For the past few years, the world has been asked to reckon with an uncomfortable possibility. Did Russia interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and to what extent did President Trump willfully collude in these efforts? These accusations plagued the American president even before he took his place in the White House. Following the release of special prosecutor Robert Muellerќs lengthy investigative report, they show no signs of waning. A three-part documentary expose from ABC News Australia, Trump/Russia recaps the suspicions that continue to fester around the relationship between Russian President Vladmir Putin and Trump.
In the first segment titled Follow the Money, the filmmakers set the stage for Russian meddling and the means by which it could be accomplished. In 2014, a group of Russian spies integrated into the American landscape, and gathered intelligence that would prove invaluable in exploiting their weaknesses and manipulating their democratic institutions. These covert efforts would come into play most forcefully in the lead up to the 2016 U.S. presidential elections. This section of the film dissects Trump's past attempts to do business in Russia, and the qualities that made him appealing as a potential Russian stooge.
The second segment - Secrets, Spies and Useful Idiots – examines the sophistication of Russian spy craft, and how it was employed to impact the race for the presidency. "What Putin is doing is waging warfare against the United States," claims former US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. From hacking to targeted online ads to possible espionage involving key figures in Trump's campaign, the film portrays how these warfare tactics were devised, enacted and received.
The final segment titled Moscow Rules is a potent portrait of Putin's iron will, his mystique within his own homeland and around the world, and his efforts to secure greater power and influence for years to come. This segment also introduces many figures who have become 24-hour news fodder, including political consultants Paul Manafort and Roger Stone.
Depending upon each viewer's particular political persuasion, Trump/Russia could provoke anger or affirmation. The film does an honorable job at detailing what may be a complicated political conspiracy the likes of which we have never before witnessed.