GUEST POST: Is There Money Behind the Trump-Putin Love Affair?


A Commentary for Montana Cowgirl

By Evan Barrett



As the CIA and seventeen intelligence agencies and the FBI have determined to a high level of confidence that Russia used hacking and leaking to interfere with our recent Presidential election – effectively interfering with the functioning of our democracy – Donald Trump maintains a stance of denial.


Since the Obama Administration alerted the American people of this intervention back in July, what have we heard from President-elect Trump?  Nothing but praise for Putin and denial of the Russian actions.


In the September 26 presidential debate – – Trump said:

“I don’t think anybody knows if it’s Russia that broke into the DNC.  She says Russia, Russia, Russia, but I don’t.  Maybe it was.  I mean it could be Russia, but it could also be China, it could also be lots of other people.  It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK?  You don’t know who broke into DNC.”


In the October 9 debate, Donald Trump said:

“I notice anytime anything wrong happens they like to say the Russians.  She doesn’t know it’s the Russians doing the hacking.  Maybe there is no hacking but they always blame Russia.  And the reason they blame Russia because they think they are trying to tarnish me with Russia.”

On Fox News Sunday on December 11, after being elected, the following exchange with Chris Wallace took place:

Wallace” “The CIA has concluded that Russia intervened in the election to help you win the presidency. Your reaction?”
Trump: “I think it’s ridiculous. I think it’s just another excuse. I don’t believe it. I don’t know why and I think it’s just, you know, they talked about all sorts of things.  Every week it’s another excuse …No I don’t believe that at all …Nobody really knows. And hacking is very interesting. Once they hack, if you don’t catch them in the act you’re not going to catch them. They have no idea if it’s Russia or China or somebody.  It could be somebody sitting on the edge of a bed someplace.”

Just the other day, on December 28th at Mar-a-Lago alongside boxing promoter Don King, the following exchange:

Reporter:  “What do you think generally about the sanctions against Russia?”
Trump response: “I think we ought to get on with our lives. I think the computers have complicated lives very greatly. Our age of computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what is going on.”


As sanctions are being imposed by the Obama Administration, as even strong Republicans in Congress are calling for a bi-partisan investigation and for even stronger sanctions against Russia, Trump adheres to his denial, his low level of concern (he’ll bother to take a briefing on it in a week), and his bromance with Vladimir Putin.


What is behind this willful ignorance?  Is it “strategic ignorance” as coined by legal specialist Ari Melber of MSNBC?  Or is there something more?


With Donald Trump, it is a safe bet that the way to understand his actions (other than understanding his Narcissistic Personality Disorder) is to “follow the money,” as purportedly stated by “Deep Throat” during the Nixon Watergate affair that led to Nixon’s impeachment.  Facts about Trump’s finances and how they relate to Russia, Russian oligarchs and Putin are shrouded in secrecy.  But they might well be about money which might emerge if Trump released his tax returns as all previous presidential candidates over the last 4 decades have.


By the way, you do remember that he promised his tax returns would be released as he continued to give a bundle of excuses.  Here’s betting they never will be released.  And that may not be because they would reveal Trump’s non-payment of taxes or his misuse and misrepresentations related to his so-called charitable foundation.  The refusal might be tied to the financial relationship Trump appears to have with Russia.


While Trump “trumpets” in his books about coming out of bankruptcies and big losses, it is a fact that all major US banks have effectively black-balled Trump.  The exception is Deutsche Bank, which is really a German bank with a strong US presence.  So Trump cannot get much financing in the US.  Where does he go for money?


Listen to the words of Donald Trump, Jr. at a real estate conference in 2008:

“Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”


If we can believe his son’s words, Trump may well be financially beholding to Russian oligarchs.  In 2013 he staged the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, sponsored by big money from a Russian oligarch.  Afterward Trump bragged “Almost all of the oligarchs were in the room.”


And if you know anything about Russia, you know that the Russian oligarchs are oligarchs only with the friendship and approval of Vladimir Putin as they have been instrumental in helping Putin acquire the billions upon billions that he has amassed in hidden accounts around the world.


So it is a reasonable question to ask if Trump is financially beholding to Putin, the oligarchs and Russia.  Perhaps that would explain his singular reluctance to express any outrage at what the Russians have tried to do to our elections and our democracy.  Without Trump’s tax returns, it is hard to nail this down, but it is reasonable to be suspicious.  Here’s hoping against hope that those tax returns will eventually be made public.



