The US Is Monitoring How Russia and China Will Exploit Trump’s Arrest

Some in Russia and China have joined Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green in comparing Donald Trump to Nelson Mandela and other arrested politicians.
Dipo Faloyin
London, GB
Donald Trump chats with Russia's President Vladimir Putin.
Donald Trump chats with Russia's President Vladimir Putin. Photo: MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images

US intelligence officials are monitoring efforts by Russia and China to use Donald Trump’s indictment as a way of spreading disinformation and fomenting discontent, according to a report. 

Now that Trump has formally been charged by New York State for 34 counts of falsifying business records to hide embarrassing payments he made to protect his reputation in the middle of a presidential campaign, US officials say they are watching closely for attempts by their Russian and Chinese counterparts to exploit the deep political divisions across the country. 


 “We’ve seen the usual opportunism from state-backed actors — especially Russian proxies — that are framing the event as evidence that American democracy and rule of law is collapsing,” Bret Schafer, a lead analyst who tracks tracking Russia, China and Iran at the foreign policy think tank the German Marshall Fund, told NBC News. 

A popular meme spreading across social media in China depicts Donald Trump happily retiring in China as a martyr forced out of the US due to political persecution. 

Russians have taken to Telegram to compare the treatment of Trump to the recent decision by the International Criminal Court to issue an arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin over allegations he is responsible for the illegal deportation of children from Ukraine to Russia. 

Trump as a persecuted political hero is a sentiment that has also been pushed by the former president’s political allies. On Tuesday, far-right congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Green compared Trump to Jesus and Nelson Mandela. 

“[Trump] is joining some of the most incredible people in history being arrested today,” Taylor Green said. “Nelson Mandela was arrested, served time in prison… Jesus was arrested and murdered by the Roman government. There have been many people throughout history that have been arrested and persecuted by radical, corrupt governments.”