Could the Trump Administration Be Even More Corrupt Than We Thought?

Republican President Donald Trump still claims that he had absolutely no assistance from the Russians when it came to winning the White House. And, according to President Trump, his son only discussed adoption when he met with a handful of Russian lawyers, money launderers and former spies after receiving an email that offered dirt on Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

Sure, Donald Trump Jr.’s story has changed a half dozen times, and his attorney general had to recuse himself from the Russian probe due to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ previous — and still not completely disclosed — Russian meetings.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean that his backers were corrupted by Russian influences, right?

Well, now the president’s supporters will have to weigh new evidence regarding the Trump administration’s alleged ties with Russia.

A recent report from the New York Times unveils the crippling debt that campaign advisor and current administration advisor Paul Manafort carried when he began working with the Trump campaign — all owed to Russian political entities.

“Financial records filed last year in the secretive tax haven of Cyprus, where Paul J. Manafort kept bank accounts during his years working in Ukraine and investing with a Russian oligarch, indicate that he had been in debt to pro-Russia interests by as much as $17 million before he joined Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign in March 2016,” The New York Times reports. “The money appears to have been owed by shell companies connected to Mr. Manafort’s business activities in Ukraine when he worked as a consultant to the pro-Russia Party of Regions.”

According to the Times, Manafort’s spokesperson stated that the debt information was “stale and do[es] not purport to reflect any current financial arrangements.”

Of course, if that claim is true, it brings into question exactly what happened between 2016 and the present that allowed millions in debt to apparently be paid off or forgiven.

Vanity Fair reminds us that news broke in August that Manafort was reportedly receiving $12.7 million in undisclosed payments from the Party of Regions, a Ukrainian political group. But Manafort spokespeople again insist that he was not indebted to the party when he entered the Trump campaign.

Manafort isn’t the only one whose name continues to pop up in relation to Russian business deals this week.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has remained remarkably out of the spotlight so far this term — an amazing feat for a person whose job is to be America’s voice in foreign policy.

But now Tillerson is making headlines again, as his former employer has been hit with a heavy fine for violating sanctions against Russia while he was at the helm.

“The Treasury Department on Thursday fined Exxon Mobil Corp. $2 million for violating sanctions against Russia while now-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was CEO of the company,” reports The Hill. “According to an enforcement filing from Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), Exxon in 2014 signed ‘eight legal documents related to oil and gas projects in Russia’ with Igor Sechin, the president of Rosneft, a Moscow-owned oil company, after the U.S. sanctioned Russia for its incursion into Crimea.”

According to The Hill, $2 million is the largest fine that the department can levy against a company. However, for a company that made $7.8 billion in profit in just 2016, the money will hardly be missed. Despite that fact, Exxon has decided to sue the Treasury Department, calling the fine “unfair.”

This violation – and the suit -  has foreign powers worried that it will encourage other corporation to break the sanctions, too, making the punishment utterly without power.

“As America’s top diplomat, Tillerson has insisted the sanctions will stay in place until Russia reverses course in Ukraine and gives back Crimea,” reports NBC News. “Still, the sanctions breach on his watch raises significant questions about his ability to credibly enforce the sanctions and to persuade European countries to keep doing so.”

With a top Trump advisor and a top White House official both financially involved with Russia, is it any wonder that the belief that the Russian “puppet” theory continues to gain steam? As the Russian probe continues, hopefully we will soon find out just how much truth there is to that claim.

Photo credit: Office of the President-elect - https://greatagain.gov/tillerson-hearing-f9ff57c038ee#.8fpa697gf, via Wikimedia Commons

113 comments

Marie W
Marie Wabout a year ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Margie F
Margie FOURIE1 years ago

A lot of us live in corrupt countries.

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JT Smith
Past Member 1 years ago

What's the level of corruption after completely??

