You have to feel bad for the Moldovan president. The newly elected Igor Dodon had traveled to Moscow to meet Russian president Vladimir Putin for the first Russian-Moldovan bilateral meeting in nine years. Yet here he was, standing side by side with Putin, his hero and model for emulation, at a regal-looking press conference and some reporter has to go and ask about the prostitutes.
“You haven’t yet commented on the report that, allegedly, we or in Russia have been collecting kompromat on Donald Trump, including during his visit to Moscow, as if he were having fun with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel,” said the reporter with the pro-Kremlin LifeNews. “Is that true? Have you seen these files, these videos, these tapes?”
Dodon looked half mortified, half amused as he looked over toward a laughing Putin.
“You know,” Putin said, “there’s a category of people who leave without saying goodbye, out of respect for how things have come together, so as to not disturb anything. Then there are people who endlessly say goodbye. The departing [U.S. presidential] administration, in my opinion, is in the second category.”
Then he tried, barely, to suppress a smirk.
A week ago, Buzzfeed published a dossier of unverified allegations reportedly compiled by a former British spy, a partial summary of which intelligence officials had presented to President-elect Donald Trump and outgoing President Barack Obama. Officials were concerned, in CNN’s words, that Russian operatives could have “compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump.” For a week, Trump vocally contested the claims, but Putin said nothing. Putin has no computer, no Twitter account. Whatever denials we heard came from his spokesman, the mustachioed Dmitry Peskov.