Monday, January 14, 2019

18 Reasons Trump Could be a Russian Asset

When asked during a Fox News, a/k/a the Trump Propagandaministerium, whether he was working for Russia, Donald Trump gave a rambling, convoluted non-responsive answer but never said a simple "no."  With two bombshell reports out last week and over the weekend, many Americans - other than Trump's cultist followers and Fox News viewers - are perhaps beginning to fully comprehend the magnitude of the danger that the Trump/Pence regime poses to the nation.  Conservative columnist and former Republican Max Boot has a column in the Washington Post that looks at the reasons by his own behavior Trump has signaled that he may well be a Russian asset.  Here are highlights:

On Friday, the New York Times reported that “in the days after President Trump fired James B. Comey as F.B.I. director, law enforcement officials became so concerned by the president’s behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests.” That investigation may well be continuing under the auspices of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. We don’t know what Mueller has learned. But we can look at the key, publicly available evidence that both supports and undercuts this explosive allegation.
Here is some of the evidence suggesting “Individual 1” could be a Russian “asset”:
— Trump has a long financial history with Russia. As summarized by Jonathan Chait in an invaluable New York magazine article: “From 2003 to 2017, people from the former USSR made 86 all-cash purchases — a red flag of potential money laundering — of Trump properties, totaling $109 million. In 2010, the private-wealth division of Deutsche Bank also loaned him hundreds of millions of dollars during the same period it was laundering billions in Russian money. ‘Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,’ said Donald Jr. in 2008. ‘We don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia,’ boasted Eric Trump in 2014.”
These are the kind of financial entanglements that intelligence services such as the FSB typically use to ensnare foreigners, and they could leave Trump vulnerable to blackmail.
— The Russians interfered in the 2016 U.S. election to help elect Trump president.
— Trump encouraged the Russians to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails on July 27, 2016 (“Russia, if you’re listening”), on the very day that Russian intelligence hackers tried to attack Clinton’s personal and campaign servers.
There were, according to the Moscow Project, “101 contacts between Trump’s team and Russia linked operatives,” and “the Trump team tried to cover up every single one of them.”
The Trump campaign was full of individuals, such as Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates and Michael Flynn, with suspiciously close links to Moscow.
Manafort, who ran the Trump campaign for free and was heavily in debt to a Russian oligarch, now admits to offering his Russian business partner, who is suspected of links to Russian intelligence, polling data that could have been used to target the Russian social media campaign on behalf of Trump.
— Trump associate Roger Stone, who was in contact with Russian conduit WikiLeaks, reportedly knew in advance that the Russians had hacked Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails.
Once in office, Trump fired Comey to stop the investigation of the “Russia thing — and then bragged about having done so to the Russian ambassador and foreign minister while also sharing with them top-secret information. . . . . Trump has been effectively protecting the Russians by trying to impede the investigation of their attack on the United States.— Trump has refused to consistently acknowledge that Russia interfered in the U.S. election or mobilize a government-wide effort to stop future interference.
— Like no previous president, Trump attacks and undermines the Justice Department and the FBI (“a cancer in our country”) — two institutions that stand on the front lines of combatting Russian espionage and influence operations in the United States.
Again, like no previous president, Trump attacks and undermines the European Union and NATO . . . . The E.U. and NATO are the two major obstacles to Russian designs in Europe.
— Trump supports populist, pro-Russian leaders in Europe, such as Viktor Orban in Hungary and Marine Le Pen in France, just as the Russians do.
— Trump has praised Putin (“a strong leader”) while trashing just about everyone else from grade-B Hollywood celebrities to leaders of allied nations.
Trump was utterly supine in his meetings with Putin, principally in Hamburg and Helsinki. Even more suspicious, according to a Post article on Saturday, Trump “has gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal details of his conversations with . . . Putin, including on at least one occasion taking possession of the notes of his own interpreter and instructing the linguist not to discuss what had transpired with other administration officials. . . .
— Trump defends the Russian invasion of Afghanistan and repeats other pro-Russian talking points.
— Trump is pulling U.S. troops out of Syria, handing that country to Russia and its ally Iran.
— Trump has effectively done nothing in response to the Russian attack on Ukrainian ships in international waters, thereby encouraging greater Russian aggression.
Trump is sowing chaos in the government, most recently with a record-breaking partial government shutdown and “acting” appointees in key posts such as the Defense Department and Justice Department, thus furthering a Russian objective of undermining its chief adversary.
Now that we’ve listed 18 reasons Trump could be a Russian asset, let’s look at the exculpatory evidence. . . . I can’t think of anything that would exonerate Trump aside from the difficulty of grasping what once would have seemed unimaginable: that a president of the United States could actually have been compromised by a hostile foreign power.

1 comment:

Sixpence Notthewiser said...

The pee pee tape may be real or may be not, but what’s certain is that Vlad has Kompromat on Cheeto and he wise it.