Trump's Russia problem: Did Putin interfere with the US election?

 (13 December 2016) The Trump transition hit a major speed bump over the weekend as the CIA indicated there is now a strong case that Russia interfered in the US election.  The CIA stated that not only is there evidence of Russian hacking of the DNC and RNC but that the interference was intended to help Donald Trump get elected.  Although long-suspected by the Clinton campaign, the CIA Russia release has prompted calls for a bipartisan investigation on Capitol Hill. 

Not surprisingly, Donald Trump has rejected the CIA's assertion and has said there is no need for an investigation.  Some on the GOP side have even suggested the whole story has been concocted by sore loser Democrats.  But Trump is now at odds with many in his own party as the GOP Senate leadership has called for a formal investigation in the days and weeks to come.  This, in turn, has led some left-leaning Democrats to call for a delay in the Electoral College vote on December 19th.  Some Electors have also requested access to the CIA security briefing before they cast their vote on the 19th. 

So things are finally getting interesting ahead of the vote.  The swing state recounts were either blocked by state governments in Pennsylvania or Michigan or came to nothing as in Wisconsin which did not alter the original result.  But the possibility that the Russians actively helped to get Trump elected now raises the stakes significantly.  Suddenly, it is more plausible that we could some big surprises come December 19th as 1) Mercury turns retrograde while in an 2) intense conjunction with Pluto and 3) directly opposite the USA's Sun at 22 Gemini.  Just before the election, I had noted the unique intensity of this configuration and the possibility that it could coincide with some unusual events around the Electoral College vote that would not follow standard expectations. 

We're still a long way from seeing Trump fail to win the crucial 270 votes, but at least now we can see how we might get there.  This Russian interference investigation is a real thing and it could well shape the rest the this transition period up until the Inauguration on January 20th.  This is the kind of thing I had envisaged in my previous posts on how Trump could run into problems in late December and in January.  As the investigation goes forward, Trump could be on the defensive.

So what happens on December 19th?  Short answer: I don't know. I think there is a reasonable chance that he doesn't get to the required 270 votes that day for various reasons.  Either the EC vote itself is postponed or there are enough faithless electors who vote for someone else or who abstain.  I still can't quite bring myself to say that this is a probable outcome but it seems more likely than betting markets are reflecting.  Hillary Clinton is now seen as having a 33-1 chance of winning the presidency at this point on  I think they are higher than that, although likely not worth risking too much money on. 

Alternatively, there could be a record number of faithless electors which serves to irritate The Donald no end as his thin skin will have a hard time accepting why Republican Electors might not cast their votes for him.  But in that soft EC scenario, he could still go over 270 and therefore technically win the presidency.  But as I have noted previously, the planets look worse than that, as if there will be something more disruptive around the vote.  Time will tell. 

Trump's other problem is the impact of this investigation on his incoming administration.  His horoscope looks very stressed in January so even if he happens to get 270+ votes, he will likely face serious obstacles either from the first Congressional meeting on January 6th or in the days that follow.  Saturn will be conjunct his Ketu-Moon conjunction.  This is a difficult transit that indicate emotional difficulties,  distortions and burdens. 

This transit could coincide with bad news for Trump from the investigation.  No matter how much the GOP wants Trump to become president, I would think that solid CIA evidence of Russian interference would create big problems for him.  And obviously, if there was evidence of any communication between the Trump campaign and the Russians before the election, this would become disqualifying for Trump, and perhaps even indictable.  Treason can be an ugly word that is tossed around callously, but many liberal Democrats could find themselves pushing hard in that direction. 

But can astrology provide any insight into a possible connection between Putin and Trump?  Not definitively.  Astrology just doesn't work that way.  But if we think inferentially, then there are some clues that suggest at least there is a mutual self-interest at work, if not an outright alliance.  If we can see the planetary alignments working at the same time in the same direction for both Trump and Putin, then that would suggest that there fortunes are connected.  Of course, this would simply reinforce the widely held notion that Putin wanted Trump to beat Hillary Clinton.  Putin strongly dislikes Clinton, while Trump's foreign policy would be hands off and allow Putin more freedom to resume Russian control over Eastern Europe and parts of the Middle East.

