Finally! Media Asking About Trump Laundering Russian Money and Possible Blackmail: The Walls Close In
“He always got somebody to put up funds for him. To put up the money. And he’d put up the brilliance.”
Donald Trump used to brag that he was the “King of Debt,” that he “loved debt,” and on those particular claims, boy could he ever back it up. Back in the 80a through the early 2000s, he would take out massive loans, not worrying too much about the terms. He had an unshakeable faith in his ability to create “winners” even back then. All too often, he would find himself back at the bank, begging to renegotiate the terms. He would threaten to walk out of the bank and straight to bankruptcy court unless the banks played ball with him. He was always “restructuring” debt, consolidating debt, wiping off debt.That was the “art of the deal,” Trump’s M.O., how he appeared to be so rich and yet always seemed to need more money.
Then, about ten years ago, it all stopped. Trump started to pay cash – lots of it, for properties. Stranger still, Trump made the change in strategy at a point in time when no other investor was paying cash for property. Interest rates were so low that money was cheap and the economy risky. It made far more sense from a financial perspective to use the bank’s money to buy the property and pay the note’s terms, while your money stayed invested in higher yielding investments, like what would become a hard-charging market through the last decade.
Something changed, something caused Trump to change his views on using “debt” as the principle means of building a business. It might be tempting to point to his four bankruptcies in and around the time that his Atlantic City ventures went bottom-up, as the possible reason for the shift. However, IF Trump learned any lesson during his bankruptalooza tour, it would be “never use your own money when others’ will do just fine.” It was not the bankruptcies that changed Trump’s basic approach. After all, when confronted with his failures in Atlantic City, he is quick to note how much money he personally made on the deals.
Something else changed.
The Washington Post has a fantastic piece of reporting about a question that has bothered me since I first read of the pattern two years ago.
In the nine years before he ran for president, Donald Trump’s company spent more than $400 million in cash on new properties — including 14 transactions paid for in full, without borrowing from banks — during a buying binge that defied real estate industry practices and Trump’s own history as the self-described “King of Debt.”
Trump’s vast outlay of cash, tracked through public records and totaled publicly here for the first time, provides a new window into the president’s private company, which discloses few details about its finances.
It shows that Trump had access to far more cash than previously known, despite his string of commercial bankruptcies and the Great Recession’s hammering of the real estate industry.
In the article, Eric Trump explains to us dolts that the decision was made because “they wanted to invest in themselves,” an answer that may as well have been, “because we felt like it.” He brags that they had such “incredible cash flow” coming out of their traditional properties (i.e. Trump Tower, and his “branding” business) that they could afford to do it, adding like only a Trump could: “It’s a nice problem to have.” He is talking about a period a few short years after many people lost everything in the Atlantic City fiasco – which the city itself still hasn’t recovered from – perhaps if Trump had such large cash flow coming into the organization, he could have used some of it to prop-up the Atlantic City deals, saved others from financial ruin, and keep a few of those bankruptcies off the books. But, now I’m getting off track.
Back to Eric, and back to the money.
The Post was not the first to ask about this peculiar new business plan. In fact, Eric got a near identical question several years ago. But, the last time he was asked, his father was not running for president, and thus his answer contained far more truth. From a Vanity Fair article that came out last year:
“So when I got in the cart with Eric,” Dodson says, “as we were setting off, I said, ‘Eric, who’s funding? I know no banks—because of the recession, the Great Recession—have touched a golf course. You know, no one’s funding any kind of golf construction. It’s dead in the water the last four or five years.’ And this is what he said. He said, ‘Well, we don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.’ I said, ‘Really?’ And he said, ‘Oh, yeah. We’ve got some guys that really, really love golf, and they’re really invested in our programs. We just go there all the time.’ Now that was three years ago, so it was pretty interesting.
So, Eric, which is it? Because it cannot be both. The articles reference the same period. You either made a decision to “invest in yourself” because you had such incredible cash flow coming out of the recession, or you went to Russia and got it. One or the other. We’re waiting …
No, we’re not. Because we know the answer, because it is the only answer that makes sense. When money is cheap, as it was during the ultra-low interest rate period following the recession, people do not spend their own cash, unless the cash itself is a “problem” that needs “cleansing.” (Oh, and do not let that part about banks not touching golf bother you. Banks were more than happy to finance large golf resorts so long as some of that loan was secured by tying it to all that cash flow that Eric noted as being a good problem to have.) No, they got all the “financing” they needed out of Russia because the Trumps are one of the few wealthy American families willing to deal with some of the world’s most ruthless criminals, killers, literally. These Russian billionaires are bursting with cash and need it spent on “things” that are “worth a lot” but hard to determine a precise value, in other words, not stocks, not currency, but high end real estate.
