Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win

Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win

With the recent indictments of Paul Manafort, Richard Gates, and George Papadopoulos, Russia expert Luke Harding lays out the most in-depth look to date at the Trump campaign’s dealings with Russia. Beginning with a meeting with Christopher Steele, the man behind the shattering dossier that first brought the allegations to light, Harding probes the histories of key Russian...

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Title:Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win
Author:Luke Harding
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Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win Reviews

  • Harry Buckle

    Simply the most important book published this year. Brings clarity to the swirling murk around the US elections and much more. Do not think 'I don't read politics' this book is about matters that affect your life and are material to the well being of both the West and East. I was tempted to stress 'Trust me. As an author my self and an ex MI6 and KGB man'-that's true by the way...but I do not want to take away from the fact the YOU MUST READ THIS- as soon as possible. Despite this review having

    Simply the most important book published this year. Brings clarity to the swirling murk around the US elections and much more. Do not think 'I don't read politics' this book is about matters that affect your life and are material to the well being of both the West and East. I was tempted to stress 'Trust me. As an author my self and an ex MI6 and KGB man'-that's true by the way...but I do not want to take away from the fact the YOU MUST READ THIS- as soon as possible. Despite this review having the paper back logo at the top I bought it from amazon read it over the past hours on my kindle. Some of Guardian man Harding's earlier book was a bit sanctimonious --much like the paper has become. This one is simply brilliant...and it really is : The Most Important Book Published This Year.

  • Perry

    --Machiavelli

    "

    --Machiavelli

    "

    ," Donald J. Trump, 12/6/2017

    Chico Marx

    Saying it ain't so is no defense in light of all proof to date. [see legal definition of

    ]. No matter how many times or how loudly you say it. An old saying in my profession, which you may well have heard before, goes, "

    "

    The last doesn't usually work. Humans are way too smart to fall for it. Nonetheless we might do so when it serves our duty to zealously represent a client. So, I can't really blame Trump for pounding on the table repeatedly. There isn't much else he can do as the evidence mounts of not only collusion between his campaign staff and the Russian government but of his repeated attempts to obstruct the investigation.

    If you want to know the probable path down which the Special Counsel’s Russia investigation will go, you MUST read this book. You will understand, as one example, the relevance and materiality of POTUS Trump’s financials which he has, to date, adamantly refused to make public.

    Sad to say: this will be a Dark chapter in U.S. history and if the charges are proven (not even considering what is uncovered by the ongoing investigation), they will likely lead to articles of impeachment by a Republican-led House and removal upon conviction by a Republican-led Senate.

    This anti-Kremlin Republican read this book, which succinctly gathers and brilliantly organizes reports and credible evidence proffered to date and adds reliable materials to make a case that is

    , and I am even further shocked and dismayed by the incredulities of those who willfully disregard the current administration's love affair with Vladimir Putin and all the signs pointing to Russia's involvement in helping to elect a President of the United States.

    I wonder what their grandparents and great-grandparents would have to say about communist Russia's infiltrations into our political system. And would they be angrier with Russia than they'd be ashamed of their descendants’ willful blindness to the threats imposed upon our shining democracy?

    If these ties/links are proven by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Watergate will seem, by comparison, like it was a trial on jaywalking charges.

    (Russian hacker group, associated with Russian FSB, responsible for 2016 cyber attacks on DNC servers and emails) and

    (cyber espionage group sponsored by Russian gov't and associated with Russian GRU and responsible, along with Cozy Bear, for 2016 cyber attacks on DNC servers/emails)

    Written by first foreign journalist to be expelled from Russia since the end of the Cold War due to his unflattering coverage of Russia, including stories on sources of Vladimir Putin's wealth and Putin's knowledge of the London assassination of ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko.

  • Steven Z.

