Is Trump a Russian Stooge?


Julia Ioffe:

That blinding flash of light you saw this weekend? That was the byproduct of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, the American media’s two greatest obsessions, fusing into a single intoxicating storyline after the Democratic National Committee’s internal emails were hacked and made public with the apparent assistance of Russian hackers, and to the apparent glee of the Republican nominee. The conventional wisdom, after sifting through all the evidence, has reached a verdict, and it’s that Trump is Putin’s stooge, a veritable plant through which Putin plans to take over the United States.

Okay, I exaggerate. But not by much.

First, there was the Saturday piece by Josh Marshall in Talking Points Memo, alleging the following:

“At a minimum, Trump appears to have a deep financial dependence on Russian money from persons close to Putin. And this is matched to a conspicuous solicitousness to Russian foreign policy interests where they come into conflict with US policies which go back decades through administrations of both parties. There is also something between a non-trivial and a substantial amount of evidence suggesting Putin-backed financial support for Trump or a non-tacit alliance between the two men.”

Then, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook did the Sunday morning talk show circuit, telling everyone that the DNC hack n’ dump was done by the Russians to hurt Hillary and help Trump. “I think when you put all this together, it’s a disturbing picture, and voters need to reflect on that,” he toldJake Tapper.

Soon, even seasoned political reporters were hyperventilating. “What do you think of Trump as a Putin plant?” one of them wrote to me.

Here’s what I think: we don’t know yet, really.

Let’s look at what we know, or what we think we know:

Trump has been desperately trying to do business in Moscow since 1987. He tried to open luxury real estate properties there then, then again nine years later in 1996, then again in 2005, then again in 2013.

Sketchy? Not really. In 1987, Russia — then the Soviet Union — started opening up in much the same way that Cuba is opening up now: cautiously, slowly, trying to balance the Communist Party’s primacy with a much-needed injection of capitalism because, for one reason or another, the command economy wasn’t giving the country’s people enough to eat. Trump was just one of many, many Western businessmen who smelled opportunity and tried to cash in on it, much the same way people are now eyeing development opportunities in Cuba. When a country is in such a state of disrepair and so underdeveloped, and has such a mythical status in the American imagination, there is so much to be done and, by extension, tons of money to be made.

In 1996, when Trump tried to build high-end condominiums in Moscow with financing help from U.S. tobacco companies, Russia was the wild, wild, capitalist West. The Soviet economy was still being dismantled; factories, mines, and the like were being sold for a song to anyone who could give cash to the perennially broke Yeltsin government. It is hard to overstate exactly how much easy money there was to be made. American and British businessmen rushed to Russia — Bill Browder, Boris Jordan — and became billionaires almost overnight.

(By the way, 1996 was the year Paul Tatum, an American businessman from Oklahoma, was gunned down in the street in a contract killing so that his local partner and the Moscow government could take over his business. What was that business? A luxury hotel. When did Tatum first start coming to Russia to explore the local market? 1985.)

Those good times came to an abrupt end in 1998, after a massive financial crisis and government default nearly wiped out the entire Russian economy. So what was Trump doing trying to build in Trump Tower in Moscow in 2005? Let’s just say he wasn’t alone. Beginning in 2000, oil and commodity prices began skyrocketing and Russian GDP began climbing by 4.7 percent in a bad year and 8 to 10 percent when times were good. Moscow became the world’s newest, glitziest boomtown. There were constant news stories about the excesses of Russian nightclubs and restaurants and hotels and fashion and decor. Russians couldn’t get enough Maseratis and Apple products and Gucci and Prada and anything else the West wanted to sell them. With all that new oil money sloshing around, Western businesses were again trying to get in on the bonanza. Trump’s decorating sense is perfectly in line with what the Russian nouveaux riches thought of as luxury at the time. Not trying to build a hotel in a place like that, so in love with the gaudy and the bling-y, and so flush with cash, would have been criminally stupid.

