Is Trump Yet Another Russian Oligarch?

There has been a lot of talk about Trump and Russia and Putin. I think most people watching this see some sort of connections. Some go so far as to say that Trump is literally a Russian agent. Here is an interesting perspective from intelligence expert Malcolm Nance, author of The Plot to Hack America: How Putin’s Cyberspies and WikiLeaks Tried to Steal the 2016 Election ...

About Nance's book:

In April 2016, computer technicians at the Democratic National Committee discovered that someone had accessed the organization’s computer servers and conducted a theft that is best described as Watergate 2.0. In the weeks that followed, the nation’s top computer security experts discovered that the cyber thieves had helped themselves to everything: sensitive documents, emails, donor information, even voice mails.

Soon after, the remainder of the Democratic Party machine, the congressional campaign, the Clinton campaign, and their friends and allies in the media were also hacked. Credit cards numbers, phone numbers, and contacts were stolen. In short order, the FBI found that more than twenty-five state election offices had their voter registration systems probed or attacked by the same hackers.

Western intelligence agencies tracked the hack to Russian spy agencies and dubbed them the CYBER BEARS. The media was soon flooded with the stolen information channeled through Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. It was a massive attack on America but the Russian hacks appeared to have a singular goal—elect Donald J. Trump as president of the United States.

New York Times bestselling author and career intelligence officer Malcolm Nance’s fast paced real-life spy thriller takes you from Vladimir Putin’s rise through the KGB from junior officer to spymaster-in-chief and spells out the story of how he performed the ultimate political manipulation—convincing Donald Trump to abandon seventy years of American foreign policy including the destruction of NATO, cheering the end of the European Union, allowing Russian domination of Eastern Europe, and destroying the existing global order with America at its lead.

The Plot to Hack America is the thrilling true story of how Putin’s spy agency, run by the Russian billionaire class, used the promise of power and influence to cultivate Trump as well as his closest aides, the Kremlin Crew, to become unwitting assets of the Russian government. The goal? To put an end to 240 years of free and fair American democratic elections.


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I don't know about literaly, but they seem simpatico to me. And getting at that mind set, I'm curious about Trump's odd roots; his father and grandfather, and about his hobnobbing with Mafiosi.

By Obstreperous A… (not verified) on 11 Oct 2016 #permalink

Some go so far as to say that Trump is literally a Russian agent.

A sleeper agent? Or a Manchurian Candidate? He certainly is given to believing false histories...

Do you suppose Putin snidely refers to Trump as "Agent Orange" behind his back?

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 11 Oct 2016 #permalink

Some go so far as to say that Trump is literally a Russian agent.

I wouldn't quite go that far, but I am pretty sure that Putin considers Trump to be, at minimum, a useful idiot.

I understand that Trump get much of his funding these days from Russian oligarchs, i.e., Putin's cronies. That's because more reputable financing sources know Trump's repayment practices (namely, he doesn't if he thinks he can get away with it) and won't do business with him. These folks may be asking Donald to give them some quo for their quid. And if he doesn't pay one way or another, they have recourse that isn't available to ordinary banks.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 11 Oct 2016 #permalink

OK I had not tracked down the russian agent reference 'till now. Here:

For former acting CIA Director Michael Morell, Donald Trump does not have what it takes to be commander in chief.

In a New York Times op-ed published Friday, the 33-year agency veteran notes that he has been heretofore private with his political preferences and is registered as neither a Democrat nor a Republican.

"No longer. On Nov. 8, I will vote for Hillary Clinton. Between now and then, I will do everything I can to ensure that she is elected as our 45th president," wrote Morell.

Morell also suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin has successfully co-opted Trump's message in complimenting the political neophyte and getting exactly what he wanted in return with more praise even in light of his strongman tendencies toward journalists and dissidents.…

Would it be a real surprise if Russia did this? American neocons, including Hillary Clinton, have done it to multiple countries bordering Russia, and some years ago explicitly admitted their intention to bring down the Russian government itself. Luckily - from a global or a Russian perspective - they failed. They then came back to sponsor the overthrow of the elected Ukrainian government in an operation one of whose goals clearly was to get control of Russia's only warm-water port. I am reminded very much of John Michael Greer's novel portraying a collapse of the American empire, Twilight's Last Gleaming, in which (before Trumpism became a thing) he portrayed the Russians turning around and doing the exact same thing to us, funneling money into domestic organizations that act to delegitimize the government and pit regions of the country against both Washington and one another. The morality of the tactic aside, if we appear to be as vulnerable to a "color revolution" as the peoples we target with them, our rivals would be fools not to think of turning it back on us.

American conservatives, including Ronald Reagan, have done it to multiple countries including the Soviet Union, and some years ago explicitly admitted their intention to bring down the USSR government itself -- succeeding in 1991. Luckily – from a global or an American perspective – they succeeded.

Putin is not doing this to spite us or pay us back. He's an old-timey KGB who wants to restore the USSR and its former (to him) glory.

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 11 Oct 2016 #permalink

perhaps sticking to science is in order

As much as i think Trump's a disaster and would do terrible damage, Clinton is worse

much worse

with Trump you know the only way that anyone will get a new war going is to line his pockets and fluff up his ego

with Clinton there's nothing to stop anything - and certainly not ethics - she has none

By Murray Hobbs (not verified) on 11 Oct 2016 #permalink

But jane, what with Hillary being so busy planning the whole Benghazi episode, how could she possibly have had the time to do all those other things you accuse her of doing... that she didn't even have the power to do, in fact?

