In this post I am going to share research done by myself and others going back 30 years that show that despite the recent reversals and objections by Trump, his children and his cronies that his connections to Russia go back three decades. Before we get into all of the evidence I want to share the definition of a “Manchurian Candidate” for those that may be unfamiliar with the term.
A Manchurian candidate is a person, especially a politician, being used as a puppet by an enemy power. The term is commonly used to indicate disloyalty or corruption, whether intentional or unintentional.
Before we get into the numerous lengthy articles showing Trump’s Russian Connections I want to share two YouTube videos – one where Trump himself admits knowing Putin and the other with his son, Donald Jr. in an interview detailing his many trips to Russia.
The next thing I want to share is from USA Today showing the connections going back 30 years, I will continue with all of the documentation and articles I have found from reputable sources and let you make up your own mind. All of the information I am sharing is freely available online I am merely trying to make it easy for people to absorb by putting as much as I could find in one place.
Here is a timeline of Trump’s known connections to Russia:
1987: Trump was invited to Moscow by the Soviet ambassador to the United States to discuss luxury hotel developments. Trump later told Playboy magazine that his plans to build hotels in Moscow failed because the country “was out of control and the leadership knows it.” Four years later, on Christmas Day, the Soviet Union officially dissolved, and Russians who had been allowed to buy state-owned enterprises amassed enormous fortunes.
1996: While wrapping up a series of bankruptcies in New York, Trump talked of building a replica of his Trump Tower in Moscow and traveled there to discuss renovating the Moskva and Rossiya hotels, according to Bloomberg News. The bankruptcies led to a change in Trump’s business model: Instead of building projects from the ground up, he signed licensing agreements that in some cases gave him an ownership stake in properties that bore his name without putting up any of his own money. The Trump Organization continued to seek wealthy investors in Russia.
Dozens of condominiums in Trump World Tower in midtown Manhattan were bought by Russians in the late 1990s, said Dolly Lenz, a real estate broker who sold many of the units. Many buyers sought an audience with Trump, whose business acumen they respected, Lenz said.
Early 2000s: The Trump Organization developed several projects abroad, many of them involving Russian money.
2007: Trump debuted his Trump Super Premium Vodka at the Millionaire’s Fair in Moscow. Large orders for the gold-glazed spirit followed, but the brand fizzled by 2009, according to The New York Times.
2008: Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., told investors in Moscow that the Trump Organization had trademarked the Donald Trump name in Russia and planned to build housing and hotels in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Sochi, and sell licenses to other developers, the Russian daily Kommersant reported. “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,” Trump Jr. said at the time. “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”
Trump Jr. traveled to Russia a half-dozen times in 18 months looking for deals, but none materialized. He said there were plenty of investment opportunities, but the business environment was dangerous and trustworthy partners hard to find. “It really is a scary place,” he said, according to eTurboNews, an online business publication.
2010: Trump’s next big U.S. project, the Trump SoHo in New York, was built with partner Bayrock Group, founded by Tevfik Arif, a former Soviet official.
2013: Trump brought the Miss Universe Pageant to Moscow, funded by $20 million from Russian billionaire Aras Agalarov. The venue was Agalarov’s Crocus City Hall on the outskirts of Moscow. Trump took part in a music video with Agalarov’s son, Emin.
2016: Trump’s presidential campaign manager, Paul Manafort, resigned in August amid reports that he worked on the political campaign of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who had been forced to flee office because of his pro-Russian stance.
Carter Page, a former Merrill Lynch investment banker in Moscow, was a Trump campaign foreign policy adviser until August, when Yahoo News reported that U.S. intelligence officials were investigating whether he had been communicating with Russian officials about lifting U.S. sanctions if Trump became president.
The Russian Hacking of the 2016 Election
Russian intelligence agencies have allegedly recently digitally broken into four different American organizations that are affiliated either with Hillary Clinton or the Democratic Party since late May. All of the hacks appear designed to benefit Donald Trump’s presidential aspirations in one fashion or another.
When asked about this, and his affection for Russian president Vladimir Putin, Trump said any inference that a connection exists between the two is absurd and the stuff of conspiracy. “I have ZERO investments in Russia,” he tweeted after the Democratic National Committee was apparently hacked by Russia and the emails released by Wiki Leaks on the eve of the DNC convention to nominate Clinton as its 2016 presidential candidate.
