Kushner Testifies. Self-Funded Campaign? Follow the money (launderers)

Share


Today/Monday, Trump’s wunderkind son-in-law and dumping ground for every boring job Trump doesn’t want to do, Jared Kushner, will be testifying before both the House & Senate Intelligence Committees behind closed doors, where they will grill him about his repeated interactions with representatives of the Russian government that he just kept forgetting to report on his “Security Clearance” application (until it was revealed by the so-called “fake” news… ie: “real” news.) Unfortunately, because of the National Security issues discussed, there will be no cameras and no reporters. But seriously, “because of the National Security issues”, Jared HIMSELF shouldn’t be allowed in the meeting because he would NEVER qualify for a “Top Secret” security clearance today knowing what we now know. First (as documented in my continually updated List of Trump/Russia Ties) he failed to reveal he joined Mike Flynn to meet with Russian Ambassador Kislyak… not once but TWICE. Then it was a meeting (along with another White House adviser) with “VEB” a Russian “Bank” (actually, a money laundering operation) while it was under U.S. sanctions, and now most recently exposed, joining Don Jr to host a secret meeting IN Trump Tower with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya to (supposedly) discuss “Russian/American adoption”… a meeting both Kushner and Don Jr (and campaign manager Manafort) all just “forgot” to mention meeting when asked about having ever met with “any Russians.” THEN it was revealed they didn’t meet with just one person but in fact FIVE… two of whom are naturalized former Russian citizens: a former “Soviet” military intelligence officer who served in the late 80’s, and convicted Russian money launderer Irakly Kaveladze, whom was charged with laundering $1.4 Billion dollars between US & Russian banks (and what better way to “clean” your stolen money than to funnel it through the presidential campaign of a dimwit candidate who’s about as clever as a two-story outhouse?) The lawyer, Veselnitskaya, made her bones representing Denis Katsyv another Russian money launderer in 2013, who was convicted of laundering $230 million dollars and ended up paying “millions” in fines (a slap on the wrist.) And if you recall, early in the Trump (cough, gag) presidency, he fired Federal Prosecutor Preet Bharara (despite telling him to stay on) after he called to audit the records of “DeutscheBank” in NY… of whom Trump is their largest debtor owing HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS… for their involvement in (you guessed it) a $10 BILLION dollar Russian money laundering scheme. (More on DeutscheBank’s laundering of millions from Russian-owned national oil company Gazprom here.)

And there’s those words again: “money launderer“. In any discussion of Trump’s connections to Russia, the phrase “money launderer” keeps popping up like weeds on a Trump golf course. That and the words “sweetheart deal” are rarely far behind. From nearly the beginning of his campaign, Trump claimed to be “self-funding” his campaign in order to suggest he was “beholden to no Special Interest” and answered to nobody. Well, it is now well documented that Trump’s “self-funded campaign” was a HUUUGE lie (forgive the Trumpism). He wasn’t even the biggest donor to his campaign (and yes, he only “loaned” money to his campaign expecting to be paid back.) He charged his own campaign for the use of his hotels and private offices. He had a number of SuperPAC’s, and… I posit… received MILLIONS in financial assistance from the Russian government and Russian government connected oligarchs. So if running a “self funded campaign” means one is “not beholden to anyone”, then what does it mean when your entire presidential campaign was practically bankrolled by a hostile foreign government? And not just ANY government, but one that considers North Korea, Syria and Iran among their allies, has invaded several of their neighbors (Crimea, Georgia & Ukraine), and whom Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Joseph Dunford called “the greatest threat to U.S. security” on the planet? (Remember when Obama was president and Republicans tried to claim “Romney was right [about Russia being our greatest threat]” after they invaded Crimea? Where are those Republicans now? Fawning over Putin, that’s where.

(ADDENDUM: In May, the Sessions Justice Department abruptly settled a lawsuit against Prevezon Holdings for a mere $6 Million. Prevezon stood accused of laundering millions in Russian crime money through real-estate investment in Manhattan. “Veselnitskaya represents the family of Pyotr Katsyv, the former vice governor of the Moscow region, whose son, Denis, owns the real-estate company Prevezon.”)

