Monday, May 22, 2017

Racketeer Trump

[W]hat I’ve been focused on in recent months are a series of business ventures over the last couple decades – either involving President Trump or his close associates – which seemed to rely on capital from people from the former Soviet Union or recent emigres from those countries. Trump himself, Felix Sater, Michael Cohen and many others figure into this as well as Manafort, Trump’s children, the Kushners and still others. My interest of course is to understand the roots of Trump’s affinity with the post-Soviet oligarch world and whatever financial ties or dependence he has on it. But even if you take the Russia/former Soviet Union connection with its geopolitical dynamics out of the equation, you simply can’t read over these deals and not see that Trump and his crew just play way out on the outer fringe of legality at best. At best. People who have done or subsequently did time in the US or other countries repeatedly appear in the picture. So do people from organized crime. A lot.

  Josh Marshall
I have a feeling that these kinds of dealings are what are going to hang him in the end. He can weasel out of Russian collusion to win the election, I think. But casinos, Miami real estate deals, money laundering and racketeering involve characters who have no scruples and don't mind ratting on somebody else to save their own necks.
One thing you find looking through Trump’s history is that after his fall from financial grace a quarter century ago this pattern seemed to become part of the business model. Cut off from capital from the big banks and most people interested in not losing their money, he had to do business with people with decidedly sketchier reputations. Those people, often looking for places to park wealth in real estate, had to accept much higher levels of risk than people with clean reputations. That seemed to lead them to Trump.


Trump operates with a seemingly almost total disregard for rule-following or even a lot of elementary record keeping. So on top of substantively shady deals things are executed in really slapdash and hazard ways. In other words, the Trump Organization sounds a lot like the Trump White House.


[E]ven with a basic investigative reporting background, you can’t work through even part of Trump’s business history without finding numerous ventures that look like they would not survive first contact with real prosecutorial scrutiny. A key element, perhaps the key element, of the counter-intelligence probe is examining the financial ties between Trump, members of his entourage and people from the Russian business and intelligence worlds. So a close examination of those ventures isn’t some fishing expedition. It’s at the heart of the investigation.
...but hey, do what you will anyway.

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