The media is already taking note of the Post’s important and timely piece. Everyone knows the context, even if it cannot be said aloud; Russia. Sam Stein commented on MSNBC via Rawstory:
“This is super weird,” he said. “$400 million in cash just laying around to play with and buy golf courses is basically unheard of—especially when you can borrow money really cheap right now,” he said. “I looked it up because money-laundering is a very specific legal definition and what we do not know is the origins of the money they had on.. you have to have criminally generated money put into something that looks legally appropriate. Who knows where this money came from?”
The people who gave Trump the cash know where the money came from.
And THAT, is the problem that has haunted Trump throughout his presidency, and explains how it is that we have a Russian oligarch sycophant as president. See, Trump likes to run around and say “there’s no collusion, everyone agrees on that,” because in Trump’s mind, the only way one could “collude” with Russia is to sit around a big table and say “yes” when Russia offers to help you win the election, and promise to do whatever they ask in exchange for that help. (Which, ironically, might have happened in Trump Tower). But, that is not the only way to collude.
Trump knows he can “conspire” with Russia without a word needing be said, no meetings, no agreement. Trump knows that he has laundered hundreds of millions of dollars for Putin and the Russian mob. Trump also knows that he damn sure has not reported those “loans” to the American people. He would be removed from office on the spot. But, Trump knows that Russia could leak evidence of his money-laundering crimes, should it ever come into Russia’s interest to do so.Thus, from the very beginning, Trump has been vulnerable to Russia, vulnerable enough to perhaps have even followed an order to run for president.
Collusion is just another word for “conspiracy,” in this matter. A “conspiracy” can occur if Trump knows Russia is working to get him elected president, and knows why – because they have him over a barrel, Russia literally owns him. By saying nothing about such obvious conflicts, Trump creates a conspiracy, and each act to hide the conflict, to hide the “Russian thing” becomes another act in furtherance of the conspiracy.
The Washington Post story is a critical step in proving this conspiracy, even though the story itself, having been written by sober, responsible, journalists, cannot mention “money laundering” and the Russian collusion” issue expressly. The reader understands the pretext throughout, again, some “understandings” are so obvious that nothing need be said.
Watch the discussion for yourself. Let the importance sink-in. This is the type of evidence that Mueller focuses upon, why he hired prosecutors whose specialty is high-end illegal money transfers. Mark this date on your calendar, the date the Washington Post puts its finger on the collusion-conspiracy problem with an in-depth report, one day after Rudy Giuliani proved to the world that Trump has lied his ass off throughout the entire Stormy matter.
Trump’s aides have tried to tell him things look bad for November, but he’s not hearing it
Republicans have been looking at some very gloom-and-doom polling for November, and trying to get Donald Trump to wrap his little mind around it. Here’s hoping it’s accurate:
The polling presented to White House officials, which was commissioned by the Republican National Committee, showed that Trump’s loyal supporters make up about one-quarter of the electorate. Another quarter is comprised of Republicans who like Trump’s policies but not the president himself and do not appear motivated to back GOP candidates. And roughly half of expected midterm voters are Democrats who are energized by their opposition to the president.
But while Trump has been told that the “red wave” he’s publicly predicted is unlikely to materialize, he prefers to listen to things other than polling presentations from aides:
Aides say Trump’s sober briefings from GOP officials are sometimes offset by the frequent conversations he has with a cadre of outside advisers who paint a sunnier picture of the electoral landscape and remind the president of his upset victory in 2016.
“A cadre of outside advisers” is a very polite way to say “boot-lickers and ass-kissers and sycophants.”
Amber Guyger may have committed murder, but she shouldn’t lose her job over it
Rep. Beto O’Rourke supports firing killer Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, and Sen. Ted Cruz sees a political opportunity. “I wish Beto O’Rourke and Democrats weren’t so quick to always blame the police officer,” Cruz said in an interview immediately after having described Botham Jean as having “found himself murdered” and having allowed for the possibility that Guyger actions were possibly “a horrifying and horrific misunderstanding” but that possibly “it may be something else.”
“That’s why we have a legal justice system to actually learn what the facts are and learn what happened,” Cruz said. That’s why “I don’t think we should jump to conclusions.”
