Second scenario: If the kompromat would only mildly damage Trump
But let’s assume the material is only mildly damaging, say, video evidence of a tryst with Russian prostitutes or ethical breaches that could land Trump in minor legal jeopardy — developments that would be embarrassing or distracting but would not cause certain impeachment.
How would Putin regard a politically wounded Trump who still clings to power? Very favorably, if Russia’s aim is to sow discord in the United States.
If Trump were to think through the implications, he would see that Russia’s threat to follow through on blackmail would be credible, and he might think twice before pushing Russia too hard — or soften the blow of hard-line policies with encouraging words that signal to Putin that he may come through in the future.