Evidence of Trump’s Russian ties has ominous implications

Following Wikileaks publication of nearly 20,000 more internal Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails on Friday, a popular hypothesis has emerged that Russian spy agencies hacked DNC’s computer server in an attempt to embarrass the Party and quell support for its presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, to the benefit of Donald Trump.

On Fox News’s Special Report Monday, conservative syndicated columnist George Will added to speculation that Moscow has a vested interest in a Trump presidency coming to fruition.

“Perhaps one more reason why we’re not seeing (Trump’s) tax returns is because he is deeply involved in dealing with Russian oligarchs. Whether that’s good, bad or indifferent, it’s probably the reasonable surmise,” Will said.

Over the course of the 2016 presidential campaign Trump has praised Russian president Vladimir Putin — most recently telling Fox News on Thursday morning that he’s “doing a better job” and is “a better leader than Obama” — and said he won’t help U.S. NATO allies who are threatened by the Federation.

In an interview Tuesday with CBS4 Miami, Trump denied having business ties to Russia, including loans owed to any of the country’s banks or investors.

“The theory is . . . that somehow you have, your companies are beholden to Russian investment, that Russian dollars have flown into your businesses and that therefore, somehow, Putin could control you by threatening your business ventures,” said interviewer Jim DeFede.

On Monday, a Trump spokeswoman stated that the New York real estate mogul does not have “any business dealings” with the former Soviet Union, but didn’t address potential Russian investment in Trump’s businesses.

In 2008 however, Trump’s son, Donald Jr., said at a real estate conference, “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. . . . We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”

Additionally, three top Trump 2016 officials have ties to Russia, including campaign manager Paul Manafort who worked as a political consultant for former Ukraine president Viktor Yanukovych, a Kremlin puppet.  Manafort has also had significant Russian business investments.

The other two individuals are Trump foreign policy advisers.  Carter Page, a U.S. investment banker, has a long history of business dealings there and even served as a paid adviser to the partially privatized Russian state gas ministry, Gazprom.

Gen. Michael Flynn, a top campaign adviser who was once floated as a potential running mate, was an honored guest at the 10th anniversary celebration for Russia Today TV network, a state-run news channel that often pushes nationalist propaganda.

In the unlikely event Trump does release his IRS tax filings, a Tax Analysts contributing editor, Mark Sullivan, says to be on the look out for the addresses of any foreign bank accounts and investment partnerships that yield income, which are required to be disclosed.

“Russians like Cyprus,” said Sullivan, referring to the eastern Mediterranean Sea island. “If he buds with  Putin, maybe he keeps some money in Cyprus.”

 

[Mediaite] [CBS4 Miami] [Newsweek] [Bloomberg] [Washington Post] [CNN Money] [Photo courtesy 2oceansvibe.com]