On the Russian interference front, an FBI agent testified that as an intelligence officer his biggest fear isn’t Putin, but that his own government (under Trump) does not have his back.
He’s sold an awful lot of apartments to Russians. Which may not be odd, or criminal. But many of them allegedly met with him. That is odd. What? To go over the floor plan with him?
The Russian connection is not just that Putin’s agents likely tried to influence the election, it’s a longer established story of potential money laundering issues that certainly should have been explored during the campaign, or the primaries.
New York City real estate broker Dolly Lenz told USA TODAY she sold about 65 condos in Trump World at 845 U.N. Plaza in Manhattan to Russian investors, many of whom sought personal meetings with Trump for his business expertise.
“I had contacts in Moscow looking to invest in the United States,” Lenz said. “They all wanted to meet Donald. They became very friendly.” Many of those meetings happened in Trump’s office at Trump Tower or at sales events, Lenz said.
And it’s not just the usual clean cut Russian oligarch that’s buying his properties, there are also some shady characters too.
The president and his companies have been linked to at least 10 wealthy former Soviet businessmen with alleged ties to criminal organizations or money laundering.
• A member of the firm that developed the Trump SoHo Hotel in New York is a twice-convicted felon who spent a year in prison for stabbing a man and later scouted for Trump investments in Russia.
• An investor in the SoHo project was accused by Belgian authorities in 2011 in a $55 million money-laundering scheme.
• Three owners of Trump condos in Florida and Manhattan were accused in federal indictments of belonging to a Russian-American organized crime group and working for a major international crime boss based in Russia.
• A former mayor from Kazakhstan was accused in a federal lawsuit filed in Los Angeles in 2014 of hiding millions of dollars looted from his city, some of which was spent on three Trump SoHo units.
• A Ukrainian owner of two Trump condos in Florida was indicted in a money-laundering scheme involving a former prime minister of Ukraine.
Another day, another drip, drip, drip. Can he go below 35% approval? I think he can.
And the Chris Christie lesson is, even if you somehow get out of being convicted or indicted of criminal activity that was done, at the very least, for your benefit, nobody will believe you weren’t involved and you will be irreparably tarred. Trump can avoid the worst for a while, with his party going to the mattresses to defend, but that will drag the GOP to defeat in 2018 and then it’s every man for himself. The GOP infrastructure in 1974 did not have a Lemming-like suicide wish. These GOPers today aren’t just ethics challenged gangsters, they’re nihilists.