    Each day it seems as if the American people are exposed to the drip, drip of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and the possible role played by the Trump campaign in collusion with the Putin government. We hear about Christopher Steele’s “Dossier,” the link between Russian oligarchs and their ties to Putin, meetings with Trump officials, the role of Paul Manafort, a former Trump campaign manager facing indictment, the flipping of a Trump foreign policy advisor to the Mueller

    Each day it seems as if the American people are exposed to the drip, drip of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and the possible role played by the Trump campaign in collusion with the Putin government. We hear about Christopher Steele’s “Dossier,” the link between Russian oligarchs and their ties to Putin, meetings with Trump officials, the role of Paul Manafort, a former Trump campaign manager facing indictment, the flipping of a Trump foreign policy advisor to the Mueller investigation, and the latest, a deal between Michael Flynn, Trump’s former National Security advisor and the special prosecutor. The latest twist seems to be conservative House Republicans calling for a Special Prosecutor to investigate the Special Prosecutor. If names like Orbis, Fushion GPS, Gucifer 2.0, GRU, FSB, Sergey Kislyak, Carter Page, Robert Goldstone, Natalia Veselnitskaya, and numerous other names boggle the mind then you might want to consult Luke Harding, a foreign correspondent for the Guardian, new book, COLLUSION: SECRET MEETINGS, DIRTY MONEY, AND HOW RUSSIA HELPED DONALD TRUMP WIN.

    For those who are skeptical about Trump’s role in either obstruction of justice, or outright collusion with Russia they should consult Harding’s monograph. In fact, as the confusion that surrounds the collusion becomes clearer and clearer one might say that Harding has done us all a service by preparing a handbook of all the characters, motivations, crimes, disingenuous behavior, outright lies/falsehoods, and other aspects associated with the topic. Harding digs deep using his many sources based on a career that saw him posted to New Delhi, Berlin and as the former bureau chief in Moscow from 2007 to 2011, as well as his contacts in Britain’s MI6 and SIS, as well as the American intelligence community. Further he has followed and written about the likes of Paul Manafort and his machinations in the Ukraine for Viktor Yanukovych long before Trump announced his candidacy, and was also able to interview Christopher Steele. What results is almost a legal brief that points to the guilt of the Trump campaign and the President in collaborating with Moscow, and doing all it could to deflect any investigation of what actually occurred.

    Harding begins by providing the background for the “Dossier,” authored by former British intelligence operative Christopher Steele. The famous “Dossier” grew out of Steele’s assignment to uncover the Kremlin’s innermost secrets as they applied to Donald Trump. Steele’s investigation argues a number of points that anyone who has followed this story in any detail has heard numerous times before; from Trump’s public call for Putin to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails, the Wikileaks leak of Clinton emails in June and October 2016, the hacking of Democratic and Republican National Committee computers, with only Democratic information leaked, Trump’s denigration of almost every politician domestic or worldwide, except for Putin who he constantly praises, the fact that Russian intelligence sources have been “cultivating, supporting and assisting Trump for at least five years,” how Trump and his inner circle have accepted a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin, claims that the FSB has compromised Trump through his past activities in Moscow sufficiently to be able to blackmail him, and a trail of money laundering and other acts that make one ask, what does Moscow have on Trump that he is afraid to criticize Putin, and constantly denies Russian involvement in the election, in addition to repeatedly interfering in the Mueller investigation? All the answers to these questions are present in Harding’s narrative.

    The author takes the reader through the actions of Aras and Emin Agalarov, Paul Manafort, Carter Page, Michael Flynn, Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and a host others along with a short biographical sketch of each. We learn their role in the collusion through their interest and relationship with the Kremlin. Harding explores Vladimir Putin’s motivations and goals as they relate to his hatred of Hillary Clinton, the desire to create chaos and doubt in the American electoral system, and most importantly gain a reduction or lifting of economic sanctions imposed by the Obama Administration due to Russian actions in the Crimea, Ukraine, and the 2016 election. In Donald Trump, Putin found an American politician who could allow him to achieve these goals. The question Harding raises is how do we establish the trail between the two men? The answer he argues lies in following the money.

