Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Vague "No Investments"

Politico reports

Donald Trump sought to distance himself Tuesday from reports that Russian government hackers were responsible for the breach of Democratic National Committee servers in order to boost his presidential bid.

"In order to try and deflect the horror and stupidity of the Wikileakes disaster, the Dems said maybe it is Russia dealing with Trump. Crazy!" Trump tweeted. "For the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia."

For the  record, I have ZERO investments in Russia. In a major upset, Trump may be telling the truth. Robert Reich recognizes the signs of the Trump-Putin mutual admiration society:

1. Trump's debt load has grown dramatically over the last year, from $350 million to $630 million. At the same time, he’s been blackballed by all major US banks.

2. Post-bankruptcy, Trump has become highly reliant on money from Russia -- most of which has over the years become increasingly concentrated among oligarchs close to Vladimir Putin.

3. Paul Manafort, Trump's campaign manager and top advisor, spent most of the last decade as top campaign and communications advisor to 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 ally of Putin.

4. 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, which, in turn, is part of Putin’s financial empire.

5. Over the course of the last year, Putin has aligned all Russian state controlled media behind Trump.

6. The Trump Camp was totally indifferent to the Republican Party platform, with one exception: They changed the party platform to eliminate assistance to Ukraine against Russian military operations in eastern Ukraine. Not incidentally, this is the single most important issue to Putin.

7. Trump is also suggesting 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 -- another important issue to Putin.

Nonetheless, Trump may not be lying.   Although Democrats have stated that the GOP nominee is favored by Putin, no one has argued that Trump has been dealing with the Russian oligarch.  The primary charge is that the relationship between the two demagogues is close enough that Putin has awfully good reason to have his lieutenants hack into Democratic National Committee e-mail messages and encourage their release now.

Trump may have zero "investments in Russia" and still, as Reich's list suggests, have with that nation intricate business relationships which would be jeopardized if Putin's expansionist tendencies are held in check.

Additionally, Trump never contended he has no investments in Russia. He tweeted "For the record, I have zero investments in Russia."  He's telling us that it is for the record that he is making the claim. He also tells Russia "I hope you find the thirty thousand emails that are missing," because there is no better proof of being patriotic than to wish a foreign adversary knows what the Sate Department is up to.

Fifty years ago, the irony was "Richard Kimble is innocent." The irony now is far more threatening. After Democrats lost many national and state elections because of the coziness the GOP alleged between the Democratic Party and the Soviet Union (even then, usually popularly referred to as "Russia"), the Democrat could now will lose the presidential election because of the (real) coziness between the Republican and the KGB strongman running the show there.

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