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Craig Unger: There Is a Russian Asset in the White House | The Russia Desk | NowThis

Craig Unger: There Is a Russian Asset in the White House | The Russia Desk | NowThis

One doesn’t like to say it but there is a Russian asset in the White House. That man, who certainly isn’t pulling any punches, is journalist and author Craig Unger. He’s worked for Vanity Fair and Esquire but most recently he’s written a book called ‘House of
Trump, House of Putin’. I got the chance to sit down with Craig to discuss the book where
he lays out Trump’s connection to Russian
organized crime via money laundering rackets, the origins of the strategy Russia used to attack the U.S., and what the ordinary citizen like you and me can do to fight this. You call the cultivation of Donald
Trump one of the greatest intelligence operations
in history. You also see that he could maybe
unwittingly be a Russian agent. Can you explain what that distinction
is. Right. Well this appears to be an
operation that stretched over many decades. More than 35 years and I think it began organically
nearly as money laundering and evolved into something else. And in 1984 Donald Trump met with a man named David Bogatin who
was tied to the Russian mafia and Bogatin and came in with six million dollars, that’s equivalent of about 15 million
today, and said, “I’ll five condos”. That according to the state attorney general’s office of New York was laundering money. It was a transaction that was all cash and bought through anonymous shell companies. That Kind of transaction happened again and again. And if it had only happened
two or three times I think you could make
a strong case that we don’t know what’s going
through his mind. But there has been investigations that found at least 13 hundred similar transactions, all cash transactions, in which anonymous shell companies are buying Trump real estate. That is probably billions of dollars. And you know the legal concept known as willful ignorance or deliberate ignorance and I think a good case can be made that there’s a real pattern here and that Trump was pretty much aware of going on on some level because it was so highly profitable. Can you explain just a basic level
what money laundering is? Money laundering is essentially taking dirty money often from organized crime or flight capital, and Russia has had roughly a trillion dollars in foreign capital since Vladimir Putin has been president, and entering into the western world making it legitimate. Washing through banks. So real estate is a terrific way to launder lots of money and the Russians figured that out. And so did Donald Trump. So why is real estate in particular so
fantastic for this? Well the regulations are incredibly lax. That is it is illegal to buy a condo here in Manhattan all cash through a shell company and no one will know that you own it. So you lay out the case that. Donald Trump’s ties to Russians
started long before 2016. Right. And this is in the Russian
mafia and I think an incredibly important
thing to understand is that the Russian mafia is very different from the Italian American
Mafia we’re more familiar with here in the United
States. And the big difference is the Russian
mafia are state actors they are part of Russian intelligence. I interviewed General Oleg Kalugin who’d been head of counterintelligence
for the KGB and when I asked him about the Russian
mafia he said, “Oh that’s just another
branch of the KGB. So when you unpack what really was going on. That you had Russian mobsters buying into Trump Tower 35 years ago. That they continued to have a presence on and off laundering vast amounts of money through Trump real
estate living in Trump Tower. The FBI searching and finding that Russian mobsters lived there and all the way up to
2013. And you have a huge bust of a gambling ring with Russian mobsters in Trump Tower. And when you understand that these people are tied to Russian
intelligence they have a line straight into the
Kremlin and they are living in the home of the president of the United States that is a massive security problem. So how much of this do you think is
actual long term strategy coming from Vladimir Putin himself? And how much of it is this has been an ongoing operation of
Russian intelligence to try to destabilize the United States? Well by 2013 you see things really start to kick in. And at that time that was sort of
interesting the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
for the Russian military general Gerasimov put out a paper that sometimes known
as the Gerasimov doctrine. And he proposed a policy of hybrid warfare. At the time he was saying that the
Russian military is absolutely no match for the American military. And that’s completely true but he was saying it really didn’t
matter because massive land invasions and old-fashioned wars generally don’t yield very significant results. Look at what the United States ended
up with Vietnam. Nothing. So he proposed a strategy of hybrid warfare that included cyberwarfare media manipulation. You see this massive assault on the truth and it is right out of the Kremlin playbook. The kind of lies Trump tells again and again and again you know you feel you have to respond to them but when you do it you’re playing his
game. You’re being distracted by him. You’re not going after your own
agenda. Trump is wealthy. He was born wealthy, he inherited wealth. Why would somebody like that risk all of this to get involved in my laundering? Well he’s a very odd personality. But you see ties to organized crime going way way back in the Trump
family. His father, who was a real estate developer in Queens and Brooklyn, had ties to the Russian
mafia. When Trump himself started out he also had ties to the Mafia and his lawyer was Roy Cohn who was famous dark prince of the McCarthy era. And Roy Cohn was also a lawyer for the Italian American Mafia which was just about to start
partnering with the newly arrived Russian mafia. So I think in a way this is where the thing started off with Trump getting involved with that and that’s been the source of his whole fortune. They own him. He was four billion dollars in debt after his Atlantic City when he overexpanded there and they came to his aid with a completely different business
plan for him. Now one of the other criticisms of the Mullar investigation comes from
people who say, “Oh it’s a McCarthyite type thing that’s happening in America
right now and there is Russophobia occurring”. But I think that you make a clear case that we’re talking about
Russian mafia actors and state actors. It’s not just the Russians in general as the problem. This is about an assault on American sovereignty. You know I even find the word meddling trivializes everything meddling is what your in-laws do with your marriage. This was an assault on America’s
sovereignty by tampering with our electoral system. Part of the challenge of this whole
scandal is it is it breaks so many taboos. I mean one doesn’t like to say it but there is a Russian asset in the White House. The Russians were able to install their man in the White House without firing a single shot. In many ways I think this is a global
conflict and it is important to see it that
way. We see Russia doing the same kind of techniques all over Europe and they fostered this wave of right wing anti immigrant populism as a way of undermining European and Western unity. Putin wants to destroy the Western
alliance. And he has done a pretty good job of
it so far. I think it calls for a complete
overhauling of our election rules like the Citizens United rule the way Super PACs are run. I think these investigations will be
going on for several years. What can the average person who is
angry about this do about it? Vote. Everyone has to vote. And the voter participation has been
terrible. And it got much better for the
midterms but it was crucial. If the Democrats lost the midterms I think we would
have faced another two years of Trump without the Democrats having any weapon
whatsoever to fight back with. Until the Democrats come back Trump has effectively neutralized checks and balances and what I look forward to is the
Democrats getting back in power and fighting back. Because this is not the kind of democracy I grew up in. That’s it for this week’s Russia desk. Thank you so much for watching. Be sure to share this video with you liked it. Do you have a story about Russia that
you want us to cover? Let us know in the comments and we’ll maybe make it into an
episode. Thanks for watching guys, see you soon!

