not every day, for the last two years, there’s been at least one “I can’t believe this is happening” moment. But none more mind-boggling than two reports over the weekend.

First, try to process this: As first reported by The New York Times, the FBI was so worried about President TrumpDonald John TrumpAverage tax refunds down double-digits, IRS data shows White House warns Maduro as Venezuela orders partial closure of border with Colombia Trump administration directs 1,000 more troops to Mexican border MORE’s coziness with Russian officials that they suspected he might actually be on the Kremlin’s payroll. That’s right. They actually launched a counterintelligence investigation to determine if the president of the United States of America is a foreign agent.

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Their investigation was triggered by Trump’s firing of FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyRosenstein: My time at DOJ is 'coming to an end' Five takeaways from McCabe’s allegations against Trump FBI’s top lawyer believed Hillary Clinton should face charges, but was talked out of it MORE and, the very next day, telling top Russian diplomats in the Oval Office: “I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job. I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.” But their concerns started long before that.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump repeatedly praised Putin, giving him an “A for leadership,” and insisted that Putin’s killing of political enemies was no worse than ours: “There are a lot of killers. Do you think our country is so innocent?” Then, as president, he refused to endorse sanctions against Russia imposed by Congress, has still never blamed Russia for its proven meddling in the 2016 election, and suggested Russia had every right to seize Crimea. All of which led the FBI to conclude that not only Trump aides Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortMueller won't deliver report to Justice Dept. next week New York preps state charges for Manafort in case of a Trump pardon: report Defending the First Amendment, even for Roger Stone MORE, Carter Page and George PapadopoulosGeorge Demetrios PapadopoulosWhite House braces for Mueller report Justice Department preparing for Mueller report as soon as next week: reports Mueller probe figures use fame to pay bills MORE were colluding with Russia, but, perhaps, so was Trump himself. That question of collusion, of course, was soon taken up by special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE.

Interestingly enough, given the opportunity to respond to the Times story on Fox News, Trump did not directly deny it. Host Jeanine Pirro asked: “Are you now or have you ever worked for Russia, Mr. President?” Trump answered: “I think that’s the most insulting thing I’ve ever been asked.” That’s a deflection, not a denial.

Then, on top of The New York Times bombshell, came another report by The Washington Post that Trump has gone out of his way not to disclose the contents of his one-on-one conversations with Putin on five different occasions. Not only were the secretary of State, the national security adviser and other top national security staff not included in those private meetings, they were not briefed on them afterward. After one 2017 session with Putin in Hamburg, Trump even went so far as to confiscate notes taken by his interpreter and ban him from discussing details of the meeting with other administration officials.

You can bet Putin didn’t follow the same rule. Which means that Russian intelligence officials today know all about what Trump and Putin discussed and what secret deals they might have made, while U.S. intelligence officials know nothing.

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These two stories revive the question asked so many times during the campaign: Why is Trump so chummy with Putin? What dirt does Putin have on him? Is it Trump’s failed real estate deals in Russia? Questionable bank loans, money laundering or maybe existence of the notorious “pee tape?”

There must be some reason why Donald Trump would turn Vladimir Putin from Public Enemy No. 1 into BFF. Yes, Mueller’s exploring that question, but that’s not enough. The House should launch its own investigation. The American people have a right to know what’s behind the strange relationship between Comrade Putin and Comrade Trump.     

Press is host of “The Bill Press Show” on Free Speech TV and author of “From the Left: A Life in the Crossfire.”