Politics and civics

Reflecting on Trump and Russia

In the wake of news that Russia may have tried to “compromise” president-elect Trump, I started checking claims. There is clearly smoke. But fire?

In the wake of the news that Russia may have tried to “compromise” president-elect Trump, I started checking claims. There is clearly smoke. But fire?

1. Trump policy on the Ukraine


From the Washington Post, July 2016:

The Trump campaign worked behind the scenes last week to make sure the new Republican platform won’t call for giving weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces, contradicting the view of almost all Republican foreign policy leaders in Washington.


2. Trump campaign run by Russian- and tyrant-friendly lobbyist

From Slate, April 2016

Paul Manafort made a career out of stealthily reinventing the world’s nastiest tyrants as noble defenders of freedom. Getting Donald Trump elected will be a cinch.

His partner: Roger Stone, an alum of the Nixon White House.

And even after quitting the campaign, he still lived in Trump Tower, his home for 10 years, and was advising the campaign during the transition.


3. Manafort made millions from Ukraine pro-Russian political party

From the New York Times, August 2016

Handwritten ledgers show $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments designated for Mr. Manafort from Mr. Yanukovych’s pro-Russian political party from 2007 to 2012, according to Ukraine’s newly formed National Anti-Corruption Bureau. Investigators assert that the disbursements were part of an illegal off-the-books system whose recipients also included election officials.

From The Hill, August 2016:

Donald Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort helped a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine secretly funnel more than $2 million to two lobbying organizations in Washington, The Associated Press reported Wednesday.


Heavy smoke

From The Guardian:

The Guardian has learned that the FBI applied for a warrant from the foreign intelligence surveillance (Fisa) court over the summer in order to monitor four members of the Trump team suspected of irregular contacts with Russian officials. The Fisa court turned down the application asking FBI counter-intelligence investigators to narrow its focus. According to one report, the FBI was finally granted a warrant in October, but that has not been confirmed, and it is not clear whether any warrant led to a full investigation.


In closing, from TPM

From Josh Marshall:

I wanted to take a moment to share some thoughts on today’s Trump/Russia revelations, or rather some guideposts for how to approach a true mess of information which is undigested, wildly inflammatory and in many cases seemingly fantastical…A lot of the information in this document matches up pretty well with circumstantial evidence about Trump’s business dealings with Russian oligarchs and organized crime, and the leverage they have over him.

By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

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