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What We Talked About



[This is from the personal diary of Vladimir Putin. I cannot reveal how I got it, but take my word, it’s authentic—the real thing! In it, Putin summarizes the conversation he had with Trump during that notorious two-hour secret meeting in Helsinki.]

Dear Diary, every time I see President Trump, he’s more humble. In the words of a recent American popular song, “Sit down, bitch.” He began by asking me if I still have the videotape. “Of course I do, Donald,” I said, squeezing his knee with my hand, in a gesture of dominance. “Why, did you think I would lose it?”

“Oh, no, Vladimir, I just thought that maybe…”

“Don’t worry, Donald, your little secret is safe with me—for now. I did manage to view it again, though, for the first time in a few months. Steamy, Donald, steamy! I’m not sure that, how do you say, watersports is of interest to me, but like the old saying goes, whatever floats your boat.”

“Vladimir, thank you for respecting my privacy. You know, if that videotape got into the wrong hands…”

“Donald, Donald, Donald. I’m your friend! I’m here to protect you. I would never want to see you be humiliated in front of the whole world…be impeached…lose Melania and your lovely family…lose your businesses…have your life thrown into utter hell…become loathed and reviled by History. All of which will happen, of course, if the videotape were to end up in the hands of—oh, I don’t know, let’s say, for the sake of argument, Rachel Maddow.”

“That would be bad, Vladimir. Very bad.”

“Yes, Donald, it would be a tragedy. For you…not so much for me. But won’t worry; as long as you remain, uh, receptive to my suggestions, the videotape will remain locked in my personal safe in the Kremlin.”

“Yes, Vladimir.”

“You did a good job the other day trashing NATO. I appreciated that. I also liked the way you attacked your own intelligence services.”

“Well, you wanted me to, Vladimir.”

“True, true. I did. And now, when we have our joint press conference after this little tete-a-tete, I want you to go out there and again savage your intelligence services. Tell those damn reporters you don’t agree that Russia meddled in your election.”

“Fake news, Vladimir.”

“Tell them what a great guy I am, Donald. Play it up—lay it on thick. Emphasize that the relationship between you and me is the most important thing in the world.”

“Well, it is, Vladimir. I’ve always wanted to be your friend.”

“And you are, Donald, you are! We are good friends, very good friends indeed. And friends help each other, right?”

“Yes, Vladimir, friends help each other.”

“So, Donald, I am going to ask for your help in a very delicate matter.”

“Anything, Vladimir. You name it.”

“Your translator, Donald—the nice woman from your State Department. I understand that your Senate is thinking of subpoenaing her testimony. Is this correct?”

“I’ve heard the same thing, Vladimir.”

“It would not be a good thing if that were to happen, Donald. I’m sure you agree, no?”

“I do agree, Vladimir. It would not be a good thing.”

“You have to stop it, Donald.”

“Well, Vladimir, I don’t see how I can do that. In America, we have a separation of powers. The Congress is a separate branch of government. I can’t tell them what to do.”

“Donald, Donald, Donald. Do you see my lips? They’re smiling. Of course you can tell your Republican collaborators what to do. Your base supports you, and those Senators are terrified of getting primaried.”

“Yes, Vladimir, that’s true. But even I have to watch myself around those Senators. They’re pretty touchy sometimes about their prerogatives.”

“So you’re telling my there’s nothing you can do about stopping her from spilling the beans?”

“I am, Vladimir. Believe me, I’d do it if I thought I could get away with it.”

“Well, Donald, then that leaves you with only one choice.”

“What’s that, Vladimir?”

“I’m sure you know what I’m driving at.”

“Actually, Vladimir, I don’t. How can I stop her from testifying? She’s a U.S. citizen. She’s free to do anything she wants.”


“Unless what, Vladimir?”

“Donald, you know Novichok?”


“Not who, Donald. What! Novichok is the nerve agent I used to poison the Skripals. I have tons of it, Donald, more than I need for my own personal needs. I can arrange for a vial to be sent to you, and you can arrange for the translator to accidentally be exposed to it.”

“Vladimir, we have our own nerve agents. If I want to kill that translator, I don’t need your chemicals.”

“Then do it, Donald. Take care of the problem. And do it quickly! Remember the videotape, Donald.”

“How could I forget, Vladimir? You’ll never let me.”

“That is correct, Mister President. Remember that all the time. All the time. All the time.”

And that, dear diary, is what I told my friend, my vassal, Donald Trump. Oh, how Stalin would have wept with joy! How Krushchev would have marveled! How Brezhnev would have praised me! Finally, a Russian leader owns the U.S. president. I, Vladimir Putin, president of the Russian Federation, have the American president’s moshonka in my hands!

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