https://www.madcowprod.com/2019/05/01/t ... lubavitch/
Trump, Khashoggi, Deutsche Bank, & Chabad Lubavitch
By Daniel Hopsicker -
May 1, 2019
An unofficial investigation into RussiaGate has uncovered a shocking and previously-unknown new connection— a CIA-connected man who became instantly famous after the Boston Marathon bombing — involved in recent allegations against Trump associate Felix Sater that he laundered $440 million of stolen money for billionaire oligarchs in Kazakhstan through American real estate.
Evidence in the case also showed a startling similarity between suspicions of money laundering in Trump’s sale of a Palm Beach mansion to a Russian billionaire gangster and a billionaire banker from Kazakhstan purchasing a similarly over-priced mansion in London from Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, a member of the British royal family, son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and at one time second in line to the throne.
When Donald Trump files suit yesterday to keep his business dealings with Germany’s criminal Deutsche Bank secret, it prompted a review of notes for clues that led to long-unanswered questions about why Mueller’s investigation showed no apparent interest in linking crimes Deutsche Bank was committing while Trump was doing business with the bank with a man with whom he had clear ties: Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi.
Was an unwillingness to unmask CIA involvement both situations?
Donald Trump’s Palm Beach ‘homies’ in the news
Adnan Khashoggi, one of Donald Trump’s longtime Palm Beach ‘homies,’ was committing crimes with Deutsche Bank, and as this webite never tires of pointing out, during the same time period Trump was involved in what many suspect was similar business, money laundering, with the bank.
PRO TIP: If investigators also subpoena information about criminal dealings between Deutsche Bank and Adnan Khashoggi—whose death a year ago makes accessing information about his criminal dealings with the bank easier—progress may be made.
It’s just a suggestion, but probably a good one.
The return of Uncle Ruslan
Ruslan Tsarni shot to fame six years ago on the day after the Boston Marathon bombing as the uncle of the two men accused. He roundly and vociferously condemned his nephews, and quickly became the chief source of information about the two men.
For days he was ubiquitous on television. Now he has a prominent role in accusing Felix Sater of laundering money for two billionaires from Kazahstan through American real estate.
Donald Trump Calls Into WWOR/UPN 9 News on 9/11
‘This was an unbelievably powerful building. If you know anything about structures, it was built from the outside with steel. The reason the World Trade Center had such narrow windows was that between all the windows you had all this steel on the outside of the building. That’s why when I first looked at the building… I couldn’t believe it because there was hole in the steel! …How could a plane, even a 767 or 747 …how could it possibly go through the steel? I happen to think that they had not only a plane, but they had bombs that exploded almost simultaneously, because I can’t even imagine anything being able to go through that wall. Most buildings are built where the steel is on the inside around the elevator shaft. This one was built from the outside, which is the strongest structure you can have, and it was almost (came down) like a can of soup.”
https://www.mintpressnews.com/unfaithfu ... nt/262275/
An Unfaithful Servant of Imperialism: The Real Reason Donald Trump Is Facing Impeachment
For the neocons and the “liberal” right-to-protect Humanitarian Imperialists” Trump lurches in the direction of non-intervention and repproachment and only venial sins.
by Roger D. Harris
October 11th, 2019
"The United States has spent EIGHT TRILLION DOLLARS fighting and policing in the Middle East. Thousands of our Great Soldiers have died or been badly wounded. Millions of people have died on the other side. GOING INTO THE MIDDLE EAST IS THE WORST DECISION EVER MADE.”
— Tweet, Donald J. Trump, October 9, 2019.
Granted Trump may arguably be more corrupt than Biden. But that’s splitting hairs over which crook is more crooked. Bullying vassal states and “doing well by doing good” are indicators of finesse in Washington. Inside the beltway, corruption is not a liability for holding high political office, but a requirement. The key to membership in the power elite club is carrying water for the imperial state, and most club members must go through an elaborate vetting process to prove that they are reliable. Some such as Trump slip through.
The sine qua non for membership in this exclusive club is to prove you’ll take a hit for the empire. When the results of the 2000 US presidential election were inconclusive, Al Gore took a fall rather than risk instability at the top: “(for) the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession.” There are higher callings than merely winning the presidency for good servants of the empire.
But would Trump have been so compliant? Maybe not. So, impeachment is in order to either chasten him to faithful obedience or get rid of him.
The Not Thoroughly Vetted President
The presidential primaries are an audition process to see who can best serve the ruling class while conning the public. If the presidential “debates” demonstrate anything, it is that all the contestants are aspiring reality TV stars. Trump was different only in that he had previous experience.
