Legend has it that bellicose successor to Stalin’s role as Soviet dictator, Nikita Khrushchev, famously yelled before the United Nations in 1960 following British Prime Minister Harold MacMillan’s speech condemning Soviet aggression in the Third World and Eastern Europe, “We will bury you!” But while the United States won the Cold War without firing a shot during the Reagan/Bush years, America’s weakness some 27 years after the fact should remind all that Russia’s president Vladimir Putin — a former Soviet KGB agent — is doing as Erick Erickson suggests, “digging the grave,” while our political divisions cause us to bury ourselves.
You should credit Moscow after all for the hack and leaks of 20,000, e-mails as retrieved by WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange. After all, he provided all the information regarding the massive Trans-Pacific Partnership initiatives. And it is now that Donald Trump might be considered a clear and present danger every bit as damaging to national security as Hillary Clinton.
News of the latest hacked (and leaked) e-mails regarding the Democratic National Committee’s “Ides of March” treatment of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign have led to a sudden sharp dynamic providing Donald Trump a dramatic bounce in today’s polling data. For instance today’s figures show Trump leads by one percentage point in a CBS News poll, by five in a CNN poll and four points in this week’s Morning Consult poll. He also extended his lead to four points in the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times tracking poll, although it generally is a very generous poll for Mr. Trump.
Polling data tends to grow more accurate after the party conventions conclude. But as Nate Silver suggests, if the race remains tied two or three weeks from now — or Trump leads — the Democrats will be panicking while Trump fans rejoice. And because of the e-mails and the matter Hillary Clinton is an awful candidate, it is now clear she will not be coasting to an easy victory.
America, depending on which party you might belong, should thank Moscow for what appears to be a classic case of political espionage. It was almost certainly a decree of Vladimir Putin — who Mr. Trump has myriad ties both politically and through his businesses in the former Soviet Union. Like with the Democrats and the Muslim Brotherhood, so too does it appear that Vladimir Putin controls the GOP.
Talking Points Memo provides an excellent synopsis of this same topic I wrote of in April. For instance, his debt load has grown dramatically over the last year from $350 million to $630 million while his liquid assets also decreased. Because of this, Mr. Trump has been blackballed by all major American banks. Post-bankruptcy, Trump remains consistently highly reliant on Russian money, most of which are now increasingly concentrated among oligarchs and sub-garchs close to Vladimir Putin. The Washington Post reports that “Since the 1980s, Trump and his family members have made numerous trips to Moscow in search of business opportunities, and they have relied on Russian investors to buy their properties around the world.” Even Donald Trump, Jr., disclosed at a real estate conference in 2008 that “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”
One example is the Trump Soho development in Manhattan, one of his largest recent endeavors, that was hit with multiple lawsuits in response to some efforts to defraud investors through fraudulent claims about the financial health of the project. What was learned throughout the litigation was the secret financing from Russia and Kazakhstan. Most attention about the project has focused on the presence of a twice imprisoned Russian immigrant with extensive ties to the Russian criminal underworld, the defining issue of the Trump campaign. But as the Times claims,
“Mr. Lauria brokered a $50 million investment in Trump SoHo and three other Bayrock projects by an Icelandic firm preferred by wealthy Russians “in favor with” President Vladimir V. Putin, according to a lawsuit against Bayrock by one of its former executives. The Icelandic company, FL Group, was identified in a Bayrock investor presentation as a “strategic partner,” along with Alexander Mashkevich, a billionaire once charged in a corruption case involving fees paid by a Belgian company seeking business in Kazakhstan; that case was settled with no admission of guilt.”
Of course there was another suit alleging the project “occasionally received unexplained infusions of cash from accounts in Kazakhstan and Russia.” And now the point behind the Trump campaign staff’s extensive ties to Moscow and the Ukrainian Spring grows increasingly disturbing. For instance Paul Manafort, Trump’s nominal ‘campaign chair’ functioning as campaign manager and top advisor, spent the last decade as top campaign and communications advisor for Viktor Yanukovych, the deposed pro-Russian Ukrainian Prime Minister and then President whose ouster two years ago led to the sack of the Crimean Peninsula and proxy war in Ukraine. As Yanukovych fled immediately to Moscow, he remains a close Putin ally. Thus the connection to Manafort’s running Trump’s campaign becomes a conflict of national security interests.
There is too Mr. Trump’s foreign policy advisor on Russia and Europe, Carter Page, whose entire professional career has revolved around his investments in Russia and maintains deep and continuing financial and employment ties to Gazprom. If you’re not familiar with Gazprom, imagine if most or all of the US energy industry comprised of one single company personally controlled by the president to use as a source of revenue and patronage. And one other important detail too many are ignorant on is the chairman of the executive board is none other the Hunter Biden, the son of Vice President Joe Biden.
It therefore is no exaggeration to assert that one cannot be involved with the Iran Deal at the very high level which Page has been without being wholly in alignment with Putin’s policies. Those ties also allow Putin to put Page out of business at any time. And this also places a dire risk to Western Europe’s oil supply as well as Russia’s massive geopolitical pivot and economic shift to China regarding massive natural gas and oil projects across Central Asia through the Levant region and into Europe, including Turkey and Iran.
It thus calls into question why Trump now supports keeping the Iran nuclear deal when in the past, he opposed it. Why too has Putin aligned all Russian state media behind Trump? As Frank Foer explains, it is a pattern with Putin to prop up rightist/nationalist politicians across Europe, often with direct or covert infusions of money to support Russia-backed policies and to sow discord in Western aligned states.
Let us never forget that Trump repeatedly praises Putin both ideologically and for his authoritarian policies and KGB-style strongarm tactics which soured his reputation around the world. As the FBI Tuesday announced its investigation into Donald Trump, the e-mails and possible ties to Moscow, his campaign and not Hillary Clinton’s may find itself instead in dire jeopardy given he will not be received by the Obama administration so favorably as a political foe.