Importantly, Putin's chart is moderately afflicted on December 19th but perhaps less than Trump's is.  Mercury-Pluto is square the Sun-Saturn in Putin's chart.  That's tense and unhelpful to be sure.  But perhaps this suggests that whatever setback befalls Trump will less injurious to Putin.  Well, it's Trump that is trying to become president and not Putin so that's less surprising. 

Mars (6 Aquarius) is squaring the Moon (9 Taurus) but it's still three degrees out from exact.  I would think that if the Putin birth time is correct (a big if, I will admit), then Putin is more likely to experience stress and problems around Christmas, say around the 23-26th. Mars (conflict, frustration, anger) is in close square the Moon (emotions), while disruptive Rahu is in an exact aspect with the Ascendant (self).  

Near Christmas Trump's chart looks like it could be confronting some significant uncertainty as Saturn is moving into close conjunction with Ketu while Jupiter aspects Rahu.  Ketu and Rahu are the Moon's Nodes, of course, and are prominent during eclipses.  Given the negative symbolism of eclipses, aspects involving Ketu and Rahu are also seen to have increased risk of unexpected developments which put us on the defensive.  While this looks difficult for Trump, his Mars transit looks less intense. 

So there is some overlap there between the two charts, but I would not say it's compelling evidence of simultaneous affliction over the next two weeks.  So that's a maybe.

But what is more intriguing is what happens in January and beyond.  On January 6th, Congress will meet to accept the votes of the Electoral College.  If Trump does not have 270 votes, then GOP-controlled Congress is empowered to decide the presidency.  The planets on January 6th look mixed.  Mercury ends it retrograde cycle on January 8th as it returns to direct motion.  This is just two days after Congress meets so Mercury will be moving very slowly still and therefore much more energized that usual.  The problem for Trump is that Mercury (5 Sagittarius) will form a close alignment with his Mars (3 Leo).  This is the theoretically less damaging 120-degree trine aspect but it still warrants some attention. Mercury-Mars aspects mark times of intense communication -- not always bad -- and may also indicate an increase in frustration regardless of outcome.  

But at the same time, the Sun (ego, leadership) will conjoin Pluto (power, dominance) at 22-23 Sagittarius in direct opposition to the USA's Sun once again.  And that conjunction will form a near exact 135 degree aspect with Trump's Ascendant.  Not surprisingly, power is first and foremost at this time as this is the scheduled time when Trump could accede to the presidency.  I don't see enough obvious affliction in the chart to suggest he will be denied the presidency on January 6th.  I may be missing something so it's possible, but Mars isn't sufficiently negative for Trump here on this crucial day.  Of course, if the Congressional ratification of the EC vote is postponed due to the investigation, then the matter becomes moot.  But I would think that it is most likely that Trump will be awarded the presidency on January 6th, although with considerable opposition within Congress itself. 

Putin's chart that day also places the Mercury direct station in close proximity to his Mars and this time it is the more potent conjunction.  Moreover, the Sun-Pluto conjunction lines quite close to a square with his natal Saturn (24 Virgo).  That suggests blockage, obstacles, and basically not getting what you want.  Mars is also prominent here in a bad way as it aspects the Sun by 8th house aspect.  This indicates conflict and competition but given the other aspects it seems stressful.  On the plus side, Venus-Ketu are conjunct and align nicely with Putin's Ascendant.  Overall, there is more affliction here than in Trump's chart so Putin may come under increased scrutiny around the time of the Congressional meeting.  It may be that the Congressional opposition to Trump makes explicit and damaging mention of Russian meddling even if Trump wins the vote anyway.  So early January looks bad, but I think not really bad enough to deny Trump the presidency. 

