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The Russia Connection?

Indivisible has joined with many others in calling for Congress to demand that President Trump release his tax returns. I think that we have long passed being concerned about whether or not he pays any taxes, what we should be concerned about are his business dealings.

The American public needs to know who Trump does business with and to whom he owes money.

Many business people and associates of his have been involved in dealings across the world including with both Russia and China.

The American public needs to understand clearly the divisions between the interests of Trump and his associates and the contractual requirements for the US government interests.

Already we are hearing reports of the White House pressuring governmental departments to stop following standard procedures. Congressional committee chairs and members are being pressured by White House staff to not investigate the Russian involvement in the election. Press room access is being denied to those who do not report favorably on White House actions. Where is the freedom of the press and the transparency one should expect of their government?

In Russia President Putin has awarded lucrative business contracts to his friends. When the US first started imposing sanctions they singled out some of these so-called oligarchs for individual sanctions. In some cases, when these rich associates disagreed with Putin or decided to run for office opposing him or his policies, they quickly fell from favor. Some were even accused of fraud, tax evasion or embezzlement and the government seized their companies. Others went to jail after show trials. After some journalists tried to expose these practices they were shot down and killed. The press is no longer free to report on these tactics. The Russian public is not told that the true reasons for these recent sanctions are the illegal seizure by Russia of Crimea and occupation of parts of Ukraine in a violation of international treaties.

Can comparisons be made with actions seen from the White House recently? Trump has surrounded himself with a cabinet which does not represent America, but rather represents the top 1-2% of the country economically. Might some of these be considered not so different from those called oligarchs in Russia as they have disregarded customary societal conventions in many cases? Collectively a few of these cabinet members have for example:

Indivisible called for the Senate to really investigate these cabinet appointments. Most received just a cursory review and were appointed.

The American public will have to monitor and selectively protest when their actions do not serve the interests of the other 98%.

We must continue to push for press freedom and investigation of the Russian connections and interference in our election.

Sharon Dooley

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