Let me suggest something: The fact that Trump, after so many attempts and with such warm intentions toward the country, was not able to build anything in Russia– when Ritz Carlton and Kempinski and Radisson and Hilton and any number of Western hotel chains were able to — speaks to his abysmal lack of connections to influential Russians. Since his first foray into Russia in 1987, the head of state changed four times — Gorbachev, Yeltsin, Putin, Medvedev, Putin — but one thing stayed constant: In such a deeply personalized system of patronage, nothing could’ve been built without the right people inside the Kremlin helping you maneuver in the complicated web of whose palm to grease. The fact that pretty much every major hotel chain in the world was able to build something in Moscow but Trump wasn’t speaks to his inability to navigate this shadowy world, and to his weakness as a businessman. If Trump truly was in bed with Putin, there would be a Trump Tower in Moscow by now, if not several.

Trump did business with shady people from the former Soviet Union. How, exactly, is it surprising that someone in the real estate business in New York and Florida gets buyers from the former Soviet Union? There’s a lot of money washing around the elites of this resource-rich space, and many of them, like their Persian Gulf and Chinese counterparts, are parking their money outside their volatile and unpredictable home countries in places like the London and New York real estate markets. Much of the time, it’s done in a fairly non-transparent fashion, through shell companies that own shell companies that own shell companies, mostly because nobody wants to be overtly doing business with a shady Kazakh or Russian oligarch — who also want privacy. See, for example, this New York Times investigation of the luxury residences in the Time Warner Center in Manhattan. Guess who owns, but doesn’t live in, many of the units?

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No US banks will provide financing fit Trump because of his multiple bankruptcies
Trump is now dependent on shady financing from Russia ALL of which comes from sources close to Putin
Trump acknowledged that the DNC hack was done by his “friends” in Russia
Trump wants to significantly weaken NATO just like Putin
Trump has already said that Eastern Europe is in the sphere of Russian influence/control
Trump will be Putin’s boy in DC if elected
Apparently Trump thinks Russia is our good friend
Do you??????

Hillary agrees to sell our uranium to Russia, she must consider them to be like family, do you?

More likely, IF it was the Russians, they were supporting fellow Socialist Bernie. @john: In fact, Bernie openly praised how Putin attacks political opponents, as Soros did Trump’s, at Bernie’s behest. Bernie actually said he admired Putin’s style and was appreciative of his support in substantiating what he had been saying all along; that the DNC was rigged against him.

Trump has hotels in
Panama City
Makati (Philippines)
Pune (India)
Punta del Este (Uruguay)
Rio de Janeiro

He also has golf courses in foreign lands.

Does any of that make him a ”stooge” of ???

Which convention flys the soviet flag?
Wouldn’t it be inspiring, in the spirit of love, if the flag of ISIL were unfurled behind Hillary during her acceptance speech.

@Bill: Remember,Trump has praised Putin. Like minded bullies.

@Richard Wheeler: Obama has praised him as well. Hillary praised Assad as progressive.

Obama is a much bigger and more cowardly bully than Trump. He uses the power of the federal government to bully his political opposition. Obama has far more similarities to Putin (aside from leadership and taking action) than Trump.

Do you deny that Putin, though repugnant, is a strong leader?

@Bill: Unlike you, I give no credit to “repugnant” leaders–strong or otherwise.
Note Trump blasted all Dem.speech givers with the notable exception of Michelle. She gave an incredible speech—maybe Melania can use it.
Re BHO–That’s why they call it “the bully pulpit”

So now the “vast right wing conspiracy” has now become a global conspiracy. If we dig deep enough, we can probably find evidence of an interplanetary conspiracy. If she loses the election, there will be a race to see who can come out with the movie first- Stone or Redford, which will feature numerous “facts” showing that there clearly was an interplanetary conspiracy against Hillary.

Interesting article. It’s surprising that no mention is made of one of Trump’s top advisers and his current campaign manager, Paul J Manafort, Jr. Why? Because the guy has been extensively involved with Russia and pro-Russian elements in Ukraine.

Back in 2008, Donald Trump Jr stated “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets.” He said “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.” That seems like a clear enough statement.

The Trump campaign claims Trump has no financial connections with Russia. Of course, with all of his personal and corporate tax returns locked down, the accuracy of that claim can’t be checked.

