For some time now, I have been pointing out the connections between Donald Trump and Russia. Long before it was popular with the Left by the way. He has literally populated his campaign with those who are deeply involved with Russia’s dealings and intentions. See my piece here on the Russian Connection. But that is not the only thing I suspect that is connecting Donald Trump to Vladimir Putin. As George Will points out below, his tax returns almost assuredly show a deep connection to financial dealings with Russia.
BRET BAIER: Both the campaign chair and anybody you talk to, including Senator Murphy would not go down that road once pressed on the connection between Russia and the Trump campaign. But they have thrown it out there. George?
GEORGE WILL: Well, it’s the sort of thing we might learn if we saw the candidates’ tax returns. Perhaps one more reason why we’re not seeing his tax returns because he is deeply involved in dealing with Russia oligarchs and others. Whether that’s good, bad or indifferent it’s probably the reasonable surmise.
Right now, Hillary Clinton is playing up Trump’s connections to Russia. But people in glass houses should not throw Vodka. Clinton is also deeply tied to Vladimir Putin through her uranium dealings and since WikiLeaks has hacked her emails, he surely has a ton of material to blackmail her with should he choose to do so. And if she becomes president, trust me, Putin will. The Kremlin is not denying the email hack by the way. The Russians are expert wordsmiths and very accomplished liars.
Just because Democrats are now using that as a weapon doesn’t also mean it isn’t true. Follow the money. During a time when the casino and hotel industries are struggling, Trump claims to be making money. But does anyone know really where that money is coming from? The Russian and Chinese mobs are big in those industries and it is a good bet that money from those entities is involved somehow, some way.
When you have the likes of Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and RT claiming Russia has nothing to do with the email leaks or pushing Trump as president, my BS monitor goes off big time. You can pretty much count on the opposite being true.
Josh Marshall, at Talking Points Memo, laid it out in succinct terms:
…At a minimum, Trump appears to have a deep financial dependence on Russian money from persons close to Putin. And this is matched to a conspicuous solicitousness to Russian foreign policy interests where they come into conflict with US policies which go back decades through administrations of both parties. There is also something between a non-trivial and a substantial amount of evidence suggesting Putin-backed financial support for Trump or a non-tacit alliance between the two men.
2. Post-bankruptcy Trump has been highly reliant on money from Russia, most of which has over the years become increasingly concentrated among oligarchs and sub-garchs close to Vladimir Putin. Here’s a good overview from The Washington Post, with one morsel for illustration …
Since the 1980s, Trump and his family members have made numerous trips to Moscow in search of business opportunities, and they have relied on Russian investors to buy their properties around the world.
“Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,” Trump’s son, Donald Jr., told a real estate conference in 2008, according to an account posted on the website of eTurboNews, a trade publication. “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”
Read both articles: After his bankruptcy and business failures roughly a decade ago Trump has had an increasingly difficult time finding sources of capital for new investments. As I noted above, Trump has been blackballed by all major US banks with the exception of Deutschebank, which is of course a foreign bank with a major US presence. He has steadied and rebuilt his financial empire with a heavy reliance on capital from Russia. At a minimum the Trump organization is receiving lots of investment capital from people close to Vladimir Putin.
Trump’s tax returns would likely clarify the depth of his connections to and dependence on Russian capital aligned with Putin. And in case you’re keeping score at home: no, that’s not reassuring.
4. Then there’s Paul Manafort, Trump’s nominal ‘campaign chair’ who now functions as campaign manager and top advisor. Manafort spent most of the last decade as top campaign and communications advisor for Viktor Yanukovych, the pro-Russian Ukrainian Prime Minister and then President whose ouster in 2014 led to the on-going crisis and proxy war in Ukraine. Yanukovych was and remains a close Putin ally. Manafort is running Trump’s campaign.
5. Trump’s foreign policy advisor on Russia and Europe is Carter Page, a man whose entire professional career has revolved around investments in Russia and who has deep and continuing financial and employment ties to Gazprom. If you’re not familiar with Gazprom, imagine if most or all of the US energy industry were rolled up into a single company and it were personally controlled by the US President who used it as a source of revenue and patronage. That is Gazprom’s role in the Russian political and economic system. It is no exaggeration to say that you cannot be involved with Gazprom at the very high level which Page has been without being wholly in alignment with Putin’s policies. Those ties also allow Putin to put Page out of business at any time.
6. Over the course of the last year, Putin has aligned all Russian state controlled media behind Trump.
7. Here’s where it gets more interesting. This is one of a handful of developments that tipped me from seeing all this as just a part of Trump’s larger shadiness to something more specific and ominous about the relationship between Putin and Trump. … The Trump Camp was totally indifferent to the platform. So party activists were able to write one of the most conservative platforms in history. Not with Trump’s backing but because he simply didn’t care. With one big exception: Trump’s team mobilized the nominee’s traditional mix of cajoling and strong-arming on one point: changing the party platform on assistance to Ukraine against Russian military operations in eastern Ukraine. (editor’s note: see my post on this for more details) For what it’s worth (and it’s not worth much) I am quite skeptical of most Republicans call for aggressively arming Ukraine to resist Russian aggression. But the single-mindedness of this focus on this one issue – in the context of total indifference to everything else in the platform – speaks volumes.
This does not mean Trump is controlled by or in the pay of Russia or Putin. It can just as easily be explained by having many of his top advisors having spent years working in Putin’s orbit and being aligned with his thinking and agenda. But it is certainly no coincidence. …
Add to this that his most conspicuous foreign policy statements track not only with Putin’s positions but those in which Putin is most intensely interested. Aside from Ukraine, Trump’s suggestion that the US and thus NATO might not come to the defense of NATO member states in the Baltics in the case of a Russian invasion is a case in point.
To put this all into perspective, if Vladimir Putin were simply the CEO of a major American corporation and there was this much money flowing in Trump’s direction, combined with this much solicitousness of Putin’s policy agenda, it would set off alarm bells galore. That is not hyperbole or exaggeration. And yet Putin is not the CEO of an American corporation. He’s the autocrat who rules a foreign state, with an increasingly hostile posture towards the United States and a substantial stockpile of nuclear weapons. The stakes involved in finding out ‘what’s going on’ as Trump might put it are quite a bit higher.
That’s funny, because you have Trump’s son saying one thing and Trump saying another. Here it is again: Trump’s son, Donald Jr., told a real estate conference in 2008, according to an account posted on the website of eTurboNews, a trade publication. “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.” And yet, yesterday, Trump came out and denied ANY investments in Russia. Sounds like word games to me and exceedingly dishonest and downright alarming.
All of this makes you wonder whether Trump is owned by the Kremlin, or merely rented as a useful idiot. Only a fool would believe that as much Russian cash as has flowed through Trump’s accounts wouldn’t have a marker that would be called in at some point. That day is almost here I fear.
From the beginning I have said that Trump has no morals or ethics, therefore he would have no qualms about striking lucrative deals with the likes of oligarchs and dictators. Ask yourself why Trump won’t release his tax returns. If you are honest with yourself, you will come to the conclusion that either he’s not worth what he claims to be worth and/or he has dealings with people he would rather not expose. Having been involved in and connected to the gaming industry for decades, I will tell you that I find it highly credible that Trump has mob connections in the industry and I’m betting on the Russian mob here. I’m not the only one who suspects it either. Both Romney and Cruz have brought up the same issue.
In the end, whether Clinton or Trump wins, it is a win for Russia and a brutal loss for America. If Russia is seeking to cause chaos and collapse within the US, they must see this election as an opportunity undreamed of. Both sides are selling America out to the highest bidder and our bill is about to come due.