Every day people (i.e., trolls) tweet at me about how President Trump did not collude with and/or is not compromised to Russia (and/or another foreign power). Reminding everyone of the overwhelming amount of evidence of the relationship between Team Trump and Russia is boring, but important. So, here is a post that I will keep updating with concise and annotated key points:
1) Trump employed a lot of people with very close ties to Russia.
1a) Trump’s Campaign Chair’s day job was destabilizing democracies for Russia: Campaign Chair Paul Manafort went around the world destabilizing democracies for ruthless anti-democratic autocrats. He worked for free for the Trump campaign, as he was living off of millions of dollars in money paid by Russian align oligarchs. He is now indicted for money laundering. And remanded to jail, because he was tampering with witnesses while he was out on bail.
1b) National Security Adviser to President Trump was Foreign Agent: that is as bad as it seems. He undermined US policy on Russia by back-channeling with the Russians. He tried to kidnap a Turkish dissident, for cash, from US, to return him to Turkey for likely death. That happened while he was already picked to be NSA.
2) Trump campaign met with Russian agents to discuss trafficking documents stolen from Democrats: At minimum, the Trump campaign’s highest staffers were meeting with Russian agents to help plan how to traffic documents stolen from a political rival. At worse, the Trump campaign had an even more active level collusion with the Russians. Either way, this is collusion.
2a) Trump Tower Meeting with Russian agents: Trump Campaign Chair, Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner had at least one known meeting with Russian agents, in Trump Tower.
2b) Meetings with Wikileaks: Trump campaign, including Trump Jr., was in contact with Wikileaks, who is responsible for distributing stolen documents for Russia: The Trump campaign was not just talking to Russians, but known Russian operatives that were helping Russia. Not just Trump Jr., but Roger Stone as well.
3) Russians (and maybe other foreign powers) ran (at least) $1.25 million per month campaign for Trump.
3a) While that is not a huge portion of the entire presidential campaign budget, that is not negligible either. $1.25 million per month is a meaningful contribution to help Trump become president. And, any foreign contributions (including in-kind contributions) are illegal.
3b) Trump campaign was courting other foreign money as well, including Saudi Arabia.
4) Trump Company was probably laundering Russian money: Eric Trump bragged that Trump Co. got all of its money from Russia. Then it turns out that the Trump Co. bought over $400 million in property in cash from 2006 to 2016. That is weird for two reasons: (1) Trump Co. did not have $400 million in cash (2) Even if it did, interest rates were near 0%, making it INSANE to buy properties in cash if you could leverage for nothing. Most likely answer is that they were laundering money from Russian aligned oligarchs. And, as long as President Trump does not release his tax returns or Trump Co. opens its books, it is the best answer we have.
5) Trump fixer/lawyer Michael Cohen took $500,000 from Russians (among many other people): not sure how this fits in right now. It may just be other, non-aligned, corruption.
6) Incredible number of indictments and guilty pleads: (as of June 17, 2018) 23 indictments and 5 guilty pleads. That is a lot.
You, me, everyone in US should care about this for two reasons. First, it is really bad for our democracy for a President to beholden to a hostile foreign power. It undermines our ability to trust our government and its institutions. Second, President Trump is likely to make decisions that are bad for the US, because he is concerned about Russia (and others) revealing things that may damage him and his family.
The key goal of Russia since 1945 has been to undermine the tight relationship between Europe and the United States. On that front alone, from: Paris to Iran to NATO to the disastrous G-7 Summit, the Russians have been extremely successful since Donald Trump became President.