Though we’ve known for over two years that Russia attacked the 2016 election in an effort to make sure Donald Trump was elected president, it turns out that the Trump-Russia connection goes back much further.
A new investigative report from Foreign Policy (FP) magazine reveals that the main hold Russia has over Trump is the fact that he has been laundering money for Russian companies, individuals, and possibly members of Russian organized crime as far back as 2004.
Trump: Almost Flat Broke in 2003
Despite his claims of being a great businessman, in 2003 Trump was on the verge of being flat broke:
“As late as 2003, Trump was in such desperate financial trouble that at a meeting with his siblings following his father’s death he pressed them to hurriedly sell his father’s estate off, against the late Fred Trump’s wishes, the New York Times reported in an investigation of Trump family finances in October. And his businesses kept failing: In 2004, Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts filed for bankruptcy with $1.8 billion dollars of debt.”
After a decade of crushing losses in the real estate and casino markets, Trump was desperate for cash. And he found it in Russia:
“Trump’s former longtime architect, Alan Lapidus, echoed this view in an interview with FP this month. Lapidus said that based on what he knew from the internal workings of the organization, in the aftermath of Trump’s earlier financial troubles ‘he could not get anybody in the United States to lend him anything. It was all coming out of Russia. His involvement with Russia was deeper than he’s acknowledged.'”
Builder Becomes Brander
Around the time of the Russian infusion of money, Trump changed from being a builder to being a brander. He sold his name to anyone who had a project in need of a “brand name” that was known worldwide. Thanks to the NBC show “The Apprentice,” the Trump brand became hot again, and his partnership with Russia grew:
“The biggest of those projects was the Trump SoHo, the troubled 46-story condominium and hotel that has been a target of lawsuits since it opened in 2010 and is reportedly being investigated by Mueller over whether it was financed partly by Russian money. That deal gave Trump 18 percent of the equity just for licensing his name.”
But that Russian booty came with a dangerous secret: It was being laundered by the Trump Organization, which made it a federal felony and even opened Trump up to criminal charges in countries he did business in. That had to be kept secret, but the secret also meant Russia had dirt (kompromat) on Donald Trump.
So, while Donald Trump may say he has no connections to Russia, it’s now crystal clear that he’s been a fully-owned subsidiary of the Russian government for at least a decade. You can expect House Democrats to launch an investigation into those ties in January. And it’s safe to assume that Robert Mueller has known about Trump’s “Russia connection” for some time now.
The time has come to indict, impeach, and imprison Donald Trump.