Like ancient Greek tragedies in which great criminal figures’ flaws include an almost irresistible penchant for self-incrimination, President Trump has exposed virtually the entirety of his corrupt and deeply compromised business career as a tool of the Russian Mafia by his publicly-announced “enemies list.” Look through this list to find figures that’ve blunted the influence of the Russian Mafia in the U.S. and the foreign policy and military designs of Russia under Putin.
For example, the hostile enmity between Trump and the late U.S. Senator John McCain had more to do with McCain’s special role as a U.S. elected official staunchly opposed to Putin and Russia than with anything more personal.
Upon McCain’s death last week, the official Russian state television, Rossiya, called McCain “the chief symbol of Russophobia and as the main reason Moscow’s relations with the west are so bad,” according to a report by Andrew Higgins in yesterday’s New York Times, “Someone ready to push back the dark, cynical vision of the world Putin cherishes.” In the memorial service scheduled for Saturday in Washington, D.C., at McCain’s wish, anti-Putin Russian dissident Vladimir Kara-Murza will be one of the dignitaries carrying his coffin to the front of the Washington National Cathedral, joining the likes of Joe Biden, Russ Feingold, William Cohen and Warren Beatty, according to Josh Meyer’s report in Politico.
Kara-Murza is the vice chairman of the Open Russia movement and chairman of the Boris Nemstov Foundation for Freedom who wrote an op-ed about McCain published in yesterday’s Washington Post entitled, “What McCain Got Right About Russia.” In keeping with his hostility toward McCain, Trump is equally self-revealing in his targeting of Justice Department official Bruce G. Orr, a demoted FBI agent that Trump is insisting Attorney General Sessions fire.
Orr, according to a report by Adam Goldman and Katie Benner in Tuesday’s New York Times, has been a special thorn in the side to the Russian Mafia for over three decades. A key point came in 2006, according to the report, when Orr refused to cut a deal with the infamous Russian Mafia crime boss Semion Y. Mogilevich, indicted for defrauding a U.S. company of $150 million.
Orr, according to the report, is a straight-shooter who has “made a career of supporting and facilitating important cases that targeted Russian organized crime.” Now, Orr has been dragged before a closed-door hearing limited to Republicans on the House Judiciary and House Oversight committees on Tuesday, where he was grilled for over eight hours that reportedly centered on Orr’s contacts with British Intelligence’s Christopher Steele, author of the infamous Steele Dossier. The Steele Dossier details incriminating Trump contacts with Putin and the Russians, and not a single word of it has been disproven to date.
Orr drew the personal ire of Mogilevich, the subject in a chapter of Robert I. Friedman’s 2000 book, “Red Mafiya,” entitled, “The World’s Most Dangerous Gangster.” Mogilevich reportedly lives in Moscow and is close to Putin. During the 1990s, the Red Mafiya, as a notorious Russian mob group, became “a nefarious global crime cartel,” according to Friedman, “led by the enigmatic 54-year-old Ukrainian-born Mogilevich.” He “traffics in nuclear materials, drugs, prostitutes, precious gems and stolen art,” and “his contract hit squads operate freely in the U.S. and Europe.”
Outside of Prague, Mogilevich operates a torture center where victims are savagely murdered. Run by veterans of the Afghanistan war “infamous for their brutality,” the center is where “businessmen who have balked at extortion demands, are stabbed, tortured, and mutilated before being butchered,” Friedman reported. “The carnage is so hideous that it has succeeded in frightening even the competing crime groups in the area.”
Friedman, described as “knowing more about the Russian mob in America than any journalist in the world,” was notified by the FBI in 2000 that Mogilevich had ordered a hit on Friedman with a $100,000 reward. Within three years, Friedman was dead from a rare illness. (It could have been Orr who warned Friedman at the time.)
These are the kind of people our president is now protecting. Treason doesn’t begin to describe the treachery.
Nicholas Benton may be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.