Reader Comments

  1. Why do people find it necessary to play loud music in the back ground while doing an INTERVIEW, it's very very distracting. Please stop doing this.

  2. Exactly! And if Americans weren't so lazy, they could get rid of Trump in a weeks time with national strikes! But their home theatre systems are more important than their democracy. Just wait til it's at your front door and it's too late!

  3. Everyone knows it trump and his family and the people who he has in his whitehouse inner circle. Dr Frankenstein could not control his monster either and Putin too his orange devil trump!!

  4. It is absolutely crazy what Trump is doing and getting away with in this country and now no air traffic controller we're officially sitting ducks

  5. You don't need him to be too smart, he wouldn't be manageable, you need him to be charismatic and also divisive, either dumb enough, or kompromat enough to take instruction.

  6. Someone that has been missing with the Russians for 30 years doing business with them has to be a spy. Trump is a spy of the United States of America. And some United States of American people do not want to see it. They only want to see what they want.

  7. The Trump family has been dealing with the Russians for over 35 years or longer. The whole family is working for Putin. Trump is not working for the people of this country he is getting it ready for Putin to invade.

  8. Why do you think the trumps wanted a back Channel to Russia. Where they could give all the secrets of the United States away to Putin to make us very vulnerable to the Russians.

  9. Trump will never before heard about what kind of dealings he has had with Putin. He owes Putin and he would never turn on Putin. He may put on these little shows with a little bit of sanctions that that is nothing. Because Trump is scared to death of Putin.

  10. The Russians and the syrians both own property in the tower of Trumps. There are several places that they that they have boughten from Trump. Trump launder their money into the United States. Trump is a spy for the Russians.

  11. The strategies that Trump comes up with he gets from Putin. That is why it is so important for him to complish everything he said he was going to do. Not for the people of the United States but for Putin.

  12. Trump went to Russia and had Putin to show him how to do what he is doing. And Trump became Putin's little Muppet. Every action that Trump shows, he learnt from Putin. Why do you think that he Praises Putin like he does, it's not to show off it is that he owes him.

