Newsweek

Putin’s Man in the White House?

Forget collusion. U.S. counterspies worry the president has—wittingly or unwittingly—become a Kremlin ‘asset.’
Russia's President Vladimir Putin talks to U.S. President Donald Trump during their bilateral meeting at the G-20 summit, in Hamburg, Germany. Forget collusion. U.S. counterspies worry the president has—wittingly or unwittingly—become a Kremlin 'asset.'
11_09_Putin_Trump Source: Carlos Barria/Reuters

Last May, a top White House national security official met in Washington with senior Russian officials and handed over details of a secret operation Israel had shared with its U.S. counterparts. The meeting shocked veteran U.S. counterspies. The American official was not arrested, and he continues to work in the White House today, albeit under close scrutiny.

That official, of course, was Donald Trump. The president’s Oval Office meeting with Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, and its then-ambassador to Washington, Sergey Kislyak—which only Russian photographers were permitted to record—sparked a media brushfire that was quickly overtaken by more revelations of secret contacts between Trump associates and Kremlin agents. But the incident was not forgotten by American and Israeli security officials, or by longtime foreign intelligence allies of the U.S., who now wonder if the president can be trusted to protect their most guarded secrets.

For over a year, the question of collusionwould have discarded as implausible.

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