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News Foreign Policy Wednesday, Sep 7 2016

Donald Trump: Russian Investing Doll?

Sep 07, 2016

Donald Trump, tonight: “I think I would have a very, very good relationship with Putin.” So, no sign Trump’s backing off his pro-Putin foreign policy agenda anytime soon.

For over a year, Donald Trump’s long been a prolific Vladimir Putin admirer, and even hopefully mused, “[W]ill [Putin] become my new best friend?

Trump’s additionally co-opted Kremlin talking points on Crimea and brought on key advisers with ties to the Russian government, all while continuing his praise for Putin, which has earned him the praise of the Russian media.

Oh, and Trump openly asked Russia to conduct espionage on Hillary Clinton, even going so far as to suggest that the country might be rewarded for doing so.

A minor slip-up would be one thing, but months of praising Putin, using Kremlin messaging, and hiring two staffers with deep ties to the Russian government is no accident.

And then there’s Donald Jr.’s 2008 admission that “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets” — which in itself raises questions about possible Trump conflicts of interest with respect to Russia.

There’s no denying the preponderance of evidence: Donald Trump is too close to Russia.

Trump Foreign Policy Adviser Carter Page’s Russian Investments And Ties

Another sketchy character with even more direct ties to Putin’s Russia is Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page. In July, Page visited Russia to push for a strengthened U.S.relationship with Russia — “[j]ust days before Republicans adopted a new, more Russia-friendly plank into their party platform.”

Previously, Page advised Gazprom, a mostly-state-owned Russian gas producer, counselling the company on investments and deals. As recently as March 2016, Page told Bloomberg that he remained an investor in the Russian company.

Former Trump Campaign Chair Paul Manafort’s Deep Ties To A Pro-Putin Political Party 

Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s chief campaign adviser, did work for Ukraine’s pro-Putin political party and had an office in Kiev as recently as May 2016, according to a New York Times report. The investigation also uncovered that Manafort may have received as much as “$12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments” from the pro-Russia political organization.

And then the Times of London uncovered that Manafort was also behind “a series of [2006] anti-Nato, anti-Kiev protests in Crimea led by Viktor Yanukovych’s pro-Russian Party of Regions — now designated a criminal organisation.”

Further reports on Manafort’s ties to “undisclosed” — possibly illegal — foreign lobbying on behalf of a pro-Putin group reveal that Manafort’s firm “directly orchestrated a covert Washington lobbying operation on behalf of Ukraine’s ruling political party, attempting to sway American public opinion in favor of the country’s pro-Russian government — something Manafort never disclosed, despite a legal obligation to have done so.
Trump’s Pivot To Pro-Russia Foreign Policy And Kremlin Talking Points

Ordinarily, it would be shocking to see an American presidential nominee pivoting to a bizarrelypro-Russia foreign policy doctrine. But Donald Trump is no ordinary candidate, nor are hisPutin-connected aides typical campaign advisers. And so here we are, with Trump:


Published: Sep 7, 2016

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