Putin’s Boy

Last night on The Last Word Lawrence O’Donnell dropped something of a bomb.

MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell said a “source close to Deutsche Bank” told him that President Donald Trump’s loans were underwritten by “Russian billionaires close to Vladimir Putin.”

“If true, that would explain every kind word Donald Trump has ever said about Russia and Vladimir Putin,” O’Donnell said.

There has been no other reporting that substantiates this claim.

“I want to stress that is a single source, that has not been confirmed by NBC News, I have not seen any documentation from Deutsche Bank that supports this and verifies this. This is just a single source who has revealed that to me. And that where it stands at this point, its going to require a lot more verification before that can be a confirmable fact,” said O’Donnell at the end of his show Tuesday.

Earlier on Tuesday, Deutsche Bank confirmed that it held tax records to do with Trump, but no details have yet been made public.

Trump’s ties to Deutsche Bank have long been the subject of rumor and speculation, and O’Donnell has a long record of controversial statements.

If true, this would explain a lot. Of course, we shouldn’t assume it is true until there is corroboration. And also of course, if Trump wanted to put the rumor to rest he could produce copies of the loan documents. So far, Trump hasn’t addressed this issue on his Twitter feed; he may not know it’s out there if they aren’t talking about it on Fox News. Deutsche Bank appeared to confirm it had copies of Trump family tax returns and other relevant documents yesterday.

Update: Lawyers for Trump are demanding the story be retracted, claiming that all the loan documents already are part of public record. That’s news to me. Where are they, then?

Update update: O’Donnell tweeted a retraction to the news story, possibly in response to the lawyer’s letter.

Reports are coming out now that Trump wouldn’t shut up about Putin in the G7 meetings.

A sharp and sometimes bitter disagreement broke out between President Donald Trump and several G7 leaders over whether to allow Russia back into their club during a welcome dinner on Saturday, according to two diplomatic officials and a senior US official with knowledge of the exchange.

Trump, as he did in public over the course of the summit, ardently advocated for it, the officials said. As the leaders discussed issues like Iran and fires in the Amazon rainforest, Trump interjected and asked why Russia should not be included in the talks, given its size and role in global affairs.

That met sharp resistance from some of the leaders, principally German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. They argued Russia had grown more anti-democratic since it was ejected in 2014 for its incursion into Ukraine, disqualifying it from rejoining the G7.

Do also see Trump Used the G7 to Remind the World He’s on Team Putin by Ryan Bort at Rolliing Stone and Trump Went to the Mat for Putin at the G7 Summit by Jonathan Chait.  Of course, Trump doesn’t grasp “democracy” so that wouldn’t have meant anything to him. And then there was Trump’s incoherent speech about how Ukraine was “taken away” from President Obama and that’s why Russia was kicked out of the old G8.

President Donald Trump on Monday concluded his G7 trip by repeating Russian propaganda, claiming once again that it had been kicked out of the Group of 7 in 2014 because Russian President Vladimir Putin had “outsmarted” and “embarrassed” President Barack Obama by annexing Crimea from Ukraine.  …

…Stating that there were a “lot of bad things” that happened between Obama and Putin, Trump said that Obama’s “red line” warning to Syria—a Russian ally—over the use of chemical weapons was one of the reasons Russia wasn’t in the G7. He then pivoted to the annexation of Crimea.

“And the other [reason] was in Ukraine, having to do with a certain section of Ukraine that you know very well, where it was sort of taken away from President Obama,” Trump declared. “Not taken away from President Trump, taken away from President Obama. President Obama was not happy that this happened because it was embarrassing to him, right? It was very embarrassing to him.”

He continued: “And he wanted Russia to be out of the—what was called the G8. That was his determination. He was outsmarted by Putin. He was outsmarted. President Putin outsmarted President Obama. And I can understand how President Obama would feel. He wasn’t happy. And they’re not in for that reason.”

Note that in the extended exchange Trump didn’t use the name “Crimea” until a reporter said it. One suspects he couldn’t remember what the “certain section of Ukraine” was called.

