Donald Trump Jr and His Posse: Orphans, Adoptions, Money and Possible Conflicts of Interest
Opinion Piece by Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich, Ph.D. – According to MSNBC’s Morning Joe Co-Host, Mika Brzezinski, speaking recently on the TV Show: “It is time for us to see what we SEE!” Brzezinski means that, in our frustrating efforts to understand, translate, clarify, analyze and parse the numerous slap-stick side-shows of this Trump presidency, we must also look closely, beyond the obvious, beneath the multiple screens and under the cover-ups, to see and expose deals for money-making in a different disguise from what might have been expected. In other words, “Orphans” as the topic of the 2016 meeting which Donald Trump Jr. held with Russians at a New York Trump Tower, is not “a red Herring” or “fake news” or even “a witch hunt.” It was business as usual for the web of money-changers ensconced in the current White House.
Trump-Junior’s dirt-collection mission, on the invitation of a “mysterious Russian operative” who offered to deliver the dirty goods on candidate Hilary Clinton in the midst of the 2016 Presidential contest, is not that counter-intuitive at all. Actually, the meeting could have been “Baited” by the Russians, trying to achieve one of their very top priorities. They wanted to remove the obstacles of sanctions which have been debilitating the Russians’ formerly productive, active and lucrative Orphan Adoptions Industry.
The U.S.’s 2012 “Megnitsky Law” is seen as a major obstacle to restoration of formerly brisk participation by Americans in the heavily monetize, expensive and well resourced Russian Orphans Adoptions Industry. American claims of befuddlement – that the “Orphans” who were the Russians’ alleged topic of the 2016 surreptitious meeting involving Trump Jr. and his deal-making team, had nothing to do with anything of importance, (“It was a nothing-burger”) is either naive or confirms that the American public should be more attentive to Mika Brzezinski wise admonitions to “see what we SEE,” instead of to President Donald Trump’s recent paranoid denigration of her intellect.
So, here is what I “SEE” … IF we look at real facts and real data, which is seldom
actually is the practice of the Trump White House core Team, who seem to prefer “alternative facts and alternative data.”
According to current reports and data-profiles, about the “Orphan Adoption” crisis in Russia and the role of American sanctions against Russia which contribute to the crisis, Orphan Adoptions probably actually were the Russians’ primary agenda priority for their orchestrated meeting with Trump Jr. “Dirt on Candidate Clinton” probably was just a spurious diversion to insure that undivided attention could be focused on the money-making option Industry” which, like other initiatives of an authoritarian, oligarchic nation, can yield big-time brokers fees, bribes and other palm-greasers and money transfers. After all, obstacles like sanctions, can be effective in interrupting the commerce of the well-connected power-brokers, like many in Eastern Europe who facilitate commerce, and perhaps for Americans and others with deep pockets and connections in high places. Look at the statistical evidence and other “market conditions” and follow the money and the deal-making.
The Orphan Care Alliance, in a 2013 Newsletter, published data from analyses by Chris Crutchfield, about Eastern European and Russian Adoptions, which clarified the special interest in adoptions involving these countries:
” Eastern Europe is a region from which many Americans seek adoption placements.
Some couples prefer to adopt a child who appears to be biologically related to them and
Caucasian children in the U.S. can be difficult to adopt.
” …There was a time when Russia was the leading nation in adoption placement (to U.S. families.)
Over the years, adoption from Russia and Europe declined… This is due in some part to the high cost of European adoptions. …Unfortunately , adding to the high cost of European adoptions, effective January 2013, Russia placed a ban on adoptions by U.S. families.”
Data published in to the Annual Report on Intercountry Adoptions (2015) , reveals:
“Intercountry adoptions have dropped from a peak year FY2004, to FY2014. The U.S. saw a reduction… (over those years) from 22,884 in 2004, to 6,441 in 2014.” Russia accounted for 34% of this reduction. Zero Russian children were adopted in 2015 into the United States. The decrease was attributed, in part, to the Magnitsky Act, passed in 2012 to punish Russia for Sergi Magnitsky’s death in a Russian prison,… In part, Putin’s Russian Federal Law 272 FZ, passed in 2013, in retaliation against the U.S.’s 2012 Magnitsky’s Act.”