    The entire scenario would seem unbelievable if it hadn’t occurred. Trump and his supporters can scream “fake news” all they want, but indictments are facts and Trump’s behavior throughout points to someone with something to hide. Harding provides an in depth analysis of the Trump-Kremlin tie that dates back to 1987 when the KGB looked on the New York real estate developer as a meaningful target. Harding traces Trump’s relationship with certain Kremlin linked officials, and oligarchs. What emerges is a clear picture of how the Kremlin developed its relationship with Trump that would lead them to support his candidacy for president. Harding explores the role of Donald Trump, Jr. and the infamous June, 2017 meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, former KGB officer Rinat Akhmetshin, and others who offered the president’s son dirt on Hillary Clinton. At first, as in most cases with Trump associates, Trump, Jr. denied the meeting, then said it was about something else, then finally gave in and admitted he met with Russians and was favorable to receiving foreign dirt on Clinton.

    Harding follows his own advice and follows the flow of money. Offshore shell companies, multiple bank accounts, tax havens, payoffs, Russian oligarchs, laundering of funds, money disguised as salary or real estate deals, the role of Deutsche Bank, Trump’s New York creditor are all included in Harding’s expose. Harding relies a great deal on Steele’s research and conclusions and believes that roughly 70-90% of what is in the “Dossier” is true, that being the case, it is clear as to why Trump wants to shut down the Mueller investigation. In fact, Harding provides so many plots and sub plots that at times it is hard to keep up with the flow of information, evidence, and characters discussed. For the Trump people it appears that almost every day they have to put out some sort of brush fire that relates to the Mueller investigation be it the testimony of Donald Trump, Jr., Attorney General Jeff Sessions, or the investigative work of Congressional committees. One thing that is clear from Harding’s investigative work – the Trump Organization has been laundering Russian money for years, and without Russian money the Trump Organization’s many financial issues would have proven disastrous.

    Harding also explores the relationship between former FBI Director James Comey, the role of the Justice Department, and Trump’s attempts to bring Comey on board in dropping the investigation of Michael Flynn. The author takes the reader through the Comey firing and its role in obstruction of justice which the president even admitted to NBC’s Lester Holt. Harding has gone a long way in disentangling the web of Trump’s financial empire, a structure that appears to rest on a great deal of Russian state funds.

    One wonders why certain Republicans have cooperated with Trump’s campaign of fake news and obstruction. Perhaps it is the current tax bill that they are trying to ram through Congress might want to achieve corporate tax cuts and follow the orders of their donors. Be that as it may, if you are interested in learning what Trump is afraid of you to consult Harding’s latest book.

  • Siria

    journalist Luke Harding's book is an in-depth look at the Trump family, their dealings with Russia before and during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and the extent to which the Russian government and major financial institutions like Deutsche Bank are involved in worldwide financial corruption and money laundering. Harding does an excellent job at taking the disjointed, murky, and often financially complex pieces of information about what happened and shaping a coherent narrative f

    journalist Luke Harding's book is an in-depth look at the Trump family, their dealings with Russia before and during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and the extent to which the Russian government and major financial institutions like Deutsche Bank are involved in worldwide financial corruption and money laundering. Harding does an excellent job at taking the disjointed, murky, and often financially complex pieces of information about what happened and shaping a coherent narrative from them. Coherent, and damning, and likely just the tip of the iceberg. It's ever more amazing to me just how viciously the American electorate cut off its own nose in order to spite its face last year—and to think that maybe a century from now, some poor history graduate student will likely be writing a footnote citing video of an American president soliciting a golden shower from Russian prostitutes as part of a dissertation on a presidency that will surely go down in infamy.

  • Radiantflux

    3rd book for 2018.

    If you have to choose between reading Fire and Fury and this, read this. Harding, using the Steele dossier as a backbone and adding his own personal insights as ex-Moscow correspondent for the Guardian newspaper, paints a vivid picture of Trump's many many links to Russia. If you want to get up to date on what we know the Russia case as of late-2017 this is the book.

    Harding does an excellent job of giving a background on Steele and how his dossier became public (despite the FBI

    3rd book for 2018.

