Trump’s Russian Connection Grows More Sinister
I began thinking that Trump’s affinity to Russia is somehow tied to his investments and the reason he refuses to release his tax returns. Recently, however, as Trump’s Russian connection grows more sinister, it has become obvious there are more ideological beliefs at play. Despite a briefing by U.S. intelligent officials where he received evidence the Russians were behind the email hacks, Trump again brushed off the idea that we knew who was behind the attack. While echoing Russian propaganda and defending Putin, he has launched a campaign to delegitimize American institutions and leadership. These actions, and lack of republican opposition to them, point to a decision by the GOP that dictatorship is the only way to obtain power in a democracy where changing demographics are not on their side.
His relentless attacks on every branch of the United States government is displaying a deliberate strategy to weaken confidence in our current system of government. At the same time he is trying to destabilize America. He promotes the philosophy and global goals of Putin and the Russia oligarchs. Trump vigorously discredits the free press, and free speech, we enjoy in the U.S. Meantime, he promotes the Russian-style state-run media his running mate tried to introduce while governor of Indiana. By portraying the electoral process as rigged, and our justice system as corrupt, he is laying the groundwork for a suspension of the Constitution. Meantime he is undermining our military and intelligence services, portraying them as incompetent and weak.
In an interview with a Serbian magazine, published earlier today, Trump apologized for U.S. interference to put a halt to the ethnic cleansing in Yugoslavia, while Bill Clinton was president. This is further evidence that he is preparing for the same type of ethnic cleansing in the United States.
Although no further proof was necessary of Russian interference in our electoral process, this morning Putin confirmed it. While Russian leaders deny it publicly, earlier today Russian’s state-run media reported the large dump of hacked emails before WikiLeaks released it. While confirming Russian involvement, there is also growing evidence of direct involvement by the Trump campaign itself. A tweet from Roger Stone, a close Trump advisor, shows he knew John Podesta’s emails were hacked months before they were released by WikiLeaks. On August 21, Stone said in a tweet: “Trust me, it will soon the Podesta’s time in the barrel.”
Another Trump advisor, Carter Page was a foreign policy advisor to the Trump campaign, until a Yahoo story broke a few weeks ago. Now the campaign deny any connection to the campaign even though they announced it on their website. Before the Yahoo News story broke, we already knew he regularly praised Putin and criticized American foreign policy towards Russia. He has spoken publicly against U.S. sanctions on Russia, and questioned U.S. involvement in NATO. Like others in the Trump campaign, he has also business ties to Russia, with investments in Gazprom.
Yahoo news reported that Page first drew the attention of U.S. intelligence at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow several years ago. He showed up in the Russian capital during several business trips and made provocative public comments critical of U.S. policy and sympathetic to Putin. The recent Yahoo News investigation has uncovered that U.S. intelligence officials are now seeking to determine whether Page has opened up private communications with senior Russian officials, including talks about the possible lifting of economic sanctions if the Trump becomes president.
Senior members of Congress, during recent briefings about Russian efforts to influence the presidential election, discussed the activities of Carter Page. Page’s contacts in Moscow include senior Russian officials close to President Vladimir Putin. These include Igor Sechin, a longtime Putin associate and former Russian Deputy Prime Minister. The Treasury Department named Sechin to a list of Russian officials and businessmen sanctioned in 2014. U.S. intelligence are also aware that Page met with Igor Diveykin, a former Russian security official. Diveykin now serves as Deputy Chief for Internal Policy. Intelligence officials believe he has responsibility for intelligence collected by Russian agencies about the U.S. election. A senior U.S. law enforcement official stated he did not dispute that characterization when asked for comment by Yahoo News. “It’s on our radar screen,” said the official about Page’s contacts with Russian officials. “It’s being looked at.”
The connections between Russia and the Trump campaign have been clear since he became the republican presidential nominee. Paul Manafort, Trump’s former Campaign Manager, has very extensive ties to pro-Putin forces in Ukraine, and possibly to Putin himself. Manafort spent most of the last decade in Ukraine, working for a series of pro-Putin candidates, including Viktor Yanukovych. Secret ledgers have surfaced in Ukraine, detailing cash payments made off the books by the party of the former President Yanukovych of Ukraine, a Putin puppet. As a result of an investigation into Manifort’s failure to register as a lobbyist for a foreign government, he left the campaign and disappeared.
Yet another Trump advisor with unsavory ties to Putin is not other than retired U.S. General Michael Flynn. A Trump surrogate and foreign policy advisor, General Flynn has become very close to Putin since retiring. The former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency from 2012 to 2014 has called for better relations with Russia, and military coöperation with them in Syria. He also had dinner a few months ago with Putin in Moscow. At a Russia Today conference US General Michael Flynn sat at the head table with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Trump and Putin do have a lot in common, and most of those similarities are in Trump’s aspirations to imitate Putin’s style of authoritarian leadership. Like Putin, Trump has expressed his intentions to muzzle the press and imprison his political opponents. He has also suggested he would purge the military and judicial branch of anyone who does not share his ideals. His foreign policy goals are very much in line with Putin’s, and he has shown the same disregard for international law and the Geneva Convention. Who can blame the Russian leader for wanting a Putin-loving lap dog like Trump in the White House to give him the green light to restore the former glory of the Soviet Union.