On a phone call with Vladimir Putin, Trump arranges a purchase of COVID-19 ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE) from Russia. Trump tells the media that it’s not a purchase, it’s a gift.
Keep reading to find out that Trump didn’t actually make the deal himself; Jared Kushner did.
It turns out not to be a great gift. For one, we purchased the shipment. Two, the ventilators don’t work, as New York and New Jersey find out after receiving a portion of the shipment.
The move confuses most of the media; Russia has its own shortage of PPE gear, and Trump has claimed for weeks that the U.S. doesn’t have a shortage.
Even more confusing is that Trump, on the same day as the phone call, tells reporters that Russia already sent us PPE gear. (The earliest the supplies could leave Russia is the following day).
For Trump, the staging of the purchase as a gift from Russia helps him paint his criminal ally as a friend of the United States. For Putin, it sends a message to his country and other areas of Eurasia that the United States is up for sell.
Half of the shipment is paid for by the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which is under U.S. sanctions and is not allowed to do business with us. The RDIF is operated by Kirill Dmitriev, who is named in both the Mueller report and the 2020 Senate Intelligence report as a possible figure in 2016 election interference.
The company that produced the ventilators is a subsidiary of Rostec group, a Russian state-owned organization that is also under U.S. sanctions.
Behind the illusion of Trump doing actual work is Jared Kushner. Kushner has a personal relationship with Dmitriev, a close confidant of Vladimir Putin. While the State Department managed the details of the shipment, Kushner was responsible for arranging the shipment in the first place. He leaned on Dmitriev to speed up the process.
At the same time that the Trump Administration is touting this “gift” from Russia, we force U.S. cities to enter a bidding war for N95 masks.
Photo: Public Domain