The Washington Post reports: Insinuations, accusations and speculations have been a staple of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Now Hillary Clinton is using the Republican nominee’s own methods against him.
In a new online advertisement, her campaign makes a few factual statements about Trump’s Russian sympathies, stretches the truth in a couple of ways and then invites readers to draw their own conclusions.
It is exactly the technique that Trump has used repeatedly throughout the campaign to feed conspiracy theories, said Joseph Uscinski, a political scientist at the University of Miami who studies conspiracy theories. The advertisement, which is titled “What Is Donald Trump’s Connection to Vladimir Putin?” and appeared online Friday, insinuates that Trump has some kind of business or political alliance with Russia’s president, Uscinski said.
“We don’t know what’s going on here, and Donald won’t tell us,” the spot concludes. “We’ll let you guess.”
To be sure, a victory for Trump would augur a radical shift in U.S. foreign policy toward Russia. The United States would be much friendlier toward Putin and much more accommodating of his international agenda.
Trump has surrounded himself with people who are sympathetic to Putin. Paul Manafort, the chairman of Trump’s campaign, also advised former Ukranian president Viktor Yanukovych, who was aligned with Putin. Carter Page, one of Trump’s advisers on foreign affairs, has openly praised Putin and criticized Western sanctions on Russian officials.
Trump himself has praised Putin, as well, and has also called for the United States to retreat from its responsibilities in NATO — which would probably increase Putin’s influence in the region.
At this point, however, there is no evidence that anyone in the Trump campaign has a direct connection with the Kremlin, as Clinton’s spot insinuated. [Continue reading…]