Trump Card 7: Russian Connections

It would not only provide the fox with a map of the hen house, but give him the security code, the backdoor key and a wheelbarrow to make off with the carcasses. Washington Post on the implications of Trump sharing cyber-security information with the Russians.

Another plot against America?

By Roger Childs

In 2004 Novelist Philip Roth wrote The Plot Against America.

The story centres on legendary flyer Charles Lindbergh, who defeats Franklin Roosevelt in the 1940 presidential election and proceeds to set up a fascist government sympathetic to Nazi Germany.

Many American today must be wondering if there is a new plot, led by the Trump family, to establish an administration sympathetic to autocratic Russia.

The possible Russian involvement in getting Donald Trump elected last year is the subject of many investigations. They say that where’s there’s smoke there’s fire, however this is a gigantic volcanic ash cloud.

 

Admiration for Putin

I don’t think he has any respect for Clinton. I think he respects me. I think it would be great to get along with him. Donald Trump, 27 July 2016

Russian President President Vladimir Putin holds up a glass during a toast at a luncheon hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Monday, Sept. 28, 2015, at United Nations headquarters. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

As he campaigned for the presidency in 2016, Trump expressed his admiration and respect for Russian leader Vladimir Putin several times.

In one extraordinary exchange, an interviewer responded to Trump’s positive view of Putin by saying … but he’s a killer! Trump replied We’ve got killers.

One year on, President Trump had an open meeting at the recent G-20 summit with Putin while officials watched on. However, it has now emerged that he also had another session with the Russian leader with no-one else present. Why?

Russia is not an ally of the United States. In reality, because of the Putin’s support for Syrian dictator, Bashar al Assad, the annexation of the Crimea and interference in eastern Ukraine, many see Russia as an ”adversary”. The Obama Administration imposed economic sanctions on Russia after the action in the Ukraine.

There are currently a number of investigations proceeding into whether the Trump team were complicit in using Russian contacts and information to get Donald elected. The key one is headed by former FBI Director, Robert Mueller.

A key question: why all the contacts with Russia?

The powerful son-in
law, Jared Kushner

I did not collude with Russia, nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did so. I had no improper contacts. I have not relied on Russian funds for my businesses, and I have been fully transparent in providing all requested information. Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and leading advisor, 25 July 2017

Honesty is not a strong suit for the Trump family.  Kushner did attend a meeting with a Russian lawyer that Donald Jr had arranged in June 2016. Campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was also there. Apparently they would get incriminating material on Hillary Clinton.

Also during the campaign, Jeff Sessions, now Attorney General, had met with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak.  However, he did not disclose this in a Senate hearing to  confirm his appointment.

Michael Flynn, Trump’s National Security Advisor for a short time, also had contacts with the Russians, but did not reveal these to Vice President Pence.

The list goes on. Trump backer, businessman Erik Prince, met with Russian officials in the Seychelles in January nine days before Trump’s inauguration.

Was anyone in the Trump team meeting with representatives from America’s allies Britain, France, Germany and Japan?

On-going investigations

While Congressional investigations into Trump team – Russian links continue, Robert Mueller is saying little.

Little positive to report

This is infuriating for Trump, and he has seemingly further painted himself towards an inescapable corner, by tweeting that the Special Prosecutor should not investigate the president’s business empire. He has also hinted that he might even pardon himself if he is incriminated!

Time will tell whether the investigations come up with treasonous activities, obstruction of justice or other high crimes and misdemeanours which could lead to impeachment proceedings.

In the meantime the Administration is battling to get its first legislative success after six months of trying. However, the key target of choice – repealing and replacing Obamacare – is proving to be very difficult.

Trump has appointed a conservative Supreme Court judge, signed numerous executive orders and launched a new aircraft carrier, but getting a bill through Congress ready for his signature, continues to elude him.