    If you have to choose between reading Fire and Fury and this, read this. Harding, using the Steele dossier as a backbone and adding his own personal insights as ex-Moscow correspondent for the Guardian newspaper, paints a vivid picture of Trump's many many links to Russia. If you want to get up to date on what we know the Russia case as of late-2017 this is the book.

    Harding does an excellent job of giving a background on Steele and how his dossier became public (despite the FBI sitting on it for months) and Russia's subsequent reaction to it (hint: a lot of Russians died of "heart attacks" in mysterious circumstances last year). Putin has been trying to woo Trump for years (if not decades) and undoubtedly has sex tapes dating back years (not just the one mentioned in the Steele dossier - that's just part of the game). Don Jr. has been going Russia for years too, and is undoubtly compromised. The profile of Carter Page (crazy in love with Russia), Flynn (crusader against Islam promoted above his paygrade), Rex Tillerson (who Putin awarded Russia's Order of Friendship in 2013), and Paul Manafort (sociopath-PR manager for dictators - 10 years working on Putin/Ukraine projects) are highly revealing. Has Harding says it's almost like Putin selected the cabinet.

    In addition Trump Tower in NY is apparently the place to live if you are Russian mafia, and Russian mob connections to Trump's businesses are all over the place (is it any surprise that one of his casios was a favorite amongst Russian mobsters?).

    The key to me is the final chapter of Deutsche Bank, which despite Trump having defaulted on for 100s of millions of dollars, was willing (through its private wealth fund) to later bail Trump out for additional 100s of millions of dollars. A completely abnormal thing for any bank to do. Given that the Russian branch of Deutsche Bank is known to have laundered more than a BILLION dollars worth of Russian mob/government money you don't have to be much of a conspiratist to wonder what Trump really owes Putin. It's going to be very interesting to see where this part of the story goes in 2018.

    A highly recommended book.

  • Bill  Kerwin

    “No collusion, no collusion, no collusion!” Our president may repeat it as many times as he chooses, but anyone with a brain—anyone who strives to be objective—can see that the Trump campaign colluded with Russians. Just look at DJT Jr.'s Trump Tower “adoption” meeting: collusion is evident there. But is it

    collusion? Does it rise to the level of conspiracy? Is the web of conspiracy confined to the president’s campaign manager, his son-in-law, his eldest son? Or do the spider-silk filam

    “No collusion, no collusion, no collusion!” Our president may repeat it as many times as he chooses, but anyone with a brain—anyone who strives to be objective—can see that the Trump campaign colluded with Russians. Just look at DJT Jr.'s Trump Tower “adoption” meeting: collusion is evident there. But is it

    collusion? Does it rise to the level of conspiracy? Is the web of conspiracy confined to the president’s campaign manager, his son-in-law, his eldest son? Or do the spider-silk filaments of conspiracy stretch further, as far as the president himself?

    The evidence, often fragmentary, is voluminous and complicated, stretching back forty years, when the Donald, having married Ivana Zelnickova, accompanied her on visits home to the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic. It almost certainly escalated thirty years ago, when, in 1987, the forty-year-old Trump—who had already begun to talk politics—was given the Soviet red-carpet treatment during his visit to Moscow, where he stayed at “Lenin’s Suite” (which certainly would have been bugged) at the National and visited various sites in the city for a possible Trump hotel. Although the hotel itself was never built, Trump said, in his

    , published later the same year, that “he was impressed with the ambition of Soviet officials to make a deal.”

    Soon the evidence becomes murkier, but more interesting, with the crash of 1987, the failure of Trump’s New Jersey casinos, the bankruptcies, the connections with oligarchs, the money laundering charges, and the extraordinary—indeed, statistically remarkable—number of wealthy Russians who purchased the top-floor suites in Trump’s high-end properties throughout the nineties and into the 21st century.

    Luke Harding outlines it all for you, in a straightforward fashion, and he is equally good on the campaign itself, from the curious changes to the Republican Platform Committee’s position on Ukraine, through the mysterious dealings with Deutsche Bank, to the recent revelations about “coffee boy” George Papadopoulos. And of course, Harding deals extensively with Christopher Steele and the “dodgy dossier.”

