More Details Continue to Support the Idea that Vladimir Putin is Trying to Help Elect Donald Trump

While so many people seem so obsessively focused on a handful of emails out of nearly 20,000 showing that a few officials at the DNC weren’t entirely the biggest fans of Bernie Sanders (though most were just replies or private discussions in regards to something Sanders or his campaign had said — with absolutely no evidence where officials discussed “rigging” the primary), there’s a much more important issue at play here: Mounting evidence seems to indicate that this has all been part of a plan by the Russian government to try to undermine Hillary Clinton, hoping to help Donald Trump become our next president.

Or to rephrase that in another way: Growing evidence seems to point toward the possibility that the Russian government is trying to influence an American presidential election so that the candidate the strong-armed dictator-type Vladimir Putin wants elected, Donald Trump, wins in November.

Before you scoff at that James Bond-style plot, I would like to remind everyone that these two have spoken quite highly of one another in the past.

During an interview in December, when he was asked by MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough about allegations that Putin has had journalists and political opponents killed, Trump said this:

He’s running his country and at least he’s a leader, unlike what we have in this country.

I think our country does plenty of killing also, Joe, so you know. There’s a lot of stupidity going on in the world right now, a lot of killing, a lot of stupidity.

Yes, even though it’s widely believed by most experts that Putin has, in fact, had journalists and political opponents murdered, Trump actually defended the Russian president, praising his “leadership” and essentially trying to excuse these alleged murders by saying that we do “plenty of killing also.”

Keep in mind, just the day before, Putin had referred to Trump as “bright and talented.” Trump called the praise a “great honor,” adding “when people call you brilliant, it’s always good, especially when the person heads up Russia.”

Later in the interview he also went on to boast about Putin’s approval rating:

I’ve always felt fine about Putin. I think that he’s a strong leader. I think he’s up in the 80s, which is you see where Obama’s in the 30s and the low 40s and he’s up in the 80s, and I don’t know who does the polls, maybe he does the polls, but I think they’re done by American companies, actually.

His words don’t just come off as someone praising and defending the Russian president, he sounds like someone who flat-out admires Putin.

Keep in mind that Vladimir Putin is someone who:

  • Is quite friendly with Iran.
  • Has tight restrictions on the country’s news, often using state-sponsored media entities to push his propaganda.
  • Has been accused of killing political rivals, journalists who are critical of him and rigging elections.
  • Is extremely anti-LGBT.
  • Has had human rights activists imprisoned without trial.
  • Is an ex-KGB agent who many believe wants to reform the Soviet Union.
  • Is considered an elected president, but is really more of a dictator.

The list goes on and on. There’s no debate about it, Vladimir Putin is a really bad guy — who Donald Trump praises, defends and seemingly admires.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Here are a few things Talking Points Memo dug up in relation to Trump’s ties to Russia:

Post-bankruptcy Trump has been highly reliant on money from Russia, most of which has over the years become increasingly concentrated among oligarchs and sub-garchs close to Vladimir Putin

One example of this is the Trump Soho development in Manhattan, one of Trump’s largest recent endeavors. The project was the hit with a series of lawsuits in response to some typically Trumpian efforts to defraud investors by making fraudulent claims about the financial health of the project. Emerging out of that litigation however was news about secret financing for the project from Russia and Kazakhstan. Most attention about the project has focused on the presence of a twice imprisoned Russian immigrant with extensive ties to the Russian criminal underworld.

Then there’s Paul Manafort, Trump’s nominal ‘campaign chair’ who now functions as campaign manager and top advisor. Manafort spent most of the last decade as top campaign and communications advisor for Viktor Yanukovych, the pro-Russian Ukrainian Prime Minister and then President whose ouster in 2014 led to the on-going crisis and proxy war in Ukraine. Yanukovych was and remains a close Putin ally. Manafort is running Trump’s campaign.

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.

