Hawaii Intelligence Digest, 30 March 2017, 20:55 hrs, UTC, Post #156.
Accessed on 30 March 2017, 20:55 hrs, UTC.
Reporter: Oren Dorell (USA Today).
Please click link to read the full story.
Past business deals with reputed former Soviet businessmen are beginning to haunt President Donald Trump. According to court documents, intelligence reports, and other publicly available data, Mr. Trump turned to former Soviet investors to expand his real estate empire over the past few years. Reporter Oren Dorell says some of Trump’s Russian partners are now facing federal indictments. A few are close friends and allies of Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin.
Although Mr. Trump hasn’t violated any laws for his past business transactions with those facing indictments, these deals raise important criminal and justice issues. “USA Today” reporter Oren Dorell says the close ties between Mr. Trump and his Russian business associates are cause for alarm:
“Dealings with Russian oligarchs concern law enforcement because many of those super-wealthy people are generally suspected of corrupt practices as a result of interconnected relationships among Russia’s business elite, government security services and criminal gangs, according to former U.S. prosecutor Ken McCallion, as well as Steven Hall, a former CIA chief of Russian operations.
“Anybody who is an oligarch or is in any position of power in Russia got it because (President) Vladimir Putin or somebody in power saw some reason to give that person that job,” Hall said in an interview. “All the organized crime figures I’ve ever heard of (in Russia) all have deep connections and are tied in with people in government.”
“FBI Director James Comey acknowledged at a congressional hearing into Russian interference in the U.S. election March 20 that many wealthy Russians may have close ties to the Kremlin and may be acting on its behalf.”
“Trump has not been accused of any wrongdoing in connection to any of the individuals mentioned in this article.”
“However, the deals, and the large number of Russians who have bought condos in Trump buildings, raise questions about the secrecy he has maintained around his real estate empire. Trump is the first president in 40 years to refuse to turn over his tax returns, which could shed light on his business dealings.”
“The White House declined to comment about this article, referring questions to the Trump Organization in New York. Amanda Miller, a spokeswoman for the Trump Organization, denied any transactions with people named in this article.”
“The allegations … are entirely without merit,” Miller said in an email. “The Trump Organization never entered into a single transaction with any of these individuals and the condominium units were all owned and sold by third parties — not Trump.”
There is mounting evidence that Mr. Trump hasn’t been forthright with the electorate that put him in office. At the very least, there is a breach of the public trust. With impeachment proceedings rumored to be floating in the air, this article and recent comments from the FBI aren’t helping the Trump presidency. While Mr. Trump’s business dealings may have helped to expand his real estate holdings, they may have put him in an awkward position with Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin. This is a clear win for Mr. Putin, who can further damage Mr. Trump with just a few spoken words and signed documents. Of course, everything’s speculation until the final FBI report is released and the U.S. Senate completes its investigation. At this point, however, the prognosis for Mr. Trump is grim. Impeachment is now a real possibility.
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Hawaii Intelligence Digest