    Although I read

    , and "Talking Points Memo," and watch Rachel Maddow almost every night, I not only discovered new things, but also found things I thought I knew—particularly about money-laundering and the banks—explained with greater clarity here. (On the other hand, Harding’s ordering principle--which I eventually came to like--can be confusing, for he organizes events not according to when they occurred but

    )

    Unfortunately, though, Harding is better at explaining processes than exploring human character. The definitive account of these fascinating misfits still remains to be written: Carter Page, the hapless Fredo, hopelessly naive and possibly the only real spy in the bunch; Mike “General Misha” Flynn, a bitter Benedict Arnold, a genius at on-the-ground intelligence gathering but also a crackpot conspiracy theorist; and Paul Manafort, a Mephistophelean lobbyist whose specialty was aiding and abetting the worst kleptocrats on earth (Philippines' Ferdinand Marcos, Nigeria’s Sani Abacha, and Zaire’s Mobuto Sese Seko, to name just a few.)

    This is, however, a minor criticism. If you are more interested in facts than personalities, if you want to find out more about Trump, collusion, Chistopher Steele and the Fusion GPS “dossier,” this is a good place to start.

    I’ll end with an anecdote about Jared Kushner and his meeting with Gorkov, head of the VEB bank. It’s not that important really, but I like it, and it shows that the most cynical Russian operative has more poetry in his soul than the president’s son-in-law will ever have:

  • Cab

    This book isn't telling anyone whose been paying attention to the Trump saga anything that they weren't already aware of. It does lay out everything in a type of chronological order that makes it easier to digest outside of what feels like a perpetual crazed Trump news debacle.

    Will it convince people that there was collusion between Trump's campaign and Russia? I doubt it. I don't think this would change anybody's mind because things are so devisve. That said, the book doesn't seem to be taking

    This book isn't telling anyone whose been paying attention to the Trump saga anything that they weren't already aware of. It does lay out everything in a type of chronological order that makes it easier to digest outside of what feels like a perpetual crazed Trump news debacle.

    Will it convince people that there was collusion between Trump's campaign and Russia? I doubt it. I don't think this would change anybody's mind because things are so devisve. That said, the book doesn't seem to be taking sides but rather laying out on a very readable format the history of Trump and people he's associated with and their ties directly or indirectly to Russia. I liked the format, it made it easy to follow without dragging me into a feeling of dramatic rage.

    what I didn't like; it felt like (to me) there was quite a bit of superfluous information that I didn't need or want. Architectural information/descriptions of buildings.

    An additional note: if you're looking for something that says definitively here's the proof Trump colluded with Russia! This isn't it. It's obvious that the author is laying out what the information out there is but since nothing has really been concluded in the investigation nothing is definitive here either.

    The reader draws their own conclusions.

  • Mehrsa

    I'm no fan of Trump, but I guess I am just not convinced that the dossier is real and that Trump is a Russian puppet. I think he's incompetent and all of his people are beyond the pale, but purposeful collusion with Russia? Even after the reading this book, I am not convinced the sins of the regime rise to the level of treason. Don't get me wrong, I think Trump is not qualified to hold this office and will go down in history as our worst president, but I guess I just don't really buy this story.

    I'm no fan of Trump, but I guess I am just not convinced that the dossier is real and that Trump is a Russian puppet. I think he's incompetent and all of his people are beyond the pale, but purposeful collusion with Russia? Even after the reading this book, I am not convinced the sins of the regime rise to the level of treason. Don't get me wrong, I think Trump is not qualified to hold this office and will go down in history as our worst president, but I guess I just don't really buy this story. And Harding does not convince me here. I hope I'm wrong and it's all true.

  • Joe

    Unfortunately, nothing new here and even if one is simply looking for a recap or chronology – this book doesn’t help. The narrative is jumbled, hindered by starts and stops. The writing is overwrought with many of the digressions/topics superfluous. And the author’s self-aggrandizement by continually inserting himself into the story serves no purpose except to aggravate the reader.

    Pass on this one.

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