It was only a matter of time.
Julia Davis, a Russian media analyst who has been studying the Russian government under Vladimir Putin for years through analysis of their state-run television programming, dropped a bombshell on her Twitter feed recently, when she referenced a segment on Россия-1 (Russia-1) in which Nikita Isaev, Director of the Russian Institute of Contemporary Economics, appeared to call for the release of blackmail that the country has on Donald Trump.
Isaev, whose public statements are of course tightly controlled by President Putin, was engaged in debate with the host of the show and several other Russian officials. Although the video that is provided here is in Russian, Davis translated the relevant part, of which we have the surrounding 15-second clip:
Let’s hit Trump with our kompromat!” “Do we have it?” “Of course we have it!”
The official could never have possibly said such a thing on live television unless Putin, notoriously controlling about the media, had personally given the signal to do so.
Kompromat is the Cold War-era term for video or audio surveillance captured by Russian intelligence of a foreign enemy in a compromising situation. The contents of what Isaev is referring to are, of course, unknown. But the speculation is that it refers to the one part of the mostly-verified Steele Dossier that has yet to become public: The infamous “pee tape,” which purportedly depicts Donald Trump in a Moscow hotel engaged in rather unorthodox sexual activities with two or more Russian sex workers.
Again, we can only speculate as to why the Russians would call to have this information leaked — or outright released officially — but the failure of the Trump administration to fully eliminate sanctions levied against a number of Russian oligarchs under the Global Magnitsky Act at this point in Trump’s presidency could be key to the answer.
Magnitsky sanctions were the topic of the fabled Trump Tower meeting in June 2016 between the President’s son, his son-in-law, his campaign manager, and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, whose primary goal has been the elimination of the sanctions since they were enacted in 2009, when she was a lawyer for the Moscow Minister of Transportation.
Whether the kompromat in the Russians’ hands deals with Trump’s vices or with details that would shed additional light on the Tower meeting, their release would be far more damaging even than anything Mueller himself might have put in his report.