Nearly every newsworthy story about the White House this week has contained one common thread: Russia. Whether it involves President Donald Trump facing backlash for sharing highly classified information with Russian diplomats or encountering fallout from the firing of FBI Director James Comey amid the bureau's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election with possible ties to Trump, his relationship with Russia is proving to be ever relevant.
A new Dutch documentary, released earlier this month, called “The Dubious Friends of Donald Trump," attempts to provide context for the allegations surrounding Trump's Russian ties by investigating the president’s financial history and previous connections.
The two-part film was produced by Zembla, a Dutch television documentary program. Zembla has provided Salon with an English-language version of the film. You can watch both Part 1 of the film, “The Dubious Friends of Donald Trump: The Russians,” and Part 2, “The Dubious Friends of Donald Trump: King of Diamonds,” on Salon.com.
In examining Trump's business partners, the filmmakers encounter the Russian mafia, including business and personal connections to oligarchs in Russia. The documentary takes a close look at Trump’s connections to the country, starting with his first trip to Russia in the 1980s.
The Zembla filmmakers interview some of Trump’s controversial friends, a former CIA agent, fraud investigators and attorneys, as well as U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat representing Rhode Island.
In the film, Malcolm Nance, a former U.S. intelligence officer, discusses Trump's tendency to shy away from negative assessments of Russians: "If you're a gambling addict and you owe someone a lot of money, you will never insult your bookie," Nance says.
The film attempts to answer questions about Trump’s Russian connections: What do these relationships say about Trump and why does he deny them? And how compromising are these dubious business relationships for Trump?” Watch the film and judge for yourself.