In other news, Trump is furious with Fox News for presenting a relatively straighforward newsy interview with a DNC official and tweeted that Fox News “isn’t working for us any more!

Well, there’s always Glenn Beck. And finally, we have reports that Trump is near frantic that the 2020 general election is just over a year away and no part of his border wall has been built yet. So it’s time to cut some corners.

President Trump is so eager to complete hundreds of miles of border fence ahead of the 2020 presidential election that he has directed aides to fast-track billions of dollars’ worth of construction contracts, aggressively seize private land and disregard environmental rules, according to current and former officials involved with the project.

He also has told worried subordinates that he will pardon them of any potential wrongdoing should they have to break laws to get the barriers built quickly, those officials said.

Trump also is pressuring the Army Corps of Engineers to give a contract for his wall to a company whose chief executive is a donor to Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), one of his top GOP allies in Congress. Just another day in Trump World.

5 thoughts on “Putin’s Boy

  1. The standard of truth for the press was strained on this one, if not violated.  The story had to be retracted.  Trumps lawyers went into overdrive and are in constant cover up mode these days.  At least the press is sticking by a standard of some sorts which is more than one can say about the White House.  

    Truth is an elusive goal, and two independent sources does not assure truth.  It does help though.  Just because the White House lies with impunity these days and we are in the era of post-truth politics, this press standard needs to be respected.  So it was.  

    Still, I contend, truth is a valuable but elusive goal.  Even courts have differing standards depending on the type of case on trial.  Beyond a reasonable doubt is a standard applied only to criminal felony cases in my limited understanding.  In lesser matters the "truth" is determined at a lower standard.  

    I contend that patterns of human behavior (not just independent sources) are also a path to evidence the truth.  With Trump, the only thing consistent is his inconsistency.  Just last week he flip-flopped, flailed, and flapped around on major issues.  No one knows day by day or hour by hour what his China trade position is.  There is one giant exception to this pattern of inconsistency.   That is his position relative to Putin and Russia.  It is reported that in private his arm twisting in favor of Putin at the G-7 was even more evident than his public positioning.  This pattern of behavior flies in contrast to his "normal" pattern of behaviors and demands evidence of uncompromised finances.  That Trump actively and consistently blocks any attempt for audit ,along with his consistent pattern of Russian favoritism place the burden of proof as to his innocence on him.   It should, in terms of the vote of every responsible American citizen, at least.  His behavior patterns are enough evidence of what the horrible truth, in all probability is, on this matter.  One can always wish for more evidence, but decisions need to be made on what is available to us as voters.  The burden is on him to show he is not the puppet of Putin and Russia.  He is the one seeking our approval.  The truth is, as is evidenced by his long term consistent behavior, is that the compromised puppet  explanation is far more plausible. 

  2. One day after continuing to blather that Russia took the Crimea "from Obama" and that he himself wouldn't have allowed that (somehow, and shame on every reporter who didn't ask "How?"), The Great Friend of Ukrainian Sovereignty wants to cut military aid to Ukraine. Because his boss wants it.


    More than a few people are saying Trump knows he's gonna lose, so he's smashing and grabbing what he can — screaming for lower interest rates so as to cut the hundreds of millions of dollars he owes, and sucking up to Putin a few more times to maybe that get Trump Tower Moscow going.

  3. It's the fact that Putin "took" Crimea from Obama that spurs the insatiable desire for Trump to want to nestle with Putin's scrotum. Oh, what a strong man he is! Not only did Putin emasculate Obama in Trump's mind, he showed Trump what real power a real man is capable of.

     What greater thrill and aspirational goal for a wannabe authoritarian than to see how you can annex the territory of another nation…. and get away with it.

  4. It's great that O'Donnell did that story on Trump. Now he should devote a couple of shows exploring what when wrong in exposing Trump's connections to the Russians. Lawrence used a classic Trump tactic to create a narrative, now he just has to reinforce his assertion under the guise that it didn't originate from him. People say? We don't know if it's true, but a lot of people are saying?

    Ram it home, Lawrence!

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