Evan Barrett of Butte, will soon be retiring after 47 years at the top level of Montana economic development, government, politics and education.  He currently writes columns and commentaries, is an award-winning producer of Montana history films at Montana Tech/Highlands College and occasionally teaches.  These are his personal views.


30 Comments on "GUEST POST: Is There Money Behind the Trump-Putin Love Affair?"

  1. This is why he is so distrustful of the CIA, etc. He know they are the only ones who can discover the true facts about his finances.

  2. Evan, what’s with the “beholding”?

  3. How soon we forget. Has it really been that long since the fear of Communism produced terror in Americans ? How many even consider that Russia has those same bunkers in place now with more sophisticated ballistic nuclear war heads in Chukotka the North=East region bordering Alaska? Russia is steadily improving their Nuclear Weapons and have spent $800 billion in this region to be finished by 2018. This should concern every American citizen. They can knock out our electrical grid and disable our missile warning system in Alaska and the Dakota’s [not so easily done for the ones in Texas and back East] Has the Career Politician gotten so oblivious as to what is happening anymore? And I ask AGAIN ! has anyone heard Mrs Trump & her family denounce the Slovenian Communist Party they joined? We are living in the MOST DANGEROUS time the WORLD has ever known. It seems people voted for Trump for one reason and that was to make THEIR life better. These are issues that concern me more. What does it matter if you are blown to smithereens. There would be no need for health care plans jobs or the economy. Trump is a ticking time bomb. And can the politicians control him and his temper? Very unlikely.

  4. Could be that DJT likes to live dangerously,
    so he never smiles,
    and cares not about endangering the USA.

    Alfa Bank only one of alpha DJT’s sources of real estate investment capital.

    I’ll bet Rex Tillerson knows what Banks bankroll the DJT real estate octopus who never runs out of ink to protect his nest eggs.

    Is DJT bankrolled by oligarchs, but duped by Putin?
    That’s a question for your Senator.

    A better question comes by way of a Russian who was visiting in Ravalli County. “We do not call them the oligarchs. We call them the greedy ones.”

    Is DJT so greedy and covetous of capital investment money, that he was an easy target for the multi billionairs who privatized Yukos Oil Company.

  5. Evan is just upset because the Democrat dirty laundry was laid out for all to see.

    • Evan’s question remains.
      How much is DJT beholden to oligarchs, Putin and such???
      Evan’s got the big picture and accurate view of Deutsche Bank.
      Here’s a real dirty laundry list. Remember the Deutsche Bank insider trading at time of 9/11. Remember when Deutsche Bank-Brown Bank account Exec. Buzzy Kornberg suddenly was selected by George Tenet to take over as CIA Exec!

    • That’s just silly Dave…both sides have dirty laundry, and it’s nothing new. ‘Oh lordy, I can’t believe the DNC supported the frontrunner and wanted him to win! That’s NEVER happened before!’ Welcome to politics in this modern age. Did you think this was new or unique? Any sense that the republicans don’t do it? The state republicans were even trying to find a way to close their primaries to keep moderate republicans out of the picture. Are you a babe in the woods, or just trolling?

      If you REALLY think it’s dirty laundry…then the point is that you should be wanting to see the Trump laundry basket and everything it contains. You can’t have it both ways: do you care about dirty laundry and what you think is right or wrong – or just when you can get a few digs in at the cowgirl in glee while looking the other way at El Trumpo. If Russia did interfere with our elections…we need to know. And if there was collusion – we need to know.

      And that’s where many on the right are failing. So happy to be out from under all their perceived ills, that they are forgetting common sense. ‘Oh wait…I remember, cronyism, impropriety and even the sense that it’s happening are wrong and something to be avoided in a President.’ ‘Hey Trump isn’t just a TV bully – he’s a real bully – who’d have guessed that?!?’ ‘Oh, so we’re going to have a president that just tweets us policy at 3am….so smart to cram the call for a second nuclear arms race into 146 characters…S-M-R-T!’

  6. In all this conversation, What ever happened to Paul Manaforte? The second adviser in the string of three. Remmber the one that was fired when his Russian connections were exposed.

