Newsweek's Kurt Eichenwald Explains How Trump’s Business Entanglements Would Cause A "National Security Nightmare"
Eichenwald: The Trump Organization Has Interests And Partnerships That “Often Go Directly Against The Interests Of American National Security”
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From the September 14 edition of CNN's New Day:
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ALISYN CAMEROTA (CO-HOST): A new report in Newsweek investigates the connections between the Trump Organization and foreign businesses and governments, and the report finds that there are connections that would create a national security nightmare if [Donald] Trump is elected. So, let's bring in Kurt Eichenwald, he wrote the story for Newsweek. He’s also a contributing editor for Vanity Fair. Kurt, thanks so much for being here. So, tell us what your reporting has found and what the most troublesome entanglements are for the Trump organization.
KURT EICHENWALD: Well, the entanglements are everywhere, but what the basic story found is that Donald Trump founded and continues to play a significant role in the Trump Organization, which is an international company that has partnerships that -- a large number of them undisclosed, all over the world. And these are with small companies, large companies, businessmen that most Americans wouldn't recognize their names, but many of them are very tied in to different political parties, different politicians. They're in parts of the developing world where you need that kind of connection. And the interests of these businesses, the interests of these politicians,often go directly against the interests of American national security. So, right now you have Donald Trump in a situation where he makes money by aiding the people whose interests don't coincide with America’s.
CHRIS CUOMO (CO-HOST): So, Kurt, let's vet your vetting a little bit, in terms of, tell us how you know this and what leads you to suspect that it would create a dangerous conflict?
EICHENWALD: Let's take a very simple example. You have in Turkey a connection between Trump and a politically tied organization. In fact, it was so politically tied that when there was a project that was launched, the president of Turkey came out to stand there with Donald Trump. Well, the president of Turkey has now declared that to have been a major mistake. As you remember, he recently faced a coup, and what I am being told is that Turkey's cooperation with the United States in terms of providing an airbase where we are able to launch bombers against ISIS would be at risk if Donald Trump was president. And, so, then you come down to who is Donald Trump going to side with? Is he going to try and repair relations with the Turkish government, or is he going to try and act on behalf of his investments and business partners there? And the important thing here is this is an entanglement that cannot be unwound. Donald Trump -- from what I'm hearing, Trump is planning to say that he will put the company in a blind trust, which is sort of like saying, "I have 100 million shares of Apple stock and I'm going to put it in a blind trust." It would be the most transparent thing about his campaign. He would know what's there, he knows who his partners are and he knows -- he will know going forward.
CAMERTOA: Kurt, I want to ask you about something that has cropped up that has raised a lot of eyebrows ever since Paul Manafort was his campaign chairman. What are the entanglements between the Trump Organization and Russia and Ukraine.
EICHENWALD: The Russian and Ukraine connections, the strongest is in Russia. Donald Trump's company, the Trump Organization, trademarked the name "Trump" back in 2008 for the use in certain deals. It met with an organization called MossidyCo (ph), which they tried to negotiate a deal. The head of that organization, who, again, very politically connected, very tied in to the Putin government, backed away from the deal because Trump wanted too much money. Well, now, in the future, you're talking about giving money to either the family of the president of the United States or money that will go to the president of the United States if his company is in this blind trust. And so, that is one thing that exists.
The other is actually surprisingly through The Apprentice. Donald Trump is the executive producer. There's a program in Moscow, which is hosted by a major Russian billionaire who obtained radio spectrum licenses. I'm sorry, I'm using the wrong country. But who obtained certain benefits from the Russian government that were the result of, again, political connections. He's tied into the Russian government
CAMEROTA: And that show, that show, by the way, in Russia, it is the equivalent of The Apprentice is called The Candidate.
CUOMO: When this comes out, Kurt, people are going to set it up against what was learned about the Clinton Foundation. I'm sure that was going through your mind as an analogy here. What's your take on the comparison?
EICHENWALD: They have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Donald Trump is a billionaire because the money came from the Trump Foundation -- I'm sorry, Trump Organization. Donald Trump's continued financial -- money is coming from these partnerships. Hillary Clinton's foundation, or the Clinton Family Foundation, no money is going to the Clinton family. Money is going to buy AIDS drugs in Africa. There is not a financial -- they talk about pay to play. First they have to get paid. They're not. Trump is getting paid. And, so when you have a scenario like that -- plus, the whole world will be on notice. Again, this is a guy who in these transactions was willing to do a deal with Muammar Gaddafi who was a renowned terrorist. And you talk about palling around with terrorists, but he was trying to get money from a Libyan government fund and, as a result, was feeding Muammar Gaddafi. So, there is no comparison. This is -- any company in the world, if Donald Trump is president, can say, "let's strike a deal with the Trump Organization and engage in some legal bribery of the American president."