Insiders compare Donald Trump's private calls with Vladimir Putin to 'two guys in a steam bath'

Insiders compare Donald Trump's private calls with Vladimir Putin to 'two guys in a steam bath'

President Donald Trump's private calls with Russian President Vladimir Putin sometimes have the tone of 'two guys in a steam bath,' according a bombshell account that portrays Trump as bending over backward to win the strongman's approval. Putin 'just outplays' Trump during their one-on-one interactions, according to a CNN report published Monday by legendary Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein. During those calls and others with foreign leaders, Trump regularly tries to tout his own wealth and success, according to the report. At the same time, with Putin he routinely characterizes his predecessors as 'imbeciles' and weaklings.' The revelations about the calls are contained in a deeply sourced – though thinly quoted – account by legendary Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein. Trump won office in 2016 despite media criticism of his repeated praise for Putin, even as Russia was revealed by U.S. intelligence to be orchestrating an election interference and hacking campaign. They are part of a web of Trump calls to the leaders of Australia, Turkey, Canada, Australia and western European countries during his presidency that officials who see call transcripts describe as 'abominations.' In addition to repeatedly building up his own wealth, as he has done repeatedly in public, Trump would revel in his time running the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, according to the account. Trump had touted a meeting with Putin at the event, although it evidently never happened. A source trashed the calls, saying that while Putin destabilizes the West, Trump 'sits there and thinks he can build himself up enough as ...
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