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Leon Kaye headshot

Trump Eggs on Russian Hackers, Opens a Matryoshka Doll of Fears

By Leon Kaye

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has caused yet another uproar. On Wednesday, he goaded Russian hackers to cyber-spy on Hillary Clinton and search for her alleged missing emails.

Trump’s statements and tweets, which appear to encourage Russian involvement in investigating Clinton, have the GOP flummoxed once again over its controversial candidate.

Meanwhile U.S. government agencies are investigating last week’s hacking of DNC emails and the role Russian hackers may have had in the snafu, which led to the resignation of chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

This latest chapter of the most bizarre U.S. presidential election in recent memory can be described as art perversely imitating life.

On one side is Clinton’s snark over wiping a server “with a cloth,” and an obscure Vermont senator challenging her up to the final primaries last month. On the other extreme, we watched 16 candidates slowly topple to a man making his first run for public office. During the GOP battle, Trump's crude language seemed only to further cement his bond with a large part of the U.S. electorate. His latest shenanigans, however, have alarmed his opponents even more. The Economist even says is his presidency could potential weaken the global economy.

Even more alarming, to many observers, is Trump’s complete lack of transparency. Trump’s latest gambit, in his mind, aimed to sabotage Clinton’s candidacy even further. But his latest outburst calls into question his judgment and business dealings. From his calls for a “wall,” to banning all Muslims from entering the U.S., to his tantrums over the “Mexican judge,” this week’s tirade -- together with his apparent affection for Russian president Vladimir Putin -- will only intensify calls to release his tax returns and inspire more investigations about the opaque nature of his business dealings.

Watch for even more attention on Trump, analogous to what happens when one pries open those iconic Russian Matryoshka dolls. Just as the opening of each doll reveals yet another one inside, this latest volley by Trump inspires more questions. As Trump is forced to open his thoughts on more issues, watch for new investigations and demands for more information over exactly how the real estate mogul assembled his business empire.

Trump’s open invitation for hackers to illegally access his opponent’s email has caused so much indignation that some analysts, including reporters for the Daily Beast, suggested that he may have even committed a felony. Such an outcome, even an investigation, is highly unlikely. Just as in the case of the FBI’s review of Clinton’s emails, going to such lengths would cause only further chaos during an election that has already frayed many nerves and split the country.

But further digging into Trump’s friendship with Putin, and his affinity for Russia, should be on the table. As showcased on the Washington Post, Trump's business ties with the country date back to when it was known as the Soviet Union in the 1980s. He also has a relationship with Putin that in the very least could be described as friendly. Furthermore, his assessment of Russian “oligarchs” was certainly a complimentary one, quite unlike how that term used to describe Russia’s business elite is understood in the daily lexicon.

Trump’s cozy relationship with Russia, and his interview last week with the New York Times during which he made it clear that any defense of a NATO ally would be conditional, should first and foremost worry voters. But for those who believe climate change is a risk, and are aware of Russia’s dragging of its feet before it signed onto last year’s COP21 agreement, it should also raise concerns. Trump’s actions reveal a man who puts himself and his business dealings first before his country’s international commitments; his refusal to allow the media and public to see his tax returns do nothing but to fester even more suspicion of where his loyalties lie.

Image credit: Rasagri/Wiki Commons

Leon Kaye headshot

Leon Kaye has written for 3p since 2010 and become executive editor in 2018. His previous work includes writing for the Guardian as well as other online and print publications. In addition, he's worked in sales executive roles within technology and financial research companies, as well as for a public relations firm, for which he consulted with one of the globe’s leading sustainability initiatives. Currently living in Central California, he’s traveled to 70-plus countries and has lived and worked in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.

Leon’s an alum of Fresno State, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California's Marshall Business School. He enjoys traveling abroad as well as exploring California’s Central Coast and the Sierra Nevadas.

Read more stories by Leon Kaye