Most of the coverage of the links between Trump and Putin’s Russia takes the GOP presidential nominee at his word—that he has lusted after a Trump tower in Moscow, and come up spectacularly short. But Trump’s dodge—that he has no businesses in Russia, so there is no connection to Putin—is a classic magician’s trick. Show one idle hand, while the other is actually doing the work.
The truth, as several columnists and reporters have painstakingly shown since the first hack of a Clinton-affiliated group took place in late May or early June, is that several of Trump’s businesses outside of Russia are entangled with Russian financiers inside Putin’s circle.
So, yes, it’s true that Trump has failed to land a business venture inside Russia. But the real truth is that, as major banks in America stopped lending him money following his many bankruptcies, the Trump organization was forced to seek financing from non-traditional institutions. Several had direct ties to Russian financial interests in ways that have raised eyebrows. What’s more, several of Trump’s senior advisors have business ties to Russia or its satellite politicians.
“The Trump-Russia links beneath the surface are even more extensive,” Max Boot wrote in the Los Angeles Times. “Trump has sought and received funding from Russian investors for his business ventures, especially after most American banks stopped lending to him following his multiple bankruptcies.”
What’s more, three of Trump’s top advisors all have extensive financial and business ties to Russian financiers, wrote Boot, the former editor of the Op Ed page of the Wall Street Journal and now a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Trump’s de facto campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was a longtime consultant to Viktor Yanukovich, the Russian-backed president of Ukraine who was overthrown in 2014. Manafort also has done multimillion-dollar business deals with Russian oligarchs. Trump’s foreign policy advisor Carter Page has his own business ties to the state-controlled Russian oil giant Gazprom. … Another Trump foreign policy advisor, retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, flew to Moscow last year to attend a gala banquet celebrating Russia Today, the Kremlin’s propaganda channel, and was seated at the head table near Putin.
Manafort denounced the New York Times Monday for a deeply reported story that broke over the weekend showing that secret ledgers in Ukraine contained references to $12.7 million in payments earmarked for him. The Times report said that the party of former Ukraine president and pro-Russia ally, Viktor Yanukovych, set aside the payments for Manafort as part of an illegal and previously undisclosed system of payments.
“Once again, the New York Times has chosen to purposefully ignore facts and professional journalism to fit their political agenda, choosing to attack my character and reputation rather than present an honest report,” Manafort said in a statement first reported by NBC News. Manafort said that he has never done work for the governments of Ukraine or Russia—but that “political payments directed to me” in Ukraine were for his entire political team there that included operatives and researchers.
In response, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, issued a statement: “Donald Trump has a responsibility to disclose campaign chair Paul Manafort’s and all other campaign employees’ and advisers’ ties to Russian or pro-Kremlin entities, including whether any of Trump’s employees or advisers are currently representing and or being paid by them.”
But it is Trump’s financing from Russian satellite business interests that would seem to explain his pro-Putin sympathies.
The most obvious example is Trump Soho, a complicated web of financial intrigue that has played out in court. A lawsuit claimed that the business group, Bayrock, underpinning Trump Soho was supported by criminal Russian financial interests. While its initial claim absolved Trump of knowledge of those activities, Trump himself later took on the group’s principal partner as a senior advisor in the Trump organization.
“Tax evasion and money-laundering are the core of Bayrock’s business model,” the lawsuit said of the financiers behind Trump Soho. The financing came from Russian-affiliated business interests that engaged in criminal activities, it said. “(But) there is no evidence Trump took any part in, or knew of, their racketeering.”
Journalists who’ve looked at the Bayrock lawsuit, and Trump Soho, wonder why Trump was involved at all. “What was Trump thinking entering into business with partners like these?” Franklin Foer wrote in Slate. “It’s a question he has tried to banish by downplaying his ties to Bayrock.”
But Bayrock wasn’t just involved with Trump Soho. It financed multiple Trump projects around the world, Foer wrote. “(Trump) didn’t just partner with Bayrock; the company embedded with him. Bayrock put together deals for mammoth Trump-named, Trump-managed projects—two in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a resort in Phoenix, the Trump SoHo in New York.”
But, as The New York Times has reported, that was only the beginning of the Trump organization’s entanglement with Russian financiers. Trump was quite taken with Bayrock’s founder, Tevfik Arif, a former Soviet-era commerce official originally from Kazakhstan.
