Russia has meddled in our election, helped Bashar al-Assad murder thousands of people in Syria, and invaded Ukraine. Yet President-elect Donald Trump wants warmer relations with Vladimir Putin. Tell Mitch McConnell Trump needs to #PutUSFirst.
Trump nominated ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. Through his work at Exxon, Tillerson built close ties with the Putin regime and promoted Exxon’s business interests over the interests of the United States. Tillerson received the Russian Order of Friendship, Moscow’s highest international honor, from Vladimir Putin in 2013. He visited the White House at least five times in 2014 with one goal: To get the Obama administration to lift sanctions on Russia so ExxonMobil could continue to drill a $97 billion oil well off the Siberian coast.
If Trump and Tillerson lift sanctions against Russia, two things will happen:
1) Trump and Tillerson will condone Vladimir Putin’s illegal invasion of a sovereign country, and
2) Trump and Tillerson will free Putin’s close circle of murderous, corrupt oligarchs from American efforts to punish their behavior.
If Rex Tillerson is confirmed as Secretary of State, here are five Russian oligarchs who will benefit from Trump and Tillerson’s friendship:
Dmitry Klyuev: Kingpin of the Klyuev Organized Crime Group, a “dangerous transnational criminal organization” in the words of Senator John McCain (R-AZ). The organization is believed to have stolen more than $500 million from the Russian government, mostly in fraudulent tax returns, and killed five men to cover their crimes.
Alexander Bastrykin: Former Prosecutor General of Russia, the equivalent of the FBI Director. Reportedly threatened to behead and dismember a Russian journalist. Responsible for arrests of several political opponents, including overseeing the kidnapping and torture of Leonid Razvozzhayev, the leader of a Putin opposition group.
Gennady Timchenko: Connected to 14 companies sanctioned by the United States. Timchenko is accused of selling state oil to third parties and pocketing the profit. Following U.S. sanctions, Stroytransgav, a Timchenko company, received a Russian government contract for a gas pipeline to China, estimated to cost $60-70 billion. Vladimir Putin is believed to be an investor in Timchenko’s holding company Gunvor.
Igor Sechin: Former KGB official, considered one of most powerful men in Russia and close ally with Vladimir Putin. CEO of Rosneft, which controls about 40% of crude oil production in Russia. Admirer of Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, and Che Guevara. Shared stage with Tillerson at Russian conference in 2014.
Vladislav Surkov: Chief architect of Russian ‘managed democracy’ system that allows for the repeated election of Putin, creating fake opposition parties and funding pro-Kremlin youth groups. Coordinated Russian efforts with separatists in the Ukraine to create rational for Russian invasion of Crimea.
The Trump Administration needs to #PutUSFirst. Tell Mitch McConnell to end Trump's foreign conflicts of interest.