According to Peters, the Russian president “knows what he’s doing,” and successfully exploits Trump’s “vulnerabilities” to advance his own agenda.
“Putin undoubtedly has been able to work him just brilliantly,” Peters told CNN’s John Berman.
“Because if you’re in the intelligence world or the espionage game, the best victim is somebody who wants to be a victim,” he added.
According to Peters, Trump is a “guy with an eggshell ego,” and Putin knows “exactly how to play it.”
The retired lieutenant colonel also claimed that the Russian government has compromising information on Trump, which it is using to blackmail the president.
“I’m in the minority that still believes there’s probably embarrassing tape, certainly financial issues,” Peters said.
Peters made the allegations in response to a new report from The Washington Post, which claimed earlier this week — citing numerous former White House officials — that Trump’s views on alleged Ukrainian meddling in the 2016 presidential election were shaped by Putin himself.
According to the officials, after meeting privately in July 2017 with Putin at the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Trump started insisting that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election in order to help then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton win the presidency.
According to one of the officials, Trump explicitly said that he believes Ukraine — not Russia, as American intelligence agencies claim — interfered in the 2016 election because “Putin told me.”
The Ukraine theory has not only “consumed” the president’s attention, according to those familiar with his thinking, but also led to his alleged pressuring of the Ukrainian government to investigate a number of prominent Democratic politicians, including one of the leading presidential contenders, former Vice President Joe Biden.
According to one former official, during discussions about foreign election meddling, Trump would say, “Everyone knows I won the election. The greatest election in the world. The Russians didn’t do anything. The Ukrainians tried to do something.”
As The Washington Post notes, the theory that Ukraine helped Democrats in the 2016 election has been parroted by Republicans in the United States Congress, the vast majority of whom have fiercely defended Trump against Democratic accusations of wrongdoing.
Trump’s actions toward Ukraine are at the core of House Democrats’ impeachment articles. According to Democrats, Trump committed multiple impeachable offenses when he allegedly pressured the Ukrainian government to investigate his political opponents.
The House voted earlier this week to impeach the president for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.