Trump’s Worst Collusion Isn’t With Russia — It’s With Corporations

By Peter Certo | ( | – –

The billionaires who backed Trump are making out a lot better than Putin.

I’ve always been a little skeptical that there’d be a smoking gun about the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia. The latest news about Donald Trump, Jr., however, is tantalizingly close.

The short version of the story, revealed by emails the New York Times obtained, is that the president’s eldest son was offered “some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary” and “would be very useful to your father.”

More to the point, the younger Trump was explicitly told this was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” Donald, Jr.’s reply? “I love it.”

Trump Jr. didn’t just host that meeting at Trump Tower. He also brought along campaign manager Paul Manafort and top Trump confidante (and son-in-law) Jared Kushner.

We still don’t have evidence they coordinated with Russian efforts to release Clinton campaign emails, spread “fake news,” or hack state voting systems. But at the very least, the top members of Trump’s inner circle turned up to get intelligence they knew was part of a foreign effort to meddle in the election.

Some in Washington are convinced they’ve heard enough already, with Virginia senator (and failed VP candidate) Tim Kaine calling the meeting “treason.”

Perhaps. But it’s worth asking: Who’s done the real harm here? Some argue it’s not the Russians after all.

“The effects of the crime are undetectable,” the legendary social critic Noam Chomsky says of the alleged Russian meddling, “unlike the massive effects of interference by corporate power and private wealth.”

That’s worth dwelling on.

Many leading liberals suspect, now with a little more evidence, that Trump worked with Russia to win his election. But we’ve long known that huge corporations and wealthy individuals threw their weight behind the billionaire.

That gambit’s paying off far more handsomely for them — and more destructively for the rest of us — than any scheme by Putin.

The evidence is hiding in plain sight.

The top priority in Congress right now is to move a health bill that would gut Medicaid and throw at least 22 million Americans off their insurance — while loosening regulations on insurance companies and cutting taxes on the wealthiest by over $346 billion.

As few as 12 percent of Americans support that bill, but the allegiance of its supporters isn’t to voters — it’s plainly to the wealthy donors who’d get those tax cuts.

Meanwhile, majorities of Americans in every single congressional district support efforts to curb local pollution, limit carbon emissions, and transition to wind and solar. And majorities in every single state back the Paris climate agreement.

Yet even as scientists warn large parts of the planet could soon become uninhabitable, the fossil fuel-backed Trump administration has put a climate denier in charge of the EPA, pulled the U.S. out of Paris, and signed legislation to let coal companies dump toxic ash in local waterways.

Meanwhile, as the administration escalates the unpopular Afghan war once again, Kushner invited billionaire military contractors — including Blackwater founder Erik Prince — to advise on policy there.

Elsewhere, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon and other architects of the housing crash are advising Trump on financial deregulation, while student debt profiteers set policy at the Department of Education.

Chomsky complains that this sort of collusion is often “not considered a crime but the normal workings of democracy.” While Trump has taken it to new heights, it’s certainly a bipartisan problem.

If Trump’s people did work with Russia to undermine our vote, they should absolutely be held accountable. But the politicians leading the charge don’t have a snowball’s chance of redeeming our democracy unless they’re willing to take on the corporate conspirators much closer to home.

Peter Certo is the editorial manager of the Institute for Policy Studies and the editor of Foreign Policy In Focus.



Related video added by Juan Cole:

The Young Turks: “Trump’s Infrastructure Plan Funnels Your Taxes To His Billionaire Friends”

6 Responses

  1. Isn’t Russia simply an oil corporation with sovereign powers, like Saudi Arabia? Its actions could pay off beyond the dreams of the non-oil corporations if Trump reverses the forces pushing down oil consumption or does the dirty work of creating a Mideast war. He’s unlikely to manage the former, but the odds are perpetually great for the latter.

    • Surprized the U.S. was not identified as an “oil corporation with sovereign powers.” We certainly qualify.

    • Your comment has to be one of the silliest simplifications of a complex issue ever written. Russia is the largest country on earth which has contributed more to music, dance and literature than any other single country on earth. Comparing Russia to Saudi Arabia is absurd – with the US, the Russians are the world leaders in advanced science. And the Russians do their advanced intellectual work on much smaller budgets. Unlike the US, the Russians are capable of innovating without pillaging the intelligentsia of the entire world – a process which makes each victim nation weaker.

      The oil segment represents a large portion of exports but a relatively small part of the overall economy (just 21%). Russia among other things is the world’s largest gold producer, the world’s second largest vendor of arms.

      John McCain (“a country masquerading as a gas station”) has never been either a credible witness, a good pilot or any kind of real patriot. He’s an opportunistic spoiled son of privilege. To take him as an intellectual role model is a sign of either intellectual bankruptcy or dishonesty.

  2. Certain undeniable aspects of large corporate behavior is inherently evil, dangerous and corrupting. Fossil-fuel corporations are a prime example, as are firearms manufacturers vis-a-vis, the NRA; not to mention “information scavengers” and pharmaceuticals.

    The one thing these porcine corporations all have in common is taxpayer funding through tax breaks, incentives and grants and HUUUGE CONTRACTS.

    What better corporate henchman ready to fill the corporate trough than Donald J. Trump?

    After he fills the Trump family trough, first

    • Hillary Clinton’s debts to Wall Street are far higher than those of even Trump. If the charge is selling out America to corporate interests, the choice was between the kettle and the frying pan. Bernie Sanders was not given a chance, due to collusion between the Clinton campaign and the DNC. Bernie Sanders would easily have beaten Trump in a national election. If you don’t like Trump, you have Hillary Clinton and the DNC to thank for his presidency.

      • Trump is President. Mrs. Clinton is not.

        Please don’t troll with but-but-but-Clintons. It’s a waste of time and bandwidth.

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