  7. People seem to forget that these are the same intelligence agencies who told George W. Bush and Congress that “they had a high level of confidence” that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Fifteen years later after that gaffe, we are all paying the price with Middle East instability and a tidal wave of refugees, which has helped spur on the rise of Trump. Can’t say I blame him for a healthy degree of skepticism.

    • I wouldn’t call it a healthy dose of skepticism, it is more like a convenient dose. In any event, Trump better swallow his bitter pill that is his distrust of our intelligence agencies because he can’t just ignore them if they present evidence of impending terror attacks, we all know what happened when Bush dropped that ball.

  8. Most of the world intelligence had the same opinions abou MWD in Iraq. For the future President to question our National intelligence publicly is unwise and maybe dangerous. What next, question our military. His supporters love his unpredictable nature, but is that really what we should have in the leader of the US.

  9. Most of the world intelligence had the same opinions about MWD in Iraq. For the future President to question our National intelligence publicly is unwise and maybe dangerous. What next, question our military. His supporters love his unpredictable nature, but is that really what we should have in the leader of the US.

  10. Putin will out maneuver ‘smart’ ‘rich’ Trump at every turn.

  11. It’s the art of the deal, oligarch style.
    They loan money to client Trump projects.
    They got money in the game. They plan to break into DNC.
    Now the get a friend for head of State Department.
    Well, well, I hope Russian government can now abide with Peace at last in Syria.

  12. The problem with the “russia hacked our election” meme is that theres no hard evidence yet presented. As a computer guy I’m all over this stuff and if anyone knows, its the NSA since every connection made between USA and anywhere is logged. The real deal is that some pissed off insider at the DNC sent wikileaks the straight dope on how Debbie Wasserman Schultz was trying to take out Bernie from the get go. If you want URL’s to security dudes backing this up, just ask. Otherwise its Case Closed for me.

    • One would think that if you knew just as much as the NSA and CIA regarding Russia and their hacking abilities, you would not be freezing your ass in Montana. You would also know that the DNCs preference for Clinton wasn’t any big secret, even little ol me who barely has enough computer tecn skills to operate a microwave, knew as much ! Was a crime committed by the DNC? NO and politics like that is hardly compared to condoning and abetting enemies of the Republic. It’s amazing how high the bar is for the democrats and how low it has sunk for the Republicans. And I can’t wait to see the results of the CIA and NSA revenge on Trump and his goons for their disrespect and ungratefulness. Chuck Schumer summed it up last night on national television when he remarked that the CIA had six ways from Sunday to get back at Chump.

      • No more coffee for you! wow. Julian Asange has said the russians wern’t involved. I’m pretty sure he’d know who sent him the info from the DNC emails. BushCo also ignored some intel officials but did it politely. I’m just saying show the IP addy of the computer that they think “infiltrated” thier system. BTW, you’re right, this weather does suck.

  13. King ‘Chump’ and GOP’s new ACA (including medicare, medicaid and VA) repeal slogan, MAKE AMERICAN SICK AGAIN!

  14. My speculation?—–Of course there is money involved in the Comrade Trumpski-Vlad Putin love affair. Vlad’s estimated net worth is a half $$$TRILLION dollars (politics for fun and profit). Trumpski is broke—for the fourth time. Putin has BOUGHT Trumpski.

    Trumpski is ADAMANT the investigation into Russia’s internet hacks are false—because if they are proven to be true—and there was collaboration between T and P (TP for short) this could lead to charges of TREASON against Trumpski.

  15. Wow, I never would have guessed that the bulk of readers at this blog would be buying into the whole “Russia is bad” trope.

    If you want to see bad, look at what the Saudis are doing in Yemen, with the full backing and support of the US and the UK.

    I get it, the MIC needs a big bad guy, somebody worse than even the “terrorists” to support more military spending. But come on folks, open your eyes. Russia is what, about 1/8 the size of the US (I’m referring to the size of the economy). And don’t forget, we go messing with the affairs of countries right on their border (Nuland in Ukraine) – I don’t see the Russians trying to overthrow Trudeau in Canada – but maybe somebody here does.

    • More silly excuse making…nobody said Russia is bad. But if its found that Russians at the government’s behest were hacking files and monkey wrenching our election…that’s significant and should be known. It’s amazing that so many people on the right who hated and called for the head Assange and Wikileaks when they were releasing military secrets and other sensitive data…but now it’s excusable because these folks hate the democrats. Hannity sobered all over Assange this week and trump chimed in. “The same people who condemned Secretary Clinton for making sensitive and classified information vulnerable by using an unsecure server should be equally outraged that Assange continues to carelessly leak sensitive documents,” Sen Will Hurd R-tx recently said.

