You know your political party had a bad week when you held your national convention, and the candidate's wife plagiarizing the wife of the "hated" president isn't the worst story to come out of it. And you know it's been a really awful week when, even worse, one of the more conservative pundits supporting your campaign gives a Nazi salute to your nominee in what was likely a "quip" attempt to tweak the other side, and that isn't the worst story either to come out of it either, and in fact barely got eye rolls. Because, even worse than that, you know it's a truly horrific week when beyond everything else one of your candidate's adviser's suggests that the opposing candidate should be "put in a firing line and shot." and that not only isn't the worst story to come out of the week either, but it hardly even caused a ripple.
That's because all of that gets pushed aside when there's a story in the Washington Post, TPM, New York Times, CNN and other major news outlets about how your candidate carries heavy debts and most of his funding is coming from high Russian state banking interests, and you just know that's going to be the oh-so far worse news.
As reported, the Donald Trump empire has around $500 million in debt load, and he has been "blackballed" by all American banks to get loans in order to pay it off. The only bank that's stepped in at all is the German Deutschebank. That's left Trump to get his loans bankrolled by Russian oligarchs who have close ties to President Vladmir Putin.
And given the close ties of Trump's campaign manager Paul Manafort's as consultant to several Russian politicians -- not to mention other dictators, going back to the late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos -- it's all made some of the Republican nominee's odd statements most understandable. Like Donald Trump's continual praise of what a great leader Vladimir Putin is, and how if Trump was president he wouldn't necessarily support all of the United States' NATO allies if they were attacked, which would in essence cause the breakup of the western defense alliance which has long been Putin's known goal.
(So much for making America great again, when it's not even safe with its backdoor left wide open...)
Not all of this is supposition -- some issues of the Trump debt and financing are on the public record -- but it's certainly not "proven" fact yet. But it's also not random guessing pulled out of the wind, since it's numerous high level security experts who have pointed to most-troubling concerns.
This includes suspected evidence that the recent WikiLeaks emails about the Democratic National Committee came from Russia, which is known to have hacked the organization. (For instance, metadata embedded in the emails shows a Russian connection.) Again, it's not definitive and could just all be mere coincidence and circumstantial.
Or it could be absolutely true.
To be clear, even if it's all true, that doesn't inherently mean that Donald Trump is a "puppet" of Vladimir Putin. He may truly believe in his wizened heart everything he says. He may actually have his reasons why Vladimir Putin is a great leader by American standards. He may actually think it's in the best interests of American security to break about our major defense alliance, despite what most experts, world leaders and even the Senate Majority of his own party say. But even if he isn't guided by the Russian president, which I hardly think he is, when he personally is on the line for hundreds and hundreds of dollars to keep his financial interests propped up, it certainly makes Donald Trump much more amenable to Russian views at best, and leaves him in an incredibly vulnerable position at worst.
One thing we can be pretty sure about though -- if this was the other way around, if this news stories had been all about the Democratic candidate's ties to Russia and Vladimir Putin and Russian oligarchs, it's a very safe bet that right now Donald Trump would be referring to her as "Comrade Hillary." Except...the stories aren't about her.
They're about Donald Trump.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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