Here’s What Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump Talk About When No One Else Is Listening

Someone is being gamed here.

Vladimir Putin

Metzel Mikhail/TASS via ZUMA Press

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

What do President Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin talk about during their occasional phone calls? According to a sobering piece from the Washington Post, it’s exactly what you’d expect—fake news, the deep state, and…friendship:

Some White House officials worry that Putin, who has held several calls with Trump, plays on the president’s inexperience and lack of detailed knowledge about issues while stoking Trump’s grievances.

The Russian president complains to Trump about “fake news” and laments that the U.S. foreign policy establishment—the “deep state,” in Putin’s words—is conspiring against them, the first senior U.S. official said.

“It’s not us,” Putin has told Trump, the official summarized. “It’s the subordinates fighting against our friendship.”

Appealing to the president’s vanity is 101-level stuff for heads of state and members of Congress. But it also speaks to the remarkable success of Putin’s own efforts that the language with which he strokes the president’s ego is itself a byproduct of Russia’s own election interference. “Fake news” was a Russian propaganda effort and the “deep state,” in Trump-speak, refers to the ongoing investigation into how Team Trump reacted to that meddling. It’s a disinformation feedback loop and we’re all stuck in it.

LESS DREADING, MORE DOING

This is the rubber-meets-road moment: the early days in our first fundraising drive since we took a big swing and merged with CIR to bring fearless investigative reporting to the internet, radio, video, and everywhere else that people need an antidote to lies and propaganda.

Donations have started slow, and we hope that explaining, level-headedly, why your support really is everything for our reporting will make a difference. Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” or in this 2:28 video about our merger (that literally just won an award), and please pitch in if you can right now.

payment methods

LESS DREADING, MORE DOING

This is the rubber-meets-road moment: the early days in our first fundraising drive since we took a big swing and merged with CIR to bring fearless investigative reporting to the internet, radio, video, and everywhere else that people need an antidote to lies and propaganda.

Donations have started slow, and we hope that explaining, level-headedly, why your support really is everything for our reporting will make a difference. Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” or in this 2:28 video about our merger (that literally just won an award), and please pitch in if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate