What if Donald Trump — now known to be a billion-dollar loser, bush-league businessman, and bogus deal-maker — has been kissing Vladimir Putin’s a** simply to protect and enhance his chances for future money-making schemes in Russia. We know that no Russian business venture has a prayer without Putin’s blessing. Imagine ex-President Trump sitting across from the dictator being able to say, “Remember that Ukraine policy I fixed for you? Remember those sanctions I lifted? I’ll make a billion dollars and you get 10%.” Then Putin says, “Remember that Golden Showers video? Remember how I kept my mouth shut when you said you had no business in Russia? You’ll give me 50% and you’ll like it.” (scroll down for full article)
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Donald Trump is a phony. Who knew?
America is in a dizzying vortex of non-stop bad news about our president. Did I say the bad news doesn’t stop?
Campaign Finance Violations
Yeah, he broke a few laws. His ex-lawyer-fixer Michael Cohen reported to prison Monday for, among other things, campaign finance law violations involving paying off Trump’s adult-film actress mistress so she wouldn’t spill the beans days before the 2016 presidential election. Who ordered Cohen to do this? “Individual 1” (per the indictment), aka Donald Trump, aka an unindicted co-conspirator. The Stormy Daniels $130,000 hush-money payment was one of nine felony offenses that sent Cohen to the Big House while Donald still lives in the White House. For committing this crime and two others for his boss, Cohen received no personal benefit — except Donald’s undying loyalty.
“‘Michael Cohen asks judge for no Prison Time.’ You mean he can do all of the TERRIBLE, unrelated to Trump, things having to do with fraud, big loans, Taxis, etc., and not serve a long prison term? He makes up stories to get a GREAT & ALREADY reduced deal for himself, and get….. … ….his wife and father-in-law (who has the money?) off Scott Free. He lied for this outcome and should, in my opinion, serve a full and complete sentence.”
(Trump, Donald, R-N.Y., U.S. president; Twitter posts; 12/3/2018.)
“Full AND complete sentence.” Trump also tweeted that Cohen was a “rat.” Ouch.
Obstruction of Justice
And, yeah, now we know from the Mueller report that Trump clearly obstructed justice at least several times while trying to stop the special counsel’s Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election. How do we know this? About 800 former Justice Department prosecutors have said so:
“More than 450 former federal prosecutors who worked in Republican and Democratic administrations have signed on to a statement asserting special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s findings would have produced obstruction charges against President Trump — if not for the office he holds. The statement … offers a rebuttal to Attorney General William P. Barr’s determination that the evidence Mueller uncovered was ‘not sufficient’ to establish that Trump committed a crime. …
“‘Each of us believes that the conduct of President Trump described in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report would, in the case of any other person not covered by the Office of Legal Counsel policy against indicting a sitting President, result in multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice,’ the former federal prosecutors wrote. ‘We emphasize that these are not matters of close professional judgment. … [T]o look at these facts and say that a prosecutor could not probably sustain a conviction for obstruction of justice — the standard set out in Principles of Federal Prosecution — runs counter to logic and our experience.’”
(Zapotosky, Matt; “Trump Would Have Been Charged With Obstruction Were He Not President, Hundreds of Former Federal Prosecutors Assert”; The Washington Post; 5/6/2019.)
As I said, that number of former federal prosecutors is up to about 800 today. Legal experts and DOJ observers say the number would be much higher if current Justice Department prosecutors could speak freely without fear of losing their jobs. This is an overwhelming rebuke to Attorney General Barr’s determination that the president has been cleared, that there were no crimes here even if Trump were not a sitting president.
The Real Crime: Not a Good Deal-Maker
But the really galling news out this week is that Donald Trump is not the super deal-maker he says he is. He lost $1.17 billion in 10 years.
“Newly obtained tax information reveals that from 1985 to 1994, Donald J. Trump’s businesses were in far bleaker condition than was previously known. By the time his master-of-the-universe memoir ‘Trump: The Art of the Deal’ hit bookstores in 1987, Donald J. Trump was already in deep financial distress, losing tens of millions of dollars on troubled business deals. … [He] continued to lose money every year, totaling $1.17 billion in losses for the decade. …
“Mr. Trump was propelled to the presidency, in part, by a self-spun narrative of business success and of setbacks triumphantly overcome. … But 10 years of tax information obtained by The New York Times paints a different, and far bleaker, picture of his deal-making abilities and financial condition.”
(Buettner, Russ & Craig, Susanne; “Decade in the Red: Trump Tax Figures Show Over $1 Billion in Business Losses”; The New York Times; 5/8/2019.)
Thank goodness the guy had The Apprentice so he could eat. I’ve never seen an episode, but you couldn’t avoid the occasional promo spot piercing your consciousness before you could jam on the mute button. And President Obama’s good-hearted ribbing of Donald at the 2011 White House Correspondents’ dinner (right after the president’s birth certificate was released in response to Trump’s yearslong fervent perpetuation of the Obama-was-not-born-in-America myth, aka the “Birther” conspiracy) helped me fill in the gaps:
“Now I know that he’s taken some flack lately. But no one is happier, no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than The Donald. And that’s because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter. Like, did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac? (audience laughter)
“All kidding aside, obviously we all know about your credentials and breadth of experience, (audience laughter) for example — no seriously — just recently, in an episode of Celebrity Apprentice (audience laughter), at the steakhouse, the men’s cooking team did not impress the judges from Omaha Steaks. And there was a lot of blame to go around. But you, Mr. Trump, recognized that the real problem was a lack of leadership. And so ultimately, you didn’t blame Li’l John, or Meatloaf. You fired Gary Busey. These are the kind of decisions that would keep me up at night. (roaring audience laughter, applause) Well-handled, Sir, well-handled.”
(Obama, Barack, D-Il., U.S. president; White House Correspondents’ Association dinner; Washington, D.C.; 4/30/2011.)
I always wondered why a filthy rich businessman would waste his time earning a few hundred thousand dollars here and there doing a TV show. It seemed like such a waste of time. Now we know he needed that paycheck. Can you think of a bigger embarrassment for a guy of Donald’s (perceived) stature?
I put up with Trump’s tweet-storming of Kim Jong Un, which almost landed us in a nuclear war with North Korea. I figured he knew what he was doing because he was a self-made rich man, not some trust-fund baby who depended on Daddy’s money.
I accepted the Stormy Daniels payoff because if a guy is rich enough to pay $130,000 for one hook-up with a porn actress, he must be smart.
I even overlooked Donald’s galactically embarrassing performance at the 2018 Helsinki press conference during which Trump embraced Putin’s election interference denials with a seen-the-world-over slobbery kiss to Vladimir’s buttocks — and totally dissed his own U.S. intelligence community. I overlooked all these things because I thought Donald was rich and therefore smart.
But Trump lost over a billion dollars in 10 years. And that was a 1990s billion — an easy trillion in today’s dollars, with inflation and all. What’s up with that?
What if It’s Simpler Than We Thought?
Trump resisters believe the president is guilty of several impeachable offenses. These might or might not be proved. He might or might not be impeached for his crimes. But isn’t making money off the presidency bad enough?
Many of us assumed Donald had to be guilty of conspiracy with the Russians because of the following:
— He has consistently acted guilty as sin.
— His campaign had at least 140 contacts with Russians (13 by Trump himself).
— A known Russian government attorney offered dirt on Hillary. Her representative emailed Don Jr.: “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” Don Jr. emailed the Russian’s contact, “If it’s what you say, I love it.” Then he, Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, and campaign chair Paul Manafort met with the attorney and other Russians in Trump Tower, one floor below Donald’s office, hoping to get that dirt.
— Campaign chair Paul Manafort passed internal polling data to Russian oligarchs, likely alerting them to focus their resources on Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, the long-shot states that put Trump over the top.
— A known Russian intelligence operative and associate of Paul Manafort tried to steer a “Ukrainian peace plan” — i.e., a plan to allow Russian control of parts of Ukraine and for U.S. recognition of Russia’s illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula — to Trump through Manafort.
— Donald’s National Security Advisor-designate Michael Flynn discussed lifting Russian sanctions with Putin’s U.S. ambassador (likely in return for election help), in opposition to the Obama administration’s punishment of Russia for widely acknowledged election interference.
— Donald mysteriously has adopted pro-Russia policies that confound even his own aides.
— Trump has never criticized Vladimir Putin, though he has freely, regularly dissed most U.S. allies at one time or another.
— Donald consistently has labeled the proven Russian election interference a “Russia hoax.” He has persistently impeded its investigation and U.S. efforts to prevent future attacks.
— Trump has accepted — publicly and privately — Putin’s election interference denials in the face of consistent, unanimous determinations by all U.S. intelligence agencies that “[t]he Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion.”
— Trump has kept secret — even from his own staff — most all discussions with Putin during their meetings, going so far as to personally confiscate American translators’ notes.
— Trump tried so damn hard to end the Mueller Russia probe.
— There are hundreds of other unexplained suspicious contacts, activities, and policy decisions involving Russians and the Trump campaign, transition, and administration — many compiled in the Mueller report and many more since Inauguration Day.
In light of all these things, Trump just had to be guilty of conspiracy. But though unethical, though unpatriotic, though traitorous in spirit, Special Counsel Mueller found that Trump World’s despicable activities involving Russia came up a comb-over hair shy of technical illegality. (I know — I used “a comb-over hair’s width short” last week. But it was so good.)
But what if Donald Trump — now known to be a billion-dollar loser, bush-league businessman, and bogus deal-maker — has been kissing Vladimir Putin’s a** simply to protect and enhance his chances for future money-making schemes in Russia. We know Trump has been trying to do business there for decades. In 2013 he sucked up to Putin bigly at the then-Trump-owned Miss Universe Pageant held in a Moscow suburb. But Putin blew him off.
We now also know that Trump tried his damnedest to build an eponymous skyscraper over there in the year or so before the 2016 election. He consistently lied through his teeth to the American people during the entire campaign, saying he had no business interests or contacts in Russia. Another of Michael Cohen’s three no-personal-benefit felonies for which he went up the river was lying to Congress, at Trump’s encouragement, about striking a deal to build Trump Tower Moscow. Cohen said the deal died in January 2016, though it was still alive at least until June and possibly through the election.
Moreover, Putin knew Trump was lying throughout 2016 about “no business in Russia,” which gave Putin the ability to compromise Trump. This means Donald knew Vlad could expose him at any time; therefore Donald had better not cross Vlad. The future and current American president was and is in a position to be blackmailed by the Russian government. But if Trump plays ball, he stands to make a gazillion dollars in Moscow real estate.
We know that no Russian business venture has a prayer without Putin’s blessing. Imagine ex-President Trump sitting across from the dictator at a future business meeting being able to say, “Remember that Ukraine policy I fixed for you? Remember those sanctions I lifted? I’ll make a billion dollars and you get 10%.”
Then Putin says, “Remember that Golden Showers video? Remember how I kept my mouth shut when you said you had no business in Russia? You’ll give me 50% and you’ll like it.”
What if it’s as simple as that?
There oughta be a law. ■
Trump Corruption Chronicles — We Must Never Forget