Home » How Deep Does Trump’s Relationship With Russia Reach?

How Deep Does Trump’s Relationship With Russia Reach?

by Jeremy Holcombe

Photo: Michael Vadon

While Donald Trump enjoys the last glow from his nomination at the Republican National Convention and returns to the campaign trail, others are talking about the possibility of indicting Trump for potentially treasonous statements he made recently.

Although Trump told reporters he was merely being “sarcastic,” experts aren’t too sure. “Telling the Russians to ‘go through Clinton’s private emails’ may not be illegal, but neither is yelling ‘Fire!’ in a packed theater,” said one Republican who wished to remain anonymous. “However, both are very unethical at the very least.”

Also, among those raising the alarm are cyber security experts.

While the controversy continues, Trump responded to a reporter’s question by saying, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you find the 30K emails that are missing”.

Trump’s comments — whether sarcastic or not — may point to a deeper relationship with Russian leaders than most thought possible.

Trump’s Financial Hookup With Russia

When Donald Trump brought the Miss Universe Pageant to Russia for its debut, Hewas in good spirits. Mixing with beauty pageant competitors and market business people . Trump was particularly anxious for the appearance of another famous visitor,  Russian Leader Vladimir Putin.

Using his preferred means of communication, Trump invited the Russian leader via Twitter. A one-on-one meeting was scheduled, and it looked like the New York businessman and the Russian host would meet hours before the pageant started.

Putin, who backed out at the last minute, sent a classic Russian gift: a decorative lacquered box. Still, the weekend was productive for Trump. He pocketed a piece of the $15 million handed over by Aras Agalarov, and investor in the pageant. According to Agalarov, he and Trump inked a deal to construct a Trump Tower in the center of Moscow. At a glitzy after-party, Trump appeared energized by his new ties to Russia’s elite.

Doing business with Russia isn’t new to Trump.  “Russians make up a large cross-section of our revenue,” Trump’s son, Donald Junior said at a real estate convention in 2008. “We are watching a lot of money coming from Russia.”

Trump is willing to see world leaders through the lens of his own private relationships. In a Republican Party where the capacity to stand up to Putin is seen as toughness, Trump’s association with Putin is one of shared adulation.

Putin, in December, said that Trump was a “colorful and gifted” individual; a compliment that Trump proclaimed an honor.

Russia has shown a strong interest in America’s election season and Trump in particular. The Russian ambassador to America even broke from tradition and attended Trump’s foreign policy speech in April.

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