How Vladimir Putin will take down Donald Trump when he’s no longer useful

Signs are that Vladimir Putin may already be hedging his bets on Donald Trump as a reliable tool for advancing several of Russia’s key goals, including his drive to get U.S. sanctions lifted, sow chaos in America’s elections and undermine NATO and the European Union, experts say.

Following the controversial Helsinki summit between the Russian and American presidents, Moscow’s media commentators greeted Trump’s deference toward Putin with a mix of concern, pity and ridicule, none of which could have been uttered without the Kremlin’s approval, says Ukrainian-born Julia Davis, an expert on Russian propaganda.

“They usually get a printout of some kind, about which topics they’re supposed to discuss and what their position is supposed to be,” said Davis, a featured expert at the Atlantic Council’s Disinfo Portal. The state-controlled commentary “is very closely monitored, and they would not take a chance on stepping outside of the line,” she told Newsweek.