I’ll wrap up what I’ve found of Donald Trump’s Russia connections in this post. The Trump campaign put serious effort into only one plank of the Republican platform – not building the wall, not surveilling Muslims, but something Trump didn’t say much about until this week: Ukraine.
I’ve also got a selection of Trump quotes on Russia for you, along with more links on the hack of the DNC and why it’s probably Russia that did it.
The Ukraine Plank in the Republican Platform
The Trump campaign paid little attention to the Republican platform, except for one point: the question of military aid to Ukraine. An amendment was offered on increasing sanctions on Russia and aid to Ukraine while providing “lethal defensive weapons” to Ukraine. Trump staffers played for time while they managed to change “lethal defensive weapons” to “appropriate assistance.” In general, Republican opinion has leaned toward provision of more weapons to Ukraine. The type of assistance to provide Ukraine has been argued over, and the current administration policy is against lethal defensive weapons.
This is not a large change, but it is the only significant one proposed by the Trump campaign. The best account is by Josh Rogin.
Trump Quotes on Russia
I won’t claim this is everything Trump has said on the record about Russia and Vladimir Putin, just a more or less representative selection.
October 2007: Look at Putin—what he’s doing with Russia—I mean, you know, what’s going on over there. I mean this guy has done—whether you like him or don’t like him—he’s doing a great job. (Via Franklin Foer)
June 2013: Do you think Putin will be going to The Miss Universe Pageant in November in Moscow – if so, will he become my new best friend?
September 2013: In response to Putin’s op-ed criticizing American exceptionalism in the New York Times, Trump tweeted “Putin’s letter is a masterpiece for Russia and a disaster for the U.S. He is lecturing to our President.Never has our Country looked to weak”. (Via Franklin Foer)
2013: MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts interviewed Trump about his relationship with Putin in Moscow.
“Do you have a relationship with Vladimir Putin? A conversational relationship or anything that you feel you have sway or influence over his government?” Roberts asked.
Trump: “I do have a relationship and I can tell you that he’s very interested in what we’re doing here today. He’s probably very interested in what … I am saying today, and I’m sure he’s going to be seeing it in some form.”
2014: At the National Press Club in Washington, DC:
Russia does not respect our country any longer. They see we’ve been greatly weakened, both militarily and otherwise, and he certainly does not respect President Obama. So what I would do—as an example, I own Miss Universe, I was in Russia, I was in Moscow recently and I spoke, indirectly and directly, with President Putin, who could not have been nicer, and we had a tremendous success. The show was live from Moscow and we had tremendous success there and it was amazing, but to do well, you have to get the other side to respect you, and he does not respect our president, which is very sad.
July 2015: I think I’d get along very well with Vladimir Putin. I just think so. People say, “What do you mean?” I think I’d get along well with him. Obama and him — he hates Obama, Obama hates him. We have unbelievably bad relationships.
On the Greek debt crisis: Frankly, Putin probably comes in to save the day, if Germany doesn’t. So I think that Greece is going to be in better shape than people think.
October 2015: If I were president, Putin would give [Edward Snowden] over. I would get along with Putin. I’ve dealt with Russia.
December 2015: In terms of leadership, [Putin is] getting an ‘A’.
[Putin] frankly wants to fight ISIS and I think that’s a wonderful thing.
Putin is a nicer person than I am.
December 2015: I’ve always felt fine about Putin. He’s a strong leader, he’s a powerful leader. … He’s actually got popularity within his country.
Some quotes from my previous post, worth repeating here:
Donald Jr., 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.”
Trump himself in 2007: “Russia is one of the hottest places in the world for investment.” “We will be in Moscow at some point.”
But later Donald Jr. said “As much as we want to take our business over there, Russia is just a different world. It is a question of who knows who, whose brother is paying off who. . . . It really is a scary place.”
Carter Page, one of Trump’s advisors, recently attended a meeting in Moscow, where he gave a talk but was very guarded in his remarks to the media. He has long-standing links with Russian business. A couple of quotes from him:
February 2015: Article compares American policy toward Russia to slavery in the American South.
March 2016: So many people who I know and have worked with [in Russia] have been so adversely affected by the sanctions policy. There’s a lot of excitement in terms of the possibilities for creating a better situation.
How Trump sold a luxury home in Florida to a Russian oligarch. A long article, but not much content unless you’re into gossip about homes of the rich and famous.
More on the DNC hack. I’m not going to cover this in detail. I lack the specialized knowledge of hacking, and others seem to be doing a good job in that department.
Why would Russia interfere in the U.S. election? Because it sometimes works. Having just said what I said, this article addresses the politics rather than the mechanics and attribution of the hack.
I disagree with the headline on this one, but that’s only a small part of what is presented. Much detail about attribution of the hack.