My following diatribe is meant to counter the republicans’ favorite talking point, that there has been nothing proffered which conclusively proves any connection between the republican President Donald Trump, his team and Russian operatives that is untoward or improper.
First, I hate when republicans point out our nation’s misjudgments to excuse away what is outrageously wrong with another country’s misdeeds. It is a given that we in the USA have made major errors like the invasion of Iraq. But that we do wrong is not an excuse to let off another country for its wrongdoings. Countries have leaders who can admit that mistakes have been done in its name and they can still hold each other accountable. And this fact does not keep any country from striving to do what is right and honorable and for calling out a nation for its deliberate wrongdoing.
Second, please stop blaming Hillary Clinton for everything. She is not the one ensconced in the White House and she is no longer running for an elected office.
Third, there is a reason why the USA has to be deliberate in its interactions with Russia. Just recently, the USA tried cooperating with the Russians in the hopes that the Russians were serious about wanting to attack ISIS in Syria. The US shared intelligence with them but, instead they used the data to target US backed rebels. We cannot deal with Russia as a friend because it isn’t. Unless the US and Russian leaders’ interests are truly aligned, we can’t afford to take their word at face value.
Fourth, what separates us from totalitarian type countries is that we practice freedom of speech, where we can peacefully protest and confront our lawmakers without fearing harm (with rare exceptions); we have a free press where journalists can challenge its leaders in power without being put in jail or worse (with rare exceptions); where there is separation of powers to be a check on any one branch of government; where “we the people” have the power in our votes, even if we have to fight to exercise it.
Finally, I wish current probes into the Trump-Russian saga (as of June 2017) were conducted totally outside of politically run forums. This is because I DESPERATELY want the truth. That is why I prefer the establishment of a 9/11 type investigative body to get to the bottom of what Russia did to meddle in our elections.
I am concerned by President Trump’s actions regarding Russia, and here is my opinion:
I contend that PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP IS AT THE VERY LEAST, AN UNWITTING RUSSIAN ASSET. His goal AS REFLECTED IN all his actions appear to be aimed towards lifting sanctions against Russia as he most likely intends to benefit financially by such tactics.
All of his promises to his rust belt voters are nothing but hot air but he has attempted to live up to the promises that the alt-right favor. I am saddened that he has involved his son-in-law and thus, his own daughter in his quagmire of Trump-Russian saga activities. Rex Tillerson, Jeff Sessions, Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, and their ilk are in cahoots together.
There is no way that President Trump has not been involved with money laundering with the Russians, as they purchased his condos under LLCs and by other means. Property purchases under LLC’s where all the purchasers’ names are not disclosed is a well known method used to launder monies. And yes, he has been at the very least, coordinating with Russian operatives as its unwitting asset, to win the 2016 presidential prize.
The following details comprise the foundation for my speculations, listed below, which is just the tip of the iceberg:
1.) Donald Trump’s public statements denying Moscow’s role in cyber attacks designed to interfere with the U.S. 2016 presidential election have continued despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary provided by all US intelligence agencies.
2,) The former campaign manager, Paul Manafort for about 6 months, has well documented ties to Russia. He was the campaign manager for the former pro-Russian Ukrainian President, VIktor Yanukovych and Mr. Manafort received $12.7 million dollars in cash for his services from pro Russian agents. It is also true that Roger Stone and Paul Manafort are longtime friends and were former business partners who have known our president going back decades. It was Roger Stone who encouraged his friend, Donald Trump to hire Mr. Manafort as his campaign manager.
The former U.S. General Mike Flynn who was the president’s national security advisor is the target of a FBI probe into his ties with Russia. Recently we have discovered via news reports, that there is proof that General Flynn lied and omitted information on previous security clearance forms in order to obtain the security clearance that he needed. BUT HE IS NOT ALONE IN OMITTING ON HIS FORMS, ANY CONTACTS WITH RUSSIAN OFFICIALS. it seams that the US Attorney Jeff Sessions and the president’s Senior Adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner did likewise.
