Dissecting Trump’s Public Record on Russia: Part I

Before broaching the topic at hand, I must preface it with some general observations. These observations act as a lens through which I interpret the forthcoming data. Also, after having begun this process, it has become clear that this study will need to be split into separate parts.

Understanding a person’s motivations is no easy task. Many people don’t intentionally share that information. Some folks aren’t even fully aware of what is driving them. But studying what we talk about frequently and what we avoid discussing can provide various insights. The actions we take on those matters are also informative.

Based on my observations, people tend to discuss what matters to them. The frequency that we discuss topics reveals the frequency that we are thinking about those topics. Over time, our attention can shift to other topics. Motivations do not tend to be static. Our attention can shift to new subjects, either gradually or abruptly.

These shifts in our attention are typically revealed by observing shifts in what we discuss the most. Bear in mind, we may not reveal our every motivation, as we may actively avoid publicly discussing some topics that we are secretly interested in. What we do and do not discuss and how that shifts over time can be illuminating.

Moreover, reviewing the way we discuss subjects can be quite educational. We reveal our preferences via the way that we discuss each topic. These preferences fall within a spectrum that ranges from strongly preferring the subject matter, to indifference, to a strong distaste regarding the matter.

On occasion, a person’s public statements can run counter to their inner thoughts. This is often a deliberate strategy, meant to mislead observers. While it still reveals that they are thinking about those topics, it does not intimate their real preferences. This can often be revealed by comparing their public statements to their actions. For instance, a person may publicly state that they oppose corruption while they are actively engaging in corrupt acts. This difference reveals that their mind was actively dwelling on corruption, but they intended to deceive the audience about their true motivations.

Where words and actions diverge, our focus should rest on the actions. Where they do not diverge, our focus should rest on both the words and actions. With that in mind, I’ll be shifting my focus to the data on Donald Trump.

Finding a place to start this inquiry is akin to picking out one rock from a massive pile of rocks. Evidence can also be found under every rock. Even more evidence is resting on top of the rocks and wedged between the rocks. Yet, I must pick a rock. Considering recent news regarding Trump and Giuliani’s covert maneuvers in Ukraine, this would be as good a place as any to start.

On 27 February 2014, Russian troops seized the parliament in Crimea. They also engaged in various operations throughout Crimea. During these efforts, they used a tactic that has become very popular with the Russian government and with Russian operatives. They disguised their identity. If you’ve been reading my series called Division, Inc, you undoubtedly are aware that they have been employing this tactic online with continuing success.

Trump clearly knew it was Russia. The day after Russia commenced this incursion, he sent a tweet that can only be described as taunting the US over it.  

The U.S. has appealed ro Russia not to intervene in Ukraine – Russia tells U.S. they will not become involved, and then laughs loudly!

-Donald trump

Yes, the typo is accurate, as will be all others that appear in this analysis. For accuracy, I will reference his public statements as they appear. The typos are not my focus, but they are part of the record.

Around two months after that tweet, Trump tweeted about Russia and China, while referencing Ukraine.

China is closing a massive oil deal w/ Russia, taking advantage of the Ukraine conflict http://bit.ly/1hcdNwN Smart, unlike our leaders.

-donald trump

In the year following Russia’s incursion, he only tweeted six times about Ukraine or Crimea. Over the same period, he tweeted about Rosie O’Donnell 31 times.

He tweets about what is on his mind. Rosie was, Crimea wasn’t. Furthermore, the only times he took a clear position in his tweets, he said Russia was smart and taunted the US. He offered no sympathies for the people of Crimea. He offered no support for Ukraine.

Of those six total tweets, three were him quoting someone else. In two of those three tweets, he quoted people who were interested in hearing his position on Ukraine. Given his insatiable need to tell the public his position on all sorts of topics, it is very notable that he did not publicly take a position that was unequivocally pro-Ukraine or pro-America, despite these inquiries.

Worth mentioning, Trump also brought Paul Manafort onto his campaign. Manafort just so happened to work for the Russian-backed Party of Regions and ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. This was publicly known and even Paul Manafort’s long-time associate Roger Stone knew that in 2014. Stone later would advocate for Manafort to join the Trump campaign.

Between Stone and a vast trove of publicly available information that his campaign surely checked, Trump invariably knew Manafort’s background. So, if one were looking to the past to determine Trump’s position on Ukraine and Russia’s infiltration of it, he has one particular stance.

If you’ve been keeping up with the news, you may be recalling the javelin missiles and other military aid that the US ultimately gave Ukraine while Trump has been in the WH. Is this exculpatory? The short answer is no.

Trump held up both aid packages, despite approval from his own officials and bipartisan approval from Congress. Ukrainians were dying and his actions showed he did not care. For instance, the State Department issued an export license to Ukraine for those javelins in December 2017. He held up the delivery of that aid for months.

Only after Ukraine publicly announced it was dropping investigations into Paul Manafort did they announce they finally had received that aid. Notably, in March 2018, The Daily Beast spoke with Ukrainian special investigator Serhiy Gorbatyuk. He stated, “It is disappointing to see the Manafort case being frozen for four months.”  Interestingly, Rudy Giuliani met with President Poroshenko (since replaced by Zelensky) in 2017 to talk about unspecified “investments.” Military aid could reasonably be placed under that umbrella term.

The facts show that after Rudy spoke with Poroshenko and various other Ukrainian officials in 2017, the Manafort investigation was frozen. Then it was dropped entirely.

Trump had two options. Either refuse to allow Ukraine to receive that approved military aid or stand aside. Refusing would have served as additional evidence against him in the Trump/Russia investigation. So, he stepped aside, but only after those Manafort investigations were dropped. Furthermore, former Ukrainian prosecutor Lutsenko let Kilimnik flee to Russia around the same time. Kilimnik was Paul Manafort’s contact who relayed messages to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska during the 2016 campaign, per the Mueller Report.

According to the White House’s own memo, Trump praised Lutsenko in that phone call with current Ukrainian President Zelensky. This man also had at least 10 conversations with Rudy Giuliani, according to Lutsenko himself. Rudy has made it clear that his involvement in these matters was on behalf of his client, Donald Trump. Giuliani’s travels to Ukraine also included meeting with Pro-Russian official and former member of Yanukovych’s party, namely Hennadiy Kernes.

There’s much more to cover regarding Trump and Ukraine that simply would derail the discussion at hand. But, just based on these observations, it is not remotely reasonable to take the arming of Ukraine as exculpatory evidence. It would have been damning if he had completely obstructed that military aid.

Trump and Giuliani certainly appear to be very talented at multi-tasking, when it suits them. Because while engaging in all these acts, Giuliani was working with 2 guys who were arrested this week on various charges. One of those men, Parnas, had previously recounted selling condos for Trump’s father and has had a repeated history of showing up in pictures with Trump. Giuliani was paid handsomely by Fraud Guarantee, which Parnas operated. Further details regarding who funded these men is currently being brought to the surface, and it is quite intriguing.

There I go again, getting derailed. Well, seems a good time to take a break and pick back up in Part II. Much remains to be discussed. I presume this will take at least three installments.