Russian Influence on Trump Enterprises and Taxes
Trump currently has over 200 businesses registered in Russia. Eric Trump has publicly admitted to significant business dealings in Russia. Donald Trump Jr. stated in 2008 that “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.” Yet immediately after the Democratic National Convention, Trump tweeted, “I have zero investments in Russia.” He also tweeted, “You know the closest I came to Russia, I bought a house a number of years ago in Palm Beach Florida for $40 million and I sold it to a Russian for $100 million including brokerage commissions.” Trump’s financial problems in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s were resolved with significant Russian help and investment. Thereafter, there was significant Russian financial interest in Trump’s business. Bayrock is a Russian affiliated criminal enterprise that has financed multiple Trump enterprise projects in New York City (Trump SoHo), Fort Lauderdale and Phoenix. It has also brought additional financing from wealthy Russians connected to Putin. Trump’s financing outside Russia are connected with financiers who are in Putin’s inner circle. Several of Trumps major advisors also have business ties directly to Russian financiers. Yet, Trump will not release any of his taxes in order to evaluate his claims of innocence by mere association.
- Trump has stated he has no Russian ties, yet both his sons indicate otherwise and he has received major financial backing from wealthy Russians close to Putin. Will you support a demand for Trump to release the last 5 years of his taxes so the American people can openly assess the extent of his Russian financial dealings?
- There is a serious concern that Trump’s blatant dishonesty with the American public reflects a keen desire to avoid scrutiny required to have an open and transparent government. What will you do to address this major problem and ensure the present Administration will not succumb to undue Russian influence?
- Trump has suggested the US drop sanctions against Russia and have a more favorable Russian policy. Michael Flynn even had two illegal discussions with the Russian Ambassador to the US about dropping US sanctions against Russia after the November elections. What steps are you going to take to ensure Trump does not unilaterally act in a manner favoring Russia while harming US interests in the world?
- If you do nothing to address these issues, why should we, your constituents, have any faith in your ability to place US interests before your own party?
Russia, Trump and Collusion in the 2016 Election
There is no question that Russia attempted to interfere in the US 2016 election. The digital fingerprint from Russia provides ample evidence of a disinformation campaign and use of fake news and hired internet trolls directed at damaging Hilary Clinton’s campaign. Cyber tools used by Russia’s GRU were employed to hack into the DNC’s computers in 2015 until July 2016, and then the hacked information was dispersed to Guccifer 2.0 and DC Leaks which passed it to WikiLeaks for dissemination at a critical time late in the national campaign. There is even an ongoing investigation of whether Russia illegally directed money to the Trump campaign by a system used to pay Russian-American pensioners. The far more disconcerting question is: Did Trump campaign officials collude directly with the Russians to win the US Presidential election? Trump’s campaign had multiple direct interactions with the Russians, meeting multiple times with the Russian US ambassador and Russian intermediaries. The Russian deputy foreign minister admitted publicly two days before the November election there were contacts during the campaign between Russian officials and many members of the Trump campaign. The timing of these meetings and the subsequent actions suggests collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Carter Page went to Russia in July. Before and during the GOP convention Manafort, Gordon and Page (senior members of the Trump campaign) attended meetings with the Russian Ambassador. During the convention, the Trump campaign asked for input into only one portion of the GOP platform, wording in the platform to make it more Russian friendly. One week after the convention, WikiLeaks started posting DNC information on the web from the Russian DNC hacking. Trump met with the Russian Ambassador to the US immediately before giving a speech asserting he would improve US-Russian relations. Trump has over 200 businesses in Russia and openly called for Russia to hack Hilary Clinton’s emails. All just one big co-incidence?
- If solid evidence is provided for a collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians to influence the US elections in Trump’s favor, will Barr/McConnell/Paul state publicly they would support the impeachment and removal of Donald Trump and Mike Pence as President and Vice President of the United States?
- Would Barr/McConnell/Paul publicly define what level of abuse would satisfy their requirement for the impeachment of Trump/Pence from office?
- There are strong reasons right now for concern about possible collusion between the Trump campaign with a hostile foreign government to influence the US Presidential election, a treasonous act. Is Barr/McConnell/Paul willing to ask for an independent special prosecutor to investigate this potential collusion? If no, why not?
- What steps are you willing to take to ease our concerns and increase our confidence that Trump isn’t an illegitimate President and a puppet of the Putin government?
- Michael Flynn has asked for immunity from prosecution. Will you support immunity for Flynn so he can testify before the Senate Committee openly about what he knows regarding lifting of sanctions on Russia as a quid pro quo for their election help? Why or why not?
The Emoluments Clause and Trump violations of it
The Emoluments clause is a provision of Article 1, section 6 of the US Constitution. It states “no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept any present, emolument (payment), office, or title, or any kind whatever, from any King, Price, or foreign State.” For over 200 years Presidents have abided by the Emoluments Clause and either sold the gifts and given the money to the Treasury, donated gifts to charities, or given the gifts to the Smithsonian Museum. The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is even more specific. 5 CFR 2635.702 use of public office for private gain states: “An employee shall not use his public office for his own private gain, for the endorsement of any product, service or enterprise or for the private gain of friends, relatives, or persons with whom the employee is affiliated in a nongovernmental capacity.” Trump promised Trump enterprises would not build in foreign countries during his time as president. Mexico approved three Trump trademarks for hotels and tourism in February 2017. Eric Trump has attempted to revive a real estate project in the Dominican Republic. Trump approved the Dakota Access pipeline in which he owns $0.5-$1 million in Energy Transfer Partners who own that pipeline. The Muslim ban does not include a single Muslim country in which Trump enterprises has any business deals or pursued any business deals. Trump’s hotel chains plan to triple their presence in the US. Trump has favored dropping the Alternative Minimum Tax, which would favor his own tax bill significantly.
- If the President of the United States is connected to a massive international business empire and is expanding that empire while in office, how can you be certain he isn’t making decisions while in office driven more by in his own personal interests than national US interests?
- In view of concerns already raised about some of Trump’s decision driven more by his personal rather than national interests, how are you going to assure us that we can trust him to make decisions driven by our best interests over his own?
- Trump is in violation of the Emoluments Clause of the US Constitution and the Code of Federal Regulations 5 CFR 2635.702. How do you plan to deal with his violation of the US Constitution and CFR 2635.702?
- If our members of Congress refuse to acknowledge clear and obvious violations of the law by Trump, how can we trust you to support the rule of law over party interests?
- Trump’s Russian associations and financial dealings along with his favoritism toward Russia already raise serious concerns regarding what priorities are first, his or those of the US. What action(s) are you going to take to address his already obvious conflict of interest with Russia?
- Trump is currently being sued by a group of lawyers for his violation of the US Constitution against accepting payments from foreign governments. If they win this lawsuit, will that be adequate for you to demand his immediate divesture from his entire Trump Enterprises? What consequences should there be for his violation and flaunting of US laws prior to this outcome?