New York, NY (July 13, 2017) — As the full extent of Trump’s relationship with Russia during the 2016 election emerges, the August/September issue of the New Republic takes a deep look at the president’s decades-long ties to Russian mafia.
In “Trump’s Russian Laundromat,” veteran journalist Craig Unger details how the Russian mafia has used the president’s properties—including Trump Tower and the Trump Taj Majal—as a way to launder money and hide assets. “Whether Trump knew it or not,” writes Unger, “Russian mobsters and corrupt oligarchs used his properties not only to launder vast sums of money from extortion, drugs, gambling, and racketeering, but even as a base of operations for their criminal activities. In the process, they propped up Trump’s business and enabled him to reinvent his image. Without the Russian mafia, it is fair to say, Donald Trump would not be president of the United States.”
Based entirely on the extensive public record, the piece offers the most comprehensive overview of the deep debt that the president owes the Russian mafia. “The extent of Trump’s ties to the Russian mafia—and the degree to which he relied on them for his entire business model—is striking,” says Eric Bates, editor of the New Republic. “After reading this story, it should come as no surprise to anyone that the president continues to exhibit a deep loyalty to the world of shady Russian operatives who have invested vast sums in his properties.”
“The Return of Monopoly” explores the rise of Amazon and how it has accelerated the demise of traditional retail outlets. Following Amazon’s recent acquisition of Whole Foods, Matt Stoller sheds light on how the government has allowed corporate giants to increasingly dominate the American economy over the past three decades. The resulting monopolization has driven down wages, decreased competition, and fueled the nation’s stark rise in income inequality. Laying out the Democratic Party’s long history of trust busting, Stoller shows how Louis Brandeis and the reformers of the Progressive era offer a blueprint for resurrecting and reimagining the party’s anti-monopoly platform.
How does a simple gesture of greeting result in a potential sentence of life in prison? In “The Handshake,” Matt Wolfe recounts how a brief encounter between Florida businessman Yousef Muslet’s and Christian retiree Hal Howard led to Muslet being arrested and charged with two felonies. In his gripping and surprising narrative, Wolfe highlights the religious and racial bias inherent in calls to “report suspicious activity,” and how media propaganda against certain groups can turn the smallest of gestures into a potential threat of terrorism.
Scotland-based photographer Mathieu Willcocks’s photo essay “The Crossing” captures the deadly journey taken by refugees from Libya to Italy to escape war and conflict. For six months, Willcocks captured rescue missions aboard the Topaz Responder, a vessel tasked with patrolling the waters of the Libyan coastline. Highlighting the deadly conditions refugees must endure alongside images of those who have (and haven’t) survived the crossing, Willcocks’s photos “force us to confront the human toll of the refugee crisis.”
[UP FRONT & COLUMNS]
For Up Front, Colin H. Kahl examines Trump’s Iran policy in “Nuclear Summer.” The president’s hostility toward Iran, combined with his potential plans to pull the U.S. out of the nuclear deal Obama brokered, is increasing the likelihood of a violent clash with the Islamic Republic. In “Rich Man, Poor City,” Kim Phillips-Fein traces Trump’s budget proposal, which would slash billions of dollars in aid for poor Americans, to the fiscal crisis in NYC in the 1970s—a moment that seems to have deeply shaped Trump’s thinking. Zachary Roth in “The Real Voter Fraud” highlights how as Trump investigates “millions” of illegal votes, states across the country are rushing to enact new voter suppression laws. And in “It Takes A Pillage,” New Republic news editor Alex Shephard looks at how Trump is helping to revive the book publishing industry.
Bill McKibben and Bryce Covert contribute columns for our double-issue. In “The New Nation-States,” McKibben makes the case for why Trump’s climate policy is what will leave the most permanent mark on the world. Not only will it expedite the global warming process, it’ll reshape the political landscape leading to the rise in nation-states coordinating their own climate agreements with other parts of the world. Covert presents a case for why Democrats need to adjust their economic messaging and make the federal jobs guarantee a central part of their platform in “Back to Work.” “If Democrats want to win elections, they should imbue Trump’s empty rhetoric with a real promise: a good job for every American who wants one.”
With populist movements gaining momentum throughout Europe, Yascha Mounk’s “European Disunion” sheds light on the growing shift in the belief that “democratic consolidation” is the governmental standard. With a slew of recent books addressing the rise in populism (especially in Europe), what it is, and why people should pay attention to this growing movement around the world, Mounk highlights why what we really need now is a way to defend democracy against it.
What happened to the aspirational class? J.C. Pan in “The New Yuppies” delves into two new book on the current state of the Yuppie. Although Tyler Cowen’s The Complacent Class and Elizabeth Currid-Halkett’s The Sum of Small Things both agree that the elite have no plans to let go of their status, each describes a different approach to how the affluent and aspirational class function in society today.
New Republic editor-in-chief Win McCormack reviews Ganesh Sitaraman’s new book, The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution. The book proposes that “America in the eighteenth century represented the first instance in history of a country with a middle class large enough to permit the realization of a commonwealth.” Providing in-depth historical insight into the “The Glorious Years” (the 1950s to 1970s), McCormack describes how Sitaraman’s book “provides us with a much-needed reminder of how economic inequality has been adjudicated in the past—and how it can be more effectively alleviated in the future.”
Also in Review this month, Elaine Showalter examines Jane Austen, the Secret Radical. Though other scholars have used Austen’s work to engage with political issues, “The Austenista” comments on the flaws in Helena Kelly’s new book on the hidden radicalism in Austen’s novels. Discussing the new film Ghost Story, Christian Lorentzen details how Casey Affleck is the “current avatar of American white male woe,” and how is character in film falls in line with others in his catalog of work. Rachel Syme highlights how the new Twin Peaks continues Lynch’s long legacy of making the “everyday turn sinister” by peeling back the wallpaper to “reveal the insects skittering underneath.” The revival of the series is like watching a stretched out David Lynch film exploring the “eerie truths that lurk beneath ‘normal’ American life.” Featured poems are by Jenny Xie and Sharon Olds. For Backstory, photographer Alex Garcia depicts deportation under the Obama administration.
On the podcast: This week on Primary Concerns, senior editor and host Brian Beutler is joined by The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent to discuss health care and the Trump/Russia scandal.
The August/September issue of the New Republic hits newsstands Thursday, July 13th.
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