Why are the same republicans who would crucify any democrat for similar indiscretions, inclined to give the president, a pass?
3.) Then there was the successful maneuver, the initial signal of Russia’s influence, to remove wording on the republican platform which would have allowed the U.S. to sell arms to Ukrainians, as they are opposed to becoming part of Russia.
Around July 2016, Diana Denman, a platform committee member from Texas who was a Ted Cruz supporter, proposed a platform amendment that would call for maintaining or increasing sanctions against Russia, increasing aid for Ukraine and “providing lethal defensive weapons” to the Ukrainian military.:
As per Josh Rogan’s 7/18/16 Washington Post article, “Trump campaign guts GOP’s anti-Russia stance on Ukraine:” “Trump staffers in the room, who were not delegates but were there to oversee the process, intervened. By working with pro-Trump delegates, they were able to get the issue tabled while they devised a method to roll back the language.”
“On the sideline, Denman tried to persuade the Trump staffers not to change the language, but failed. “I was troubled when they put aside my amendment and then watered it down,” Denman told me. “I said, ‘What is your problem with a country that wants to remain free?”
This was the only policy change to the July 2016 republican platform that the president’s team requested.
4.) Throughout the presidential campaign and even as recently, as of May 2017, President Trump has downplayed the importance of NATO, which echos the Russian president’s talking points, that is decidedly anti-NATO.
As per the 5/25/17 Atlantic report, “Trump Declines to Affirm NATO’s Article 5″ by Rosie Gray, “President Trump did not explicitly endorse the mutual-aid clause of the North Atlantic Treaty at the NATO summit on (5/25/17) despite previous indications that he was planning to do so, keeping in place the cloud of ambiguity hanging over the relationship between the United States and the alliance.”
“But he did not specifically commit to honor Article 5, which stipulates that other NATO allies must come to the aid of an ally under attack if it is invoked.” (THIS HAS BEEN DONE BY EVERY OTHER PRESIDENT WITH THE EXCEPTION OF PRESIDENT TRUMP.)
5.) 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 who deal with the Russians. The U.S. president is not an exception to this rule.
6.) For over 20 years, the president hasn’t been able to finance his projects with US bank monies 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.
7.) .) Deutsche Bank is our president’s largest creditor.
8.) “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.”
9.) “The head of Deutsche Bank during this dark period, Josef Ackermann became the chairman of the Bank of Cypress in 2014.”
10.) “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.”
11.) “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 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.”
12.) 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.
13.) 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.”
14.) As per the 2/19/17 NY Times report by Megan Twohey and Scott Shane, “A week before Michael T. Flynn resigned as national security adviser, a sealed proposal was hand-delivered to his office, outlining a way for President Trump to lift sanctions against Russia.”
“Mr. Flynn is gone, having been caught lying about his own discussion of sanctions with the Russian ambassador. But the proposal, a peace plan for Ukraine and Russia, remains, along with those pushing it: Michael D. Cohen, the president’s personal lawyer, who delivered the document; Felix H. Sater, a business associate who helped Mr. Trump scout deals in Russia; and a Ukrainian lawmaker trying to rise in a political opposition movement shaped in part by Mr. Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.”
15.) The president’s firing on 5/9/17 of the FBI Director Comey who had been heading the FBI’s probe into the Trump-Russian saga is suspect, exacerbated by his trying to cover up his real intent by inventing another pretext to explain his actions.
16.) And finally, one reason that the highly esteemed US prosecutor, Preet Bharara may have been fired (3/11/17) by the White House could be because he had been in charge of pursuing the Deutsche Bank for its Russian money laundering schemes.
Here’s a reminder that the Russians take the craft of spying very seriously. Read the following excerpts from the source, 1/2/15 “StopFake.org report, ‘Russia’s Sub Rosa Statecraft” by Edward Lucas of The American Interest.
“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.”
“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 organization.”“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 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.”