      Yes, Saudis and Yemen, and other parts of the world. Bad things happen and are happening. What does that have to do with us not looking into these allegations thoroughly? Are we unable to deal with more than one issue at a time…do we have to solve problems like a checklist, and Russia possibly hacking our elections is at the bottom of the list and can’t be dealt with until the others are done?

      We shouldn’t care or want to know that the Russian MAY have hacked us because they aren’t big enough or rich enough to matter? And yes, as an administration, and as a country we comment on, and try to positively influence elections by suggesting they be performed fairly (Putin’s biggest issue was criticism from HC and the admin over their parliamentary elections and the crimea/Ukraine issues). That’s not hacking or actually messing with anything…and there doesn’t seem to be any evidence of something similar being done during those elections. If it were – two wrongs still don’t make a right. And we still would want to secure our elections either way – and know if they were breeched so to speak.

  16. What troubles me more about Trump and the intelligence agencies is that he seems like he is willing to ignore their findings and rely on his own, unidentified, sources of information or maybe just blind intuition to make decisions that can have severe consequences for the US and even the world. This is a prime trait of a megalomaniac demagogue hopefully somehow an impeachable offense under US law. The Trump presidency is going to be so much worse than you think.

  17. Couple of things; Putin is no socialist. He’s hidden a lot of money in off-shore banks. And IF there was anyone in russia that might be involved in any DNC “hacks” they probably live in Akademgorodok. Plus they know enough not to leave traces. But still NSA could solve issue. I blame dems for sabotage of Saunders, a real socialist. Which is whats needed now.

  18. How about Hillary Clintons email scandal? Nothing there of course, as it was “fairly” investigated. Do we also ignore what the hacked DNC emails reveal? Better to attach the hackers than the info revealed? How about the Obama Admin’s active involvement in the recent elections in Israel? The involvement in the “Arab Spring”? All politically important of course. As far as the alleged Russian hacking into our elections, it should be investigated so we can greatly decrease the likelihood of it happening again. Were voting machines hacked? Did Russia keep people from voting? Cybersecurity has been less than adequate in recent years so we certainly need to take cybersecurity seriously. Investigate with the intent to protect our country, yes. Since the election is over, the EC did their thing, and Trump won, “At this point what difference does it make?” A sad ass comment if EVER there was one.

  19. Is this the same CIA-type scam that sent Colin Powell to the UN with all the faked intelligence that everybody devoured, hook line and sinker? Ya betcha. Propaganda rulez. Go gettum Evan! Perpetual war mongering at its best!

  20. Evan’s question is still top of my T list.

    The hacking story drama unfolds daily. Last night we hear it may have also been retaliation against Obama, and the State Department.

    This morning Mother Jones asks a logical question. Huffpost has background for catchup info.

    Top of my State list is the 233-190 party line vote to ease fed lands transfer.

  21. Montana Cowgirl is an establishment Democrat outfit. Of course they like the DNC/Hillary “Russians did it” line. It absolves them from the responsibility of backing the only Democratic candidate who could lose to an idiot like Trump.

  22. Follow the money” from Watergate to right here and now.
    To get a taste of how USA real estate is financed check into the NYT link.
    To get background on how a “pretty disproportionate” amount of Trump properties are Russian assets, go to the HufPost link.
    To get a sense of proportion of DJT assets and liabilities consider the above links and the Independent link wherein DJT jointly owned properties, may owe 1.8 billion USD to German Banks.
    Now add things up. IF DJT properties owe .300 billion USD to fiduciaries in China. And 1.8 billion USD to German Banks.
    And Russian Banks and Oligarch Banks own a “pretty disproportionate” percentage of Trump properties.
    How much debt load do DJT properties carry from Russia. Secured by Russian owned collateral asets.
    ?Over 3-4 billion USD??
    Donald knew and we do not yet know.
    I only know I trust Senators Sanders and Warren for the damn tough work ahead.
    I’ll work for a Rep well worthy of working with people I already trust in the USA House of Representatives.

  23. Yet another keyhole view missed by us and our USA MSM.
    Read carefully the article and the Comments.
    No wonder DJT does not want to turn his portfolio over to a fiduciary.

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