On Wednesday, The Daily Beast reported that several Russian state media programs have toyed with the idea of outgoing President Donald Trump being given asylum by Moscow — so that it wouldn't be possible for U.S. officials to prosecute him.
On the Russian talk show 60 Minutes, for example, "Experts in the studio enthusiastically discussed the likelihood of Trump being charged with a bevy of offenses from tax evasion to fraud and sexual assault. They concurred that Trump’s presidential pardon would not help him in state cases, unlike the recently advanced constitutional amendment in Russia that secured lifetime immunity from criminal prosecution for the country’s former presidents."
Meanwhile, "The rabidly anti-American military expert and member of the Russian Defense Ministry's Public Council, Igor Korotchenko ... compared 'poor Trump's' anticipated legal troubles to the Stalinist repressions of 1937," and "State-controlled RIA Novosti opined that the looming threat of criminal prosecutions is the Democratic Party’s way of 'spitting at Trump on his way out,'" while "Staunch Kremlin propagandist Dmitry Kiselyov’s Sunday show Weekly News argued that for Trump, pardoning himself is a matter of survival."
Some Russian figures have even openly given Trump suggestions for how to abuse his office on the way out the door.
"Notorious politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who previously suggested that Putin should milk Trump like a cow before he is forced to leave office, enumerated actions he hoped Trump would undertake prior to his departure: recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea, leave NATO, withdraw U.S. troops from every place they’re stationed worldwide, arrest disloyal U.S. state governors, refuse to recognize the outcome of the elections, force all states to conduct mandatory recounts, and induce Attorney General Bill Barr to pursue any actions that would benefit Trump," said the report.
The president's closeness with Russia has been a defining controversy of his presidency, having been the basis of the FBI investigation later taken up by special counsel Robert Mueller. There was never sufficient evidence found to charge Trump or his campaign with a criminal conspiracy with Russia, although several instances were documented of Trump officials being eager to accept Russian assistance.
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