The release of the U.S. intelligence agencies' report on the Russian hacking of the 2016 American Presidential Election, with the intention to help defeat Hillary Clinton and elect Donald Trump, has led to much speculation as to whether or not Donald Trump owes his election as U.S. President to the interference of Russia in the American Presidential election process.
My view: the relentless drip-drip-drip of Clinton, DNC and Podesta emails in the last few months of the campaign could very well have been the tipping point for on-the-fence voters in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania trying to decide between two candidates with very high negatives. Since these three states were decided in Trump's favor by a total of about 80,000 votes out of over 13 million votes cast, I strongly believe that Trump owes his election to the interference of Putin and his trolls in our electoral processes.
Trumputin's Relationship to Russia
Over the years, Trump's companies have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization at least four times, in 1991, 1992, 2004 and 2009. The banks that loaned Trump money were repeatedly burned by his pulling the rug on his investments and declaring bankruptcy, forcing a restructuring of his debt. He even has boasted about playing the bankruptcy game to transfer his business risk to the banks when his investments went sour, such as his casinos in Atlantic City.
In recent years, Trump has found it difficult to obtain loans from U.S. and Western banks to finance his real estate deals, and has been forced to look elsewhere for financing, first to junk bonds. Since 2000 or so, one of the ready sources of money has been the Russian oligarchs enriched after the privatization and looting of Russia's public assets by Putin and his friends. In 2008, Donald Trump, Jr. was quoted at a real estate conference as saying 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." (David Remnick, "Trump and Putin: A Love Story", The New Yorker, August 3, 2016, quoting from an article in the Washington Post).
Over the past decade or so, Trump was drawn into the web of the Russian financial network, and is now in so deep that he has no way to get out. If the Russian oligarchs who have loaned Trump money pull their plug on Trump's debt, his empire will collapse.
So gradually, over the past decade or so, Trump was drawn into the web of the Russian financial network, and is now in so deep that he has no way to get out. If the Russian oligarchs who have loaned Trump money pull their plug on Trump's debt, his empire will collapse. This is the primary reason why Trump cannot disclose his tax returns and assets: it will reveal that he is in hock to Russian money to a huge extent. This will all come out eventually.
Trumputin Is Putin's "Useful Idiot"
Most of the Russian money loaned to Trump's organization originates with friends or associates of Putin, who himself may be the world's richest man after he gained control of the Russian economy, and looted it savagely for his own purposes. So Putin has Trump by the short hairs, and has made him his "useful idiot", to use a term coined by Soviet founder Lenin for those foreigners who were duped by the Soviets to say good things about them, sympathizers who blindly supported Communist leaders and could be played like a violin.
Putin was trained as a lawyer, advanced to high levels of the Soviet KGB, and then was able to rise to the top levels of its successor, the Federal Security Service, in 1998. In 2000, he became President of Russia, which he handled off to his own homegrown "useful idiot", Dmitry Medvedev, and then as Medvedev's supposed #2 worked the system to regain the Presidency in 2012. Raised as a Communist, is he still one, or is he a "Putinist", fashioning his own ideology based on greed and Stalinist brutal tactics?
When Trump declared as a candidate for U. S. President, Putin ramped up his U.S. hacking and disinformation operation to try to get Trump elected. At first it was aimed primarily at undermining American democracy by destabilizing the electoral process. However, as it became more successful, such as when the WikiLeaks release of DNC emails forced Debbie Wasserman Schultz to resign as head of the DNC on the eve of the Democratic Convention in August, the intensity of the Putin hacking and disinformation operation increased. It became possible that Trump might win.
And, improbably, "Trumputin" did win. I have previously reported on Donald Trump's Russian connections (See "He Calls Her 'Crooked Hillary'; Could He Be 'Commie Donnie'?", LAProgressive.com, November 6, 2016). In that article, I mentioned the article by David Corn of Mother Jones stating that a former senior officer for a Western country, who specialized in Russian counterintelligence, has asserted that he provided the FBI with memos from Russian sources contending the Russian government has tried for years to co-opt and assist Trump.
This ex-spy, whom Corn believes is a credible source with a proven record, has asserted that "there was an established exchange of information between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin of mutual benefit". The ex-spy went on to assert that Trump "and his inner circle have accepted a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin, including on his Democratic and other political rivals", and that the cultivation of Trump had gone on for at least five years. Corn insists that these allegations are not connected to the WikiLeaks documents regarding Hillary's campaign. Most troubling, the ex-spy asserted that "Russian intelligence had compromised" Trump and could "blackmail him".
This fits well into my analysis that the origins of this compromise of Trumputin originated in his financial dealings with Russian oligarchs who have loaned him money. There is also a story, reported by Franklin Foer of Slate, that a bank in Moscow, Alfa Bank, was in recent years regularly pinging a server registered to The Trump Organization on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. A computer expert looked at its data and concluded that "The parties were communicating in a secretive fashion…This is more akin to what criminals syndicates do if they are putting together a project". It looked to this expert that Trump and Alfa Bank had created something like a digital hotline connecting the two entities, closed to everyone else, and designed to obscure its own existence.
What It Takes to Become a Traitor
American traitors date back to the time of Benedict Arnold, a trusted general under George Washington in the Revolutionary War who was revealed to be a spy for the British when an aide, Major John Andre, was caught with papers hidden in his shoe which implicated Arnold as a traitor who was trying to swing the war to the British side. However, traitors come in all shapes and sizes, and include American CIA agents who are corrupted by money problems or embarrassing things in their lives that force them to provide classified information to our enemies; they become "useful idiots". American traitors include the Rosenbergs, who for idealogical reasons in the early 1950s provided important details on America's nuclear program to the Russians, and were later executed.
Trumputin fits the pattern of someone who could have been trapped by his financial dealings with Russian interests into betraying his country. Has he done so yet? No one knows. Will Trumputin provide the classified 50 page report from the 17 U.S. intelligence agencies, which he received last week, or classified information contained in that report, to Putin? We will know that he has done this if Putin starts killing or "disappearing" some of the human sources revealed in that report. At that point, we will know that Trumputin is a traitor to the United States of America. He would be the totally corrupted Siberian President, or at the very least, Putin's "useful idiot", at his beck and call in the future.
The Republicans in Congress, the same party that led the witch hunt to root out Communists in the U.S. government in the decade after World War II, have completely turned a blind eye to Trumputin's deep ties to Putin and the Russian oligarchs. The GOP leaders have also become Putin's "useful idiots". How times have changed.
To date, most American politicians and journalists have danced around discussing what I have outlined above. But the discussion must happen now. in less than two weeks, Trumputin will be inaugurated as our President. Will his Presidency be the end of the 240 year American experiment in democracy, as he dismantles all our hard fought alliances in Europe and Asia? In order to accomplish Putin's aims, will he dismantle or compromise the American intelligence agencies that pose a threat to his Presidency? Time will tell….