Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich warned that Donald Trump must deal with questions about his ties to Russia before taking office or a “dark cloud of illegitimacy” would haunt his presidency.
In a Sunday Facebook post, Reich presents six damning reasons that the American people should rightly doubt the legitimacy of the pending Trump presidency.
“The CIA has found credible evidence that Russia intervened in the election in order to help Trump become president,” Reich explains. “It has been suggested that Trump owes vast sums of money to Russian oligarchs, friends of Putin, who have also invested substantially in Trump’s enterprises.”
Reich points out that key members of Trump’s campaign staff also had “close ties to Russia.” Notably, former campaign manager Paul Manafort had been paid $12.7 million by a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.
And the future president is continuing to surround himself with Russia-friendly people, including expected secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson. As CEO of Exxon Mobil, Tillerson cultivated a friendship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Putin awarded Tillerson the Order of Friendship, one of the highest honors Russia gives to foreign citizens. Tillerson came up through the ranks at Exxon by managing the company’s Russia account. After becaming CEO, Exxon bet billions on Russia’s vast oil resources through a partnership with Russian oil giant Rosneft, owned partly by the Kremlin. Putin himself attended the 2011 signing ceremony for the deal. Russia has already indicated it would welcome Tillerson being named America’s top diplomat.
And in addition to Trump’s troubling ties to Russia, Reich notes that “Trump was defeated in the actual voting by a startling—and still growing—2,676,670 votes.”
“Before the Electors submit their ballots for president next week,” Reich concludes, “Trump must release his tax returns and the CIA must make public its report on Russia’s intervention in the U.S. elections in support of Trump.”