“Bayrock, which was developing commercial properties in Brooklyn, proposed that Mr. Trump license his name to hotel projects in Florida, Arizona and New York, including Trump SoHo,” the Times reported. “The other development partner for Trump SoHo was the Sapir Organization, whose founder, Tamir Sapir, was from the former Soviet republic of Georgia.”
Trump was eager to work with both financial groups on Trump projects all over the world. “Mr. Trump was particularly taken with Mr. Arif’s overseas connections,” the Times wrote. “In a deposition, Mr. Trump said that the two had discussed ‘numerous deals all over the world’ and that Mr. Arif had brought potential Russian investors to Mr. Trump’s office to meet him. ‘Bayrock knew the people, knew the investors, and in some cases I believe they were friends of Mr. Arif,’ Mr. Trump said. ‘And this was going to be Trump International Hotel and Tower Moscow, Kiev, Istanbul, etc., Poland, Warsaw.’”
The Times also reported that federal court records recently released showed yet another link to Russian financial interests in Trump businesses. A Bayrock official “brokered a $50 million investment in Trump SoHo and three other Bayrock projects by an Icelandic firm preferred by wealthy Russians ‘in favor with’ President Vladimir V. Putin,’” the Times reported. “The Icelandic company, FL Group, was identified in a Bayrock investor presentation as a ‘strategic partner,’ along with Alexander Mashkevich, a billionaire once charged in a corruption case involving fees paid by a Belgian company seeking business in Kazakhstan; that case was settled with no admission of guilt.”
Trump Soho was so complicated that Bayrock’s finance chief, Jody Kriss, sued it for fraud. In the lawsuit, Kriss alleged that a primary source of funding for Trump’s big projects with Bayrock arrived “magically” from sources in Russia and Kazakhstan whenever the business interest needed funding.
There are other Russian business ties to the Trump organization as well. Trump’s first real estate venture in Toronto, Canada, was a partnership with two Russian-Canadian entrepreneurs, Toronto Life reported in 2013.
“The hotel’s developer, Talon International, is run by Val Levitan and Alex Shnaider, two Russian-Canadian entrepreneurs. Levitan made his fortune manufacturing slot machines and creating bank note validation technology, and Shnaider earned his in the post-glasnost steel trade,” it reported.
Finally, for all of his denials of Russian ties lately, Trump has boasted in the past of his many meetings with Russian oligarchs. During one trip to Moscow, Trump bragged that they all showed up to meet him to discuss projects around the globe. “Almost all of the oligarchs were in the room” just to meet with him, Trump said at the time.
And when Trump built a tower in Panama, his clients were wealthy Russians, the Washington Post reported. “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia,” Trump’s son, Donald Jr., said at a real estate conference in 2008, according to a trade publication, eTurboNews.
The only instance that Trump acknowledges any sort of Russian financial connection is a Florida mansion he sold to a wealthy Russian. “What do I have to do with Russia?” Trump said in the wake of the DNC hack. “You know the closest I came to Russia, I bought a house a number of years ago in Palm Beach, Florida… for $40 million and I sold it to a Russian for $100 million including brokerage commissions.”
But it should be obvious to anyone trying to pay attention to these moving targets that Trump is saying one thing and doing something else. When it comes to Trump and Russia, the truth may take awhile to emerge.
Bloomberg reported in June that the Clinton Foundation was breached by Russian hackers. “The Russians may also have acquired the emails that Hillary Clinton sent as secretary of State. Putin might be holding back explosive material until October, when its release could ensure a Trump victory,” it reported.
In the 1970s, burglars broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate office complex. President Richard Nixon, a Republican, was forced out of office for the White House cover up of its involvement in the DNC break in.
Now, a generation later, a digital break in to the national headquarters of one of our two major parties by a foreign adversary in order to leak information that benefits the other national party’s presidential candidate seems to be just the normal course of doing business. The Trump era, it is safe to assume, is like nothing we’ve ever seen before.
The news below came out on May 7th, 2017
President Trump’s son Eric once said that his father got funding for his golf courses from the Russians, according to a report.
Golf writer James Dodson said he hit the links with Eric and Donald at the Trump National Golf Club in Charlotte, N.C., in 2014 when he raised the question of how they found the money to keep developing golf courses when financing was tight during the Recession.
Trump “sort of tossed off that he had access to $100 million,” Dodson told WBUR-FM, a Boston public radio station, in an interview that aired Friday.
Later, Dodson, who wrote a biography of Ben Hogan, among other golf books, said he asked Eric the same question as they rode in a golf cart.
