August 15, 2016
Donald Trump Russia Ties? America Wonders How Deep They Go After Photos Emerge Of Ivanka Vacationing With Putin's Alleged Girlfriend [Video]

New questions are emerging about Donald Trump's potential ties to Russia after his daughter Ivanka published a pic on Instagram. The picture shows Ivanka Trump posing with Wendi Deng Murdoch, the former wife of media mogul Rupert Murdoch and, allegedly, the current girlfriend of Vladimir Putin, President of Russia. According to multiple reports, Ivanka Trump and Wendi Murdoch are vacationing together in Croatia, and the close ties between the Trump family and Putin's alleged girlfriend have a lot of Americans raising their eyebrows.

While the photographs appear to add a new, damning layer to the theory that Donald Trump has ties to Russia, as CNBC reports, all may not be exactly as it appears to be at first glance.

The biggest flaw in the story that the recent Ivanka Trump vacation photos expose Trump family ties to Russia is that Wendi Murdoch has denied dating or even ever having met Vladimir Putin. The story that the Wendi, a close Trump family friend, is Vladimir Putin's girlfriend was released months ago in Us Weekly, but it has been vehemently denied by Wendi Murdoch herself.
The magazine alleges that the relationship between the President of Russia and the ex-wife of Rupert Murdoch has been going on for years and that it has recently become quite serious. However, despite the persistent reports of a relationship, the pair has never been photographed or even spotted together.As The Sydney Morning Herald reports, despite consistent denials for Murdoch that she's dating Russia's Putin, it didn't take long for conspiracy theories of Donald Trump Russia ties to begin circulating anew after Ivanka Trump shared the photo of the pair on Instagram. Interestingly enough, Wendi Murdoch is the person behind setting Ivanka Trump up with her husband.

However, it's possible that the American public would have ignored the relationship between the daughter of Donald Trump and the rumored girlfriend of Russia's Vladimir Putin if talk of Donald Trump Russia ties hadn't been swirling for weeks before the pic was posted.

Recently, it was reported that Donald Trump's current campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, was sent secret cash payments from a Putin ally in Ukraine. Totaling roughly $12.7 million, the alleged payments to Donald Trump's campaign chairman have raised a lot of questions regarding Donald Trump's Russia ties. The report of the secret payments was released by The New York Times, and on Monday Manafort replied to the story.

He issued a statement calling the report that he had Russia ties himself "unfounded, silly and nonsensical." However, the reports that Donald Trump's campaign chairman had previously received cash payments from pro-Russia forces inside Ukraine came just weeks after Trump himself insisted that Russia wouldn't invade Ukraine, even though Russia already has.

Prior to this weekend's secret cash payment scandal rocking the Donald Trump campaign, Donald Trump's own words set the rumor mill grinding with regard to his Russia ties. Amid the Clinton email scandal, Donald Trump called on Russia to get involved in searching for the missing Clinton emails.
"Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing, I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press."
Despite the pervasive speculation about Donald Trump and his Russia ties during the 2016 presidential campaign, however, rumors about Trump ties to Russia began years before he ever threw his hat in the ring. Donald ignited a firestorm of controversy when he wondered publicly on Twitter if Putin might become his "best friend."
If recent rumors are to be believed, Donald Trump and his alleged Russia ties could mean that Donald Trump and Putin are already "best friends," or perhaps just really, really close pals. Vlad Putin has, after all, been oddly supportive of Donald Trump and his presidential bid. Former CIA Director Michael Morrell even recently called Donald Trump a "Putin recruit" and "double agent" because of his inexplicable Russia ties.
"Putin of Russia was a career intelligence officer, trained to identify vulnerabilities in an individual and to exploit them. That is exactly what he did early in the primaries. Mr. Putin played upon Mr. Trump's vulnerabilities by complimenting him. He responded just as Mr. Putin had calculated."
What do you think? Is there something untoward about the photo of Ivanka Trump and Wendi Deng Murdoch? Do you think Donald Trump has inappropriate Russia Ties or is this just another unfounded conspiracy theory?

[Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]