Wednesday, September 06, 2017
le Carre on the Perilous Future Awaiting Donald Trump
Former spy turned spy novelist extraordinaire, John le Carre, thinks he knows a thing or two about Donald Trump. The 85-year old author says Trump reminds him of his own father whom he describes as a pathological liar with a narcissism defect. He also imagines Trump's grandiose impulses will be his downfall.
In a fascinating conversation with host Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air, where he credits his “pathological liar” father with turning him into first a spy, then a spy novelist, le Carré suggested how things might come to a head, referring initially to the dossier another former British spy allegedly assembled on a 2013 Trump visit to Moscow.
le Carré: …I think it’s perfectly possible that Trump was taken into what I call a honey trap—that he had ladies found for him, and he misbehaved in Russia… If that film was shown tomorrow worldwide, Trump would get away with it. People would say, well, “boys will be boys.” Or they would say the different parts of the body in the video don’t add up; this is all fake stuff. And 35 experts would testify to that—so wouldn’t get any distance on that.
But on the money, that’s a deep and persistent theme in Trump’s business affairs. It’s gone on for a long, long time. It relates, also, to a great extent to property held in the United States, which brings the thing closer to home. And it relates, also, to Mr. Trump’s family.
Gross: Do you think following the money is an especially good course because of the power of oligarchs and…
le Carré: So, yes…
Gross: …in Russia?
le Carré: The power of oligarchs in Russia, what the oligarchs have lent Trump directly or indirectly for his enterprises, the protection they’ve given him in far places. But none of that will play so well for the downfall of Trump as the domestic stuff, as the properties that he owns around America: how they’ve been bought, who they’ve been bought by, in what sums, whether the sums were actually consonant, whether they were gross, whether they look like some kind of backhander or bribe, and the extraordinary number of Russians with criminal records or Eastern Europeans with criminal records who frequent Trump’s company.
In the end, it seems to me, some of this has got to come home to roost. And I think there might be a point—I hope there will be a point—when somebody goes to Trump and says, your family is so deeply involved in this that you have a choice: You either fade away or we disrupt the house of Trump in ways that would be very painful to you.