If you’ve seen the 2007 movie Eastern Promises, then you probably know more about the Russian mafia–aka the Solntsevskaya Bratva–than the vast majority of Americans. When we hear the word “mafia,” the first images that come to mind are likely to be scenes from the Godfather movies or documentaries we’ve seen on television, replete with men with names like Sammy “The Bull” Gravano or Vincent “The Nose” Gigante. But the mafia is not exclusive to the Italian/Sicilian mob we’ve seen on screens over the decades.
Seeing as how the 2016 Trump campaign is now under investigation for alleged ties to Russia, Russian president Vladimir Putin, and computer hackers working on behalf of the Russian government, it seems fair to ask the following question: Might Trump, in his worldwide business dealings, have had contact with Russian mobsters? Could they also have their hooks in the American head of state?
James Henry, a lawyer-turned-journalist who writes for DC Report, is convinced that Trump is indeed linked to Russian organized crime, and also says the FBI is now looking into possible dealings between Trump and the Russian mafia. Henry recently commented:
“There’s one camp that says there’s nothing to this, which I think is garbage. There’s another camp that Trump was a mole, is a puppet, it’s all about collusion with respect to last year’s election. And I say the jury is out on that.
“There’s a third camp, which is stuff I have been working on, is the organized crime. This guy’s [Trump is] a mobster. He has all these dodgy business partners. He knew or should have known that they were involved in organized crime, money-laundering, racketeering. That’s pretty hard to deny. We see the people he’s been in business with. We see the deals over and over again. It’s in plain sight. That’s the theory I’ve been working on.”
And the Russian mob has tentacles all over the globe. It’s estimated by Fortune that Russian organized crime has an annual revenue of $8.5 billion. Here’s what else we know about the Solntsevskaya Bratva:
- It has upwards of 9,000 members operating in 10 semi-autonomous “brigades.”
- Russian organized crime’s bread and butter activities to generate income are drugs–most notably heroin from Afghanistan–and human trafficking, including children who are sexually exploited.
- The Bratva pools its resources to improve their financial strength.
- The Russian mafia, like all groups involved in criminal activities, must hide their income through money laundering.
- Russian Bratva has extensive connections to Russian business leaders and politicians, including Vladimir Putin.
Now ask yourself another question regarding Trump and Russia: If Trump does indeed have business dealings in Russia (if he would release his taxes, we’d know for sure), how likely it is that he would also have connections to Solntsevskaya Bratva? It would seem impossible for him to not have such connections if he wanted to conduct business in a country as corrupt as Russia.
James Henry says a good prosecutor could easily discover if Trump is mixed up in Russian organized crime:
“You could make a case on good old-fashioned criminal law — if you had a prosecutor.”
But the likelihood that the Justice Department under Jeff Sessions would ever willingly do such an investigation is almost nonexistent. Yet another reason an independent counsel is so desperately needed in the matter of Donald Trump. Congress could demand an independent counsel, but that will require Republicans to start acting like statesmen instead of partisans.
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org