Admittedly a thought not entirely original with me, it's something I've been thinking and finding entirely worth considering: another reason Putin was so anxious to help Trump attain the presidency.
Yes, I think Putin figured he could manipulate Trump into doing what he, Putin, wanted. He already has. Very possibly because he has "stuff" on him that Trump wants never to see the light of day. But I see Putin as much more of an evil genius than that.
I think he took the measure of Trump and the people with whom he's surrounded himself -- Nazis, xenophobes, Islamophobes, anti-Semites, wealthy people with no regard for those Americans in need of help -- and concluded, rightly, that a Trump presidency had the potential to render our country asunder. To divide us and cause us to fall upon each other with brutality and hate unlike any we saw during the Obama presidency. To begin the end of democracy, the end of America itself. By civil war: figurative at minimum. Literal, very possibly.
(Need it be said: with each president it's been the same people fueling the division: the haters who hated Obama and now, who feel empowered to crawl out from under their anonymous websites and march in the streets. In the Obama presidency, it was reactive racism. Under Trump, it's racism unfettered.)
And, while that would be brewing, Putin figured Trump would very likely cause America to be reviled by the rest of the world. We'd sink one way or the other, with our former friends glad to see us go.
Is Putin that Machiavellian, Trump that much of a tool?
Is carbon dioxide a greenhouse gas?
Besides which, it seems to be working. Putin must have watched the events in Charlottesville, Trump's stupid responses, the outrage in response to that, the subsequent braying of the alt-right, and rubbed his hands together like you-know-who