WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) called for full transparency about ongoing investigations into the Donald Trump campaign ties to Russia. Several media reports offer conflicting information about potential connections between Trump and the Russian government, which has a history of anti-LGBTQ extremism.
In 2013, Putin signed the internationally condemned and draconian anti-LGBT propaganda law and it entered into force the following day. This law——and the homophobic and transphobic cultural debate that swirled around it——has fueled an appalling backlash against members of Russia's LGBTQ community. LGBTQ advocates have been intimidated by Russian authorities, including through government spying and bugging of meetings. A year after Russia's anti-LGBTQ law was passed, HRC released a report documenting the tragic and deadly backlash against LGBTQ people in the country.
"The growing reports of suspicious communication between the Trump Organization and Russian leaders is deeply disturbing to any voter who believes in equality and freedom," said HRC President Chad Griffin. "Throughout this campaign, Donald Trump has praised the strongman tactics of Vladimir Putin, a man who has routinely put LGBTQ people, journalists and political opponents in his cross-hairs. When LGBTQ advocates cannot even meet in Russia without being subject to government surveillance, we cannot afford a president who would take any cues from a brutal dictator like Vladimir Putin. With just one week to Election Day, the American people have a right to know the full extent of any collaboration between Donald Trump's campaign and the authoritarian Russian regime of Vladimir Putin."
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Director of National Intelligence released a statement formally accusing the Russian government of interfering with the U.S. election through a series of hacks. Last night, Slate reported that computer scientists investigating the extent of Russian interference in the election found that a computer server at the Trump Organization may have been setup to communicate directly with Alfa Bank, a Russian business with close ties to Russian political leadership. NBC News is also reporting that the FBI is conducting a "preliminary inquiry" into former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort's international business dealings according to law enforcement and intelligence sources.