However, an even more interesting pattern sets up for early April when Saturn stations retrograde.  On April 6th, Saturn stations at 3 Sagittarius and will then begin its four-month backward journey through the sky.  What's important to note is that this will align exactly with Trump's Mars at 3 Leo.  This is not a full-strength Saturn aspect, but I think it is an alignment with teeth.  Saturn-Mars aspects coincide with times of intense effort and stress and if other influences are negative, it can represent a big setback.   And there are other negative influences.  A lot of them.  Saturn itself will retrograde back over his Moon-Ketu conjunction -- not good at all for progress and success as it is more likely to indicate oppressive situations.  Transiting Rahu will be bearing down on his Ascendant at 6 Leo.  The exact conjunction occurs in April at the same time Saturn aligns with his Mars and then turns retrograde.  And then incredibly enough, Uranus (instability, change) is due to exactly square his Saturn (discipline, order) in April. 

More amazingly, Uranus will enter the sign of sidereal Aries on the day before Saturn turns retrograde -- April 6th.  It's definitely worth circling your calendar since Uranus sign changes have a track record of correlating with shocks and surprises.  The Brexit vote occurred when Uranus previously entered Aries on June 24th.  After its retrograde cycle for most of 2016, it again enters the sign of Ram in early April where it will remain for the next seven years. 

Since Putin's Mars is exactly aligned with Trump's Mars, that Saturn station will hit both of them at the same time.  Saturn will exactly conjoin Putin's Mars in early April and indicates a time of intense stress and conflict.  As I noted in last week's post on the Electoral College, one peculiar feature of Hillary Clinton's chart was a minor progressed Jupiter station in -- you guessed it -- early April.  Jupiter brings rewards and gains while Saturn typically presides over losses.  Is it possible that Hillary will enjoy some schadenfreude at this time at Donald's expense?  Yes, it's very possible but exactly what is hard to say. 

I'm thinking of a few possible scenarios here. One is that even if Trump is sworn-in on January 20th, the investigation may be ongoing in his first months as president.  That seems more likely than not.  But the investigation may reveal some embarrassing evidence for Trump that seriously undermines his legitimacy.  The Left has already essentially gone on notice to deny Trump's legitimacy, but I wonder if there will be more evidence and scandal during February and March.  Worst case, Trump could be forced to resign.  A lesser scenario would be that his errors of moral judgment are brought to light (e.g. his tax returns are finally made public) and his standing is diminished by a broader segment of the American public.  Hillary would certainly welcome that development, even if it meant President Pence in the worst case. An apologetic Trump seeking public forgiveness could be a kind of symbolic vindication for Hillary Clinton after their bruising campaign. 

The other scenario is more far-fetched.  That is that Hillary Clinton is awarded the presidency in April or thereabouts after a Congressional investigation.  This seems a way beyond the pale (even for me!) but it does reflect one conceivable reading of the relative strengths of the horoscopes involved.  Clinton's chart gets better in early 2017 while Trump's chart gets worse, much worse.  I will admit I am very biased in this matter so it is hard to be objective. 

So we will have some interesting times ahead.  One thing that's safe to predict is that this latest Trump reality show will remain the top-rated show on television for months to come.

Weekly Market Forecast

Stocks extended their recent rally last week as the ECB provided the latest fix of easy money for investors as Mario Draghi announced an extension of his QE asset purchase program.  The Dow rose by 3% on the week to 19,756 and it's up again early this week.  20,000 can't be far off now.  Indian stocks also enjoyed gains, although the Sensex added a more modest 2%.  The Sensex has also been positive this week and ended Tuesday's session at 26,697.  In last week's market forecast, I thought we might have seen more downside around the late week Sun-Saturn conjunction but this was not the case. 

This week features rising downside risk.  I'm not certain how bearish stocks will be, but Tuesday's Full Moon looks difficult.  Some kind of pullback is more likely around the Full Moon, if not exactly on Tuesday. The Fed makes its latest announcement on interest rates on Wednesday so that is another source of uncertainty for the market.  Janet Yellen will make her first public statements on the possible impact of Trump's policy plans.  And then Monday's Electoral College vote looms as Mercury turns retrograde while conjunct bearish Pluto. 

For more details and analysis on market trends for this week, this month and this year, please check out my weekly MVA Investor Newsletter.  The newsletter is published every Saturday and includes extended discussion of US and Indian stock markets, as well as gold, oil and major currencies.