  13. And United States of America always said that they would never be run by the mafia. it but boy it sure looks like the mafia has ended up in the White House.

  14. Trump's Florida hotel has a pregnant Russian women staying in it to have their babies here in the United States to where they can become citizens of the United States of America. At the truth is none they probably do not even have their papers to be here. Trump is a traitor to our country.

  15. Trump supporters : do you have any counterpoints to the moneylaundering associations with Russian mafia claims that preceded his presidential campaign debauchery?
    (pro tip: does not include the words "what about Hillary" or "but Obama")

  16. One word, GREED .
    for GREED .
    BIODIVERSITY of the planet and the animal kingdom.
    Big Oil Corporations have to be in the past.

  17. Trump married a Russian spy.. I've known for years spies were in America. Big time positions in Corporate America. But after seeing this video I realize that there in the White House. Or should I say the Oval Office. I have faith in the American system and Mueller and the justice system will get him.

  18. I think the FBI and CIA know so much more than what's out there in the public. And, if Trump loses the 2020 election, he loses every immunity and will very likely be leaving the White House in cuffs.

  19. God Bless America again,get the last 5, -1 presidents out of our sight ,all 5 are Treasonist Traitors, Globelist, NWO, Freaks!!

  20. A great interview! But viewers could do without the increasingly loud background music that starts about 1/3 the way through. We don't need it, don't need it's Russian-like theme. I'd simply rather listen to the gentleman and the host.

  21. Unfortunately what many of us suspected is true. Washington Post just broke a story of how Trump hid details of meetings with Putin by confiscating his interpreters notes. The perfect asset should now be worried about Russian retaliation. His cover is blown. It is what it is. Russian source under investigation said “The, ah, “dirt on Hillary Clinton?”. That was always code for “let us to talk and discuss, yes, how we are to assist the campaign contest. What and where, message and where to target. That is what we discuss. Very effective, no? Our intelligence helping the Americans. Much money involved, much at stake. This magnitsky, shame on the orphans, very bad for us.”

  22. I'm guessing since Trumps first business dealings with Russia goes back 35 years ago, the CIA has no info on this BIG DEM ISSUE OF TRUMP BEING A RUSSIAN SPY. dem idiots.

  23. That is exactly what i always think and intended to write about it! Some of the phases of the twitters gone beyond the knowledge of Trump himself. I am 200%, pretty sure, Putin is holding Trump’s ball in his hand. Trump will fulfill all the wishes of Putin in a long run. Russia, China, Vietnam Universities have Major in Propaganda, you can see it back in the phases of the Trump’s Twitter. It’s impossible for Trump to has that kind of skill!

  24. "Americans" voted for this guy.  They are among the dumbest in the world.  I'm no scholar, but I saw who he was.  This is America?!!!

  25. I have been Watching Trump through the Campaighn till Now! I Could See it ! It has been So ovious! Things he says and does! His Actions! He has "Done All these things Willingly , He is materialistic, Greedy, Ruthless, Hateful, he has no emotions and he Lies, He Lives Off "Ego Feeding" . No Matters How You try to sugar Coat it Trump is Corrupt and will Do anything for money & Power even "Sell Out America". Know this his Family, kids are ALL RIGHT IN THE CORRUPTION WITH HIM.

  26. TRUMP IS "Not a Victim!" He is a "Traitor" he knows Exactly what he is Doing and he is "Destroying Marvelously" and in Our Face!!!

  27. Clearly and intelligently explained by a man whose heart is in the right place: caring about real democracy. Good questions.

  28. Read the book, many of the names in the current news are people Unger identified within the book's content. Putin has something on DJT and it is not pretty.

  29. I've been saying this all along. At the very least, he is beholden to the Russians. They fund his projects. He has at most 6 more years in office then he will build more projects. The banks wont fund them. He has to do there bidding.Who knows if any Russian sympathizers are in his cabinet.

  30. Kinda makes you wonder about the real agenda behind our current "government shutdown." With our security mechanisms compromised, air traffic disrupted, and Mitch McConnell in cahoots, we would appear to be playing into Putin's hands.

