CNN’s Fareed Zakaria on Sunday interviewed Simon Sebag Montefiore, a historian who has written extensively about Russia, about President Donald Trump’s seeming infatuation with Russian President Vladmir Putin.
When asked by Zakaria why Trump has seemingly verbally attacked every major country in the world except Russia, Montefiore explained that Trump envies that kind of power and prestige that Putin and past Russian leaders have enjoyed as heads of state.
“Donald Trump wants to be the first American czar,” he explained. “He wants to be the American Romanov — he rules by decree, very small circle, he treats ministers like personal servants, he promotes his family to positions of power, they’re the only people he really trusts. So in this sense, he really is the first American czar.”
Montefiore said that there are checks and balances that have so far kept Trump from behaving wholly like a dictator, but he argued that we should still be alarmed by his ambitions and his admiration for Putin.
“He looks at Vladimir Putin and he sees a man who… has control of violence, who can order interventions into foreign countries at the click of a hand,” he explained. “I think that is a slightly boyish crush on the idea of the gangster boss.”
Watch the full interview below.
Former federal prosecutor says judge could void Trump’s pardon for Flynn — here’s how
Former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner responded to President Donald Trump's pardon of retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn by saying that it's entirely possible that the judge in Flynn's case could nullify the pardon.
"Just as Judge Emmet Sullivan refused to grant Barr’s corrupt motion to dismiss, I hope Judge [Emmet] Sullivan sets a hearing on whether this pardon is corrupt & hence illegal/void," said Kirschner.
Civil Rights attorney Andrew Laufer agreed, saying that he too wants to see how Judge Sullivan deals with the development.
Reporter busts Trump with damning list of times he previously claimed Flynn was guilty
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump decided to issue a full pardon of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who was awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI in the course of the Russia investigation — despite Flynn's attempt to take back his plea and Attorney General William Barr's efforts to shut down the prosecution.
Although Trump and his supporters for years have painted Flynn as a hero, that was not always the sentiment, however. As BuzzFeed News' Jason Leopold noted in a lengthy Twitter thread, Trump previously was enraged with Flynn's criminal conduct, and publicly declared him a liar.
Nicolle Wallace bashes ‘two-bit criminal’ Trump for ‘skeevy’ tweet pardoning Michael Flynn
Retired Lt. Gen Michael Flynn admitted his guilt to Judge Emmett Sullivan, but President Donald Trump announced that the former director of national intelligence would never see jail time. After issuing a pardon to Flynn the day before Thanksgiving, MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace attacked the manner in which Trump announced the pardon: by tweet.
"Of all the sordid tales of Trump's presidency, this one might take the cake," said Wallace. "We knew this might be coming. We know Donald Trump likes the power to pardon. There's some reporting he's looking at a pardon for lots of other people. I wonder what your sense is about what else Donald Trump has up his sleeve?"