I don’t know how the latest wrangle between the Trump administration and Russia will play out. But I do know as a lifelong Republican, I’ve been concerned with the coziness this president has had with Russia from the get-go. Why? History — his and theirs. Here’s some background.
The Soviet Union was one of our allies in World War II, but they didn’t plan it that way. They intended to divide Europe with Nazi Germany, but Germany turned around and invaded them, so they joined us.
From the end of World War II until 1991, they engaged us in a Cold War which heated up in Korea, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Zaire.
Vladimir Putin, their president, spent 16 years in the KGB, the Soviet secret police, before becoming Russia’s first director of the KGB’s successor organization. He was appointed prime minister in 1999 and became acting president four months later. He’s been in charge since.
During Putin’s reign, he’s credited with killing hundreds in the bombing of two apartment buildings, along with a of series mysterious murders of Russian journalists and opposition leaders.
In addition, Putin funded, promoted, supplied, aided and abetted Russian terrorists’ invasion of Ukraine, where 13,000 have died. Putin’s proxies also shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in 2014, killing 298.
In October 2016, Russian “nationalists” were allegedly involved in plotting to assassinate the prime minister of Montenegro. In 2018, a former Russian military officer and his daughter were poisoned in England. The British government accused Russia of attempted murder.
Putin’s reign has not been one of enlightenment.
Then, in 2016, Donald Trump was elected president.
While Trump said, “I have zero investments in Russia,” Time magazine reported several Trump businesses outside of Russia were entangled with Russian financiers inside Putin’s circle.
In June 2016, Max Boot wrote in the Los Angeles Times, “Trump has sought and received funding from Russian investors ... especially after most American banks stopped lending to him following his multiple bankruptcies.” He also identified three of Trump’s top advisers who had extensive financial and business ties to Russian financiers.
Nothing that you haven’t heard.
But do you remember Trump SoHo, now the Dominick building? Boot reported it was “a complicated web of financial intrigue that has played out in court. A lawsuit claimed that the business group, Bayrock, underpinning Trump SoHo was supported by criminal Russian financial interests. While its initial claim absolved Trump, Trump himself later took on the group’s principal partner as a senior adviser in the Trump organization.”
Bayrock also financed other Trump projects — two in Fort Lauderdale, a resort in Phoenix, and the Trump SoHo in New York.
The New York Times reported another Trump Soho partner was the Sapir Organization, whose founder was from the former Soviet republic of Georgia.
Trump was eager to work with both.
The Times also reported that federal court records showed another link to Russian financial interests, the Icelandic company FL Group.
There are other ties. Trump’s first real estate venture in Toronto, Canada, was a partnership with two Russian-Canadian entrepreneurs, Toronto Life reported in 2013.
And when Trump built a Panama tower, his clients were wealthy Russians, The Washington Post reported. At a 2008 real estate conference, Donald Trump Jr. told eTurboNews, a trade publication, that “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”
Finally, Trump acknowledged one financial connection with a Florida mansion he sold to a wealthy Russian. Trump said that he bought the Palm Beach property for $40 million and sold it to a wealthy Russian for $100 million.
Now President Trump’s coziness to Vladimir Putin is again under the microscope amid accusations he ignored intelligence that Russia offered to pay Taliban militants to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
We’ll see how this plays out. For me, I’m concerned with their coziness.