Authoritarianism Expert Believes Trump May Be Blackmailing Lindsey Graham and Other Republicans with Hacked Emails

Sarah Kendzior, a journalist with expertise on authoritarian regimes, appeared with host Joy Reid on MSNBC to discuss the bizarre public deference to President Donald Trump in recent days.


They discussed the way Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) went from calling Trump an unfit "kook" to telling the media that they were trying to "label the guy as some kind of kook not fit to be president.”

Kendzior believes Trump may be blackmailing Graham.

“The RNC was hacked,” Kendzior said. “We don’t know what happened with those e-mails. We know that Lindsey Graham’s personal e-mails were also hacked and we know that Trump has a long track record of blackmailing and threatening those who he sees as his political opponents. That goes back throughout his entire career.”

Graham is among the politicians who benefited from dark money donated by Kremlin-aligned Russian nationals living in the U.S. His sexuality has also been a point of wide speculation, with former Gov. Mike Huckabee seeming to take a homophobic swipe at him in the press.

But the takeaway from Kendzior is that Republicans don't seem to be acting from a place of free will.

“I think what concerns me most is that they seem afraid,” she said. “They seem unable to stand up for themselves. They lack all dignity.”

“He’s often gone after their wives and their family members, saying terrible things," she continued. "And yet they prostrate themselves to him. What kind of leader are you? What kind of man are you?”

Watch the segment below.

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