The Associated Press, reports that Manafort resigned over his work for the pro-Russian party of the then president of the Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych. It seems that he not only received more than $12 million, but he also tried to influence opinion here at home.
Donald Trump’s ties to Russian don’t end with the resignation of his campaign chairperson, Paul Manafort.
As outlined by The Washington Post, one of his foreign policy advisers, Carter Page, served as an executive at Merrill Lynch in Moscow and then became an advisor to Gazprom, the Russian state-controlled energy company.
Additionally, Trump took Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn to his August 17th classified security briefing. According to several media outlets, Flynn was a paid speaker for the Russian state-run television channel, Russia Today (RT). Later, he reportedly sat next to Putin at a gala dinner.
As for direct Russian ties to Trump, another article by The Washington Post, reports that, because Trump refuses to release his tax returns, there is no way to know if he has investments in Russia. However, it goes on to point out that some of his businesses may have received funding from Russia. In 1988, Donald Trump Jr, his son, told a real estate conference, “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets.” He later bragged that, “we see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”
All of which raises the question has Donald Trump ever had met or talked to Putin?
Well, the answer to that seems to depend on when you ask Mr. Trump. As the website Politifact points out he has changed his answer. In several interviews from 2013 – 2015 Trump claims to have met or talked to Putin. But when asked in 2016, Trump said he had never met or spoke to him. So, while there is no clear answer to if Trump and Putin know each other, one thing Trump has never hidden is his admiration of Putin.
So what’s the difference between these ties and those Hillary Clinton has with other countries? While there is no evidence that Clinton has allowed her ties to influence policy, that doesn’t seem to be true about Trump.
According to NPR, with one exception, the Trump campaign paid little attention to the official Republican Party Platform. That exception, they insisted that GOP weaken its stance on supporting Ukraine against Russian aggression. Couple that with Trump’s criticism of NATO, and you see a very Russian friendly policy forming.
In his rallies, Trump has looked wistfully back to the 1950’s and 60’s saying that he misses the old days where protestors would be beaten and arrested by the police. He may want to be careful of that. After all, during that time, people with more tenuous ties to Russia were also arrested, as traitors.