Local View: GOP must bring Trump family to justice
President Donald Trump is trashing the USA brand. GOP leaders have assisted this erosion of American teamwork by ignoring his business connections with Russian partners, his lack of coherence, and his shrinking public approval. The FBI has collec...
President Donald Trump is trashing the USA brand. GOP leaders have assisted this erosion of American teamwork by ignoring his business connections with Russian partners, his lack of coherence, and his shrinking public approval. The FBI has collected files that document Trump's many business deals with Russian oligarchs and mobsters. Why the GOP chooses to ignore what appears to be two decades of money laundering for the Russian mob is confusing.
Trump's deals are not very artful, nor are they a path to greatness.
Craig Unger, in the July 13 issue of the New Republic, described how Trump and his family have become a preferred U.S. business for laundering Russian mob money. Trump's troubles with debt and bankruptcies apparently caught the attention of the mob leaders. Now, a variety of U.S. intelligence sources are connecting the Trump family and its real estate deals with Russian partners to condos and golf and casino properties. Trump already has paid a fine of $10 million for dodging money-laundering rules at the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City.
In 2008, Donald Trump Jr. reportedly stated that, "Russians make up a disproportional cross section of our assets."
This pattern behind the "art of the deal" has to be a central point in the special investigation of Trump's alleged collusion with documented Russian disruption of the last presidential election.
It did not help the president when his son confessed that he met with an agent of the Kremlin in the hope of securing "dirt" that would hurt Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the presidential race. The younger Trump said he took senior adviser and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner as well as consultant Paul Manafort to the meeting. This confession and documentation turned the president's denials of any contact with the Russians into a bold lie.
It seems to me the whole Trump family has fallen into an ethical quagmire. And it raises nagging questions about the GOP's party leadership. The party must bring the Trump family to justice.
Robert Muller, leading the investigation into the question of Russian collusion, has responsibility for bringing clarity to this unprecedented and dangerous situation.
U.S. intelligence seems to know the Russians used cyber teams to influence the outcome of the presidential election. There's documentation that the goal was to reduce Clinton's vote tally. What remains is obtaining business and tax records from the Trump family and identifying key contacts who set up the collaboration. Once core Russian partners are identified, links and contacts can point out the U.S. and Russian players in this international attack.
Money laundering is a crime with punishments defined by state and federal statutes. Obstructing justice and treason can bring more severe consequences.
The first step in reducing risk and increasing good governance in this situation would be for GOP leaders to help secure Trump's family business and tax records. Then Muller can sift through the documents to recommend a path to justice. That action would give us the opportunity to reduce our risks and rebuild American teamwork and integrity.
Bill Mittlefehldt of Duluth is on the Food, Energy, Environment Team at Peace Church; is on the leadership team for the Arrowhead Network of Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light ( mnipl.org ).