Right-wing websites and networks are gleefully buzzing with theories about the state of Hillary Clinton’s health.
The former First Lady, New York U.S. Senator and Secretary of State collapsed after briefly attending a memorial ceremony on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
The unsubstantiated theories include stroke, brain damage, Multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.
But there’s one theory Right-wingers scrupulously refuse to offer: That Clinton might be a victim of poisoning by Donald Trump’s well-known admirer, Vladimir Putin.
It’s a theory that has been offered by no less than Bennet Ifeakandu Omalu, the Nigerian-American physician, forensic pathologist and neuropathologist who was the first to discover and publish findings of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in American football players.
Bennet Ifeakandu Omalu
His struggle to alert the National Football League to that danger met with hostility and derision. Finally, amid growing scrutiny from Congress, the NFL was forced to take the concussion issue more seriously.
NFL owners banned players from striking opponents with the crowns of their helmets. Meanwhile, the NFL is facing concussion lawsuits from nearly 4,000 former players.
On September 11, a Clinton rep stated that she was suffering from pneumonia–and Omalu warned on Twitter: “I must advice the Clinton campaign to perform toxicologic analysis of Mrs. Clinton’s blood. It is possible she is being poisoned.”
And he followed this up with a second tweet: “I do not trust Mr. Putin and Mr. Trump. With those two all things are possible.”
At this point, there is no evidence that Hillary Clinton is the victim of KGB “wet” methods. And it would take lengthy, sophisticated toxicology tests to hopefully learn the truth.
But there is plenty of evidence that Vladimir Putin has used murder–especially poison–to eliminate his opponents.
Putin came to power in 2000. Since then, at least 34 journalists have been murdered in Russia, according to the Moscow-based Glasnost Defense Foundation. Many of the suspected killers are military officials, government officials or political groups.
Being a political opponent of Vladimir Putin can also be dangerous. Among the casualties:
Viktor Yushchenko: In 2004, he was running for president of the Ukraine against Putin’s chosen candidate, Victor Yanukovych.
As the campaign neared its climax, Yushchenko suddenly fell ill–with dioxin poisoning. Flown to Vienna’s Rudolfinerhaus clinic for treatment, he survived, but his face was left greatly disfigured. He went on to win the election, serving as Ukraine’s president from 2005 to 2010.
Aleksandr Litvinenko: A former KGB officer, he had accused Putin of wholesale corruption. Even worse, he charged that–as a pretext for a second war with Chechnya–Putin ordered the bombings of Moscow apartment buildings, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of people.
Litvinenko died on November 23, 2006 in London from a dose of Polonium-210 in his tea. At the time, he was meeting with two Moscow agents, one of whom is now a member of the State Duma.
Boris Nemtsov: An official with a liberal opposition group, he had been arrested several times for speaking against Putin’s government.
Nemtsov had been scheduled to lead an opposition rally in Moscow. But on February 27, 2015, two days before the event, he was shot dead as he walked home from dinner. The killing happened a short distance from the Kremlin.
If Hillary Clinton proved to have a serious medical condition such as Parkinson’s or Multiple sclerosis, the results would be tragic but strictly national.
Mounting pressure within and outside the Democratic party would force her to drop out of the race.
There would be a brief, furious struggle within the Democratic party for the nomination–most likely between Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and Tim Kaine, Clinton’s choice for Vice President. The winner would face Donald Trump in the coming debates and fall election.
And the Clintons–a force in American politics since 1992–would finally leave the national stage.
But if Hillary is a victim of a KGB assassination attempt, as Dr. Bennet Omalu suspects, then the consequences would be national and international.
Nationally, such a discovery would almost certainly generate huge sympathy for Clinton–a woman singularly unable to arouse sympathy among voters. That alone could ensure her election as President.
And even Americans who hate Clinton would never forgive Russia for daring to interfere with an American Presidential election. They would demand severe retaliation–even all-out war.
For Trump, it would prove a nightmare. He’s made too many admiring statements about Putin to disavow them now and be believed.
National outrage followed in July when Trump invited Putin to “find the 30,000 emails that are missing” on the private server that Clinton used as Secretary of State.
If Clinton died–or was simply injured–because of a KGB plot, few would believe Trump wasn’t a party to it.
And several of Trump’s closest associates have had ties to Putin, such as his former campaign manager Paul Manafort.
Even many Republicans have already declared they can’t support Trump in abandoning NATO–much less his clear admiration for Putin, a dictator who got his start as a KGB agent.
At his first press conference upon becoming President, Ronald Reagan harshly denounced Soviet leaders: “They reserve unto themselves the right to commit any crime, to lie, to cheat.”
A KGB plot against Hillary Clinton would convince many Americans that Republican leaders have become as corrupt as those in the Kremlin.