Over the course of the last year, Putin has aligned all Russian state controlled media behind Trump. As Frank Foer explains here, this fits a pattern with how Putin has sought to prop up rightist/nationalist politicians across Europe, often with direct or covert infusions of money. In some cases this is because they support Russia-backed policies; in others it is simply because they sow discord in Western aligned states.

So, here we have Trump with links to some rather shady Russian investors, with a pro-Putin/pro-Russia campaign manager, and a foreign policy advisor who has deep ties to Russia — to go along with the “bromance” that seems to exist between the GOP presidential nominee and the Russian president.

Oh — but there’s even more.

During the RNC convention, the Trump campaign made sure that the Republican platform wouldn’t include a push to supply Ukraine to fight against Russian forces.

As reported by The Washington Post: 

The Trump campaign worked behind the scenes last week to make sure the new Republican platform won’t call for giving weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces, contradicting the view of almost all Republican foreign policy leaders in Washington.

Throughout the campaign, Trump has been dismissive of calls for supporting the Ukraine government as it fights an ongoing Russian-led intervention. Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, worked as a lobbyist for the Russian-backed former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych for more than a decade.

Still, Republican delegates at last week’s national security committee platform meeting in Cleveland were surprised when the Trump campaign orchestrated a set of events to make sure that the GOP would not pledge to give Ukraine the weapons it has been asking for from the United States.

By the way, removing the anti-Putin rhetoric was the only thing the Trump campaign pushed to have removed from the GOP’s platform.

To summarize all of this, Trump:

  • Has quite a few financial ties to Russia, including some rather shady (and even allegedly criminal) investors.
  • Appointed a campaign manager who was a pro-Russian/pro-Putin lobbyist.
  • Named as a top foreign policy advisor someone whose career has been heavily involved in Russian investments.
  • Has (on more than one occasion) praised Russian President Vladimir Putin — including basically defending him against allegations that he had political opponents and journalists killed.
  • Worked behind the scenes to water-down anti-Russian language from the GOP’s convention platform.
  • Has often talked poorly of NATO, which is something that Russia absolutely loves as weakening NATO would play right into the hands of what Putin wants.

Here’s what Vice wrote about the DNC’s hack and the possible Russian involvement:

In early May, the DNC called in CrowdStrike, a security firm that specializes in countering advanced network threats. After deploying their tools on the DNC’s machines, and after about two hours of work, CrowdStrike found “two sophisticated adversaries” on the Committee’s network. The two groups were well-known in the security industry as “APT 28” and “APT 29.” APT stands for Advanced Persistent Threat—usually jargon for spies.

CrowdStrike linked both groups to “the Russian government’s powerful and highly capable intelligence services.” APT 29, suspected to be the FSB, had been on the DNC’s network since at least summer 2015. APT 28, identified as Russia’s military intelligence agency GRU, had breached the Democrats only in April 2016, and probably tipped off the investigation. CrowdStrike found no evidence of collaboration between the two intelligence agencies inside the DNC’s networks, “or even an awareness of one by the other,” the firm wrote.

Then, naturally, all this information found its way into the hands of Wikileaks, which has been accused of being “friendly” to the Russian government – who then just happened to release these emails days before the DNC convention in Philadelphia. Of course, this created a “controversy” just before Hillary Clinton’s big week.

I would also like to point out that, while a lot of attention has been paid to contents within these emails, this was an illegal hack of a private database. That’s part of what I’ve found rather ironic (and hypocritical) is that many of the same people who rally against the NSA and government spying seem to be fine with the fact that these emails were illegally obtained. Furthermore, contained within this email release were Social Security numbers and credit card information of some of these individuals.

By the way, I think it’s also important to mention that the DNC was targeted, not the RNC. Imagine the “controversial emails” that could be found within the RNC databases as officials of a party who clearly didn’t want Trump to be their nominee were discussing all their options leading up to their convention. Don’t forget, Ted Cruz and John Kasich made a “pact” with one another in a failed attempt to deny Trump the nomination outright. An agreement between the two candidates that I fully believe was pushed by the RNC, itself.

