Trump sup­port­ers fear probe of busi­ness deals

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics -

Mov­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into deals go­ing back more than a decade also irked Mr. Trump’s staunch­est sup­port­ers, though they re­main con­vinced that there was never col­lu­sion with Rus­sia and that the spe­cial coun­sel is part of an open con­spir­acy to re­move the pres­i­dent.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­port­edly now in­cludes Mr. Trump’s in­volve­ment with Rus­sians in a de­vel­op­ment in Man­hat­tan’s Soho neigh­bor­hood, a Rus­sian oli­garch’s pur­chase of a Trump man­sion in Florida in 2008 and the 2013 Moscow stag­ing of the Trump-owned Miss Uni­verse pageant.

“There’s rea­son to be con­cerned,” said Tim Se­laty Sr., the founder of Cit­i­zens for Trump and Tea Party Com­mu­nity, a 170,000-mem­ber so­cial me­dia net­work.

“The fact that they are now con­sid­er­ing dip­ping into the last 12 years of what Pres­i­dent Trump is do­ing — based off of what? What is the rea­son to go in that di­rec­tion?” he said. “It’s not go­ing to be good for him, of course.”

The nu­mer­ous in­ves­ti­ga­tions into Rus­sian ef­forts to in­flu­ence the elec­tion and ac­cu­sa­tions of Trump cam­paign col­lu­sion in­clude probes by Congress, the FBI and the Jus­tice Depart­ment spe­cial coun­sel.

The in­quiries, which in the case of the FBI has been on­go­ing for at least a year, gained mo­men­tum in re­cent weeks with the rev­e­la­tion that Don­ald Trump Jr. met in June 2016 at Trump Tower with a Rus­sian lawyer who of­fered dirt on Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Hil­lary Clin­ton.

But the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Mr. Trump’s busi­ness deals caused more alarm among Trump loy­al­ists.

Mr. Se­laty said he still be­lieved Mr. Trump was an hon­est busi­ness­man. But he wor­ried that the in­ves­ti­ga­tion had be­come a search for any­thing to dis­credit Mr. Trump, po­ten­tially erod­ing sup­port and fuel­ing ef­forts by Democrats and news me­dia to force the pres­i­dent out of of­fice.

“We want our pres­i­dent to be hon­est, but if there are things in his past that are un­sa­vory, we won’t be happy,” said Mr. Se­laty. “I’m also do­ing this to hold Trump ac­count­able and hold his feet to the fire now that he’s been elected.”

Ken Crow, a con­ser­va­tive ac­tivist and edi­tor of CrowsNestP­ol­i­, said no­body be­comes a multi­bil­lion­aire in busi­ness with­out some “shady deals” along the way.

“I am ner­vous. I sup­ported this guy lock, stock and bar­rel. I loved him dearly, and now I’m scared,” he said. “I think the Democrats are go­ing to suc­ceed, and the Repub­li­cans aren’t help­ing him any. It’s al­most like they are pour­ing gaso­line on the fire.”

Repub­li­can Party strate­gist Ford O’Con­nell said the worry at this stage was “vast over­re­ac­tion.”

“There’s al­ways go­ing to be peo­ple who are ner­vous,” he said. “The best way Trump can over­come th­ese fears is putting some wins on the board” with his leg­isla­tive agenda on tax cuts and re­peal­ing and re­plac­ing Oba­macare.

Frus­tra­tions with the mul­ti­ple Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tions on Capi­tol Hill also bub­bled over Thurs­day as Se­nate lead­ers threat­ened to sub­poena Mr. Trump Jr. and for­mer Trump cam­paign chair­man Paul Manafort if they fail to show up next week to tes­tify about their in­ter­ac­tions with Krem­lin fig­ures.

Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee Chair­man Chuck Grass­ley, Iowa Repub­li­can, and rank­ing Demo­crat Dianne Fe­in­stein of Cal­i­for­nia warned that they would ex­e­cute the hard­ball move against some of the pres­i­dent’s clos­est con­fi­dantes amid grow­ing con­cern about the younger Mr. Trump’s meet­ing with Rus­sian lawyer Natalia Ve­sel­nit­skaya.

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