The strange fixation that United States President Donald Trump has with Russia and President Vladimir Putin is gradually being explained by investigative journalists, and the details being reported are painting a very surreal picture.
On March 28th, American newspaper USA Today published an eye-opening report that was put together following a review of court documents, public records and consultation with Ken McCallion, a former U.S. Attorney. The investigative report comes to the sordid conclusion that Trump may be hiding his tax returns not because of the outrageous deductions and loopholes he has taken advantage over many years; while this could be considered to be outrageous, it would pale in comparison to the alleged connections to Russian organized crime that USA Today claims to have uncovered.
The sordid state of affairs is centered on nearly a dozen individuals with whom Trump has done business. These are either Russian citizens or businessmen from countries that were former Soviet republics. These individuals have suspicious ties to the Russian Mafiya and to the Kremlin. The level of involvement with Trump ranges from purchasing Trump Tower condos to actually developing properties and lending money to the Trump organization and brand, which the U.S. President still owns.
As can be expected, these new developments do not bode well for Trump, who is currently the target of an investigation by the FBI about potential collusion between Russian operatives and the political campaign that resulted in the election of the most controversial President the U.S. has ever seen.
Many of the individuals who have done business with Trump in the past have criminal backgrounds and are connected with the Russian oligarchy. One concern of analysts is whether Trump owes money or favors to Russian Mafiya bosses who are close to the Kremlin; this would explain the rushed nepotism that resulted in the appointment of Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner to White House positions. Some of the most ruthless Mafiya operators are known to target family members of those who owe them money or otherwise cross them.
Spokespersons for the White House and for the Trump administration have not responded to the USA Today report; nonetheless, political analysts are concerned about this new development due to the work the FBI is currently carrying out.
There are also issues related to suspicious individuals who played a part in Trump’s electoral campaign, and who may have had strange dealings with people connected to the Russian oligarchy before the November 2016 elections. These individuals include Paul Manafort, a political strategist, and retired General Michael Flynn, who resigned from his Security Council position due to alleged contact with the Russian Ambassador to the U.S.