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The Asset

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The Asset is a deep dive into Trump's 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.

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.



13 Episodes
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Cover Up

Cover Up

2019-08-0601:40:105

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report documents not only collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin to win the 2016 election but also Trump’s frantic efforts to cover up collusion with Russia. In this week’s episode, host Max Bergmann, the director of the Moscow Project, an initiative of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, breaks down those efforts, from pressuring witnesses not to cooperate to pushing out his attorney general so he could rein in the Mueller investigation. With help from experts like former FBI Special Agent Asha Rangappa and former CIA Operative John Sipher, we discuss whether Trump is a witting or unwitting asset of Russia. And finally, we break down what happened and how we are where we are – with Trump, a Russian asset, still in office, and posed to fight for reelection with Russia primed to interfere again.
Payoff

Payoff

2019-07-2301:14:133

After the election, Russia sought to cash in for its efforts during the election. Collusion didn’t end with the 2016 election, as the Trump transition team and the Kremlin continued working together to plot ways the incoming Trump administration could deliver for Russia. This week on The Asset, host Max Bergmann, the director of the Moscow Project, an initiative of the Center for American Progress, analyzes the Trump transition team’s various backchannels to the Kremlin, from phone calls with the Russian ambassador to a rendezvous in the Seychelles to meetings right under everyone’s noses in Trump Tower. For more than two years, Trump has acted like a Russian asset in the Oval Office trying to deliver for Putin. He sought to get rid of sanctions, push a Russian plan for Ukraine, attacked America’s allies, and undermined democratic norms at home.
Conspiring

Conspiring

2019-07-1601:14:062

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election is the most damning document ever published about a sitting president. But as much as it told us, the Mueller report said it found “insufficient evidence” to establish that there was a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Not that there was no evidence of a conspiracy, just not enough to prove it in court. This week on The Asset, we sift through the evidence pointing toward a conspiracy and explore some of the questions the Mueller report didn’t answer. Why did Paul Manafort share confidential polling data with a suspected Russian agent? Why was a server for the Trump Organization communicating with a server for a Kremlin-linked Russian bank? What did Russia do with the data it stole from the Democratic National Committee that didn’t wind up on WikiLeaks? Where does Cambridge Analytica, the shady data-digital firm the Trump campaign hired, fit in?With the help of experts like journalist Franklin Foer and Clinton campaign press secretary Brian Fallon, host Max Bergmann, the director of the Moscow Project, an initiative of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, breaks down what we know about the possible answers to these questions—and what we don’t.
Winning

Winning

2019-07-0901:05:531

October 7th, 2016, was one of the most important days in American political history. At 4:03 pm that day, the Access Hollywood tape was released. Just 29 minutes later, WikiLeaks – at 4:32pm on a Friday –began releasing emails hacked by Russian military officers from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s account. The timing of this dump made no sense for WikiLeaks. But it made a lot of sense for Donald Trump. Last week on The Asset, we talked about the five steps to collusion: Hack. Inform. Collude. Release. Campaign. This week, we take a deep dive into that final step and break down how Trump campaigned on the stolen email releases. Russia hacked in March, gave WikiLeaks emails in September, WikiLeaks released them in October 2016, and Trump ran on these emails through November, mentioning WikiLeaks more than 150 times in the final weeks of the campaign. The email releases from WikiLeaks were core to Trump’s campaign strategy in the home stretch of the election. 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, breaks down how the Trump team ran their campaign of collusion all the way to the White House. The episode explores how these two campaigns, the Russian campaign and the Trump campaign, worked together in tandem. And if this sounds like the definition of collusion, that’s because it is. 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.
Hack and Collude

Hack and Collude

2019-07-0201:16:574

Friday, July 22, 2016 was the day it became clear that the 2016 presidential election would be like no other ever experienced in the United States. On that day, the Russian cut-out WikiLeaks released a massive trove of hacked emails from the DNC. And Russia had just shown that it was all-in in support of Donald Trump. We break down Trump’s collusion with Russia into five easy steps: Hack. Inform. Collude. Release. Campaign. Throughout each of these steps, the Russians were looking for feedback, looking for access, and looking for assurance from the Trump campaign that they wouldn’t be left high and dry. And they got it, again and again. 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, outlines how two campaigns worked to elect Donald Trump: one run by the Trump team, and one run out of the Kremlin. These campaigns worked in tandem, meeting and communicating to collude to elect Trump as president. This is how collusion occurred. 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.
Running

Running

2019-06-2501:06:034

We break down the beginnings of the two campaigns to elect Donald Trump: one run out of Trump Tower, and the other run out of the Kremlin. From the moment Trump announced he was running for president, he was unabashedly pro-Russia. It made no sense. Until we learned that throughout the campaign, the Trump Organization was actively seeking to develop a Trump Tower in Moscow.  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, details the early connections between the two campaigns. Trump surrounded himself with shady actors with ties to the Kremlin, including his campaign chairman Paul Manafort, national security adviser Michael Flynn, and campaign aides George Papadopoulos and Carter Page. Lastly, the episode breaks down the beginning of the Russian campaign to elect Donald Trump and the origins of its online efforts. Russia created an online army online designed to poison American discourse on social media and advance Trump’s campaign. The Russian efforts worked like a political campaign and we will break down their impact on the 2016 election.
Cultivating An Asset

