It’s no surprise that President Donald Trump has proven to be quite the controversial president.
From those he chooses to advise him, to the questionable executive orders he has signed, Trump tends to incite fierce debate.
And for good reason. Trump holds many worrying beliefs, however, one of the most troublesome issues with him is not his beliefs but his foreign ties and financial debts.
Trump has still not divested himself of his business holdings (an impeachable offense, but that isn’t relevant).
The problem with this, according to Mother Jones, is that many of Trump’s properties are heavily mortgaged.
Not only this, but in total, Trump owes a combined total of $713 million through 16 loans to various national and international financial institutions.
The biggest of these, a massive $364 million debt, is owed to the Deutsche Bank, a German-based bank.
This does not include the three partnerships that Trump is a part of that, according to the New York Times, owe a combined total of $2 billion.
Suffice to say, Trump owes a lot of debt to a lot of people, but that’s only one side to his worrying ties.
The other side are his foreign ties, specifically to Russia and its Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
Despite Trump saying in a tweet that he has “NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA,” and that he has “NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING,” this is known to be false.
According to Politico, Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., has been recorded as saying that Russian business makes up a significant portion of Trump’s business dealings.
Additionally, according to the Washington Post, Trump agreed to hold the 2013 Miss Universe contest in Russia. After the contest, Trump is recorded as mingling with many of the Russian elites with Trump saying that “almost all of the oligarchs were in the room.”
And then there’s the Steele Papers, an extensive dossier compiled together by, as the New York Times states, a respected former British spy named Christopher Steele.
This paper, a collection of information gathered on President Trump by Steele, detail two different Russian operations with two very different goals.
The first of these is to gather “kompromat,” or compromising information on Trump, and the other is through developing business relations with him.
The former operation is certainly more known to the public than the latter, with the former surrounding the alleged dossier pinning Trump with prostitutes in Moscow that caused a clamor several weeks ago.
It is the latter operation that does not seem to garner as much of the public eye, primarily as it doesn’t seem as outrageous.
This operation centered around the Russian state oil company Rosneft, one of the largest of its kind in Russia.
In an article from Business Insider, it is said that the CEO of Rosneft, Igor Sechin, offered Trump and his team a 19 percent stake in the company in exchange for lifting the oil sanctions on Russia.
This deal was put on the table in mid-October when it was assumed that Trump would not win the presidency, but on Dec. 7, the company signed a deal to sell 19.5 percent of the company’s shares.
Now this could seem like a coincidence, maybe after the deal was called off, but another buyer came forth immediately and went through the long process to handle the deal by the Dec. 7 sale date.
But consider that there doesn’t seem to be any way to track down who actually owns the 19.5 percent of Rosneft.
Reuters did a comprehensive check of the financials behind the deal and found that the deal could be traced back through several shell companies and offshore accounts.
As circumstantial as this may be, this move coincides with an article from the Independent detailing Trump’s decision to loosen sanctions imposed by former President Barack Obama in 2015, in response to Russian hacking.
And then there’s the phone call, on Jan. 28, the White House issued a press release detailing an hour long conversation between the president and Putin.
The release states that they talked about various issues, however no specifics of the call have been released as of the writing of this article.
With all of that said, it is very clear that Trump has been compromised and does not have the best interests of the public in mind.
Whether it be his immense debts or his ties to Russia, Trump cannot be trusted in his capacity as president.
When deciding between big financial institutions and the people, he’ll have the enormity of his debts held over him, swaying his decisions and clouding his judgment.
Should it be true that he is now the owner of the 19.5 percent share of Rosneft, it can be said that Putin has effectively bought the President of the United States.
Trump is compromised, his interests and his presidency have been bought and sold at the expense of the people.
He may be a servant, but he is no public servant, he is but a dog at the beck and call of its masters, and it is the American people who will suffer.
Q Russell is sophomore journalism major from Charlotte, North Carolina