We're not disagreeing on *that* part, Matt—the Kremlin would indeed never consider someone an "asset" until, in its view, that person could be controlled. What is of primary interest to Americans is the mens rea of any American the Kremlin might consider to be under its dominion.
1/ IOW no one's particularly upset if Nance speculates that—based on the intel we have—Russia began seeing Trump as someone whose actions it could direct by various means sometime last century. The upset comes if someone willy-nilly says Trump was a *witting asset* or an *agent*.
2/ I've never thought Trump an "agent," and while I think he may have become—in counterintelligence terms—a "witting asset" in 2013 (Unger might say much earlier), I'm also reasonably sure Trump himself (a paradox only possible with him) wouldn't have thought of himself that way.
3/ Trump has displayed for all America that he's such a narcissist that it's to the point of sociopathy—meaning, in this instance, that he's incapable of seeing acting in his own interest as morally or ethically wrong, or "being an asset," even when he *knows* it's legally wrong.
4/ I've represented defendants who speak like Trump, and on the defense side we at least seek counsel from peers at the bar as to whether competence to stand trial is an issue. It's scary to have a sociopathic client—as you never know if any norm-based counsel is getting through.
You can follow @SethAbramson.
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