There is reasonable logic to conjecture that the entrepreneurial reputations and mercantilistic instincts of the Trump JR – Jared Kushner Crew, included among the U.S. negotiating flanks confronting the Russians. Since the Russians arrived for the meeting with portfolios, reportedly of no great value with regard to “dirt” on candidate Clinton – the “nothing-burger” – Trump Jr. and Kushner probably were the appropriate targets for those hoping to revive the Russian-United States adoption relationship. The Russians, therefore, apparently pursued their priority of infinitely greater value and interest to them: lifting the persistent obstacles to Oligarchs and other collaborators, whose industry of facilitating deals, such as those including Russians and Americans navigating the obstacles within the Russian Adoption Enterprise. The American Millionaire, candidate Trump’s Campaign supporter, who brokered the meeting with the Trump JR crew, probably basked in an aura of “quid pro quo” around the Conference table.
While the brokering of Adoptions may be unsavory to some, helping adoptable children and others able to facilitate the match-making of a “final family” is a humanitarian act in America. Moreover, it is not illegal in Russia – once the Magnitski Act and then, the Russian Federal Law 272 FZ – both- are revoked and thus, neutralize each other. These interests appear to yield much smaller pay-offs when one thinks of Adoptions of Orphans. Discretion is probably practiced by the American Brokers – who will shrug and say, much like the New York City merchants often do: “Naah – It’s a living !!”
Here are statistics which assess both the Russian supply, the potential opportunities for Russian Brokers, as well as the American adoption Market demand. Add the costs of many gratuities, and a bunch of middle-men and hotel bills. Data below have been assembled by a number of American institutions and groups which monitor adoption support and Child Advocacy and presented by the Orphan Care Alliance. Just do the Math and see millions of dollars to be made and paid.
“By the Numbers: European & Russian Adoptions”
Total European & Russian Adoptions: 1988-2011 —————- ——- 17,269
Percentage of Overall European Adoptions ——————————— 7.36 %
Estimated. Number Orphaned Children in Russia ————————-900,000
Estimated Orphaned children: Central East Europe, Central Asia —-1.3 Million
Average # of days to process Adoptions, Soviet ——————— 30-45
Average Cost: Adopting a child from Russia ———————$ 25,000 to $35,000
Added fees may also include other multipliers, regional variations and highly flexible costs for consultation-facilitation from Russian local “handles” – who probably were represented by at least one of the attendees at the Trump JR /Kushner’s meeting in June, 2016, currently in U.S. headlines.
These data emphasize the linkage between the adoption industry in Russia and an enterprising process of supply and demand, currently being obstructed by the barriers and the restrictions, on both the American side ( Magnitsky Law), as well as on the Russian retaliatory tools ( Russian Law 272 FZ).
“Russia’s decrease has greatly contributed to the overall decline in the number of intercountry adoptions by U.S. families. In FY 2004, U.S. families adopted an historically high number of 5,682 Russian children, 25% of all intercountry adoptions to the United States that year.”
However, none of these facts are directly germane to the urgent business of the United States of America’s government, although given the current violations of boundaries between the Trumps’ private business network and the United States government’s legitimate span of control, the legal protocols of Conflict of Interest seem to be regularly ignored and breeched. Especially in view of the rich money-making potential and private sector nature of the Orphan Adoption industry in Russia, the question is exactly: who will benefits? Probably, NOT the United States government But the Russians, who met with Trump JR and his posse, probably knew that all along. All of this looks like a familiar con game called: BAIT AND SWITCH ! My son, Jason, up-dates the label to a more colorful “CASH AND CARRY!”
About the Author:
Dr. Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich is a Political Scientist, a BWNG Front Page Award-winner and NABJ- Griot awardee. She is recognized as one of the most significant thinkers in the modern civil rights and governmental policy community. She has authored several books, countless articles, is a Library Of Congress HistoryMaker and a Congressional Record Honoree. She graduated Cum Laude from HBCU-NCCU, studied in Germany as a Fulbright Fellow, and has taught public policy at several elite American colleges and universities.
Web Site: www.yscruggs.com