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Viktor Bout, the ‘Merchant of Death’ arms dealer exchanged for Brittney Griner, says he fears for Trump’s life and urged him to flee to Russia

Former US President Donald Trump sits with his attorneys inside the courtroom during his arraignment at the Manhattan Criminal Court April 4, 2023 in New York City. Viktor Bout, who was serving a 25-year sentence in a US prison, was exchanged in Abu Dhabi for American basketball star Brittney Griner.Former US President Donald Trump sits with his attorneys inside the courtroom during his arraignment at the Manhattan Criminal Court April 4, 2023 in New York City. Viktor Bout, who was serving a 25-year sentence in a US prison, was exchanged in Abu Dhabi for American basketball star Brittney Griner.

Timothy A. Clary-Pool/Getty Images, Alexander NEMENOV / AFP

  • Arms dealer Viktor Bout, nicknamed the “Merchant of Death,” is asking Trump to flee to Russia.
  • He sent Trump a telegram, warning him to escape charges in New York and that his “life is in peril.”
  • Bout said Trump would find “safe haven” in Russia, where he could rebel against “globalists.”

Notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout said he wired a telegram on April 7 to former President Donald Trump that warned Trump that his “life is in peril” and urged him to move to Russia for protection.

“The Biden administration will not stop just by dragging you through the court/prison industrial complex. They would sooner end your life than let you stand in their way,” Bout’s message read, Russian state media first reported.

A photo of Bout’s telegram, posted by Russian state media on the messaging app Telegram, shows the message was addressed to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida. 

Bout’s telegram to Trump contained phrases often used by Trump and his MAGA associates, alluding to a “globalist cabal,” an “evil swamp destroying the last foundation of the American republic,” and “anarcho-tyranny.” These are likely references to the new world order conspiracy theory, which posits that a hierarchy of global elites controls everything that happens worldwide.

He advised Trump to flee to Russia. “You will be welcome in Russia. You will have safe haven, and from here you can lead the fight for the American people, the rebellion against globalists, and for the bright future of the planet,” the message read.

There is no publicly available evidence that Trump — who remains under Secret Service protection — is facing threats like those Bout outlined in the telegram. 

 

Nicknamed the “Merchant of Death,” Bout arranged arms deals that fueled conflicts in Angola, Liberia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Bout is also said to have also organized weapons deals for Al Qaeda and the Taliban, The New York Times reported.

Bout was arrested in Thailand in 2008. He returned to Russia in a 2022 prisoner swap with the US for WNBA player Brittney Griner, who was detained and found guilty of drug smuggling by a Russian court.

As he dropped off his telegram at a post office in Moscow, Bout told state media his fears for Trump stemmed from the former president’s indictment in New York.

“First and foremost, I consider that his life is in danger and that the legal process which has now begun in New York won’t just end in Donald Trump being convicted,” Bout told Russian state television channel Vesti.

“Most likely, he will simply be eliminated there,” he added.

Bout said it’s in the “interest of all humanity and primarily of the American people” to invite Trump to Russia and protect him, saying the former president would “lead this uprising against the globalists” there.

Trump hasn’t publicly spoken about Bout with the same kindness. He’s called the arms dealer an “absolute killer” and “one of the worst in the world,” though his characterization of Bout was at the time folded into his criticism of the 2022 prisoner exchange deal.

Trump now faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, at least some of which are connected to a 2016 election-eve hush money payment that his one-time fixer and personal lawyer Michael Cohen paid to porn star Stormy Daniels.

It’s also unclear how Russian leader Vladimir Putin would react to Trump fleeing to Moscow. Trump has praised Putin, lauding him on multiple occasions as “smart.” 

The former president touted his relationship with Putin and his own negotiation skills in March, saying he knew what to say to the Russian leader to end the war in Ukraine “within 24 hours.” 

A representative for Trump did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment sent outside regular business hours.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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