Category: Donald Trump

Five Myths about the Trump-Russia Investigation

Hardly a day goes by without President Trump attacking Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s year-old investigation into contacts between his presidential campaign and Russia. The president has presented no explanation for why his campaign had so many contacts with Russian operatives. Instead, he appears to be betting his presidency on his ability to frame the entire investigation as a hoax and confuse us about the facts. Here’s a guide for the perplexed:

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A Mobster President?

Former FBI Director James B. Comey Jr. has been making the rounds with the stunning observation that President Donald J. Trump behaved much liked the mob bosses he put on trial in his days as a federal prosecutor in Manhattan.

During his time in the White House, Comey says he felt the president repeatedly trying to make him a member of his corrupted inner circle when he famously asked the FBI director for loyalty.

In his last conversation with Comey on April 11, Trump told him: “I have been very loyal to you, very loyal, we had that thing, you know.” We had that thing. That thing of ours. It’s literally a translation of La Cosa Nostra, which is how  members of the American Mafia describe their organization.

Comey tells us a fundamental truth about the man we have elected to the most powerful office in the world: Donald Trump was a mob-friendly businessman.

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The Steele Dossier Murder

My friend Amy Knight is out with an interesting piece in The Daily Beast about something I pointed out recently: Did the Steele Dossier lead to someone’s murder?

This was raised during the Senate testimony of Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS, the ex-journalist who hired former British spy Christopher Steele. Simpson was being pressed about his sources when his lawyer, Josh Levy, blurted out, “Somebody’s already been killed as a result of the publication of this dossier and no harm should come to anybody related to this honest work.”

In his subsequent testimony to the House intelligence committee, Simpson denied knowing specific cases of people being killed because of the dossier, but he then noted that “people literally risked their lives to tell us some of this stuff.”

One who may have risked everything was FSB General Oleg Erovinkin. He was right-hand man to Igor Sechin, who was in turn Putin’s right-hand man. He was known as the “keeper of the Kremlin’s secrets. Erovinkin was found dead in his car in Central Moscow in December 2016.

Amy writes:

Erovinkin, as chief administrator at Rosneft, was Sechin’s right-hand man and must have known everything about Sechin’s contacts with Americans. Those included the former head of ExxonMobil, now Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. (Sechin once said he felt thwarted by U.S.-imposed sanctions that kept him from riding motorcycles in America with his friend Tillerson.)

More importantly, in terms of allegations made by the Steele dossier and currently the focus of multiple investigations in Washington, Erovinkin was in a position to keep track of contacts with Trump advisers in considerable detail. 

Let me add that Amy is no slouch. She is considered one of the foremost experts on the KGB, speaks Russian, writes regularly for the New York Review of Books and authored numerous books, the most recent of which is an exploration of political murder by the Putin Regime called Orders to Kill. (I still would love to do a Q&A with you, Amy!)

Glad to see a Trump-Russia story written by someone who knows what she’s talking about.