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‘Trump, Inc.’ Podcast: Russia, Trump and ‘Alternative Financing’

Why is President Trump so solicitous of Russia? Glenn Simpson has a theory, involving Trump’s businesses.

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After special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russians for an intensive, elaborate effort to interfere with the 2016 elections, President Donald Trump reacted as he has before — with bluster and bellicosity, at everyone but Russia.

This week on “Trump, Inc.,” we’re exploring the president’s, well, persistent weirdness around Russia: Why has Trump been so quiet about Russia and its interference?

Glenn Simpson has a theory — that one cannot understand the Russian collusion scandal without understanding Trump’s business.

Simpson is the head of Fusion GPS, the investigative firm behind the now-famous Trump dossier. Before that, he was a Wall Street Journal reporter who specialized in the nexus of money, politics and international skullduggery. Simpson was hired, first by conservatives and then by Democrats, to dig into Trump’s business record.

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Simpson has been pilloried on the right as a tool of the Clinton campaign — or worse. He’s been sued multiple times. But amid all the charges, few have followed the details of what Simpson concluded: After a string of Trump failures, disappointments and bankruptcies, Western financiers shut him off. Trump still needed money to fund his projects. Where did he get it? Simpson came to believe it came from Russia and Russian-connected sources. It came via golf courses, condos and other conduits.

The eventual result, Simpson suggests, is that Trump ended up beholden to those providing his businesses with “alternative financing.”

One note: The Trump Organization and White House declined to answer our questions for the podcast.

And remember, we want to hear from you: We’re always eager for tips. We also want to hear your questions. What would you like to know about Trump’s businesses? What confuses you?

You can contact us via Signal, WhatsApp or voicemail at 347-244-2134. Here’s more about how you can contact us securely.

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”Trump, Inc.” is a production of WNYC Studios and ProPublica. Support our work by visiting donate.propublica.org or by becoming a supporting member of WNYC. Subscribe here or wherever you get your podcasts.

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Portrait of Jesse Eisinger

Jesse Eisinger

Jesse Eisinger is a senior reporter and editor at ProPublica.

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