Dodson said Eric Trump replied: “ ‘Well, we don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.’”
Dodson said, “Really?”
Eric continued: “’Oh, yeah. We’ve got some guys that really, really love golf, and they’re really invested in our programs. We just go there all the time.’”
That time a Russian billionaire paid Trump $95 million for a mansion
The Maison de L’Amitie is a massive beachfront estate in Palm Beach, Florida. The 81,738 square foot mansion sits on 6.2 acres — with 475 feet of sandy beach facing the Atlantic Ocean. It belonged to Abraham Gosman, a millionaire who owned health care properties across the country — until he went bankrupt.
In a 2004 auction, Trump snapped up the property from Gosman’s Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Estate for $41 million, according to property records.
Four years later, Trump sold the mansion for $95 million.
The official deed on that deal says that Trump Properties sold the property to County Road Property LLC. But that’s just a front. The real buyer of the property was Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev.
Rybolovlev admitted it through a spokesman in 2008, and his real estate agent on the deal reaffirmed it to CNNMoney this week.
Carol Digges, the South Florida broker who gave Rybolovlev a tour of the luxurious estate two years before he bought it, said the Russian billionaire never moved in. In fact, she doubts he ever moved in.
“He bought it and never lived in it,” she said.
The Russian is now planning to tear down the mansion, according to Palm Beach planning and zoning records.
There’s reason for Rybolovlev to keep valuable assets at a distance. He was involved in what’s been called “the divorce of the century,” a seven-year battle his wife won when a Swiss court awarded her $4.5 billion — and later settled quietly.
Trump pointed to this deal because it clearly involved him getting richer from Russian money — but this doesn’t exactly tie him to Vladimir Putin, as the Democratic Party would like to portray.
Rybolovlev is a Russian oligarch. He made his billions by keeping a major stake in the Russian fertilizer company Uralkali just after the fall of the Soviet Union. But he wasn’t beloved by the Russian government. He spent nearly a year in Russian prison in the mid-1990s on charges he hired an assassin — until he was proven innocent and released.
And it’s clear Trump is starting to get irked over questions about Russians.
“That was a number of years ago,” Trump said at the press conference, talking about the deal with Rybolovlev. “I guess probably I sell condos to Russians, okay?”
More Rybolovlev Connections
Trump’s ties to Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev are drawing new attention amid speculation that the tycoons may have an undisclosed secret alliance.
Yachts owned by Rybolovlev and Trump financier Robert Mercer were anchored near each other Friday in the British Virgin Islands, according to records obtained by the Palm Beach Post. The report was highlighted on Tuesday’s episode of “The Rachel Maddow Show,” along with details of Trump’s 2005 tax filing.
Reports have surfaced in recent days that Rybolovlev’s jet was parked near Trump’s in North Carolina a few days before the election. A few days earlier, the two were both in Las Vegas for separate events.
A representative for Rybolovlev told McClatchy last week that it was “pure coincidence” that the two planes were parked next to each other. Rybolovlev, 50, has also never met the President personally, either, the representative told McClatchy, and “has no connection whatsoever to Mr. Trump or his team of advisers.”
Even if they’ve never met, the pair do have some history together.
Russian Elite Invested Nearly $100 Million in Trump Buildings
(And those are just the transparent ones, doesn’t count numerous LLCs that could be shell corporations)
A Reuters review found that at least 63 individuals with Russian passports or addresses have bought at least $98.4 million worth of property in seven Trump-branded luxury towers in southern Florida.
MIAMI/MOSCOW – During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald J. Trump downplayed his business ties with Russia. And since taking office as president, he has been even more emphatic.
“I can tell you, speaking for myself, I own nothing in Russia,” President Trump said at a news conference last month. “I have no loans in Russia. I don’t have any deals in Russia.”
But in the United States, members of the Russian elite have invested in Trump buildings. A Reuters review has found that at least 63 individuals with Russian passports or addresses have bought at least $98.4 million worth of property in seven Trump-branded luxury towers in southern Florida, according to public documents, interviews and corporate records.
The buyers include politically connected businessmen, such as a former executive in a Moscow-based state-run construction firm that works on military and intelligence facilities, the founder of a St. Petersburg investment bank and the co-founder of a conglomerate with interests in banking, property and electronics.
People from the second and third tiers of Russian power have invested in the Trump buildings as well. One recently posted a photo of himself with the leader of a Russian motorcycle gang that was sanctioned by the United States for its alleged role in Moscow’s seizure of Crimea.
