I’m not much of a conspiracy theorist. I’ve ridiculed 9-11 Truthers and Birthers alike. That said, I believe Vladimir Putin has something on Donald Trump.

I don’t think Trump is a Russian agent in the traditional sense, but something is certainly out of whack with Trump’s relationship with the Kremlin. This is a guy who shows little deference to anyone, yet he treats Putin and the Kremlin with kid gloves.

So far, Trump has not criticized the Russians for anything they’ve done. He’s defended them past the point of absurdity on their apparent hacking of the DNC and RNC. He stayed quiet while Russia assisted the Syrian Army in brutalizing Aleppo. He’s denied their expansionist policies despite Russian intervention in Crimea and Ukraine.

Trump built his campaign insulting people. He called Jeb! low energy. He called Marco Rubio “Little Marco.” He called Ted Cruz “Lying Ted,” insulted his wife and accused Cruz’s father of being part of the Kennedy assignation conspiracy. He nicknamed Hillary Clinton “Crooked Hillary” and he routinely insulted Obama throughout the campaign.

He’s even insulted people who tried to reach out to him. He reduced Chris Christie to an errand boy. He tried to humiliate Mitt Romney by making him publicly apologize.

Trump has spent no time defending or complimenting anybody the way he has Putin. And there’s little political upside to his praise. He’s alienating conservatives and liberals alike. Trump has built his career and his campaign playing to mass audiences for ratings. But on Russia, he’s playing to audience of one—Putin.

So, what does the Russian dictator have on Trump? Is it money? Does Trump owe the Russians tons in loans? Is it photos? Does Putin have proof of Trump in compromising positions?  It’s a shame we never got to see those tax returns.

Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >

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