As is well known, Donald Trump started his political career with the racist campaign questioning the citizenship of US President Obama, aimed at delegitimizing him, gaining the attention of the media, and gathering anti-Obama groups behind him. The “birtherism” campaign was based on a deliberate, intentional, racist lie – but it proved to be an effective instrument of political propaganda (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/birtherism-is-donald-trumps-big-lie/2016/09/19/8817cb12-7e99-11e6-9070-5c4905bf40dc_story.html?utm_term=.daff65ad3b2d seen Jan 12, 2017).
Now that he will be the President, Trump is confronted with questions about his own legitimacy, and one does not have to wait long for him to cry out, on twitter and elsewhere: “fake news” or “witch hunt”. But there is a difference between lies and unverified allegations. Maybe the dossier will turn out to be unverifiable. Maybe someone used it to please his client. Maybe the sources knew less than they pretended to know. Maybe. But there is a difference between a lie that could be debunked in a second and allegations that are scrutinized by the FBI – after some time of ignoring Trump’s campaign, President Obama took the unusual step of releasing his birth certificate in April 2011, a move that demonstrated the racist underpinning of the whole operation (you can only be a legitimate president when you do what whites force you to do, namely, show your id or certificate??). The FBI will probably release its findings on the dossier in the coming weeks.
Until then … Trump will not do anything to help the public understand what was going on. And this is troubling.
While the published dossier about the Trump campaign’s alleged collaboration with Russia entails unverified information, it raises all kinds of serious questions concerning the inner circle of Trump’s campaign. And these questions are not at all new.
Right now, however, the US public seems to be more appalled by the circumstances of the release of the information and the detail on a compromising sex video the dossier claims Russia may use in the future as a potential blackmail, than by the broader political content of the dossier. And it certainly does not help that Trump shuts down journalists and news organizations during a press conference: reporters are prevented from asking important questions, and as a consequence, there is no reporting of the questions that were not asked.
Below is a summary of the dossier that I have prepared, mostly for myself, because I was not satisfied with what I could read in the news about the dossier – I thought I should read it myself, now that it is available. But independent of the details which need to be examined by Congress and the FBI, there seems to be enough common ground between Russia and Trump on two major issues: first, energy cooperation between Russia and the US, and second, lifting of sanctions. Both issues, of course, are interrelated. The two issues seem to have been the major objectives Russia had in their alleged support of the Trump campaign – in return of the favor, especially the policy change concerning the sanctions, Trump may have graciously accepted the support of Russia to win the election. It does not really matter what President Putin might have thought about Trump – whether he was delighted about the ‘common interest’ or just calculating his next moves. It does not matter whether Trump was doing the same. What matters – and what we do not yet know – is whether and how the Trump campaign collaborated with Russian agencies, perhaps even the Kremlin, to win the presidency.
One may argue that at least one big US oil company, namely, Exxon Mobile, was and is very much interested in the ‘energy cooperation’ with Russia – it has invested 500 billion USD in the Russian oil company Rosneft to drill in the Arctic, a business deal that was stalled when the sanctions against Russia were put in place in 2014 as a response to the Russian annexation of Crimea. Rex Tillerson may or may not become the Secretary of State for the US – with the nomination of the former Exxon CEO, Trump has already demonstrated that he is willing to pave the way for the energy cooperation that Russia was looking for all along. Of course, Tillerson is no longer the CEO of Exxon, the only company he ever worked for; but it is hard to believe that from one day to the other, he can forget everything he believed in for the last four decades. It is much more likely that he will work on the energy cooperation with Russia – because the President and he think it is in the national interest of the US.
Under the presidency of Obama, the drilling in the Arctic, as any further investment in non-renewable energy sources, has come under scrutiny for environmental reasons. Exxon Mobile, of course, only recently admitted it had suppressed its own scientific reports that established knowledge on climate change – on Wednesday, January 11, 2017, however, a Massachusetts Judge ordered Exxon to hand over the reports from the last 40 years (http://money.cnn.com/2017/01/12/investing/exxon-loses-climate-change-ruling/, seen Jan 12, 2017).
Under the Trump presidency, energy independence rather than climate change and transformation to renewable energy will drive the energy policies. The question is what role the relationship to Russia plays in this scenario, what role American companies will play, and how all this relates to Trump’s relationship with China. This does not only concern the trade agreements, his company’s investments, or the one-China policy – it may also concern the US-China climate change agreement.