@Richard Wheeler:

Re BHO–That’s why they call it “the bully pulpit”

Webster’s definition of bully pulpit:

a prominent public position (as a political office) that provides an opportunity for expounding one’s views’s definition:

a position of authority or public visibility, especially a political office, from which one may express one’s views.

Oxford Dictionary’s definition:

a public office or position of authority that provides its occupant with an outstanding opportunity to speak out on any issue:

It says nothing about (ab)using the power of the government to bully the opposition. Try another excuse.

An interesting tweet last week from Alexei Pushkov, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the State Duma:

Кредо Клинтон: крепить союзы США пр. России. Кредо Трампа: отвечать лишь на реальные угрозы. Агрессивная банальность против здравого смысла.

Here it is in English, if you can’t right-click in Google Chrome for a quick translation:

Credo Clinton: US to strengthen alliances, etc. (against) Russia.. Trump’s Creed: answer only to real threats. Aggressive platitudes against common sense.

Any questions about who they want to win the election, and why?

Back in April:


“Today, in the context of the election campaign, the more pragmatic one appears to be Donald Trump,” Pushkov said. “He expresses a readiness to negotiate with the Russian president and not to be in conflict with us, the way the current administration is.”

psst… Hey! Donald! Our hackers have got some stuff that might help…

People like conspiracy theories. Is that what this is? You’ll have to draw your own conclusions. To be clear, I don’t think Trump would be knowingly aiding Putin. I just think Putin is very smart, very calculating, and knows an opportunity when he sees one.

Vladimir Putin has a plan for destroying the West—and that plan looks a lot like Donald Trump.

@another vet: HRC should make public her Wall Street speeches, Trump should release his tax returns.

@Richard Wheeler: Fat chance of either one of those happening. Anyway, the precedent has already been set with Obama’s records. Lots of standards have been lowered the last seven years.

Question: Why is any imagined Trump/Putin connection even relevant? Even if they were brothers, in what Universe is Putin responsible for the way the DNC tried to screw Bernie Sanders? Blaming Russia is a deflection, not an answer.

You would seriously ask why such a connection would even be relevant?

@Richard Wheeler:

Unlike you I give no credit to “repugnant” leaders–strong or otherwise.

Then you deny facts and cannot face the truth. This explains why you believe liberals.

Note Trump blasted all Dem.speech givers with the notable exception of Michelle. She gave an incredible speech—maybe Melania can use it.

Actually, I have heard prior speeches where “black and white issues” and “140 characters” was mentioned, so Michelle is plagiarizing… again. I guess she’s about to go back into the “I’m NOT proud of my country” mode.

@Greg: So, to please liberals, Trump should do the opposite of common sense? What should worry you is that even Putin sees how stupidly idiotic it was to totally destabilize all of the Middle East and North Africa as Obama and Hillary have done.

Just How Stupid Can America Be? Facing the Truth About Donald Trump’s Big Voting Bloc

If this is correct, America as we have known it is probably over. What Trump is, and what Trump isn’t, shouldn’t be that difficult for any reasonably intelligent, reasonably well-informed person to figure out.

@Bill, #18:

So, to please liberals, Trump should do the opposite of common sense?

I don’t believe Alexei Pushkov is a reliable source of what constitutes common sense in connection with the course America should take. I believe his goals and interests are in many cases in opposition to those of the United States. He is saying what he’s saying because a President Trump would be in Russia’s best interest. Could anything be more obvious? He’s Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Russian State Duma.

Have republicans totally popped their corks?


Greg, please list the United States’ allies for World War One and World War Two.

@Nanny G, #21:

As the saying goes, that was then, this is now. Vladimir Putin’s Russia is not our ally. Vladimir Putin is a product of the Cold War Era. He had a lengthy career as KGB agent. A certain mindset, certain goals, and a tendency toward a covert modus operandi goes along with that. Now it’s coupled with extreme personal ambition.

It troubles me that so many on the right seem to admire Putin. It troubles me that RT News isn’t recognized for what it is. It seems to be successfully seducing many people in the West. Putin intends to expand the Russian sphere of influence, economic power, and control into Europe as the United States declines. European concerns about Islamic expansion will be utilized to achieve that end. Embracing Russia will be seen by nationalist and populace movements as the alternative. Under Trump, he sees the U.S. retreating from the international geopolitical scene. Some could benefit by becoming economic partners.

