EXPERTS: Trump’s Company Will Put Us Into ‘National Security Nightmare’ (VIDEOS, TWEETS)

We already knew that Donald Trump’s real estate empire is an ethical nightmare waiting to happen. After all, he hasn’t taken even rudimentary steps to ensure that he will distance himself and his family from the Trump Organization if he becomes president. But early on Wednesday morning, Newsweek revealed that the Trump Organization isn’t just a potential ethical problem. It’s a potential national security problem.

Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald did a deep dive into the Trump Organization’s financial dealings, and discovered that it has a number of deals with “global financiers, foreign politicians, and even criminals” whose foreign policy interests run counter to those of the United States. While there is no evidence of illegal activity on Trump’s part, it doesn’t make these deals any less problematic from a national security perspective. Moreover, many of these deals are structured in such a way that they “could not just be canceled” if Trump wins in November.

Rachel Maddow teased this story on Tuesday night after getting her hands on exclusive excerpts. Watch here.

Maddow revealed that Newsweek has obtained evidence that suggests Trump could potentially be “the most conflicted president in U. S. history” unless he and his family “permanently sever all connections” to their real estate empire.

We found out why when the story went live a few hours later. Here’s what the cover of next week’s edition will look like.

Image courtesy Newsweek's Facebook
Image courtesy Newsweek’s Facebook

Any attempt to put the Trump family holdings into a blind trust would be meaningless, since the Trump family is already aware of who their overseas partners are. For that reason, Eichenwald argues that any national security conflicts involving the Trump Organization “cannot be resolved” if Trump or his family have any stake in the company. And for that reason, Newsweek isn’t kidding–a Trump presidency is a potential “national security nightmare” waiting to happen.

It should surprise no one that a lot of Trump’s overseas partners are based in Russia. Trump has long-standing ties to a number of businessmen who are very close to the Kremlin. Eichenwald writes that a President Trump could potentially give the Trump Organization “an extraordinary entrée” into Russia. We could potentially see Trump hotels and office buildings being built in Moscow while Trump is still in the White House.

But there are equally troubling deals in other countries as well. For instance, Trump has a longstanding deal with Daewoo Engineering and Construction, one of South Korea’s biggest construction companies. Daewoo pays Trump $8 million a year to use the Trump name on a condo complex in Seoul. Daewoo is also heavily involved in the development of nuclear energy. Trump has let it be known that South Korea should think about developing its own nuclear program. If a President Trump were to make good on his vow to tell Seoul it should shoulder its own national security burden, his friends at Daewoo could potentially make out like bandits.

Trump also has extensive land deals in India, and announced just before the Republican National Convention that he planned to enlarge his presence there. One of his Indian partners, Panchsil Realty, is currently facing questions about how it obtained the land for a planned Trump development in the state of Pune. Eichenwald thinks this could make any dealings between a President Trump, India, and Pakistan look fishy.

If Trump were to take a tougher line with India, the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi could take it as a warning to loosen the screws on Panchsil. However, if he were to get tough with Pakistan, it would raise questions about whether he was furthering American national security interests or appeasing an Indian government that could grind his deal in Pune to a halt.

Almost as problematic is a deal Trump cut in 2008 with the Dogan Group, a powerful Turkish real estate firm, to put his name on two skyscrapers in Istanbul. The Dogans were long one of the most politically powerful families in Turkey. However, they have recently fallen out of favor with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The company chairman has recently been indicted on smuggling charges that Erdogan’s opponents have denounced as politically motivated. Erdogan doesn’t think a whole lot of Trump, partly due to his Islamophobic rhetoric.

Eichenwald thinks this deal could call any Trump decision involving Turkish-American relations into question, since we would have to ask if he was favoring his financial interests than our national security interests. He went further in an interview with CNN on Wednesday. Watch here.

Eichenwald told CNN’s “New Day” that Trump is presently in a position where a lot of his money comes from “people whose interests don’t coincide with America’s.”

Hillary Clinton’s campaign didn’t take long to pounce, firing off a list of 20 tough questions for Trump. Among them:

Thus far, Trump hasn’t bothered to answer. Indeed, as I write this, the man who is known for erupting on Twitter at the tiniest perceived slight hasn’t said a word about this article on Twitter. Hmmm–wonder if this means Trump knows Newsweek has him busted.

Trump has spent most of the campaign bleating and screeting about the dangers we face if we put “Crooked Hillary” in the White House. After this article, I don’t want to hear anything about “Crooked Hillary” anymore. After all, unless Trump gives assurances that he will completely disentangle himself from his real estate empire, we face the prospect of asking questions about a president that no one should have to ask.

(featured image courtesy DonkeyHotey, available under a Creative Commons-BY license)

Darrell is a 30-something graduate of the University of North Carolina who considers himself a journalist of the old school. An attempt to turn him into a member of the religious right in college only succeeded in turning him into the religious right's worst nightmare--a charismatic Christian who is an unapologetic liberal. His desire to stand up for those who have been scared into silence only increased when he survived an abusive three-year marriage. You may know him on Daily Kos as Christian Dem in NC. Follow him on Twitter @DarrellLucus or connect with him on Facebook. Click here to buy Darrell a Mello Yello.