The possibility that the currently serving president actively & willingly accepted the support of an enemy of the United States (and threat to global security) in order to campaign for president, and that same hostile power may have even attempted to subvert our democracy to do it, AND not only does the acting president continue to deny/dismiss the evidence of those activities (and disparage those who collected it… our OWN intelligence agencies) but even actively seeks to REWARD Russia by promising to lift sanctions and return seized property for NOTHING in return… is the biggest political scandal in American history (FAR bigger than even Watergate.) Of course, I know there are those of you out there repeating the Trump talking point: “These are the SAME intelligence agencies who told us Iraq had WMD’s!” No. That bullshit won’t fly here. This blog is subtitled “Recording history for those who seek to rewrite it” for a reason. You may remember someone named Valery Plame? An undercover CIA agent who was outed by Cheney because her husband (Amb Joe Wilson) dared inform them their claim Iraq had purchased 20,000 tons of yellowcake uranium never happened? The CIA repeatedly told the Bush Administration that “the ‘intelligence’ provided by untrustworthy Iraqi exiles was garbage” (remember “curveball”?) And the IAEA repeatedly told Bush “NO, Iraq does NOT have WMD’s!” Bush’s response was to ignore them and swap generals until he found people willing to tell him what he wanted to hear. So don’t go claiming “the intelligence agencies are unreliable” as your defense of why evidence of collusion between the Trump Campaign and Russia can’t be trusted.

We have NEVER before seen a foreign adversary involve themselves in our election. Not only did they hack the DNC and steal the emails of Hillary’s campaign manager (which in the end was just revelations about some of the offensive crap pulled on Sanders, released to stir up discord among Democrats… which worked), but as we later discovered, they even attempted to hack the central voting servers (tabulators?) in 39 of 50 states. If that’s not a big deal to you, your patriotism and support for democracy is highly in question. But to think they MAY have done so with the support of the current occupant of the White House? There just are no words to describe just how… how… well, like I said, “no words”. “Appalling” just doesn’t cut it.

So when I hear others dismissing this story, making excuses, or people claiming to dislike Trump YET use Trump’s own talking points to dismiss the investigation, I just want to say, “What is WRONG with you???” Even most Republicans now agree Russia meddled in our election (both the House AND Senate voted to impose sanctions on Russia and Iran.) Trump supporters laugh about Democrats’ “obsession” with Russia. “Russia! Russia! Russia!” they joke (ala “Marsha! Marsha! Marsha!”), with one Right-Wing cartoon depicting the GOP elephant talking about “Healthcare, economy and Jobs, Jobs, Jobs” while the Democratic donkey (in a straight-jacket with crossed-eyes) ranting “Russia! Russia! Russia!” Funny, it wasn’t terribly long ago Democrats were the ones working on healthcare, jobs and the economy, yet blocked by UNPRECEDENTED GOP obstruction while Republicans ranted about “Benghazi! Benghazi! Benghazi!” and “Kenya! Kenya! Kenya!” So give me a freakin’ break as you try to claim the moral high-ground. “Recording History for Those Who Seek to Rewrite It”, remember? That crap won’t fly here.

So, as Mark “Deep throat” Felt told Bob Woodward during Watergate, let’s “follow the money”…

The 2016 Presidential race made history as “the first Billion-dollar Campaign” in history where each of the top two nominees spent an estimated one Billion dollars to run for president (Trump about 1/3 less than Hillary’s $1.4B thanks to all the free air time & publicity he received from The Media he now so loves to hate.) I remember in 1992 when having Billionaire Ross Perot in the race resulted in the near-scandalous first “$100 Million dollar presidential race.”) Accusations of Perot trying “to buy the presidency” abound. Did you ever hear that ONCE in 2016?

But Trump isn’t as successful a businessman as he claimed… a fact we could confirm if he dared release his private & corporate tax returns… which he will NEVER do (despite once promising he would after his audit, then after winning.) In fact, after having filed for bankruptcy FOUR TIMES, the man who claimed to be worth “over Ten Billion dollars”, according to Forbes Magazine was estimated to only have assets in total worth of about $3.5 Billion… not too shabby, but that’s not LIQUID assets, and his campaign would have cost him nearly a third of his total NET worth… meaning a firesale of Trump assets just to pay for any “self-funded” campaign.

But in terms of LIQUID assets (cash, stocks, bonds, etc), Trump only had about $270 Million in the bank before he’d have to start selling off hotels just to pay the fuel bills on his aging 707. And as I already pointed out, he wasn’t even the biggest investor in his own campaign. So where did all that cash come from?

Well, I’m no accountant and I am NOT about to attempt an itemized audit of all the money spent on the Trump campaign, but we know (see my aforementioned “List”) he received hundreds of millions in bank loans from known Russian money launderers (DeutscheBank AND VEB), sold a $40million dollar property in Florida to a Russian fertilizer magnate (Dmitry Rybolovlev) sight-unseen for $95million (who never once visited the property before having it bulldozed after the election and resold at a $60million dollar loss), and now all these interactions with individual Russian money launderers behind closed doors. “Self-funded campaign” my ass.

