Examining The Trump Campaign’s Disturbing Ties To Vladimir Putin

Every sane and aware American, regardless of political affiliation, has been disturbed by Donald Trump’s continuous praise of brutal, murderous dictators such as Saddam Hussein, Kim Jung-un and Vladimir Putin. However, Trump’s Putin love might be more than just disturbing sociopathic admiration for one of the most brutal strongmen of our time. It seems, in fact, that the Russian dictator might be looking to expand his influence into the west, and America in particular – and the key to making such plans a reality could be GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Firstly, let’s start with Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort. Non-Partisan fact-checking site Politifact has it on good authority from Ukranian politicians that Manafort was an adviser to pro-Russian insiders in the Ukraine. This would explain that while Trump seemed to care very little about most of what the party brass put into the official 2016 GOP platform, he insisted on all but destroying a plank that held the position that the U.S. would provide the Ukrainian people with weapons to aid in their efforts to hold off attempts of Russian invasions.

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And, of course, there’s the news of the hacked Democratic National Committee emails on the eve of the Democratic National Convention that were clearly leaked at a strategic point in time in an effort to cause chaos for the DNC. They somewhat succeeded, because it led to the ousting of DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and has many in the progressive Sanders-supporting wing of the party up in arms. What is even more damning regarding the connection between Trump and Putin is the fact that experts say that this was the work of Russian hackers. Here is that evidence, from Mother Jones, via The New York Times:

Researchers have concluded that the national committee was breached by two Russian intelligence agencies, which were the same attackers behind previous Russian cyberoperations at the White House, the State Department and the Joint Chiefs of Staff last year….Evidence so far suggests that the attack was the work of at least two separate agencies, each apparently working without the knowledge that the other was inside the Democrats’ computers.

….The experts cited by Mr. Mook include CrowdStrike, a cybersecurity firm that was brought into the Democratic National Committee when officials there suspected they had been hacked….Officials at several other firms that have examined the code for the malware used against the Democratic National Committee and the metadata of the stolen documents found evidence that the documents had been accessed by multiple computers, some with Russian language settings.

The Times analysis also goes on to say of the fact that Wikileaks wound up being the organization that dropped the bombshell about these emails right before the Democrats’ big event and in a perfectly timed manner to disrupt the near-perfect roll out of Hillary Clinton’s Vice Presidential pick Tim Kaine:

 The release to WikiLeaks adds another strange element because it suggests that the intelligence findings are being ‘weaponized’ — used to influence the election in some way.

Now, this seems to pretty much prove that Putin wants Trump to win, and it’s certainly disturbing, considering Trump’s seeming inability to stop praising Putin, along with his clearly pro-Russia leanings, but that’s not enough to convince the average person that Trump is somehow in cahoots with the Russian dictator. However, a number of credible publications have thoughts on the subject, and it doesn’t look good for Team Trump. Here they are, again, via Mother Jones:

  • The Washington Post: Trump didn’t bother much with the Republican platform, but on one topic he pulled out the heavy artillery: against the advice of virtually all conservative foreign policy analysts, he insisted on gutting a plank that said the US should provide weapons to Ukraine. Also: for many years, Trump’s campaign chair, Paul Manafort, was a lobbyist for Viktor Yanukovych, the pro-Putin former president of Ukraine.
  • The New York Times: A few days ago, Trump told David Sanger and Maggie Haberman that he might not defend the Baltics if Russia invaded them. He also suggested that the US had little moral authority to condemn human rights abuses in other countries—a decidedly unusual view for someone running on an extreme nationalist platform.
  • The Wall Street Journal: Trump has also suggested that NATO should reorient itself from defending Europe against Russian aggression and instead place more emphasis on Middle Eastern terrorism.
  • Josh Marshall: “Trump’s foreign policy advisor on Russia and Europe is Carter Page, a man whose entire professional career has revolved around investments in Russia and who has deep and continuing financial and employment ties to Gazprom.”
  • Slate: Trump has teamed up with Russian investors frequently on projects, and for years has lavished a surprising amount of praise on Vladimir Putin.
  • The Washington Times: Trump has been unusually sanguine about Russia’s intervention in Syria. “Let Russia fight ISIS, if they want to fight ‘em,” Trump said last year. “Why do we care?”

The Clinton campaign is aware of this disturbing trend, too, and Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook sat down with ABC This Week’s George Stephanopoulos to discuss. Here is that transcript, via Politics USA:

STEPHANOPOULOS: What more is there to know?

We see what’s in them.

MOOK: Well, what’s disturbing about this entire situation is that experts are telling us that Russian state actors broke into the DNC, took all these emails and now are leaking them out through these Web sites.

Obviously, they have to determine, you know, what’s accurate, what — what’s been doctored, what has been doctored. And it’s troubling that some experts are now telling us that this was done by — by the Russians for the purpose of helping Donald Trump.

We said…

STEPHANOPOULOS: For the purpose of helping Donald Trump?

MOOK: That’s what some experts are saying. And so a…

STEPHANOPOULOS: Is that what you believe?

MOOK: Well, I don’t know. The experts need to tell us that. It was concerning last week that Donald Trump changed the Republican platform to become what some experts would regard as — as pro-Russian. And so, again, the DNC needs to — needs to look into this and take appropriate action.

But — but it’s — it’s important to understand the broader perspective of — of why this is happening.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to stay on the WikiLeaks for a second, but — but you’re raising some important questions here.

Do you think Donald Trump is too close to Vladimir Putin?

MOOK: I think what’s troubling is how he has praised Vladimir Putin. It’s troubling that last week he said that — or he questioned whether NATO should protect our Eastern European allies.

So yes, I think that’s troubling for any American, from a national security standpoint.

It also doesn’t help Trump’s case that his son, Donald Trump Jr, absolutely lost his mind when asked about his father’s Putin ties on CNN.

All of this should be deeply disturbing to the American public, and especially to government leaders. Paul Ryan was insisting that Hillary Clinton should not get state intelligence privileges over some emails. Shouldn’t he – and everyone, regardless of political affiliation – be worried that the Trump campaign would do something truly sinister and dangerous, like leak that information to the Russians of all people?

Donald Trump is the most dangerous presidential candidate America has ever seen. If all of these revelations don’t convince the American public of that, I don’t know what will.

Featured image via DNAIndia

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