Fresh off of a CNN appearance where he defended U.S. intelligence agencies against slurs from the Trump camp over election tampering, Robert Reich went after the president-elect for another connection to the Russians.
One word: Money.
Writing on Facebook, the former labor secretary said that not only did the Russians influence the election, but Trump’s deep financial ties to the country — along with those of his close aides — will dictate how his administration deals with Russia no matter what it may cost the U.S.
Reich began by noting that Trump came to the defense of Russia less than 24 hours after intelligence officials explicitly told him that Russian President Vladimir Putin directed his people to influence the election.
Trump tweeted, “the ‘only reason the hacking of the poorly defended DNC is discussed is that the loss by the Dems was so big that they are totally embarrassed!’ and that ‘when I am President, Russia will respect us far more than they do now.’”
Saying,”Here’s the truth,” Reich wrote: “Over the years, Russian oligarchs, friends of Putin, have financed Trump’s projects and lent billions of dollars to Trump’s enterprises. In 2008, Donald Trump Jr., told a real estate conference ‘Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,’ and continued, ‘we see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.’”
“The financial ties don’t end there,” Reich continued. “Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, a longtime consultant to Viktor Yanukovich, the Russian-backed president of Ukraine who was overthrown in 2014, has done multi-million-dollar business deals with Russian oligarchs. Also: Trump’s pick for Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil, came up through the ranks at Exxon by managing the company’s Russia account.”
So, beyond the Russian involvement in the election that was calculated to boost Trump into the White House, Reich has some advice for other investigators.
“Follow the money. Always follow the money.”