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Brian F
Brian F1 years ago

The average greedy corporate CEO makes 271 times worker pay, up from 20 times 40 years ago. This notion that we can’t raise the minimum wage to $15.00 an hour, have free colleges, paid parental leave, and single payer universal healthcare like Jill Stein and Bernie Sanders suggest, and other countries have is completely untrue. It’s corporate Democrats and Republicans like Dot A who are the problem with the country, because they refuse to give progressive policies that we desperately need in this country a chance. Corporations own both corrupt parties, and many of the neo liberal corporate establishment Democratic policies of Bill Clinton, and Obama, have been as bad as the Republicans. Most of the wealth in the country goes to the richest Americans as Bernie Sanders pointed out. This doesn’t help the economy, because these wages are desperately needed by the working poor to survive, and only when they spend money, does that stimulate the economy.

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Brian F
Brian F1 years ago

Dot A First of all Venezuela is a dictatorship, so comparisons to Bernie Sander’s plan can’t be made. In countries like Australia, Denmark, Sweden, Germany and others they have single payer universal healthcare, free colleges, and a $15.00 an hour minimum wage, their economies work quite well. Medicare for All is not a panacea, but it’s far better than the criminal care we have now, and our high prescription drug prices. Fortunately, Canada didn’t have too many people who think like you, and they fought off big pharma and their criminal healthcare industry, and enacted single payer universal healthcare. Other countries have paid parental leave that is much more generous than ours, and they do fine. Raising taxes on the rich, and cutting our military spending as well as closing most of the 800 foreign military bases overseas, could pay for Bernie Sanders plan. We spend 10 times more than any other nation on the military, and have way more military bases than all the countries combined. We could cut back a little on our military and use that money. Quantitative easing was used to bail out the banks, and it could be used to pay off student debt. Progressive policies from Jill Stein and Bernie Sanders could work for the country, unfortunately far too many corporate Democrats and Republicans like you, refuse to give them a chance, and instead support the horrible fail

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Dot A
Dot A1 years ago

Nice guy Bernie (nice guy, nice ideas, nice dream that many still love dreaming, but quite unrealistic) -Bernie stands for sweeping changes like single-payer health care, free college tuition, and guaranteed parental leave don’t come cheap. They require an abundance of new tax dollars, not just from the rich but from virtually all classes of society. - Yet, the real question is not how much they cost; it’s whether the benefits might be even greater. - But many have challenged Sanders on his utopian plan, echoing the most common critiques of the candidate’s agenda: that there’s no way raising taxes for the top 1 percent of Americans could pay for all these programs.“ Nice: but won*t work. Popular: can*t fix the US. Spokesperson for socialism: will crush the US, - think Venezuela.

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Brian F
Brian F1 years ago

Roberta G Bernie Sanders is the most popular politician in America with a 61% approval rating. Get over it. You’re just jealous because Hillary lost because she has only a 30% approval rating and most people hate her.

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Roberta G
Roberta G1 years ago

This is Brian's 59th to the tenth power repetition of his verbal meme. Anyone care to do the math?

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Brian F
Brian F1 years ago

Dot A Bernie Sanders did a lot more, to advance civil rights, and support progressive issues that this nation desperately needs like Medicare for all, free colleges, a $15.00 an hour minimum wage, and marijuana legalization than Hillary ever did. Hillary is like a Republican. In fact, many Republicans supported her because they would make more money if she was elected. Bernie Sanders had much larger rallies, than the puny ones Hillary had, and is the most popular [politician in America with a 61% approval rating compared to Hillary’s dismal 30% approval rating. Hillary sold her sole out to Wall Street and her corporate masters years ago, and that is why most people dislike her.

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Brian F
Brian F1 years ago

Now Chris B says that all the politicians both Democratic and Republican take money. That’s what goes on in Washington. Yes, and that’s the problem. We need campaign finance reform laws to stop that. Bernie Sanders didn’t take any money from corporations and Wall street because he was one of the few who was honest, unlike Hillary who took 21 million from Wall Street for speeches and 13 million from our criminal healthcare industry as a bribe, and refused to support single payer universal healthcare. Hillary only has a 30% approval rating compared to Bernie Sanders 61% because most people dislike Hillary and rightly think she is dishonest. Hillary sold her sole to Wall Street and her corporate masters years ago, like most of the corrupt corporate Democrats including Obama.

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