What American Television Should Tell You About Donald Trump’s Ties To Russia

ZEMBLA-journalists have found that Trump had business and personal ties to oligarchs from the former Soviet Union. Among his contacts are powerful billionaires, suspected of money laundering and fraud.

A ZEMBLA inves­ti­ga­tion sug­gests that the American real estate com­pa­ny Bayrock, through which Donald Trump con­struct­ed hotels and apart­ment com­plex­es, siphoned off $1.5 mil­lion by set­ting up a cor­po­rate struc­ture in the Netherlands in 2007. ZEMBLA dis­cov­ered that the cor­po­rate con­struc­tion was estab­lished on the advice of an exter­nal legal coun­sel, name­ly Bracewell & Giuliani, also known for Rudi Giuliani, for­mer may­or of New York and Trump con­fi­dante. The ulti­mate ben­e­fi­cia­ry own­ers of the Dutch busi­ness con­struc­tion: the direc­tor of Bayrock and the Khrapunov fam­i­ly from Kazakhstan. Head of the fam­i­ly is Viktor Khrapunov, a for­mer may­or and gov­er­nor from Kazakhstan, who has been accused of embez­zling hun­dreds of mil­lions of state assets. In 2013 the Khrapunov fam­i­ly bought three apart­ments in Trump SoHo: Bayrock and Donald Trump are own­ers of that hotel-condominium.

One of the Bayrock own­ers is the Russian born Felix Sater, Trump’s for­mer busi­ness part­ner. Though Sater spent years try­ing to line up deals with Donald Trump’s real estate orga­ni­za­tion all over the world, Trump has denied know­ing Sater. The two met in 2003 when Trump was look­ing to expand his busi­ness glob­al­ly. Because Sater failed to divulge his crim­i­nal his­to­ry to Trump, he became a lia­bil­i­ty, putting the president’s finan­cial inter­est at sub­stan­tial risk. Should civ­il or crim­i­nal mis­con­duct be proven in the care of Bayrock, Trump could be found com­plic­it, pos­si­bly cost­ing him mil­lions of dol­lars in fines and/ or penal­ties. The pres­i­dent has announced he will get to the bot­tom of the mat­ter, but doc­u­ments from the Bayrock cor­po­ra­tion show oth­er­wise: Trump actu­al­ly tried to ben­e­fit from the sit­u­a­tion, even risk­ing lever­age from any­one who knew of his jeopardy.

In the Netherlands, we have great pub­lic broad­cast­ing. There are six dif­fer­ent agen­cies — all with their own sig­na­ture, be it polit­i­cal, reli­gious or sec­u­lar. Thanks to gov­ern­ment fund­ing all agen­cies can focus on their jour­nal­is­tic duties. Public broad­cast­ing is nec­es­sary to make sure all Dutch cit­i­zens have access to well-made tele­vi­sion- and radio pro­grams. Without hav­ing to wor­ry too much about adver­tis­ers, we can do our job. It is thanks to this fund­ing my col­leagues at VARA could do some seri­ous inves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ism and dig into Donald Trump’s ties with Russia. They trans­lat­ed their Trump-doc­u­men­tary in English for American audience.

Since before his pres­i­den­cy there have been numer­ous clues sug­gest­ing Donald Trump is linked to Russia and appar­ent Russian inter­ests. Trumps secu­ri­ty advis­er Michael Flynn, had to flee from his role as advis­er because of his ties to Russia. Trump wasn’t yet in office, but Flynn was already promis­ing the Russians the U.S. would lift cer­tain sanc­tions that were put on Russia after the Crimea-crisis.

During the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign Attorney General Jeff Sessions also had meet­ings with the Russian ambas­sador to the United States, Sergei Kislyak. During his con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing Sessions denied con­tact. The Attorney General lied under oath and said he had ‘no com­mu­ni­ca­tions with the Russians’ dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paign. Also, his trip to Cleveland to meet with Kislyak was paid for with cam­paign money.

The FBI is now inves­ti­gat­ing poten­tial links between the Trump cam­paign aides and the Russian gov­ern­ment, to find out what’s true about Moscow’s alleged inter­fer­ence in the 2016 election.

In a response to media cov­er­age on Trumps’ Golden Shower Gate, the pres­i­dent went full on denial by tweet­ing: “Russia has nev­er tried to use lever­age over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA — NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!” Using all the cap­slock in the world, try­ing to hide the truth.

Hasna El Maroudi, Contributor
Journalist and columnist

What American Television Should Tell You About Donald Trump’s Ties To Russia

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