I’m sure Trump’s loyal devotees… and likely Trump himself… think he is “carrying on the Reagan Legacy”. Considering that Reagan was a staunch anti-Communist who branded Russia “the Evil Empire” and stirred up the Cold War to levels not seen since The Cuban Missile Crisis, one can hardly imagine St. Ronnie’s reaction to the possibility that the man currently occupying his chair got there with the help of Russian intelligence subverting our democracy and millions in laundered cash from Russia, who then denies Russia’s involvement while advocating for a lifting of sanctions and a return of seized property to Russia in exchange for NOTHING… no consolations, agreements, treaties or prosecutions. If he weren’t already dead, that would surely have killed him.

(UPDATE: My thanks to “The Rachel Maddow Show” for pointing out on their 7/24/17 episode that back in October… before the election… the “CrowdStrike” Internet Security organization detected an unusual link between a computer server belonging to the Trump campaign and computer servers belonging to yet another Russian bank… “Alfa Bank”. According to “CrowdStrike”, “When the researchers pinged the server, they received error messages” meaning this was a near “dedicated connection” between the two computer servers. “Eighty-seven percent of the DNS lookups (by the Trump server) involved the two Alfa Bank servers.” As a PC tech in civilian life, I understand the lingo of computer networking and find this revelation damning… likely not a bigger story due to it’s complexity, but to me, it’s like finding a key to a Putin Love Nest in Trump’s desk drawer wrapped in a bow.)

This is a Constitutional crisis. Trump himself tweeted about his “complete power” to pardon anyone… even himself, and consulted his own lawyer about his power to pardon members of his staff, his family (think Kushner & Don Jr) and (yes) even himself (“Why?” Trump’s new Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci was asked repeatedly yesterday. “If [Trump] has done nothing wrong, why is he asking about his power to pardon himself?” “He’s done nothing wrong” was the repeated non-answer answer.) There’s a gray area here because the Constitution grants the president the power to pardon “anyone”, but does not specify whether he has the power to pardon himself. During Watergate, the question was raised whether Nixon might try to pardon himself and if that was even legal. After all, if a president can pardon himself (or anyone acting under his direction), he can commit any crime (or order others to do so) and just pardon himself/them after the fact. Legal scholars surmised at the time that this would probably not be legal because a “pardon” is an admission of guilt, which would instantly disqualify him from office. But such a case has NEVER (AFAIK) come before the Supreme Court (I contacted Senator Bernie Sanders about the need to pass a Constitutional Amendment forbidding it before Trump has a chance to put it to the test in front of his now-stacked Supreme Court.

If you’re a partisan Trump supporter, there’s a “legitimate” question in your mind: Is Trump doing a good enough job that we should just ignore his possible crimes and subversion of democracy? “He’s doing a good job” (in THEIR opinion) “So, let him do the work of the people and just forget about how he got there!” They’d point to a record high stock market, falling unemployment, and an anti-immigration agenda they are foursquare in support of. Trump supporters only see the parts they like. A few weeks ago, my own father cited: “[Trump] stopped Ford from leaving the country” in praise of him, but when I pointed out they only closed a plant in Mexico (they had already planed to do in 2015, but I digress) but announced they will be moving production of the Ford Focus to China, he wasn’t quite so pleased with him (the “good” news on the Ford move: no jobs lost because the same US plant will start making a different vehicle. Bad news: no jobs GAINED either by them doing it.)

Honestly, we just don’t know the effects of the Trump economy yet. Each President’s budget doesn’t go into effect until October (and I have little doubt Trump’s will be delayed), so we are still coasting on the last Obama budget.

But even so, do we ignore crimes of this magnitude just because we like the job the criminal is doing? Ask yourself, is there ANY question in your mind that if the tables were turned and Hillary Clinton were in office now with a GOP Congress, that they’d ALREADY be drafting articles of impeachment with a FRACTION of the evidence we have against Donald Trump? Benghazi, private email server, the (widely debunked) sale of Uranium to Ukraine, something-something “Clinton Foundation”? You think these same Republicans would be arguing “Let it go! She’s doing a good job!” That doesn’t pass the Laugh Test.

Trump’s campaign was financed using millions in laundered Russian crime money. And the number of times the phrase “Russian money launder” and the name “Trump” appear in the same sentence is too frequent to just be a coincidence.

Update: “New Republic” magazine’s Craig Unger recently published his own investigation into the Russian Mob laundering crime money through Trump real estate… not just buying & selling, but in some cases operating out of offices in Trump Tower itself. (Brief video interview with Unger here.)
 


Writers Wanted Got something to say? Mugsy’s Rap Sheet is always looking for article submissions to focus on the stories we may miss each week. To volunteer your own Op/Ed for inclusion here, send us an email with an example of your writing skills & choice of topic, and maybe we’ll put you online!

RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

 
Share

July 24, 2017 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Tags: , , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Crime, Election, mystery, National Security, Politics, Rants, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Scandals, Seems Obvious to Me