Look, I don’t care what anyone thinks of Hillary Clinton, or even what political “side” anyone is on, the fact that all evidence seems to point toward the Russian government trying to manipulate who becomes our next president should terrify the hell out of everyone — both on the left and the right.

Though what’s alarmed me is how so many people seem to either not care that this is happening or don’t seem to think that this is a big deal. We’re looking at a situation where the Republican presidential candidate is seemingly acting as a bit of a puppet for Vladimir Putin, with the Russian government actively trying to sabotage our presidential election hoping it will put in power the candidate Putin wants to be in charge. A candidate who just happens to be someone who’s spoken quite highly of the Russian president; went out of his way to remove anti-Russia talking points from the GOP’s platform; and has made criticizing NATO a big part of his campaign (something Russia absolutely loves).

I don’t care if you’re a Bernie Sanders supporter who wants to be upset over a handful of these emails, or you’re a Donald Trump supporter who hopes he becomes our next president, no one should be okay with a foreign government orchestrating the highly complex and illegal hacking of private American email accounts in a blatant attempt to influence a presidential election.

But, by all means, let’s not focus on any of that — let’s keep talking about the 7 or so emails out of 20,0000 where a handful of individuals expressed frustration with Bernie Sanders and his campaign after the Democratic primary was all but over. Because, you know, that’s a much bigger deal than Vladimir Putin and the Russian government trying to sabotage an American presidential election.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • Lyn Steimel

    Well, I’ve been wondering and asking what’s in it for Trump…and this article gives lots of answers! Since Trump is ” persona non grata” to all the big banks when seeking money to bail himself out of the HUGE money pit he’s dug for himself, where…oh….where to turn for fast money? Oh, let’s try Russia! He sold what ” charisma ” he has, to bolster Russia’s interests…and to hand over as much American influence he can grab…and if elected President, he’d become the highest ranking puppet Russia ever had!

    • Leahchardy1

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  • strayaway

    So the Democratic Party is not competent enough with computers and expects Russia, China, and everyone else to play nice. When the introduction of the (un)ACA was fowled up with a computer system that didn’t work we found out that the contract was given to the company Huma Abeden’s son worked for in Canada. OMB databases holding personnel records and security-clearance files exposed sensitive information about at least 22.1 million people, including not only federal employees and contractors but their families and friends were hacked. FBI Director James B. Comey said ,“It’s a treasure trove of information about everybody who has worked for, tried to work for, or works for the United States government” as reported by the Washington Post. The federal government never bothered to notify all 22M hacked Americans. But now, boo hoo, the Russians are picking on incompetent Democrats who aren’t able to even provide their own security and whine. This is two weeks after Comey said Hillary had been excessively careless in her handling of national security. Anyone else would have been fired or jailed for what she did. Computers associated with our nuclear missiles still operate with floppy drives. Our infrastructure has gone down, down, down under Obama. Those bridges and high speed rails didn’t get built either.

    Hillary’s idiotic foreign policies restarted the cold war with Russia when she helped overthrow the elected government of Ukraine. it was replaced with fascist oligarchs. This article approves of that change. Putin did take advantage of the disorder. He is no saint but why wouldn’t he prefer anyone else to the warmongering, cold war provoking, neocon Hillary? Russia still remembers what fascists did to the Soviet Union as nuclear missiles are brought in tightening the circle of its borders? Putin is also aware of the mayhem Hillary’s policies in Syria and Libya have caused in Europe as millions flee Syria.

    • noah vail

      so you think the best idea is that we turn our country over to the russians ?….the russian mole has emerged and those “real ‘muricans” better wake up before their worst nightmare comes true with their cooperation….

      • strayaway

        No, I didn’t even suggest that. Take some reading comprehension courses. You are still having problems.

        The DNC should hire some better computer people so this doesn’t happen again. The federal government should do the same. That is basic self defense. We should elect leaders who don’t overthrow elected governments and leave messes like Obama and Hillary did.