Cultivating An Asset

2019-06-1801:13:4210

Join us as we go through the murky world of Russian intelligence. In Vladimir Putin’s Russia, the old-style KGB tactics didn’t go away. Instead, the Russian intelligence apparatus has been empowered. This episode goes through the story of the Russian “illegals” spy ring operating in the U.S., examining the back story of these deep cover Russian agents who would later become the inspiration for the hit television series “The Americans”. We also show how one of the American men recruited by a Russian spy, Carter Page, eventually rose up to become one of Trump’s initial foreign policy advisors.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, shows how Russia sought to infiltrate and cultivate the far right movement in the United States, locking in on guns and the NRA as the most effective way to do so. It breaks down the story of Maria Butina, a Russian agent currently behind bars.This episode also hones in on Donald Trump’s reemergence on the political scene with his embrace of the birther conspiracy theory and shows how that conspiracy mirrors the same sorts of disinformation campaigns that Soviet and Russian intelligence love to push.Lastly, the episode breaks down the idea of kompromat and examines Trump’s 2013 Miss Universe Pageant in Moscow. This isn’t just the trip where that infamous tape took place. It is also where Trump once again was seeking to do business in Russia.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.
New Cold War

New Cold War

2019-06-0400:57:038

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.
From Russia With Cash

From Russia With Cash

2019-05-2900:50:272

Russian Money was pouring out of Russia into the US real estate market and Donald Trump was all about it. We follow the Russian money flowing into the Trump Organization, highlighting the shady cast of characters that surround Donald Trump and his businesses from the suspicious deals in the former Soviet Union, to “little Moscow” where Trump concentrated his properties in Florida, to the story behind Trump’s favorite bank. Trump may not have a lot of money in Russia but Russia sure has money in Donald Trump.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, shows how Trump changed his business model to tap into the Russian market. Suddenly the Trump Organization wasn’t really in the development business. It was in the real estate licensing business, hiring all sorts of shady brokers to help it tap into the Russian market.Yet somehow after the worst real estate crisis since the Great Depression, Trump suddenly found himself with loads of unexplained cash. Trump went into the worst real estate market in real trouble and comes out on the other side able to spend absurd amounts of cash on golf courses, as well as having a new line of credit from Deutsche Bank, a bank that had just sued him for defaulting on his loans. This does not add up. Except, in many ways, it does. It just requires factoring in Russia.   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.
The Sistema

The Sistema

2019-05-2100:45:104

To understand the Russian interference in the 2016 election, it is essential to understand Vladimir Putin. And to understand Putin, you need to understand his KGB past, his rise to power, his fight for control of Russia, and the system--The Sistema--he created. The collapse of the Soviet Union set off a mad violent scramble to take control over its vast state-held industrial sector. Organized crime flourished and The Oligarchs were born: a new class of noveau-riche businessmen capturing all the wealth. They move their money abroad and are a force unto themselves. Until KGB drives its comeback with Vladmir Putin behind the wheel . 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, shows how Putin goes from political unknown to president in a matter of months, setting his sights on taking control. One of Putin’s first priorities: Bring the oligarchs to heel and put them under state control. As Putin’s power consolidates and strengthens over the ensuing two decades, an informal system or Sistema took root. This system is also staggeringly corrupt and makes Putin shockingly wealthy. A key requirement of operating in Putin’s Sistema is you have to be corrupt. That means that anyone and everyone in The Sistema is also compromised. The oligarchs become tools of Putin and the Kremlin. As Russian oligarchs went out into the world and spread their money around, bought property, made investments, built connections and developed relationships; they were also developing relationships and connections that could be seized and cultivated by Putin’s Kremlin. This would soon include a relationship being cultivated with an organization based in a tower on 5th Avenue in Manhattan.  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.
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Comments (10)

Mark Lafhameyer

this is silly.. get over it already.

Jul 24th
Reply

Lars Wood

Mark Lafhameyer :(

Jul 25th
Reply

Kevin Moore

You liberals are truly morons! Love how you believe anything and everything negative about President Trump and anyone Republican or Conservative but choose to ignore the obvious collusion the dnc, the Clinton's, the Obama's, etc. have with Iran, China, Russia and terrorists organizations to name a few. Pathetic! Keep drinking that liberal poison.

Jul 22nd
Reply

Gloria Watson

Kevin Moore 🙃🙃🙃

Jul 23rd
Reply

Kirby Bryant

Demagoguery disguised as free speech should not be allowed by anyone running for public office are anyone in support of someone running for public office. A politician who would use demagoguery to stir up the masses should face a fine and removed from their positions and not allowed to seek any public office again. There will be other Donald Trump's and we need a law to protect this country and our constitution.

Jul 22nd
Reply

Fido Wood

Kirby Bryant yes, we need law!

Jul 23rd
Reply

shawnpeisley@hotmail.com

I agree with just about all the conclusions you come to, but the fact that the dnc and Clinton were "colluding" to fuck Bernie, as the leaks showed, must also be examined and talked about. I think what Trump made clear to all working people is that the entire power elite is corrupt and inherently greedy and self serving!!!!!

Jul 16th
Reply

shawnpeisley@hotmail.com

Tobias Stieber if working people really thought trump wasnt part of the elite were in bigger trouble then we think

Jul 30th
Reply

Tobias Stieber

shawnpeisley@hotmail.com But the Hillary-Bernie-thing isn't the topic of this cast. And what Trump made the average worker guy think, is that he isn't part of the elite, that they hate so much, which is ridiculous. He is the impersonation of the word crook and he is proud of it and he tells it, whenever he is not directly campaigning for something. He never worked a single minute in his life, he never was at the army, he never qualified for anything else then talking. That the political system is rigged he proofs only with his mere presence. The fact that you can bullshit your way up to the point to be the president of the United States of America is a clear sign, that there is something very wrong with this system. Trump isn't the answer, he's a symptom of the problem.

Jul 20th
Reply

Laura Graumann

This episode breaks up and impossible to listen to. Riveted by earlier episodes

Jun 13th
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