How does this all relate to the dossier? Well, it’s all in there. So, before we (re-)turn to the Hearings, let’s not forget about …. Conspiracy ….
As of June 2016, the secret dossier entailed the following, published by buzzfeed on January 10, 2017” (https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3259984-Trump-Intelligence-Allegations.html) (seen Jan 12, 2017). I have summarized what I consider the main points in the dossier for those who don’t have the time to read it – if there are mistakes in the summary, they are mine:
- Kremlin feeds the Trump campaign with material on H. Clinton
- this activity was supported and directed under the auspices of President Putin.
- Knew that there was a Dossier on Hillary Clinton as kompromat.
- Putin’s motive is more domestic than US-oriented: he promotes his plan to create Nova Russia, the 19th century Russian empire.
- is from the inner circle of the Trump campaign; s/he organized some of Trump’s trips to Moskow and admitted the collaboration between the Trump campaign and Russia. S/he also reports the ‘Golden Shower’ allegations (hiring of two prostitutes to urinate on the bed in the Ritz Carlton Hotel).
- confirms this story.
- female staffer of Trump, confirms this story.
- confirms the dossier on H. Clinton, handled by Pesklov, under direct instruction by Putin. It has not been published and not handed over to Trump.
Document: Cyber-Crimes (2016/086)
Concerns the operations on foreign governments, banks, and companies – often using persons in the countries whom one can blackmail or coerce to collaborate, or persons of Russian descent.
Document: Further collaboration Trump campaign and Russia (2016/095)
- exchange of information between Trump campaign and Russian intelligence – including information on Russian oligarchs who live in the US and using moles to hack the DNC
- points to Paul Manafort and Carter Page as involved in the collaboration
- points to a welcome distraction from Trump’s China deals by way of Russian news and disinformation campaign, while Putin welcomed distraction from Ukraine.
Concerns secret Kremlin meetings attended by Trump Foreign Affairs Advisor Carter Page. The Clinton dossier is used as bargaining chip:
What do the Russians want? First: energy cooperation; second: lifting of sanctions against Russia over Ukraine. What do they have? Compromising material on H. Clinton (and Trump).
Source reveals contacts between Trump group and Kremlin for the last 8 years – going back as far as 2008 when Trump was a private citizen and entrepreneur only. Contacts concern information on Russian oligarchs who live in the US.
A Russian emigré close to the Trump campaign reveals concerns in Russia that the hacking scandal on the DNC could run out of control.
Source reveals growing concerns about backlash over DNC hacking (August 2016).
Source reveals intentions to target US youth, and engaged in funding trips to Moscow of Lyndon Larouche, Gill Stein, and General Flynn (August 2016).
Source reveals unrest in Trump campaign over Russian interference
Kremlin insider Source reveals a conversation with a friend about clandestine meeting of Trump lawyer Cohen with Kremlin insiders in Prague, in August 2016, Kosachev (head of Foreign Relation Committee) may have attended the meeting. The objective was to ‘clean up the mess’ over reports that Paul Manafort had been involved in relations with Ukraine former president Yanukovich.
reports of meeting between Putin and Yanukovich about payments to Paul Manafort, and concerns about these in the aftermath of Manafort’s resignation from the Trump campaign.
Sources report some Policy decisions in Russia linked to the interference in US election, mainly intended to scale down the activities (September 2016).
Concerns relationship between Putin and the alpha group, with two men, Fridman and Aven, providing information on US.
Sources reveal bribes paid by Trump to persons in St. Petersburg through intermediary companies. Persons who could testify to this have been silenced so that Trump’s activities will be difficult to prove. (Sept. 2016)
Source reveals activities of disinformation on Clinton, but disappointment over the effect of the hacking of DNC. The Trump support operation was moved to the Russian presidential administration in the fall (October 2016).
Source reveals information on a secret meeting between Rosneft President Igor Sechin and Carter Page, deliberating about energy cooperation and and sanction lifting.
Source reveals the role of lawyer Michael Cohen. (October 2016)
Source reveals Michael Cohen engaged in ‘cover-up’ activities concerning Paul Manafort’s role in Ukraine, and Carter Page’s role in exchanges with Russia. Source states that neither time nor place of meetings between M. Cohen and Kremlin figures are exact because of security barriers.
Source reveals information on the meeting of Cohen and Russian partners about payments to hackers and cover-up operations, and ‘contingency plans’ in case of a Clinton presidency. They name the company XBT/webzilla as spreading viruses, plant bugs etc. against Democratic Party leadership between March and September 2016.