The Atlantic‘s Jeffrey Goldberg scored the first post-impeachment interview with Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman on Monday and asked what he described as the “key question”: “Does he believe that Trump is an asset of Russian intelligence?”
Vindman’s answer largely regurgitates left-wing conspiracy theories about Russian influence (original emphasis):
“President Trump should be considered to be a useful idiot and a fellow traveler, which makes him an unwitting agent of Putin,” he says. Useful idiot is a term commonly used to describe dupes of authoritarian regimes; fellow traveler, in Vindman’s description, is a person who shares Putin’s loathing for democratic norms.
But do you think Russia is blackmailing Trump? “They may or may not have dirt on him, but they don’t have to use it,” he says. “They have more effective and less risky ways to employ him. He has aspirations to be the kind of leader that Putin is,