      • noah vail

        “We should elect leaders who don’t overthrow elected governments and leave messes like Obama and Hillary did.”…. i believe you meant to say “like Bush did and Obama inherited”

      • strayaway

        This thread has to do with 2016 but yes Bush had much in common with Obama and Hillary’s history with regard to foreign interventionism. In fact, Se. Clinton even voted to unconstitutionally give Bush her congressional power to decide to declare war to Bush so he could decide for her.

      • strayaway

        This thread has to do with 2016 but yes Bush had much in common with Obama and Hillary’s history with regard to foreign interventionism. In fact, Sen. Clinton even voted to unconstitutionally give Bush her congressional power to decide to declare war to Bush so he could decide for her.

      • noah vail

        your attempt at diversion does not negate my premise…

      • strayaway

        You brought up Bush when you couldn’t figure out anything pertinent.Just saying… I thought you would be happy that I agreed with you.

        The fact remains that the DNC and Hillary weren’t able to secure their computers yet the Clintonistas think that Hillary can be entrusted with national security secrets after proving otherwise.

      • noah vail

        i will grant you that neither candidate is the best we could hope for , i however choose democracy over cryptofascism…

  • Elaine McCoy

    Let’s start calling out the GOP rather than getting sucked into misdirection about the evil Trump. He’s just a front man. NAME the GOP.

    • Josiah Porqual

      How about we focus on the racist and anti-semetic remarks made by the DNC officials.

  • Josiah Porqual

    Yet ANOTHER article that urges us to forget the content and focus on the source. I dont care if lucifer himself leaked it, there is proof of collusion, anti-semetism, and racism in those DNC emails. Lets talk about that,.

  • hairgamiMaster

    What’s the point of this article? These emails would have better been left out of the public sphere? America as a country would be better off if her citizens didn’t know about what was going on? I have a hard time feeling sorry for anyone (Republican or Democrat) whose defense of their crimes is “But no one was supposed to know about it.”

    Ironically, the article mentions several pejorative things about Putin which remind me more of Democrats than Republicans:

    •”Is quite friendly with Iran.” Isn’t that considered one of Obama’s (and Kerry’s) greatest accomplishments- the landmark nuclear accord with Iran.
    • It also mentions he is “often using state-sponsored media entities to push his propaganda.” That sounds awfully familiar to me, especially given the content of the leaks themselves.
    • “Has been accused of killing political rivals and rigging elections.” Again the irony is acute.

    And these are real stretches:
    • Is extremely anti-LBGT. I haven’t heard anything from Trump that is remotely anti-LGBT. I can’t stand to listen to him talk, so maybe I just missed them.
    • “Had human rights activists imprisoned without trial.” What does this have to do with Trump?
    • “Ex-KGB agent who many believe wants to reform the Soviet Union.” Again, what’s the similarity? Is Trump ex-CIA? Or ex-NSA? Hillary seems to be much fonder of government surveillance than anyone- given her penchant for routing all her email to a private server.

    I don’t have any doubt that Trump has ties to Russia, just like I don’t have any doubt Hillary has ties to other not-so-flattering countries. She’s taken as much money from countries that execute homosexuals as anyone, I’m sure. I also have no doubt that the RNC, if hacked, would have some embarrassing emails that would cause some heads to roll there. I’m sure the SJW’s of the left would be burning down the RNC headquarters if they said some of the things contained in those leaks. But we are not rational creatures. We hedge. We justify. We look away when it offends what we wished were true.

    If you somehow come away from this article (and the Wikileaks email dump) that Trump is a bad person and Hillary is not, you’re completely delusional. They’re both political players who game the system to their advantage. It is the logical outcome of a government with too much power and corporate influence. At the end of a day spent rationally thinking about things, I don’t see how you can be so excited about one candidate, and hate the other.

  • Eg Kbbs

    I don’t get how shark-tank, return to American Isolationism Trump can look at Putin’s help as if Putin were doing it out of his love for the USA.

    Even without our mutual cold-war history, even without Putin’s blatant attempt to rebuild the old, powerful USSR, wouldn’t it make more sense that what Putin does is to strengthen Russia and weaken the USA ?