This is part of series of posts on President Trump’s connections to the Russian mafia.
One of these days, President Trump’s involvement with Russia is going to become a major story. The FBI has an ongoing investigation into Paul Manafort and the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia. The Senate Intelligence Committee plans an investigation. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-California) has also been making some noise on the subject. He’s the ranking member on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Last week, the New York Times reported that the President’s personal attorney Michael Cohen delivered a “peace plan” from Manafort, a mobbed-up, convicted felon, and a Russia-friendly member of the Ukrainian parliament. It barely made a blip on the national news
Today, CNN reported that the White House requested that the FBI and other agencies investigating the Russia Connection to say that “the reports were wrong and that there had been no contacts” between the Trump Administration and Russia. The FBI refused.
The American media has had a hard enough time keeping up with the ongoing chaos of the Trump Administration, but Americans lack a good understanding of either Russia or organized crime. We need to get up to speed and quick.
Our familiarity with the mafia comes from The Godfather and Goodfellas and the relatively provincial Italian mob. Don Corleone had judges, reporters, and a senator in his pocket, and Jimmy Conway pulled off the Lufthansa Heist, but the Russian mafia has corrupted entire countries, not just a few people.
In fact, Russia has been termed a mafia state in which “one cannot differentiate between the activities of the Government and OC (organised crime) groups.” Ethnicity is not a unifying factor in the Russian mob, which is more accurately termed the “Eurasian mafia.” The godfather, “boss of all bosses” of the Russian mafia is Ukrainian Jew headquartered in Hungary.
Trump’s connection to Russia involve his business and his buildings. Trump Tower housed the Bayrock Group a pump-and-dump stock operation Russian-backed mafia. It also hosted a global gambling operation catering to oligarchs and a high-stakes poker game that attracted celebrity A-listers Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, and former Yankee shortstop Alex Rodriguez.
In The American Interest, James S. Henry lists a couple of things we can learn from a close look at President Trump’s Russian/FSU connections:
First, the President-elect really is very “well-connected,” with an extensive network of unsavory global underground connections that may well be unprecedented in White House history. In choosing his associates, evidently Donald Trump only pays cursory attention to questions of background, character, and integrity.
Second, Donald Trump has also literally spent decades cultivating senior relationships of all kinds with Russia and the FSU. And public and private senior Russian figures of all kinds have likewise spent decades cultivating him, not only as a business partner, but as a “useful idiot.”
As an example of KGB/FSU influence Henry notes,
On September 1, 1987 (!), Trump was already willing to spend a $94,801 on full-page ads in the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, and the New York Times calling for the United States to stop spending money to defend Japan, Europe, and the Persian Gulf, “an area of only marginal significance to the U.S. for its oil supplies, but one upon which Japan and others are almost totally dependent.”
Some of the advertising text will sound familiar to anyone who’s listened to Trump: ”Why are these nations not paying the United States for the human lives and billions of dollars we are losing to protect their interests? … The world is laughing at America’s politicians as we protect ships we don’t own, carrying oil we don’t need, destined for allies who won’t help.”
Is it possible that one of the few consistent beliefs Trump seems to hold about our allies came from the KGB 30 years ago? Inquiring minds want to know.
If you are serious about getting rid of President Trump, forget about the 25th Amendment. Call your congress(wo)man and senator. Tell them you want an investigation of Trump’s connections to Russia. Tell them you want to hear them mention it. Katherine Clark has been tweeting about them.