Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich says that a “dark cloud of illegitimacy” hangs over the pending presidency of Donald Trump, and that the only remedy is for Trump to release his tax returns and for the CIA to release its findings about alleged Russian interference in the U.S. election to help Trump win.
This information must be released, Reich said, before the Electoral College casts its ballots next week.
“The CIA has found credible evidence that Russia intervened in the election in order to help Trump become president,” Reich wrote in a Facebook post over the weekend ― referring to a recent CIA assessment, reported by The Washington Post, that Russia interfered in the U.S. election not merely to disrupt the American democratic system, but specifically to help Trump win the presidency.
The former secretary, who served in the cabinet of President Bill Clinton, went on to outline several other disturbing questions that continue to plague the president-elect.
Reich, now a public policy professor at the University of California, Berkeley, cited allegations that surfaced during the campaign that Trump owes “vast sums” of money to Russian oligarchs who have also invested in Trump’s various business enterprises.
Trump has denied the charge, but Reich and others have speculated that it could explain why Trump has not disclosed his tax returns, which Reich said “would show evidence of these deals.”
Then there are the close ties between Russia and Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager.
“Between 2007 and 2012, Manafort received some $12.7 million in cash payments from a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine,” Reich wrote, citing a bombshell New York Times report from August that indicated Manafort may have received “undisclosed cash payments” while working as a consultant in Ukraine.
Reich also noted that Trump has expressed admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin, questioned whether the U.S. should continue to support NATO and defended Putin’s military movement into Ukraine.
Furthermore, Reich pointed out that Exxon Mobil Corp. CEO Rex Tillerson ― who has had a close relationship with Russia for years ― is said to be Trump’s leading candidate for secretary of state.
“In 2013, Putin awarded Tillerson the Order of Friendship, one of the highest honors Russia gives to foreign citizens,” Reich wrote. “Tillerson came up through the ranks at Exxon by managing the company’s Russia account. After becoming CEO, Exxon bet billions on Russia’s vast oil resources through a partnership with Russian oil giant Rosneft, owned partly by the Kremlin. Putin himself attended the 2011 signing ceremony for the deal.”
The Kremlin praised Tillerson on Monday as “highly professional.”
Reich also said that Trump’s performance in the popular vote amounted to “the largest defeat suffered by a candidate elevated to the presidency by the Electoral College in modern history.” Hillary Clinton’s popular-vote margin of victory over Trump is now 2 percent, or roughly 2.8 million votes, and it’s still growing.
With all of this in mind, Reich argued that before the Electoral College submits its ballots for president next week, “Trump must release his tax returns and the CIA must make public its report on Russia’s intervention in the U.S. elections in support of Trump.”
Reich has long been a vocal critic of Trump, recently calling him a “despot” who wants the world to “kiss his derriere.”