Trump’s Kremlin connection: the other shoe(s) drop

Mike Isikoff is about as far from being a Clinton-lover as it’s possible to be on an outpatient basis: he was last seen chasing down a semen-stained dress. But today he broke a blockbuster story: tracing the activities in Moscow of Carter Page, an otherwise utterly obscure person who was nonetheless one of the five people Donald Trump listed as “foreign policy advisers” to his campaign.

It appears that, after Trump named him as an adviser and just before the Republican convention, Page met in Moscow not only with an oligarch on the sanctions list but also with the official apparently in charge of Russian efforts to interfere in U.S. elections, including both the activities of the RT and Sputnik News and the hackers who broke into the DNC emails and released the results to WikiLeaks timed to create maximum heartache for Clinton.

Also today, ABC blew a major hole in Trump’s denial of major economic ties to Russia: his estimated take was in the “hundreds of millions of dollars,” some of it from the Russian mafia. His proposal to put his assets in a “blind trust” run by his children doesn’t pass the giggle test:  that trust wouldn’t even need glasses.

Add these to the list: Trump’s threat to renege on our NATO treaty commitments and not support our allies in the face of Russian aggression; Trump’s expressed admiration for Putin as “a stronger leader” than Obama;  hiring Paul Manafort, who worked to elect Putin’s puppet Yanukovych as President of Ukraine; his having foreign policy advisers like Gen. Michael Flynn, who takes money to go on Russian propaganda channel RT and compares it to CNN; Trump’s invitation to Putin to hack Clinton’s emails; and Trump’s astounding assurance that Putin wasn’t “going into Ukraine” two years after Russia had annexed Crimea and while Russian troops (under thin disguise as “volunteers”) were still shooting up the Donbass; and Trump’s promise to “look at” lifting the economic sanctions imposed on Russia after the annexation of Crimea.

Since the United States is not at war with Russia, what Trump is up to does not meet the Constitutional definition of “treason.” But since U.S. and Russian interests directly conflict, and since the Russian military has engaged in risky provocations such as buzzing U.S. Navy vessels in the Baltic, there is no reason not to call what Trump is doing – most of all, his invitation to an adversary to intervene on his behalf in our elections – disloyal. That’s the first time in U.S. history (unless you want to count George McClellan in 1864) that such a word could be  accurately used about a major-party candidate for President of the United States.

And yet the Republican Party – including legitimate war heroes such as Bob Dole and John McCain – is unifying behind a man not just obviously unfit to lead this country but not even loyal to it. That should give you some idea how deep the rot goes.

Footnotes

  1. With his usual impeccable timing, Ted Cruz chose today to endorse the man he previously said was unfit to be President.
  2. In related news, the Russian newspaper Kommersant reports that former KGB Col. Putin plans to reanimate his old outfit by recombining foreign and domestic intelligence agencies. Instead of doing so under the KGB name, however, Putin proposes to revert to name the outfit carried when Lavrenti Beria ran it for Stalin: the Ministry of State Security, or MGB. No word yet on plans to re-open “mental hospitals” in which to torture dissidents. But have patience.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

6 thoughts on “Trump’s Kremlin connection: the other shoe(s) drop”

  1. Throughout all the changes of name and acronym under Stalin, didn't the operatives of the secret police stay informally loyal to the name of chekists?

    Trump perfectly fits Willi Muenzenberg's disdainful term for fellow-travellers of "useful idiot".

  2. Well, I agree with most of this, but if Russian battleships were nosing about off Staten Island, d'yeh really think we wouldn't give them a good buzzing or two?

    1. I definitely think we would NOT buzz their ship(s). That type of confrontation, where fire vs don't-fire decisions are made in a few seconds, is exactly the wrong way to deal with them. What we'd do is station several of our warships between them and us. We'd give the other side time to make the sensible decision.

      That's what sensible people in charge do–a show of force to convince the adversary to stand down, not a macho guy pointing his gun and challenging "go ahead…make my day."

      1. So, the US Navy doing exercises off the shore of St. Petersburg isn't provocative, but them flying nearby is? And you'd be fine with the Russian Navy tooling around in Boston Harbor, and say we needn't let them know we're annoyed? If we do it it's a "show of force", if they do it it's macho posturing?

        1. By "off the shore of St. Petersburg" you mean "a simulated amphibious assault on the Hanko peninsula of Finland, 200 miles from the border with Russia," another simulated assault on the coast of Sweden, mine countermeasures exercises off the coast of Sweden, and operations on the Polish north coast. You might stop to ask why it is that the countries around the Baltic are all involved in this in why it might be that they all worry about Russian aggression.

          And by "tooling around in Boston Harbor," you mean, "conducting joint exercises with their ally Canada in the Gulf of St. Lawrence."

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