  31. another princeling who thinks he's better than everyone else, above the law, a gangsta. this info shoulda been all over the news when Tchump announced his run. Bernie and AOC for prez and vp. can dems please be democratic, ie, represent the 99% and not the .01%. And while they're at it, write some laws that put the media back in the hands of the people – time to kick out the elitist, filthy, holier-than-thou owners of the commons. make elections publicly financed. "How you going to pay for that?" Up the tax on the rich by about .001%; that oughta do it. And while we're at it, get that marginal tax on the rich implemented, like AOC suggests. as a czech expat, the european rich, have to pay taxes. How do you think they have a social welfare system? instead, in america, the rich get social welfare, paid for by the poor. the corrupt mo fos, will burn this planet to the ground, like trump is doing, all for their gigantic egos. time for change!

  32. 1,300 all cash transactions with Russian money paid to Trump for real estate transactions. Yeah I think you could call that a pattern, and a troubling pattern at that.

  33. What I don't understand is WHY Trump Supporters are OK with Trump having "Ties" to Russia?!?
    It's OBVIOUS that he does…and his supporters just overlook that FACT!!!…It's like they need more PROOF! SMDH!!!

  34. Very serious claims….the worst thing in the history of the republic….this will never be repaired… America is done….

  35. Every time you folks call trump supporters morons you just make them close ranks. When has ANYONE changed their mind after being insulted?

  36. It's fair to assume that Russia didn't only cultivate DT. But may also have Senators and Congresspersons and others compromised. I'm sure they didn't put all their eggs in one basket.

  37. If true it should all be well investigated and proven. There is no room for anyone with suspicions of being a Russian asset to be anywhere near the White House.

  38. For well over 3 years I've shared the Moscow Puppet or aka Putin's Trump. For well over 10 years TRUMP has had 2 Penthouse Floors in his Tower leased (bought) by the Russian Mafia. That is why Trump Tower has always been called little MOSCOW.

  39. Did our intelligence agency scour the Oval Office for monitoring bug plants after the private Russian visit? When trump bragged about firing Comey

  40. Putin crushes Russian gangsters. What Putin has on Trump is the criminal groups and their crimes in Russia that Trump contributed to.

  41. Anyone at all who cared to check knew all of this long before Trump lost the election. He's still there and still making buttloads of money off the Russians, the Mafia and the office of the president. Time for our legislators to grow a pair and do what is right instead of just looking at the polling numbers of idiots.

  42. So basically its easier to get into the White House as an agent than to buy a house as a private citizen.

  43. When Senator Joe McCarthy warned us about Soviet influence in the administrations of FDR, Truman, & Eisenhower, he was vilified, but now the same party that vilified McCarthy constantly moan about "Russian collusion ".

  44. When the Soviets infiltrated our government, they wanted to take over the world, there is no reason for the Russians to fix our elections or infiltrate the government, this is just left wing propaganda because they still can't believe their anointed princess lost.

  45. Trump are collusion plains sight.his blowers a ways his father monies and bankruptcy 6 times bad business man ..lies bullying psychopath narcissist a traitor a worst Parasite ..ever walked on this planet..trump agent for Putin Russia's ..Putin drinking volka clapping hands pulled trump puppet disgraced for the country.

  46. Any of this would be immediate disqualification for the lowest military clearance. How is it even possible for him to be eligible for Presidency?!

  47. Craig Unger the 9/11 conspiracy theorist is really being taken seriously? An giver whats happened in the last few weeks this video has not aged well.

  48. So often, what Trump does and says matches what Putin would want. Before making a decision Trump asks himself: "What would Putin want?"

  49. Its no secret that the russian mafia became powerful after the collapse of the soviet union. They did what is being done here, the filthy rich become even filthier and the middle class and poor die in the streets. Russian mafia isn’t flamboyant like trump, which is why Paul Klebnikov was killed for his Russian Forbes magazine article. He was gunned down in 2004 in spectacular fashion because he dared to publish a list of russias wealthiest citizens. And putins money is tied up primarily where? In oil. The majority of the american public can see right through it, i think the biggest mistake is trusting in the electoral process which has been corrupt since 2000, maybe before. The majority party isnt interested in democracy, they are interested in money and power. Despite some individuals vilifying trump as candidate, he was perfect for russia. He needed financial assistance and didnt care where he got it. Russia was willing to play (unlike UAE and China). The party stays powerful and everyone gets paid. UAE is a player but they want to push russia out, and trump and his lackeys arent as beholden to them yet. But when russia, uae or china get what they want, trump is toast. Hes playing with ruthless mobsters. Not only are they smarter than he is, they arent as arrogant; trump listens to nobody. He also thinks he can get away with crimes in plain sight. The others are more discreet.

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