Given his constant praise and support of Vladimir Putin, at the expense of US allies and even US presidents, people inside and outside the government are asking if President Trump is being blackmailed.

Constant praise of Putin blackmail?

President Trump has had no negative words for Russian President Putin, despite Russia shooting down a civilian aircraft on regularly scheduled flight plans, killing protesting reporters, targeting hospitals and civilians in Aleppo, and invading The Crimea.

He even compared US president’s actions with those of Putin when conservative talk show host Bill Oreille called Putin a “killer”.

Was Putin told US policy would change?

Questions arose about what Presidential Security Advisor Flynn said to the Russian Ambassador on the day President Obama announced 35 Russian diplomats were being thrown out of the US. The diplomatic move was in retaliation for Russian interference with the election.

The normal diplomatic reaction to this sort of action is for the other country (Russia, US, or any other) to then eject an equivalent number of diplomats. President Putin, who usually doesn't let insults go without reacting to them (much like Trump himself) did nothing, ejected no US diplomats and didn’t even criticise the US move.

That was so unusual that when it was disclosed by the government agencies (which routinely monitor all Russian phone calls in the US) that Presidential Security Advisor Retired General Flynn had phoned the russian ambassador, people questioned whether Flynn told him that things would be very different under Trump so don't react.

That would be questionable because the US only has one president at a time making and enforcing government policies. What that wouldn’t be is a major problem by itself, but Flynn made it much, much worse by lying about the calls, even to Vice President Pence who then told reporters that claims of Flynn having improper contact with Russia were completely false.

Now a dozen Administration employees have told reporters that Flynn did have such contacts and Flynn himself has changed his previous flat denial and is now (several weeks later) saying he cannot recall.

Signs of blackmail

Trump cannot find anything but praise for Putin, but he has fought with Australian Prime Minister, compared Angela Merkle with Putin, compared the CIA to Nazi's, and begun a border war with Mexico, the third largest US trading partner.

There are reports that Russia helped Trump win the election by attacking Hillary Clinton but not Trump. There is also Steele's claim that the Kremlin has secret information about Trump. The former MI-5 investigator produced a 32-page report on Trump's possible misdeeds in and with Russia.

That was dismissed by many in the intelligence field, but recently several details about reported phone calls were confirmed and the investigation is just beginning.

Nick Hayes told MPRNEWS that he thinks Trump is already being blackmailed by Russia. Professor Hayes holds the University Chair in Critical Thinking at St. John's University and the College of St. Benedict.

Last week House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) told "Meet the Press," “I want to know what the Russians have on Donald Trump.

I think we have to have an investigation by the FBI into his financial, personal and political connections to Russia and we want to see his tax returns so we can have truth in the relationship [with] Putin, whom he admires.”