In 2016, Donald Trump conspired with a foreign government to become President of the United States. On July 25, 2019, with the 2020 election around the corner, he decided to do it again.
The first time around, it was collusion, aiding and abetting Russia’s attack on American democracy. The second time, it was extortion, demanding the Ukrainian government manufacture dirt on Trump’s political opponents in exchange for help the country needs to fend off a Russian invasion and chart a democratic future free of Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin.
To make sense of these recent events that have rocked American politics and led to very real concerns that the President of the United States may be a Russian asset, we need to dig a little deeper.
In Season 1, The Asset dives into Trump’s decades-long history with Russia, from his extensive business dealings with Russian oligarchs to his presidential campaign and the investigations that have sent some of his closest associates to prison.
In Season 2, The Asset explores the backstory to Trump’s infamous phone call with the newly-elected Ukrainian President, where he demanded an investigation into a political opponent and set off a series of events leading to the impeachment inquiry.
Hosted by Max Bergmann, a senior fellow and director of the Moscow Project at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, and featuring expert guests, The Asset will put together the pieces of Trump’s relationship with Russia and Ukrainian extortion campaign.
The Asset is a partnership between the Center for American Progress Action Fund, District Productive, and Protect the Investigation. It is produced by Paul Woodhull, a 20-year veteran media executive and president of Build Better Media, and Peter Ogburn, the executive producer of the Bill Press Show.
The fight over Ukraine’s future is key to the Trump-Russia story. It is central to understanding why, in 2016, Russia undertook such a brazen and risky assault on American democracy.
Russia’s attempt to reassert itself as a great power and exert control over Ukraine led to a collapse in U.S.-Russia relations. Color revolutions in former Soviet states, including two major uprisings in Ukraine, aggravated Putin’s suspicions of the West and made him determined to prevent similar dissent within Russia. When massive protests broke out in Russia following the December 2011 elections, he blamed then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
In this episode of The Asset, host Max Bergmann, the director of The Moscow Project, an initiative of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, traces how Putin, in fighting for control of Ukraine, brought on a new confrontation with the United States. But Russia’s weak economy and inability to directly respond to US and EU sanctions, ultimately forced Putin to get creative and brush off the old KGB playbook. The target: American democracy.
The Asset tells the full story of Trump and Russia. Each week, we will examine the colorful characters and dirty deals that populate the story of how Russia helped the son of a shady real estate mogul became President of the United States.