If we’re OK with that, fine. We should just be aware of the intention, so it’s a conscious decision.

@Bill: Actually Michelle is quite proud of her country. It’s Trump that paints the picture of impending doom.
I’ll say once again. This election will be very close, very ugly and be decided in the rust belt–Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania—win two and you’re Prez..
In good conscience I REFUSE TO VOTE FOR EITHER.

@Richard Wheeler:

@Bill: Actually Michelle is quite proud of her country. It’s Trump that paints the picture of impending doom.

Show me where Trump has EVER said he was NOT proud of his country, as Michelle did. We DO face doom and gloom, and it is Obama induced and Hillary would only exacerbate it.

But, Trump is not the only person painting a dim picture. Hillary says the poor will starve, immigrants will be deported and Muslims imprisoned if Trump is elected; all lies, of course. Yet, what Trump has depicted is the CURRENT SITUATION, not speculation.


As the saying goes, that was then, this is now. Vladimir Putin’s Russia is not our ally. Vladimir Putin is a product of the Cold War Era. He had a lengthy career as KGB agent. A certain mindset, certain goals, and a tendency toward a covert modus operandi goes along with that. Now it’s coupled with extreme personal ambition.

Gosh, Greg… when did you come to that conclusion? While Obama was letting him plunder Ukraine, he was just looking out for Mother Russia. But NOW, you can pretend he is Trump’s pal and he is evil.

You think if Hillary had spelled “Reset” correctly in Russian, all this would be different?

You liberals… you take the cake.

@Bill, #24:

So, you’re worried about Putin’s extraterritorial ambitions if Obama can somehow be faulted, but you’re not the least bit interested in any financial connections between the Russian oligarchy and Donald Trump? Even when Russian hackers seem to have attempted to influence a presidential election, the Russian government has expressed preference for a particular candidate, and earlier statements made by that candidate’s son contradict current assertions that there’s no Russian money involved in his businesses? It doesn’t concern you that Trump’s campaign manager has been a paid lobbyist for pro-Russian interests in Ukraine?

Doesn’t this raise certain questions about Trump’s worrisome NATO statements? Or about his dismissal of the EU as an organization primarily about making money? What does it take before Trump supporters begin asking questions about a person they actually know almost nothing about?

As Democrats Gather, a Russian Subplot Raises Intrigue


IF the Russians did the hacking, that is definitely a concern. However, just as concerning, if not more, is that the Clinton Foundation took a $35m donation from Russians, then Hillary signed off on selling 20% of the US’s Uranium to a Russian consortium.

Also concerning is that several nations, including Russia, had pretty handy access to Hillary’s emails and, in the process, classified US information that could be used for blackmail.

Why Hillary’s EmailGate Matters

But, it’s not just the Russians we should worry about. How about countries that are terror centers and also would like to control our sources of energy?

In fact, the Clinton’s (of which Hillary is one) have shown a troubling tendency of taking money from anyone at any time, regardless of what conflicts of interest it entails…

… or who the donors threaten.

Instead of worrying about a long-shot maybe, perhaps we should worry about the proven, historic, sure thing.

@Vollero: All the libs are doing is saying ooh look its Putin, pay no attention to the cheating racist things in the email again hang the whistle blower not the criminal.

I notice nobody is addressing the topic of the thread, or any of the points that have been raised in connection with that topic. Instead, you roll out more about the Clintons.

Clinton actually had no final authority to either approve or disapprove the Uranium One deal. Quid pro quo requires that the person being paid off has to have the power to grant the favor being purchased. But don’t let that simple fact get in the way of spinning an elaborate yarn so complex that nobody can actually follow the logic from Point A to your final conclusion. Most people won’t even realize it. They’ll just incorporate the simplified meme into their Grand Clinton Conspiracy Theory of Everything, and experience a thrill of anger and delight every time Donald Trump says “Crooked Hillary” in lieu of making an intelligent comment. Meanwhile, that guy gets a pass for casually stating that Article 5 of the NATO Treaty doesn’t really mean squat. I’m sure that gave Vladimir Putin quite a thrill.

