- The Washington Times
Thursday, May 9, 2019

Joe Lockhart, President Bill Clinton’s press secretary, has a conspiracy spin on President Trump’s financial problems in the 1980s-90s: Russia and Vladimir Putin.

On CNN this week, a panel was discussing the New York Times story on Mr. Trump avoiding federal incomes taxes due to deep financial loses 20-30 years ago.

Without evidence, Mr. Lockhart, a communications consultant, suggested Mr. Trump’s real estate development company was able to recover by tapping into Russian money.

“And I think some serious questions are raised here about, well, how did he continue to fuel this?” Mr. Lockhart said “This is what the Democrats on the Intel Committee have been trying to get at and the Judiciary Committee, which is somewhere a lifeline was extended to him to keep him going. Did that come from Russian money? Does that explain why Vladimir Putin has some sort of stranglehold over him?”

The Democrat then answered his own question: “So I think it answers a basic seminal question here but then raises a bunch of other ones, which gives way more legitimacy to what the Democrats in Congress are trying to find out.”

Said a Republican congressional staffer, “Laughable and shameless. What is wrong with these people?”

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s 448-page report found no election conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

The Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party funded production of a Russian-sourced dossier that falsely said a conspiracy existed and that Mr. Trump financed computer hacking here and aboard. Mr. Mueller found no evidence of this.

In terms of a Putin “stranglehold,” Republicans list a number of anti-Kremlin moves approved by Mr. Trump.

  • Pulling out of a missile treaty because Moscow is cheating
  • Adding sanctions on Putin cronies.
  • Delivering advanced anti-tank weapons to Ukraine to attack Russian-backed forces.
  • Urging NATO countries to increase defense spending to deter Russia.
  • Pressing Germany to end a natural gas deal with Russia and give the contact to Americans.

Mr. Trump complained last year that Germany wants it both ways: It desires U.S. military forces in-country to protect it from Moscow, yet is giving Russian-owned Gazprom its national gas business by way of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

Earlier this year, the U.S. embassy spokesman in Berlin issued a threat of sanctions against European firms building the pipeline.

“The U.S. Government has been clear that we agree with the European Parliament, the U.S. House and nearly 20 European countries in opposition to the Russian Nord Stream 2 project.” The spokesman also said, according to the Washington Post, that “companies are free to work on [the pipe line] and we are free to make clear that working on it could disqualify them from also working on U.S. projects.”

Ambassador Richard Grenell wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that said, “The Nord Stream 2 pipeline project would increase German dependence on Russia and harm European security.”

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