I think this and all the similar theories are smart and seem reasonably grounded. What they say about Trump being compromised by Putin over the Moscow hotel is very valid. I just don't think it goes remotely far enough and is much too limited. I think their theory overlooks two things: what came before the Trump Moscow Hotel deal and what came after.
What came before is that Trump was a highly visible, wealthy business for a very long time, and he's been traveling to Russia and doing business there -- even if we limit it to just for the Miss Universe Pageant -- for at least 20 years. And I am near absolutely-certain that when such people are in Russia, they are followed and recorded and videotaped almost non-stop. I am sure his phone calls were bugged when he was over there. I'm sure too that when he was at official parties, that he was being recorded -- I wouldn't be surprised if many of the Russians there talking with him had lovely boutonnieres in their lapels that each covered a microphone. And what we know of Trump, it seems near-impossible that he wouldn't brag about how he cheated with business and screwed people and stuck it to the U.S. government and boast all his sexual conquests, both legal and creepy.
The short way of putting this is that I have long felt that Russia has 20 years of compromising tape on Trump. And they have been using it the way Jascha Haiffetz played the violin.
As for what "came after" the Trump hotel conspiring, I'm referring to how Trump has fallen all over himself to back Putin and Russia in every conceivable way, every possible time, down to taking Putin's word over all the U.S. intelligence services. It hasn't been subtle. It's been overwhelming, tsunami-like. I can see Trump being compromised over the hotel, absolutely. But that's one deal, and if necessary can be "explained away." Not explained away well, and not in a way that most would necessarily believe. But it can be dealt with, and the over-the-top response by Trump to All Things Putin and Russia is SO profoundly out of proportion with being compromised by a hotel deal. I think the only thing that explains Trump puppy-dog "roll over on his back" and beg reaction to Russia is that he is SO DEEPLY COMPROMISED on SO MUCH over 20 years.
Yes, the Maddow theory is very possibly correction on explaining Trump being compromised by it. But it's one birch tree in a forest of birch trees. It is an example of Trump being compromised -- it is not The Reason Trump is compromised.
My theory is that Trump is up to the very tip of his head in two decades of Russian kompromat, barely treading water so fast and ferociously that he can barely gurgle.