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News Foreign Policy Tuesday, Aug 16 2016

MEMO: Trump's Pro-Russia Agenda And The Implications Of His Classified Briefings

Aug 16, 2016

prolific Vladimir Putin admirer who once mused “[W]ill [Putin] become my new best friend?,” Donald Trump is tomorrow set to receive his first classified briefing from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Trump’s new access to classified intelligence raises serious concerns — and not just because he’s a racist birther with the temperament of a two year old and a tendency to run his mouth without stopping to think.

What every American should be even more concerned about is that Trump will be receiving secret intelligence straight from the DNI’s office, then likely sharing its contents with a Russia-connected (and invested!) foreign policy adviser and — even more alarming — a chief adviser who reportedly may have received millions in off-the-books cash from a pro-Putin political party in Ukraine.

Here’s what you need to know when considering the implications of Trump accessing classified intelligence:

Top Trump Campaign Adviser 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 recent 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.

Manafort dismissed the report as “unfounded, silly and nonsensical,” but like so many others affiliated with the Trump campaign, including Trump himself, Manafort hasn’t shied away from lying to the media.

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. 

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 bizarrely pro-Russia foreign policy doctrine. But Donald Trump is no ordinary candidate, nor are his Putin-connected aides typical campaign advisers. And so here we are, with Trump:

All to say: Trump’s unusually affectionate attitude toward Putin and Russia, and his advisers deep ties with the country and its leader, should all give voters pause — particularly so as Trump begins receiving classified intelligence briefings, likely sharing the contents of those briefings with his Kremlin-friendly campaign aides.

Background here.

Published: Aug 16, 2016

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