Could this be the end for the already disastrous Trump administration? One can only hope.
An extremely eyebrow raising discovery was revealed in recent Federal Election Commission filings. They showed a huge donation to the Trump Inaugural Committee made by an unusual donor. The Daily Beast reported:
‘Recently released Federal Election Commission filings show that Citgo, the U.S. subsidiary of the Venezuelan oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (known as PDVSA) gave Trump more money than Shell or Walmart. The donation is unusual for PDVSA: Citgo had not donated to previous presidential inaugural committees.’
What muddies the water is the fact that in March CNN reported Venezuela only had $10.5 billion left and owes $7.2 billion in debt. With citizens dying of starvation, they are in desperate need of cash. Since PDVSA is state-owned, it’s safe to assume they are simply another branch of the Venezuelan government. So, where did the money come from?
It came from the Russians, of course. PDVSA took out a $1.5 billion loan from Rosneft, a Russian state-owned oil company. As collateral, they put up 49.9 percent of shares of Citgo as collateral. If Venezuela were to default on their payment, the Russians would take control of Citgo, which is, as noted before, the U.S. subsidiary.
Rosneft’s CEO, Igor Sechin, is a good pal of Russian President Vladimir Putin and is known as “Russia’s Darth Vader.” Rosneft and Sechin are both under sanction by the U.S. Treasury Department.
That means Russians may end up in control of a U.S. oil company in Texas. In a letter written on April 4 by several senators to Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin, they wrote:
‘This could leave Rosneft, a Russian company controlled by oligarchs with close ties to Vladimir Putin, in control of critical energy infrastructure in the United States… As such, we are extremely concerned that Rosneft’s control of a major U.S. energy supplier could pose a grave threat to American energy security, impact the flow and price of gasoline for American consumers, and expose critical U.S. infrastructure to national security threats.’
They forgot to mention the fact the donation from PSDVA appears to be an indirect donation from the Russians themselves to Trump’s Inaugural Committee.
Furthermore, the chairman and the ranking member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere are also calling for an investigation. Chairman Jeff Duncan said:
‘The United States has a clear national interest in achieving energy independence. The recent loan agreement between Russia and Venezuela involving Citgo refineries, pipelines, and terminals presents a clear threat to U.S. energy security.
‘…This would give Russia clear control over the sixth-largest refinery in our country, the ability to impact gas prices for the American people, and a strategic advantage over U.S. freedom of action globally. Russia has made no secret of its ambitions to thwart the U.S., and it is using countries in the Western Hemisphere to accomplish its objectives.’
As scary as it sounds, the effect Russia could have on the prices of oil and gasoline would be little according to John LaForge. The head of Real Assets strategy at Wells Fargo told CNN that other refineries in the business could easily pick up the slack from Citgo.
Whether or not it would have a huge impact or little impact on our country’s economy, it’s dangerous for the Russians to have any type of leverage, no matter how small, over us. Furthermore, with it appearing as an indirect donation from the Russians themselves, it puts Trump’s loyalty to the American people at question.
Featured image by Olivier Douliery – Pool/Getty Images.