By Fraser Perkins —
Former President Trump himself is a major campaign issue for many reasons, not the least of which is a potential conflict of interest between the duties of any president and Trump’s convoluted business affairs.
I do not say that former president Trump colluded with Putin to derail the 2020 Election. I do say that Putin and Trump connect through a tangled web of money, power, and influence that collectively undermines our democracy. Let’s look at the chain P – O – $$$ – DB – T – R, aka the Killer Comet, as illustrated in the graphic.
Link 1: Putin – Oligarchs
Vladmir Putin asserted control over the oligarchs in 2003 with the arrest of oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky in October 2003. His ironclad domination has continued, right through the death of Yevgeny Prigozhin in August 2023 under very suspicious circumstances. In exchange for allowing the oligarchs to acquire, run, and profit from formerly state-owned enterprises, Putin received large chunks of each enterprise, making him immensely wealthy. Many of the former state-owned companies developed natural resources, especially fossil fuels.
Link 2: Oligarchs – $$$
Even after ceding large chunks of their companies to Putin, the oligarchs accumulated towering fortunes due to the scale and scope of their enterprises as well as their monopolistic positions within specific industries. They had billions and billions of rubles/dollars to park and invest…somewhere.
Link 3: $$$ – Deutsche Bank
One of the “somewheres” was Deutsche Bank (DB). Multiple corporations, sham entities, and hidden paper trails shroud the link between the oligarchs’ cash and Deutsche Bank. What is known is that regulators have repeatedly fined DB for concealing corrupt payments, money laundering, and failing to rectify problems promptly. Illicit activity included sham transactions converting Russian rubles into American dollars and British pounds; DB has paid regulators $600 million in fines.
Link 4: Deutsche Bank – Trump
Money in, money out. Deutsche Bank repeatedly financed Trump and his enterprises, even after defaults and a countersuit filed by Trump against Deutsche Bank! Equally intriguing is that DB financed Trump when all other banks ceased investing in Trump enterprises; DB loaned Trump or Trump enterprises $2.5 billion over 20 years. The lingering and tantalizing question is why? Was the reason financial, nonfinancial, or both? This is the most enigmatic and ill-defined link in the chain.
Link 5: Trump – Republicans
Trump controls the Republican Party, converting it from a living, breathing center-right party brimming with ideas, discussions, and debates to a personality driven cult. Aside from Chris Christie, the September debate dwarfs merely poked their little pinkies at Trump, whined about his absence and made feeble challenges, but failed to go all in and all out to expose his deceit and treachery. Nothing landed. Most Republican candidates are either loathe to make a frontal assault on Trump for fear of losing the MAGA base, or are auditioning for VEEP or a cabinet position in a second Trump Administration.
The Killer Comet, while in plain sight, usually festers below the threshold of awareness for most Americans. Occasionally it abruptly surfaces for all to see, before fading into background noise or erasure by Trumpian antics. One such occasion was the infamous June 2018 Helsinki Press Conference. If you have a strong stomach, see for yourself how Trump and Putin echoed each other. (Apologies for the ads) As Democrats we have the opportunity to stress that President Biden advocates for America, unlike Trump who is hobbled and buffeted by multiple conflicts of interest revolving around the duties of a president versus personal business interests.
Sadly, we’ve seen this Republican show before, but the 2023 dystopian narrative has veered out of control. When the evidence against Nixon exposed lies, conspiracy and subterfuge, the leaders of the Republican Party, Sen Barry Goldwater of AZ, Sen Hugh Scott of PA, and Rep John Rhodes of AZ informed Nixon that he would not survive an impeachment, leading to Nixon’s resignation. Democracy triumphed over partisanship.
Where are Republican leaders now? Here are McConnell and McCarthy immediately after the January 6th insurrection: McConnell McCarthy. They headed toward impeachment, but their viewpoints abruptly shifted 180o – and they ultimately voted against impeachment. Apart from Senator Romney, the Republicans leadership has averted their eyes from the lies about the 2020 Election, the armed insurrection of January 6th, and Trump’s failure to defend and protect the United States Constitution. They have chosen cowardice over principle. It is up to Democrats to make former President Trump’s duplicity and disloyalty a major campaign issue.
Please do two things.
- Elect Democrats.
- Send a copy of this article to voters who do not share our good fortune to live in a district where all elected officials are committed to holding Trump accountable for his misdeeds.
We deserve better.
Chat GPT Voice
From Putin to oligarchs, the line extends,
With money flowing each turn it bends,
Deutsche Bank, a link in this tangled chain,
As Republicans and Trump join the refrain.
A web of power, wealth, and secrecy,
A shadowy path that few can see,
A line that stretches across the sea,
Connecting those who hold such high degree.
From Kremlin’s halls to Trump Tower’s grandeur,
This line of influence grows ever surer,
Oligarchs’ hands hold sway over power,
And as we watch the line continue on,
We must ask ourselves; what deeds have been done?
What costs to liberty, to justice, to the very hour?