From The Weekly Standard—which is not by any stretch of the imagination a left-of-center news outlet: Putin’s Party?

“Honest and patriotic Republicans who support Trump, or are tempted to do so, should review some of the publicly available evidence. Trump’s business seems to be heavily dependent on Russian investment. His top campaign advisor, Paul Manafort, was the advisor to the Putin-backed stooge Viktor Yanukovich, and has deep ties to the Putin apparat. One of Trump’s national security advisors, retired Lt. General Michael Flynn, was paid to give a speech at a Russian propaganda celebration and was seated next to Putin. Trump’s Russia advisor Carter Page, who does much of his business with Russian companies, has argued, among other things, that “a few officials in Washington” annexed Ukraine and that the “so-called annexation” of Crimea by Russia was a rational response to this injustice.”

It’s like in a cartoon, where that little light bulb suddenly turns on over somebody’s head…

@Greg: I’m pretty sure, if you would open one eye and look, that the diversified Trump business has investments all around the world. You didn’t seem to have a problem when Hillary and Blumenthal were investing American lives THEIR business future in Libya.

I think you need a new straw to grasp at, Greg. This one is getting mighty slippery.

@Greg: After Election I Have More Flexibilty, Obama caught on hot mic. Who are these Stooges Trump with no political power or Hillary and Obama that had very powerful positions, was this about the uranium treason?
Someone hacked the email of the Russian election monitoring group showing the email traffic between them and the U.S. State Department. Payback is a muther.

how many Liberals/Lefties noted the other day that a group of Obama’s ”moderate” Muslims in Syria murdered a 12-year-old boy because they WRONGLY suspected him of being a spy?
They didn’t KNOW he was a spy.
They didn’t investigate if he was a spy or not.
They simply murdered him by slitting his throat.
(OOPS, My Bad! is what they said after it turned out to be untrue that he was a spy.)
Obama forgives these guys.
Oh, add to that, these so-called moderates hang out with ISIS in Syria!
This is why Obama excuses his lack of taking out ISIS in Syria.
He wouldn’t want to accidentally kill one of these so-called moderates.
Putin doesn’t see such fine distinctions.
He/Russia kills all who fight in opposition to Assad.
So, what is Obama doing?
He is ignoring the advice of his Pentagon Generals and trying to align with Putin with the goal of getting Putin to quit killing “moderate” terrorists.
Obama tries to tie Trump in with Russia, but it is Obama who is actively aligning with Putin.

Personally, I think Putin will go right on killing terrorists without regard for how Obama feels about certain ones of them.
Obama will prove his Generals right and end up looking like a fool – again – for trying to protect some terrorists while letting other terrorists go.

To be clear, Putin should be engaged but not kow-towed to. However, until we express some strength, resolve and unity, THAT is pointless. Putin clearly sees Obama for what he is. Hillary talks love and understanding of terrorists but has been hawkish in the past, but she can be bought and, depending on what has been hacked from her secret, private, unsecured email server, could possibly be blackmailed.

Only an idiot (i.e., a desperate, grasping at straws liberal) cannot understand that any outward, overt support of Trump by Russia would be harmful to his chances and, were the shoe on the other hoof, would be loudly pointing this out.

But a hidden hack of the candidate they do not want to win ,Clinton, would be quite typical of the Russians
As woukd a public thank you to them by Trump which he did do

@john: Trump, of course, has “thanked” no one and we don’t know the Russians did the hacking or the intent. Again, it could be in support of Bernie and socialism.

It’s highly likely that it was done by Russian intelligence operatives. That’s not idle speculation. There’s evidence that has led multiple security firms and experts to independently come to the same conclusion:

Here’s What We Know About Russia and the DNC Hack

Refresh my memory. Didn’t a certain administration in this country recently inject a few hundred thousand dollars into an election in Israel in order to affect its outcome?

