Science Seen Physicist and Time One author Colin Gillespie helps you understand your world.
Once we see The Donald as a Russian agent who has been doing Putin’s bidding for years it all makes sense
So much about Donald Trump, his behavior, his connections, his campaign and his presidency seems so crazy it is hard to make sense of it all—until we see for years he’s been a Russian agent working for spymaster Vladimir Putin. This is a deeper treason than previously speculated.
We don’t know what is going on inside US Department of Justice special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe. But a wide array of singular information is out there. It’s a question of how to use it.
Most science uses analysis, which is deductive reasoning that breaks a problem down for detailed consideration. However, solving some problems—like How did the universe begin?—calls for synthesis. Its reasoning is inductive, harvesting disparate observations to find a single explanation. Enter the Presidential problem: How can we best make sense of the many singular facts we know about him?
Arthur Conan Doyle, leading exponent of detection science, has Sherlock Holmes, past master of inductive reasoning, saying: ‘Singularity is almost invariably a clue.’
Here’s a singularity to start with: Mueller’s investigators include leading money-laundering experts.
Here’s another: Trump’s business modus operandi was to borrow big and fail to repay the loans. He boasted about it. In 2008, Trump stiffed Deutsche Bank for $40 million that he had personally guaranteed. After that what bank would lend to him? None, except Deutsche Bank! It since seems to have become the main bank financing Trump-family enterprise.
Deutsche Bank is a financial services company headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany. It aspires to be ‘the leading client-centric global universal bank’.
In reality it’s well known as a leading money launderer with ties to Russian oligarchs and financial crimes. In the past 12 months it paid hundreds of millions of dollars to settle fraud and price-rigging cases. Mueller’s Russia probe is reportedly looking into Deutsche Bank’s activities.
Money laundering may manifest itself in singular transactions. In 2008 Trump sold a Florida mansion he bought for $42 million and never lived in to a Russian oligarch for $95 million, who then tore it down.
It’s unclear when they may have started but Trump money-laundering connections go back many years. Internal Revenue Service documents show the Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City engaged in money laundering for decades after its 1990 opening.
In 2012 a luxury Trump International Hotel sprang into being in a bizarre location, a rough district in Baku, Azerbaijan. A few blocks from the Safran Hotel, which has rooms for $18, it cost hundreds of millions of dollars, much of it paid in cash. The New Yorker describes it as ‘a corrupt operation engineered by oligarchs tied to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard’ in an article that explores how its development—overseen by daughter Ivanka Trump—was singularly suited to money laundering. The hotel never opened.
Trump’s real-estate businesses, hotels and casinos were financial disasters. His record shows he was never any good at it. Yet once again his net worth is in the billions. Synthesis suggests a simple explanation: His real business is large-scale money laundering, mostly for Russian oligarchs. This would swiftly come to Putin’s personal attention.
Russian state security FSB (formerly KGB) are masters of suborning vulnerable people to become agents. Putin knows exactly how to do it; it was his KGB spymaster career that got him appointed Director of the FSB. There was no need for blackmail based on kinky video from a wired Moscow hotel four years ago, as reported by an ex-intelligence officer. Trump became Putin’s creature body and soul long before that, soon after he did his first Russian dirty-money deal.
Let’s be clear: This is not an expanded version of the election-collusion story. There was no need for collusion! This was initiated by a direct order from Putin to the election’s manipulators to move his man into the White House; and Putin—who would trust nobody else with this—is Trump’s direct controller.
Putin’s interference in the election has been portrayed as revenge for Hillary Clinton’s interfering in his own 2011 election. Maybe, but Putin is about much more than that. He sees the collapse of the Soviet Union, brought down by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, as ‘the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century’. He sees NATO’s expansion close to Russia’s borders as a threat. He sees continued sanctions, promoted by the US, as wounding Russia’s economic recovery.
Much more than revenge, Putin wants to make Russia great again—greater than the USA. Trump’s mission is plain to see: Take the US down; make it never great again. For a man who is incompetent at so many other things, he’s doing a great job— weakening America’s alliances, demoralizing its State Department, attacking its democratic institutions, destroying its moral ascendancy, hurting its economic prospects, undercutting its security establishment—the list goes on.
Induction does not share the logic of deduction. Its weight depends upon explaining all those singular observations (here we’ve only sampled them) with one simple assumption. It leaves open the possibility that Trump is not a Russian and there is a better explanation; or perhaps it’s all a wild coincidence.
One thing is certain: Mueller knows much more than we can discern. But with what we do know we can project charges Mueller may contemplate. Obstruction of justice might not be worth the bother; one would hardly be surprised to see money laundering, tax evasion, conspiracy and treason.
These charges seem sure to lead to impeachment proceedings. It’s true that, as The Globe & Mail’s Margaret Wente (speaking for a wide consensus) said, this ‘would require evidence of criminal wrongdoing so strong that his own base would abandon him ….’
For obstruction of justice, this seems unlikely. But for treason? If the probe yields convincing evidence, overnight Trump will become a pariah. Mueller is reputed to know how to manage this kind of thing.
One can almost sympathize with Trump, trapped by greed and now a hapless pawn in the hands of a master manipulator, almost losing his mind as he feels facts closing in on him. The world’s worst danger is not—as current chatter has it—a constitutional crisis over firing Mueller. That would at most put off the evil day.
Davide Monteleone for The New Yorker; https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/03/13/donald-trumps-worst-deal