During Watergate, the line became “follow the money.” In the Trump, Russia scandal, you can bet that investigators are following the money. In fact, the for-profit scheme is so brazen that the Trump administration, which is packed with oligarchs, is flaunting it.
Not only is the Trump administration blatantly profiting off of the office of the presidency, but Exxon Mobil, the company that used to have Trump Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at its helm, is asking for a waiver so they can profit in Russia.
This is beginning to sound a bit like deja vu; a Trump meets with a foreign leader and mysteriously, new business ventures open for Trumpsters.
Of course, it’s one thing is that country is actually a trading partner — then only the Emoluments Clause is brought into question — but when members of the Trump administration attempt to do business with Russia, a country with whom our relationship can best be defined as “it’s complicated,” (we have sanctions againt them) more than a few eyebrows are raised. They aren’t even pretending anymore. Exxon wants to drill in Russia and you can be sure that if it were just up to the Trump administration, they would be granted their application, despite the fact that they were denied just two years ago.
Exxon has been seeking U.S. permission to drill with Rosneft in several areas banned by sanctions and renewed a push for approval in March, shortly after its most recent chief executive, Rex Tillerson, became secretary of state on Feb. 1, according to one of these people. The company originally applied for a waiver to gain access to the Black Sea in July 2015 but its application wasn’t approved, the person said.
Source: Wall Street Journal
While Tillerson has recused himself for two years on anything regarding his old company, the people who work for him in the State Department will be processing the application.
The only thing standing in the way of the application is our very corporate friendly Republican Congress, although, at a time when they are investigating Russian ties, granting permission might not be the best way to win over voters. They are investigating connections between Trump’s administration and Russia. It certainly doesn’t look good that right after Trump snatches Tillerson from Exxon Mobil, they ask for favors from the government. Did I mention that Tillerson has what the Wall Street Journal describes as a “close working relationship” with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin?
The best response to the request did come from one Republican, though. Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) tweeted “Are they crazy?”
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) April 19, 2017
No, they aren’t crazy. They are seeing exactly how much they can get away with, and so far, they are getting away with everything.
Featured image via Brian Harkin/Getty Images