National Commentary

Trump’s Role in a Russian Coup

nfbenton-mugThere are an abundance of tell-tale signs, but almost no one is putting them all together to draw the conclusion that what we’re seeing in this presidential election cycle is a coup in progress against the American democracy.

Many, including the media, are distracted by the election process. They think that it all hinges on who wins the presidential election in November. Hillary Clinton cannot call this out, of course, because she is rightfully focused on the election.

But for all intents and purposes, Donald Trump is a cowardly sex fiend who is captured by far more than just Putin, but is deeply entangled by Putin’s American enforcement arm, the infamously cruel, brutal and murderous Russian mafia.

The late Robert I. Friedman, a close friend of a close friend of mine, wrote a book in 2000 entitled Red Mafiya: How the Russian Mob Has Invaded America. Having written numerous investigative journalist articles for the Village Voice and other publications, Friedman, as he wrote in its introduction, had been tipped off by the FBI that the Russian mob – kingpin Semion Mogilevich in particular – put out a contract on him for $100,000.

Originally published by Little, Brown and Company, a second edition of the book was published by Berkley Books in 2002 and Friedman wrote a new afterward for it. By July 2002, Friedman was dead at age 51.

Obviously long before he’d fashioned any interest in becoming the president of the U.S., there are references to Donald Trump in this book, though limited to the fact that key Russian mob figures resided at the Trump Towers in Manhattan and at Trump’s Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City. It was noted that the Taj Mahal, in fact, “had become the Russian mob’s favorite East Coast destination.”

“Scores of Russian hoodlums received ‘comps’ for up to $100,000 a visit for free food, rooms, champagne, cartons of cigarettes, entertainment and transportation in stretch limos and helicopters,” Friedman wrote, citing a federal agent he interviewed. “As long as these guys attract a lot of money or spend a lot of money, the casinos don’t care.” Russian mobsters like Vyacheslav Kirillovich Ivankov who resided at the Trump Towers, “proved a windfall for the casinos, since they often lost hundreds of thousands of dollars a night in the ‘High-Roller Pit.’”

As with the more traditional Five Families mafias of New York, the Russian Mafias which began to move onto U.S. soil in the 1970s era of Detente and came in even more abundant numbers with the fall of the Berlin Wall in the late 1980s, engaged in every form of criminal corruption, a big component of which was use of prostitutes, including child prostitutes, in the blackmail of wealthy and important figures.

But while this may help at least to foster some plausible hypotheses in this crazy election year, the bigger reality is that the Russian Mob is inseparable from the nastiest remnants of the Soviet KGB, which Putin headed, present forms of Russian covert and overt intelligence, the monied interests driving the Russian domestic and foreign policy and their ties to international finance and military-industrial complex interests.

These are powerful and sordid interests with absolutely no loyalty to any notions of democracy as we know it in the U.S.

In fact, as with the Russians’ annexation of Crimea in 2014, these interests don’t really care if the general public even knows what they’re doing, seeing such a public as weak and incapable of preventing them from achieving their objectives. So the Russian ties to the Wikileaks and general computer hacking aimed at influencing the outcome of the U.S. presidential election. We won’t really know until Election Day, at the earliest, what kind of capabilities on this score the Russians really have.

But for them, and presumably for Trump as long as he continues to be useful for them, this coup process will not end with this election outcome. That’s why Trump’s insistence that the election is being rigged signals an escalation the day after November 8, and on from there.

It’s the very existence of democratic values and institutions that are at stake here, above all.