Trump’s Russian Ties in 7 Charts
These charts illustrate dozens of those links, including meetings between Russian officials and members of Trump’s campaign and administration; his daughter’s ties to Putin’s friends; Trump’s 2013 visit to Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant; and his short-lived mixed martial arts venture with one of Putin’s favorite athletes. The solid lines mark established facts, while dotted ones represent speculative or unproven connections.
Michael Flynn and Jill Stein in Russia
It was a (red) star-studded affair, the December 2015 dinner celebrating the 10th birthday of Russian TV network RT. At a luxe Moscow hotel, President Vladimir Putin and a host of Russian luminaries toasted a state-backed news channel that U.S. intelligence calls a Kremlin mouthpiece.
And next to Putin at the head table, in the seat of honor, was an American. Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who would later become Donald Trump’s national security adviser, was already advising Trump’s presidential campaign when he was paid $45,000 to speak at the gala.
“It is not coincidence that Flynn was placed next to President Putin,” said Michael McFaul, U.S. ambassador in Moscow from 2012 to 2014 and now an NBC News analyst. “Flynn was considered a close Trump adviser. Why else would they want him there?”
Flynn’s Moscow jaunt, like his oddly timed phone chats with the Russian ambassador, has been well reported. But who else came to dinner on Dec. 10, 2015? An NBC News review of video and photos from the RT gala shows a healthy serving of ex-spies, cronies and oligarchs, with a side of friendly journalists and another American.
Flynn was one of 10 people at the head table, including the Kremlin’s top leadership. Three of the Russians, including Putin, were under U.S. sanctions at the time for their role in Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
Sergey Ivanov, then Putin’s chief of staff, sat directly across the table from Flynn. A former KGB general who at one point ran KGB operations in Africa, he has also served as Russian defense minister and deputy prime minister. Ivanov had been under U.S. and European sanctions for a year and a half by the date of the dinner.
Next to Ivanov was Dmitry Peskov, nominally Putin’s spokesman, but more importantly his de facto national security adviser, say U.S. officials. Like almost everyone at the head table that night, he speaks perfect English.
Flanking Putin on his right, two seats from Flynn, sat Alexey Gromov, Putin’s deputy chief of staff. U.S. intelligence considers Gromov to be Putin’s head propagandist. According to the January 6 Intelligence Community report on Russian interference in the U.S. election, “Gromov oversees political coverage on TV, and he has periodic meetings with media managers where he shares classified information and discusses their coverage plans.”
He’s also been accused by U.S. intelligence of “ordering media attacks on opposition figures.” He has worked directly for the Russian president, first in the Press Office, then as press attache and, since 2008, as deputy chief of staff. He too was on U.S. and European sanctions the day of the dinner.
After Putin got up to make his speech, his place at Flynn’s side was taken by Margarita Simonyan, RT’s editor-in-chief. She is also editor-in-chief of Rossiya Segodnya, a state-owned and operated Russian news agency created by Putin. A personal friend of Putin, she worked in one of his presidential campaigns before being chosen by Gromov to head RT. The U.S. intelligence assessment of RT paints Simonyan as the lead person, along with Gromov, engaging in “information warfare” against U.S. policies. She is described as “closely tied to, controlled by the Kremlin.”
In his dinner speech, Putin praised RT for its objectivity, disclaiming any influence on its coverage.
Next to Simonyan was the night’s biggest global cultural celebrity, acclaimed director Emir Kusturica, who has twice won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Born a Muslim in Bosnia, he converted to Orthodox Christianity and is a Putin booster. Putin awarded him the Russian Order of Friendship in 2016. Of Putin, Kusturica once said, “If I was English, I would be very much against him. I was an American, I would even fight with him. But if I was Russian, I would vote for him.”
Kusturica’s wife, seated next to him, was the only spouse at the head table.
Also at the head table were three western politicians. Willy Wimmer, a former member of the German Bundestag who is often critical of U.S. foreign policy; Cyril Svoboda, former deputy prime minister, minister of foreign affairs, and interior minister of the Czech Republic, and two-time U.S. Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, the only American besides Flynn at the head table.
Stein’s 2016 campaign was heavily promoted by RT. She hasn’t spoken much about the RT dinner, but in an interview with NBC News last fall, she deflected questions about her appearance, instead chastising the U.S. media for not paying attention to her campaign while RT gave it a lot more attention.