@another vet: I think you are right there was something about the State Department and 350K I think in July last year
I also believe it isnt exactly legal to use tax dollars for that purpose but they again weasled out of it , and AGAIN an email confusion by another State dept official, Consul General Michael Ratney. He said he regularly deleted emails with large attachments — a striking violation of open-records laws for a department already reeling from former Secretary Hillary Clinton’s handling of official government records.
But rather than worry about the Hacker perhaps what was released, showing what RATFACES the DNC allows to operate in thier midst.

The other remarkable, pro-Russia thing that Donald Trump just said

Recognize Crimea as Russian territory? Yeah, sure, we’ll look into that.


Recognize Crimea as Russian territory? Yeah, sure, we’ll look into that.

Oh, a wise guy, eh? Soitenly! we will look into that Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk!””
The 3 stooges did the russian cossack dance at least 50 times in their movies and shorts, does that make them commies?

@Greg: Would it be racist to try and prevent it?

@Bill, #42:

I didn’t realize that concern about Russian hacking was what motivated the coordinated roll out of new rules that required students to return home to vote, that made their student photo IDs invalid as identification, that drastically cut back on advance and Sunday voting, and that redistributed voting machines to produce 7-8 hour waiting lines in certain heavily democratic precincts.

@Greg: I guess you weren’t aware that there were cases of “students” voting where they were temporarily residing AND at their home state where they were registered. Or that little if any ID is required to receive a student ID (whereas an FBI background check is conducted for a CHL, something liberals criticized as being acceptable as ID).

Long lines were a result of unexpectedly high (Republican) turnout, a result of the dismal record of this administration and Hillary’s criminality.

The Russians have been filling Hillary’s coffers, not Trump’s. Whomever did the hacking is not responsible for the DNC’s hypocritical racism, corruption, homophobia and greed.

@Greg: So easily solved.
We could go to paper ballots.
Frankly, that’s one reason I use the early balloting, it lets me do it on paper.

Just out: A Second Cyber Attack Hits the Democratic Party

“U.S. officials are examining Russia’s involvement in a breach of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s computer system.”

So, there’s apparently been a second instance, again targeting the Democratic Party.

U.S. officials had strongly suspected that the Russian government was involved in the DNC hack. That intrusion led to Wikileaks releasing thousands of emails from the committee’s staff, which seemed to show them favoring Hillary Clinton, and the resignation of party chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. But they couldn’t confirm whether the hackers intended to influence the American election. This week’s revelation is sure to fuel suspicions that they did. “It’s definitely part of a much, much broader campaign that is yet to fully be publicly revealed,” a cybersecurity expert told The Washington Post. “It’s part of a broader intelligence collection effort,” a source told Politico. “It’s maybe an attempt to harvest credentials. … It’s not an email grab like the DNC.”

Clinton Campaign Computer Network Was Hacked: Report

There’s an interesting video, which includes Trump’s earlier comments about his relationship with Vladimir Putin.

Trump campaign mocks report of latest Clinton hack

“This seems to be a problem wherever Hillary Clinton goes,” Trump campaign aide Jason Miller said in an email to POLITICO. “Hopefully this time there wasn’t classified or top secret information that puts American lives at risk.”

They seem oddly unconcerned about this, apparently not grasping the serious implications it could hold for both the election process and national security. Either they believe their own campaign is immune for some reason, or they’re simply stupid.

Donald Trump Gives Questionable Explanation of Events in Ukraine

Questionable, as in totally clueless.

“He’s not going into Ukraine, O.K., just so you understand,” Mr. Trump, the Republican nominee, said when the issue came up. “He’s not going to go into Ukraine, all right? You can mark it down. You can put it down. You can take it anywhere you want.”

“Well, he’s already there, isn’t he?” Mr. Stephanopoulos interrupted.

“O.K., well, he’s there in a certain way,” Mr. Trump replied. “But I’m not there. You have Obama there. And frankly, that whole part of the world is a mess under Obama with all the strength that you’re talking about and all of the power of NATO and all of this. In the meantime, he’s going away. He take — takes Crimea.”

This guy is a disaster looking for an opportunity to happen.

How Paul Manafort Wielded Power in Ukraine Before Advising Donald Trump