Here’s the thing, Ted. Amber Guyger may or may not have intentionally murdered Botham Jean, but she definitely killed him while he was peaceably in his own apartment. Seeing her actions in the most favorable light, she went to the wrong apartment, failed to notice that she was not in her own apartment, and killed a man, then changed her story a couple times. Even if you think she does not deserve prison time over this—a big if, but go with me here—even if Amber Guyger does not belong in prison, there is some distance between prison and continued employment on the police force. There are intermediate positions between “she should be convicted of murder” and “she should continue on the public payroll carrying a gun to enforce laws and make arrests.” One of those positions is “perhaps this is not someone we can trust to protect public safety and enforce laws, even while the legal justice system sorts out what crimes she may have committed.”
There are basic competence issues here! Police officers have to be able to show up at the addresses they’re called to—wouldn’t a police officer who can’t tell when she’s in her own apartment be a liability when being called in a hurry to an unknown address where a crime was being committed? Even if you think Guyger would have been behaving reasonably for immediately killing an intruder in her own apartment, she wasn’t in her apartment, and we’re to believe—the sympathetic understanding of the situation is that—she couldn’t recognize that basic fact. Who cannot understand the idea that a person can be disqualified from holding a specific job for something short of criminal behavior?
But Ted Cruz knows what’s important: what white Republicans want to hear. And so “It may well be that two lives were destroyed that night.”
Kavanaugh Wanted Voyeuristic Details About Bill Clinton’s Affair, See Here
Alright, look, it is very hard to simply wave away Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky. Whenever there is such a stark power imbalance in a tryst, it is almost inherently abusive. How does an intern say “no” to the president of the United States? On the other hand, Lewinsky was 23 years old, which is quite different than a teen that is 18 or 19 (still legal, but far more abusive), and she seemed at least able to calculate the pro’s and cons, then willingly participated – and never testified differently. Still, if a president is going to have an affair, and near all do (Obama, thank you for being the exception), it is far better to get together with a grown woman nearer the president’s age.
Having said all that, Kavanaugh’s memo to Kenneth Starr on how far to push the questioning of Bill Clinton is at least as equally foul, especially given that – for whatever problems Clinton’s affair had – Kavanaugh’s behavior cannot be excused at any age. Kavanaugh’s memo has just been released in its entirety, and it certainly holds nothing back, even having a voyeuristic element that makes one want to turn away. After all, the point is the inappropriate relationship, not the mechanics of the inappropriate relationship. But, the man who forced himself on a 15 year old girl sure wanted to know what went on between Clinton and a young woman.
If Monica Lewinsky says you inserted a cigar into her vagina while in the oval office, would she be lying?
If Monica Lewinsky says that in the Oval Office you inserted your fingers into her vagina and stimulated her to orgasm, would she be lying?
If Monica Lewinsky said you ejaculated into her mouth on two occasions in the Oval Office, would she be lying?
Okay, that is far too much for me, and the rest are at the link, should you want to learn more specifics. I am trying to figure out why a simple question like “If Monica Lewinsky says you and she engaged in sexual acts short of intercourse in the Oval Office, would she be lying?” would not accomplish the needed answer.
Notice my question covers absolutely everything they needed to elicit in the deposition, that he had an affair with Lewinsky, a 23 year old intern. No, Kavanaugh wanted the details, one is left to wonder why Kavanaugh needed such a specific description. Actually, I don’t wonder at all. It is meant to “dig” at Clinton, let him know the detail told to Starr, and perhaps that Kavanaugh might have been slightly “interested” in the details, maybe even a little jealous.
It is with the benefit of horrific hindsight that we know that the man so “offended” by Clinton “disgracing” the Oval Office is now credibly accused of a nightmarish attempted rape of the type that would scar a woman for decades. The victim in Kavanaugh’s attack was 15 at the time. Age differences between 15 year olds and 17 year olds matter greatly through adolescence, with similar power imbalances. When I hear about a 17 year old “boy” holding a girl down, covering her mouth, attempting to get her clothes off, laughing maniacally, while playing music loud to drown out her protests, well, this father of an 11 year old girl would never forgive such behavior, no parent would.
I don’t care that he was a minor at the time. Perhaps it would be different if he was 11, a mere child himself. But, no, 17 years old is way way way more than enough to know that the behavior is rape of the worst type, violent, and given that all rape is unacceptable, this pushes it so far over a line, it disgraces him personally far more than anything Bill Clinton did.
My god, the reasons this man must have his confirmation pulled are really starting to pile up into a disgusting mess. There is the sudden payment of $200K in credit card debt, the daily emails from Kozinski …on and on.
One would have to work to find a politician or judge with the problems in his background. With each revelation, revolting to decent people everywhere, it becomes more difficult for even Republicans to push his confirmation ahead quickly.
I still think he gets on. But I’m not 99% anymore. I just know to a 99% degree how I would react around any 17 year old who might assault my daughter.