There is much we do not know about Donald Trump’s connections to Putin and Russia. But we do know these facts:
- Trump wanted to build a hotel in Moscow. He asked Russia before the 2016 election to release any emails of Hillary Clinton’s that they had in their hands.
- Putin and Russia used social media to divide Americans, especially over the issue of race, before the 2016 election.
- Putin wanted Trump to win the elections in 2016 and 2020. Putin obviously failed in 2020, as Trump lost by over 7 million votes. Trump also lost by 3 million to Hillary Clinton in 2016, but won the election due to the Electoral College, which makes it possible for minority candidates to win national presidential elections.
- Trump has to this day not criticized Putin for his oppression of his own people, the suppression of Russian media, or his invasion of Ukraine and the war crimes committed by Russian soldiers.
- Members of Trump’s family, and campaign staff had meetings with Russians before the 2016 election, with no record of what transpired. After Trump became president, he welcomed Russian governmental officials into the Oval Office, and there is no written record of what was said.
- Trump and Putin had a long private meeting in Helsinki and there is no written record of the content of their discussion.
I am not arguing that knowingly Trump was or is a Russian asset. My argument is that he is, for sure, unknowingly a Russian asset. And by that I mean that Trump is carrying out what Putin wants to see happen in America: A deeply divided country where Americans are at each other’s throats.
Our divisions make us weaker. Trump had little use for NATO, and weakened the alliance, which of course delighted Putin. Trump’s unwillingness to sell weapons to Ukraine unless the government dug up dirt on Hunter Biden also made Putin very happy. No doubt Putin was cooking up his invasion of Ukraine even back then, having already gobbled up Crimea in 2014.
All of this — and much more could be said — makes Trump a potential threat to national security. Thus, when the Justice Department found out that Trump still had boxes of potentially top secret documents in his residence in Florida, there was an urgency to get them removed and secured.
We do not know if those retrieved documents contain secrets about nuclear weapons, ours or those of other nations. But does anybody think it would have been a good idea to leave these boxes of documents in a private residence, a club at that, with many people coming and going? I am sure the Chinese and Russians have agents capable of getting their hands on those documents, and wanted to do so.
The true story of Trump and Putin’s connections may never be known, but there is something fishy about the whole thing. How much Russian money filtered through the Trump business organization, even laundered, is also unknown. We know for sure that Russians did buy real estate holdings from Trump, which is not a crime but shows another connection between Trump and Russia.
It is difficult for me to believe that Trump would knowingly betray his country. However, what sticks in my throat is the 187 minutes on Jan. 6 when Trump sat in his dining room off of the Oval Office and took no action to stop the insurrection at the Capitol when the police were being beaten and Congress was being threatened and Vice President Pence was being threatened with a hangman’s noose. Trump’s inaction has no excuse and I have not heard any, even on FOX News. Republicans also are silent on this one issue.
If Trump could betray his oath of office and his oath to our Constitution on Jan. 6, is it any surprise that the Justice Department might have had fears that Trump might betray his country once again with classified documents that had no reason to be taken from Washington to Florida? I am not saying that Trump would have done this, but can’t we all agree that these documents in a locked room in a private residence might have been a tempting target for foreign agents? Can’t we all agree, for once, that these documents needed to retrieved? Can’t we all agree that those 187 minutes on Jan. 6 when Trump did nothing to stop a coup, raises serious questions about this man’s character and his loyalties?
— Henry Idema lives in Grand Haven. He can be reached at email@example.com.