“And my own connection to RT, you know ironically, it takes a Russian television station to actually be open to independent candidates in this country and that is a shame. A shameful commentary on our own media,” she told NBC’s Alex Seitz-Wald.
(Stein did well enough to help Russia achieve its aims. Her vote totals in the crucial states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan were all greater than Clinton’s margin of defeat, and arguably denied Clinton an Electoral College victory.)
Beyond the head table, Russia’s oligarchs filled many of the seats.
Seated at a corner table was Mikhail Prokhorov, the owner of the Brooklyn Nets who ran against Putin as the designated liberal candidate in 2012 (and whose offices were raided by Russian security last April). Prokhorov is now on the outs with Putin. Next to him was Viktor Vekselberg, whose billions are in oil and aluminum and who is a business partner of Trump’s Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and the owner of the world’s largest collection of Faberge eggs.
At the table behind Putin’s was Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Communist Party ruler of the Soviet Union, along with Artur Chilingarov, polar explorer and federal senator. Nearby, there was Arkady Mamontov, a famous TV host who said that a massive meteor strike that injured nearly 1,500 people in 2013 was God’s vengeance on Russia’s gay rights movement.
There was Tina Kandelaki, a socialite and award-winning TV host who’s appeared on the covers of the Russian versions of Playboy, InStyle, and Maxim — and ran an international marketing operation for the AK-47, calling it an instrument of peace.
Unable to attend in person was WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who formerly hosted his own show on RT. Instead, he appeared via satellite as host of one of the 10th anniversary event’s seminars, where he lamented the end of privacy.
‘A Great Learning Opportunity’
Flynn had already been a frequent guest on RT in the months prior to the dinner.
In an interview with Dana Priest of the Washington Post in August 2016, Flynn talked about why he accepted such a starring role. He said he didn’t ask for it, that the Russians sat him next to Putin.
“I was one of the guests there. … Some interesting characters. I found it a great learning opportunity. One of the things I learned was that Putin has no respect for the United States leadership. Not for the United States, but the leadership.”
When Putin finished his speech that night, Flynn was among the first to leap to his feet and offer a standing ovation.
In the year following the dinner, RT was part of the Putin government’s overt attempt to influence the U.S. election, according to the U.S. Intelligence Community. In the January 2017 report on Russian interference, the IC discussed the network’s role at length.
“RT’s criticism of the U.S. election,” said the report, “was the latest facet of its broader and longer-standing anti-U.S. messaging likely aimed at undermining viewers’ trust in U.S. democratic procedures and undercutting U.S. criticism of Russia’s political system. RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan recently declared that the United States itself lacks democracy and that it has ‘no moral right to teach the rest of the world.'”
Jill Stein declined an NBC News request for comment.
Flynn and Manfort
Former Trump aides Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort have emerged as key figures in the FBI’s investigation into Russian campaign interference, which has just been taken over by a special counsel, four law enforcement officials told NBC News.
Officials say multiple grand jury subpoenas and records requests have been issued in connection with the two men during the past six months in the ongoing probe into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian attempts to influence the election, an inquiry that will now be overseen by former FBI Director Robert Mueller.
The FBI, with the help of the Treasury Department, the CIA and other agencies, is examining evidence of possible contacts, money transfers and business relationships between a variety of Trump associates and Russian officials, the sources say. The investigation goes well beyond Flynn, Manafort and a possible American connection, to include how Russian intelligence services carried out the campaign of fake news and leaking hacked emails that intelligence officials say was meant to hurt Hillary Clinton and benefit Donald Trump.
ADDED on May 19,2017 – If the news below isn’t enough to impeach Trump for obstruction of justice I don’t know what is…
“I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Mr. Trump said, according to the document, which was read to The New York Times by an American official. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”
Mr. Trump added, “I’m not under investigation.”
The conversation, during a May 10 meeting — the day after he fired Mr. Comey — reinforces the notion that Mr. Trump dismissed him primarily because of the bureau’s investigation into possible collusion between his campaign and Russian operatives. Mr. Trump said as much in one televised interview, but the White House has offered changing justifications for the firing.
The White House document that contained Mr. Trump’s comments was based on notes taken from inside the Oval Office and has been circulated as the official account of the meeting. One official read quotations to The Times, and a second official confirmed the broad outlines of the discussion.
I am obviously not the first to suggest that Trump is a Manchurian Candidate. Brent Budowsky, who wrote a similar article in August of 2016 was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. in international financial law from the London School of Economics.