Nice one, Brainstorms.

By metzomagic (not verified) on 11 Oct 2016 #permalink

For those who prefer to romanticize Russia's centuries old imperial foreign policy (not to mention the heavy dose of free market fundamentalism that we strove so mightily to inject into their system after the wall came down), perhaps a comparison to Berlusconi and the system that brought him to power would suffice; although I tend to see him as more of a Rupert Murdoch type.

By Obstreperous A… (not verified) on 11 Oct 2016 #permalink

...except that Rupert Murdoch is a wealthy asshole with brains -- which he consistently uses for evil purposes.

Trump, on the other hand, is a wealthy asshole with shit for brains. The Berlusconi comparison is more apt.

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 11 Oct 2016 #permalink

Murray... perhaps sticking to NZ politics is in order

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 11 Oct 2016 #permalink

@#10 Brainstorms

Yeah, "him" meant:
Berlusconi Murdoch
both media moguls.

I knew I'd worded that wrong just after I posted it

@#7 Murray

As president, Trump would have access to the whole enchilada. His grubby little mitts would pawing over everything. It would be a disaster.

By Obstreperous A… (not verified) on 11 Oct 2016 #permalink


Berlusconi => Murdoch

(use two angle brackets and the interpreter reads tags...)

By Obstreperous A… (not verified) on 11 Oct 2016 #permalink

The Russian "fingerprints" - at least as presented so far - look pretty faint in this case.

As Marcus Ranum, an actual (and cynical) computer expert pointed out in a separate case, when you've been mugged by a stranger, and you're supposed to be a Tough Guy™, you have a strong incentive to tell everybody he was as big and strong as Mike Tyson. In computer terms, that means blaming a "state agent" instead of a handful of dudebros in some Edinburgh basement.

By Pierce R. Butler (not verified) on 11 Oct 2016 #permalink

Pierce, you're not very sophisticated when it comes to the subject of computer hacking...

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 11 Oct 2016 #permalink

I think some of this discussion is missing the oligarch approach.

What is a Russian Oligarch? These days, this is the head of a mafia like organization that also supports the return of some of the old ways, with control over other countries like the USSR had, but without the bother of a socialistic philosophy.

I just read an article earlier today looking at the "Russian control of Trump" angle, I think it was on TPM.

The conclusion - Trump spouts a lot of Russian propaganda because, for some reason, American white supremacists organizations love Russia and Trump and his team get a lot of their information from white supremacist web sites.

I don't see Trump as an oligarch in the sense you raise in #16. Trump's control of others comes through BS and bunkum and he moves on when people catch on to his shtick. I believe the oligarch's are a little more direct and brutal in their control

By Walt Garage (not verified) on 11 Oct 2016 #permalink

I don’t see Trump as an oligarch in the sense you raise in #16.

Where Trump comes in is that he runs a seemingly legitimate business that is used to launder profits from more questionable ventures. The American Mafia has always had such businesses, La Cosa Nostra in Sicily has always had such businesses, and I assume that Russian oligarchs need such businesses as well. Trump needs funding wherever he can get it--regular American banks prefer not to do business with him. So Trump and the Russian oligarchs need each other.

The Russian “fingerprints” – at least as presented so far – look pretty faint in this case.

The direct evidence is thin, because these guys make a decent effort to hide their tracks. But there is circumstantial evidence as well. The most recent Clinton/Podesta e-mail leak was reported on a news source with close ties to the Russian government. It also was a fake: one of the e-mails from Podesta included a lengthy document attributed to Sidney Blumenthal, but Kurt Eichenwald has identified himself as the actual author of that document. The curious thing here is that Trump seems to have known about this document dump before it was reported publicly.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 12 Oct 2016 #permalink

If Putin had a hand in the release of those emails I think it would be foolish to take anything in the emails at face value without independent verification. Has Wikileaks jumped the shark with this?

By Doug Alder (not verified) on 12 Oct 2016 #permalink

metzomagic - Your reading comprehension is lacking, unless that was a deliberate straw man from start to finish - the "Benghazi" bit certainly was - as is your knowledge of recent history. Okay, before a few years ago neither our successful nor unsuccessful coups d'etat were heavily publicized, so perhaps your ignorance of them is understandable, but surely you remember Victoria "Yats Is Our Guy" Nuland? If not, just Google the phrase. Then don't be surprised about what follows if Nuland is appointed as Hillary's Secretary of State.

Has Wikileaks jumped the shark with this?

They aren't a neutral party here. Julian Assange is on record as favoring Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton.

jane@20: You need to recalibrate your snark meter.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 12 Oct 2016 #permalink

BS @ # 15 - Please enlighten me.

Eric Lund @ # 18: But there is circumstantial evidence as well. The most recent Clinton/Podesta e-mail leak was reported on a news source with close ties to the Russian government.

The Russia/Wikileaks connection (pretty clearly established) accounts for that without any need to invoke the CrowdStrike ("FSB! GRU!") hypothesis.

FTR: I make NO claim the Kremlin did NOT do this - just that the case as presented so far does not hold up well (that is, none of the varying versions I've read), especially given the ease of leaving false fingerprints.

By Pierce R. Butler (not verified) on 13 Oct 2016 #permalink