Republicans are most likely abetting and and enabling a Russian asset who has been living in the White House. No, this is not “fake news, nor a conspiracy theory but a DOSE of reality.
There are the facts that republican legislators have been refusing to face because too many of them have become fearful of antagonizing the republican President Donald Trump’s ardent supporters who will do anything for him, including follow him if he jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge. Then of course, congressional representatives have been counting on the president’s big money backers. And there is that marginal tax cut/ reform bill that the right has been dreaming about for years.
The fact that our President Donald Trump repeatedly claims that he does not have direct financial interests in Russia, is immaterial. Outside of Russia, a favorite tool of its spy craft has been to co-opt unwitting foreigners as assets, by becoming financially entangled with them and/ or their businesses. This is where our president and some of his associates are most vulnerable.
In short, just as foreigners including US citizens who become financially involved with the mafia can expect to be eventually compromised, the same can be said of those dealing with Russians. The U.S. president is no exception.
But republican leaders already know the facts. They read the newspapers. For over 20 years, the president hasn’t been able to finance his projects with monies from US banks because of his past bankruptcy filings, but he has managed to obtain the assistance of Russian monies to the tune of millions of dollars over a period of decades.
What is worse is that they are not even listening to their own IC commnity leaders like James Clapper, the former Director of National Intelligence (DNI), who has been sounding the alarms.
As per a 5/14/17 ThinkProgress report, “Clapper says Comey firing is a ‘victory’ for Russia,” by Lindsay Gibbs, “In an interview with Jake Tapper on CNN’s State of the Union (5/14/17), Clapper explained his belief that the foundations of our government, particularly our system of checks and balances, are being threatened by Trump’s actions.”
“Well, I will just say that the developments of the past week are very bothersome, very disturbing to me,” Clapper said. “I think in many ways, our institutions are under assault externally and that’s the big news here, is the Russian interference in our election system. And I think as well our institutions are under assault internally.”
It seems that US House republicans are intent in assisting the president’ s attempts to lift sanctions against Russia as in the following case.
As per a June 29, 2017 Washington op-ed piece by Evan McMullin, “Our commander in chief seems more interested in protecting Moscow than he does in deterring its future attacks. The Post reported that the administration is actually considering allowing the Russian government to reopen the two spy compounds that President Barack Obama closed in late December in response to Russia’s election attack. There are also reports that the White House plans to step up lobbying efforts against a new Russia sanctions bill that the Senate passed with overwhelming bipartisan support this month. The measure would add new financial sanctions and require congressional review before Trump could lift these or other retaliatory measures currently levied against Moscow, including the closing of the two compounds.”
“Worse, Trump appears to have some support in this from Republican leaders in the House. Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) have delayed the bill, citing the constitutional requirement that such bills originate in the House.”
“This is little more than a red herring. Nothing prevents them from inserting the text of the Senate bill into a House measure, passing it and sending it back to the Senate for final approval, which it would likely grant under expedited procedures. Instead, Ryan and McCarthy appear to be more interested in delaying and weakening the bill.”
(As if the above apathy regarding Russia’s attack on US democracy isn’t shocking enough, the laissez faire attitudes of these republicans are having an impact on how the public now views Russia)
“Behind their neglect are changing Republican voter opinions, which are becoming alarmingly more pro-Russian. According to a Morning Consult-Politico poll conducted in May, 49 percent of Republican voters consider Russia to be either an ally or friendly. Only 12 percent consider it an enemy. In 2015, only 12 percent of Republicans held a favorable view of Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to Gallup. As of February, that figure had jumped to 32 percent.”
Here are a few disconcerting facts for republicans to consider while they resist standing up to Russia, and as they downplay the seriousness of Russia’s impact/ harm to our democratic institutions:
1.) Deutsche is our president’s largest creditor.
2.) “Deutsche Bank has already been fined millions of dollars in January 2017 for laundering Russian dirty monies to the tune of $10 billion dollars via various methods and entities including the Bank of Cypress.”
3.) “The head of Deutsche Bank during this dark period, Josef Ackermann became the chairman of the Bank of Cypress in 2014.”
4.) “The largest shareholder of the Bank of Cypress, Dmitry Rybolovlev is the same Russian oligarch who purchased the president’s Palm Beach home in 2008 for the inflated price of $95 million to $100 million dollars when it was appraised 5 years after purchase for about $60 million dollars.”
5.) “Around the time that the Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev purchased the president’s property in Palm Beach in 2008, the president was suing Deutsche Bank in 2008 over a $40 million loan that came due. He claimed that the 2008 downward spiral in property values, due to the US recession was as an “Act of God” which absolved him from having to honor this obligation. Somehow this whole incident was taken care of and Deutsche Bank has continued to loan the president monies.”
6.) Coincidentally, the newly confirmed Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross became the Vice Chairman of the Bank of Cypress in 2014. He has stepped down from this role.
7.) The Bank of Cypress has a lengthy history of laundering Russian dirty monies which has supposedly been corrected. However, a 2/2/17 EUobserver article by Andrew Rettman reports the following:
“Pieter Omtzigt, from the christian-democrat CDA party, put forward the criticism in a letter, on Saturday (January 30, 2017), to a financial crimes unit in The Council of Europe in Strasbourg.”
“Recent developments in Cyprus in relation to the Magnitsky case have shown the failure of Cyprus to apply money laundering legislation in practice,” he said.”
“This case is a litmus test for whether Cyprus is now really paying attention to proper controls or whether it is only paying lip service to recommendations.”
8.) And finally, the reason that the highly esteemed US prosecutor, Preet Bharara may have been fired by the White House, could be because he had been in charge of pursuing legally the Deutsche Bank for its Russian money laundering schemes.
Here’s the rest of the story…
On 1/2/15,Edward Lucas of The American Interest.penned an opinion piece for the website “StopFake.org which published the following report: ‘Russia’s Sub Rosa Statecraft.”
“Western countries habitually underestimate the capabilities of the Russian intelligence services. These are indeed wasteful, corrupt, bureaucratic, nepotistic, and blinkered. But they have some big advantages. For a start, their top priority is subverting and penetrating Western societies. The reverse is not the case: It is not the West’s top priority either to penetrate Russia or to prevent Russia from penetrating it.”
“Russian espionage operates on different principles. The agencies there spend large amounts of time and money building up long-term assets, with little concern for an immediate payoff. If you recruit a bright Danish student, it may be twenty years before he becomes useful. But when he does, the consequences will be devastating. Russia is also far better at operating what in espionage parlance are known as “false flag” operations, in which the target is recruited under the guise of a different cause, perhaps involving environmentalism or digital freedom.”
“Abundant resources and ruthless ingenuity mean that the Russian espionage adversary is a shape-shifter: In one manifestation it may be a legitimate-seeming energy company, then a curious student apparently from a NATO country, then a jovial official from the Russian embassy, then a supposedly independent charitable outfit offering a large donation to anyone who conducts the right research, then a hard-working secretary, then a Portuguese business consultant. This gives Russia what American intelligence theorists call “natural capacity”: the ability to operate in the guise of a legitimate business or organization. For Western intelligence agencies, this involves formidable legal and bureaucratic obstacles. Russia adopts it without a qualm.”
“For more than twenty years, the West has tried to integrate Russia—diplomatically, financially, economically, and institutionally. True, Western policymakers have accepted (belatedly in many cases) that Russia is an authoritarian kleptocracy. True, many also accept (reluctantly and tentatively in many cases) that it is a revanchist power that menaces its neighbors. But few are willing to accept the seriousness of the threat and give it the priority it deserves. These days it is one threat among many.”
This blog was updated on 7/2/17.