Trump's Failed $464M Bond Makes Him A National Security Risk

Trump's Failed $464M Bond Makes Him A National Security Risk

Forrmer President Donald Trump and his 2016 campaign manager, convicted felon Paul Manafort

Donald trump and Melania Trump on a event

National security, legal, and political experts are lining up to sound the alarm about the potential national security risks swirling around Donald Trump, and those warnings are getting stronger.

One month after Trump descended the Trump Tower escalator in 2015 to announce his run for president, CNN reported on the real estate mogul’s repeated claims of great wealth. At one point Trump told supporters he was worth “well over $10 billion.” At other points Trump says, “I’m very rich,” and “I’m really rich.” CNN’s John King noted, “some voters see this as a virtue, in the sense that they think politicians are too beholden to special interests.”

Days later Politico ran with this headline: “Donald Trump’s new pitch: I’m so rich I can’t be bought.”

Fast forward nearly a decade later.

Donald Trump’s attorneys declared in court documents Monday that 30 companies all refused to secure a $464 million bond for Trump, which he owes the State of New York after losing his civil business fraud trial.

The sirens are now wailing.

Citing a Washington Post report, MSNBC’s Steve Benen writes, “it’s now ‘expected’ that Manafort will be hired” to work on the Trump 2024 presidential campaign, “at least in part because the former president is ‘determined to bring Manafort back into the fold.'”

Manafort is Paul Manafort, Trump’s former 2016 campaign chairman who in 2017, “surrendered to the F.B.I. and pleaded not guilty to charges that he laundered millions of dollars through overseas shell companies,” according to a New York Times report in October of 2017.

The Times also noted that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had “announced charges … against three advisers to President Trump’s campaign,” including Manafort, “and laid out the most explicit evidence to date that his campaign was eager to coordinate with the Russian government to damage his rival, Hillary Clinton.”

In 2019, NPR reported, almost as a footnote, that “a court filing that was inadvertently unsealed earlier this year, revealed that Manafort shared polling data with a business associate who has ties to Russian intelligence services.”

In his MSNBC report, Benen noted, “the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee concluded that Manafort ‘represented a grave counterintelligence threat‘ in 2016 due to his relationship with a Russian intelligence officer.”

“’The Committee found that Manafort’s presence on the Campaign and proximity to Trump created opportunities for Russian intelligence services to exert influence over, and acquire confidential information on, the Trump campaign,’ the Senate report added.” Benen also reported: “When the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report literally pointed to a ‘direct tie between senior Trump Campaign officials and the Russian intelligence services,’ it was referring in part to Manafort ‘directly and indirectly’ communicating with an accused Russian intelligence officer, a Russian oligarch, and several pro-Russian oligarchs in Ukraine.”

Benen reinforced his thesis, writing on social media: “When the Senate Intelligence Committee pointed to a ‘direct tie’ between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence services, it was referring in large part to Paul Manafort — who’s reportedly now headed back to Team Trump.”

Add to all that this plea from The Atlantic’s Tom Nichols, a retired U.S. Naval War College professor and expert on Russia, nuclear weapons, and national security affairs.

“According to reports last week, the U.S. intelligence community is preparing to give Donald Trump classified intelligence briefings, a courtesy every White House extends to major-party candidates to ensure an effective transition. An excellent tradition—but not one that should be observed this year,” Nichols wrote at The Atlantic in a piece titled, “Donald Trump Is a National-Security Risk.”

“Indeed, if Trump were a federal employee, he’d have likely already been stripped of his clearances and escorted from the building.”

After discussing “Trump’s open and continuing affection” for authoritarian dictators, Nichols notes, “even if Trump could explain away his creepy dictator crushes and clarify his byzantine finances, he is currently facing more than half a billion dollars in court judgments against him.”

“That’s a lot of money for anyone, and Trump’s scramble to post a bond for even a small portion of that suggests that the man is in terrible financial condition, which is always a bright-red light in the clearance process.”

Political strategist Simon Rosenberg on Monday warned: “If Trump is given access to national security briefings he will now have someone with a proven history of selling stuff to the Russians on his team to help facilitate the movement of our intel to our adversaries.”

Also on Monday, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) wrote on X: “We cannot emphasize this enough: Trump’s mounting court fines make him a massive national security risk.”

“After multiple losses against E. Jean Carroll and New York Attorney General Letitia James, Donald Trump is facing judgements that could end up costing him upwards of $600 million,” CREW reported February 29. “But these rulings are more than a financial headache for Trump, they are an unprecedented opportunity to buy influence with a leading presidential candidate and a sitting president should he be re-elected.”

Diving deeper, CREW notes, “Trump left the presidency with at least $1.1 billion dollars in debt tied to the COVID-weakened commercial real estate market, the vast majority of which would come due in a hypothetical second term in office. These rulings would make that number 50% higher.”

“Giving the highest and most powerful office in the land to someone deeply in debt and looking for ways to make back hundreds of millions of dollars he lost in court is a recipe for the kinds of corruption that aren’t theoretical when it comes to Trump. There’s a reason that you can’t get a job in the military or the financial services industry, or even referee a major sporting event, if you have a massive amount of debt. And you certainly aren’t getting a security clearance because you become too big of a target for corruption.”

Bloomberg Opinion senior executive editor Tim O’Brien, an MSNBC political analyst and author of TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald, observed, “Trump’s financial trap — he can’t come up with the cash to appeal his $454 million civil fraud judgment — may ravage his business. More directly: It intensifies his threat to national security by making him an easy mark for overseas interests.”

“There’s no reason to believe that Trump, whose businesses collected millions of dollars from foreign governments and officials while he was president, won’t have a for-sale sign out now that he’s struggling with the suffocating weight of court judgments,” O’Brien continues at Bloomberg.

“Trump is being criminally prosecuted for allegedly misappropriating classified documents and stashing them at Mar-a-Lago, his home in Palm Beach, Florida. Without a trial and public disclosure of more evidence, Trump’s motivations for taking the documents are unknown, but it’s reasonable to wonder whether he pondered trying to sell them. Monetizing the White House has been something of a family affair, after all. His son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has been busy trading financially on his proximity to the former president, for example.”

O’Brien concludes, “the going is likely to get rough for Trump as this plays out, and he’s likely to become more financially desperate with each passing day. That’s going to make him easy prey for interested lenders — and an easy mark for overseas interests eager to influence US policy.”


Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

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