In One Week, Troubling Trump Associate Russia Ties Increase By 3
Trump’s campaign associates and transition team have a very unusual affinity for Russia. Up until this week, there was already a growing web of Trump associates with major ties to Russia and this week saw three more added.
Eric Prince is was a major campaign donor to Trump and was known to brag about the influence he wields within the campaign. He is also the brother of the controversial Trump pick for Education Secretary, Betsy Devos.
In mid January 2016 before Trump’s inauguration, Eric Prince met with an unnamed Russian businessman with close ties to Putin. During the transition, Prince then met with members of Trump’s incoming national-security team, according to two sources.
Jared Kushner is the well known son in law of Trump and one of his closest advisers. In December 2016, Kushner had a meeting with Sergey Gorkov, Chairman of Russian state-run development bank, Vnesheconombank (VEB), which is currently under U.S. sanctions. He was appointed to his job by President Vladimir Putin. The significance here is that their meeting would raise the notion that Trump would lift the US sanctions on the VEB in exchange for…something.
Carter Page is a former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign who advocated better relations with Russia and was a vocal critic of U.S. sanctions. He has significant business ties to Russia through his consulting firm which focuses on oil and gas in Russia and former Soviet republics. He is also heavily invested in Gazprom, a large Russian natural gas company.
In 2013, Page met with known Russian spy Victor Podobnyy at an energy symposium in New York City. Believing that Podobnyy worked for Russia’s U.N. mission, Page maintained contact with him, exchanging emails about the energy business and occasionally meeting in person according to court records. At one meeting, Page even presented Podobnyy with documents about the energy industry.
Adding these key Trump campaign, transition team, staff and cabinet members to the current list of his associates with deep Russia ties – former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, former Trump adviser Roger Stone, former Trump campaign adviser JD Gordon, and former Trump campaign surrogate and current Attorney General Jeff Sessions – that brings us to 8 close Trump associates that had meetings with Russian spys or bankers with close ties to Vladamir Putin during the Trump’s campaign and transition.
For his part, Trump is responding to these revelations by doing everything has can to change the subject by spouting outrageous claims of wiretapping and illegal surveillance by President Obama and his National Security Adviser Susan Rice with absolutely zero evidence. Trump is learning that changing the subject as President is a far greater task than doing it as a candidate. Rather than losing steam, it seems that the Russian connection revelations are just getting started and growing week to week.