Why has Donald Trump been unwilling to say a bad word about Russia’s President Vladimir Putin? He has had no trouble criticizing Mexico or Germany, Australia or Britain, Canada or South Korea. Yet, he has defended, even praised, a country where they shoot journalists, have no democracy, and murder political opponents.
There must be some sort of reason for the man in the Oval Office to set Moscow off-limits. Pundits have suggested that Putin has some dirt on Trump to hold over his head. They said it is possible that our president simply admires strong men – as in dictators. A Republican strategist has another idea.
Mike Murphy appeared on MSNBC’s The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell and said that an “international businessman” told him that the special counsel, Robert Mueller, has cast his net into the waters of Trump’s business interests.
The strategist said that his source told him Donald Trump had an agreement with Russian businessmen, who were closely linked to Vladimir Putin, while 45 was in the midst of the 2016 presidential campaign. If true, that would be a huge conflict of interest, or worse.
Murphy told O’Donnell his trusted source would not go public, but he agreed to let the strategist do so:
‘I was walking around (Beverly Hills) and an international businessman I know pretty well, swore me to secrecy said “You can say this on TV. A friend of mine got pulled in by Mueller asking about a MOU, a memorandum of understanding, that Trump had with Russian interests during the 2016 campaign and Mueller has the documents.”‘
That would explain why Mueller’s probe has reached the president’s confidant and alt-daughter, Hope Hicks; his former campaign manager and long-time friend, Steve Bannon; another former campaign manager and consultant to the dictators, Paul Manafort; and Trump’s son-in-law and top adviser, Jared Kushner.
CNN reported that Mueller has been investigating Russia’s interference into the U.S. presidential election and possible links to the Trump campaign. Plus, the special counsel spread the reach of his investigation to include Trump’s family’s international business interests. Mueller has already indicted Manafort for illegal business activities.
The consultant’s business associate and Trump’s former campaign manager, Rick Gates, was also indicted. However, Mueller flipped him in exchange for state’s evidence. According to CNN, the special counsel had recently been asking witnesses about Trump’s business dealings with Russia before he ran for president.
Former aide to the Trump presidential campaign, Sam Nunberg, called in to a number of cable news shows in a panic, then appeared on one, showing the subpoena Mueller sent him. The former aide said that Mueller had, indeed, questioned him about Trump’s business interests. Now, Nunberg has testified.
A CNN source said:
‘You ask everything even if you don’t think it’s credible. The allegations are out there, and it was checking the box.’
CNN’s legal analyst and former federal prosecutor in the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, Michael Zeldin, said:
‘Investigators may be probing Trump’s Russian business ties to determine whether that foundation may have set the table for political cooperation.’
Featured Image via Getty Images/John W. Adkisson.