Whenever one of the contestants shows vacillation on empire, they get slapped on the side of the head. Gabbard got summarily dismissed from the debates for her failure of faith in wars of imperial aggression as the highest expression of humanitarianism. Sanders had to grovel, calling the democratically elected president of Venezuela a “vicious tyrant.”
And to qualify for the debates, a contestant must first prove that they are a “serious candidate.” In a “democracy” where bribing politicians is considered “free speech” and where corporations are afforded the constitutional rights of “persons,” the single overriding measure of seriousness is raising bundles of money from the rich. Of course, the rich did not become rich without expecting a return on their investments. Warren’s surge, as it was dutifully reported in the press, came when some of the big money began to shift from Biden to her.
Trump, on the other hand, had his own billionaire’s booty to back him, plus a little help from his wealthy cohorts. As billionaire Ross Perot proved in 1992, if you are filthy rich, you can independently run for president. And, in his case, throw the election from Bush the Elder to Bill Clinton.
To win a presidential election, however, you need more than deep pockets…you need a little help from your friends in getting a major party backing. Why a major party ballot line is so useful has constitutional antecedents.
The revolution of 1776, the last revolution that the US elites liked that was not rigged by the CIA, gave us the Articles of Confederation as the ruling document for the new sovereign. By 1787 the US elites of the time, Hamilton and supporting cast, were chafing under what they characterized as the “excesses of democracy.” A new constitution was drafted and approved with “checks and balances.” What needed to be checked and balanced? Democracy, the direct rule of the people, was what was checked in the new document, while slavery was reaffirmed under the highest law of the land.
The new constitution gave us the Electoral College, whereby presidents are selected by “electors” rather than trusting the direct vote of the people and states can vote as a block. This allowed Trump to triumph even when his opponent received some 3 million more votes. Oddly, his Democratic Party opponents have since focused on alleged Russian interference through Facebook ads rather than the need to make the US Constitution an instrument for the expression of the popular will.
But we are getting ahead of the story because Trump still had to become the frontrunner in a crowded Republican field before he could even take on the other party of capital. Here he had help from friends in unexpected quarters. The Republican establishment hated him, but Clinton and the so-called liberal media became Trump boosters. The corporate media gave the flamboyant Trump a bully platform because it was good for ratings.
Clinton and the Democratic National Committee, as revealed in their leaked emails published by Wikileaks, pulled for Trump because they thought him an easier opponent than, say, the mainstream Republican heir-apparent Jeb Bush. There was precious little difference between the positions of Jeb and Hillary, though the popular images projected by the two major parties superficially diverged. The core of both parties greatly overlaps, while the right fringe of the Republicans and the left fringe of the Democrats provide the contrasting colors but not the contending policy directions.
The 2016 electoral contest was a spectacle of insurgencies. Initially, there was Sanders. That he was somehow considered an “outsider” is a symptom of just how terminally ingrown the US polity has become. How could someone who served years in the US Senate and caucused with the Democrats be an outsider? Sanders ran on two premises: supporting the Democratic Party and raising suppressed issues such as income inequality. He succeeded in the first and failed in the second.
Meanwhile, after 40 years of neoliberalism, CEO compensation has grown 940% as compared to 12% for typical employees in the US.
Trump in his way also pandered to the genuinely deteriorating condition of US workers. Both the Trump and the Sanders anti-establishment insurgencies, however, were contained within the two-party system and thus were structurally destined not to come to fruition. The establishment won’t come down by joining them.
Unfaithful Servant of Imperialism
Defying even the Las Vegas bookies’ predictions, Trump became the 45th President of the US. He had kvetched about the plight of US workers and made some noise about ending unending wars, but was he for real? After all, Obama had promised to get out of Gitmo and NAFTA, but ended up doing neither. Obama, the former critic of Bush’s Iraq war, continued Bush’s wars and started a handful of his own.
Upon occupying the Oval Office, Trump not unexpectedly threw the working class under the bus with his tax cut for the rich and similar actions, which must have won him some brownie points from the owning class. But to date he has failed to start a new war. The last US president with a similar failing was the one-term Jimmy Carter. And now Trump is showing insufficient enthusiasm for continuing the war in Syria and possibly even a closet aversion to starting World War III with nuclear-armed Russia. These may be impeachable offenses in the estimation of parts of the ruling class.
David R. Sanger, writing in the October 7 New York Times, represents “liberal” establishment views in support of US imperialism: “Mr. Trump’s sudden abandonment of the Kurds was another example of the independent, parallel foreign policy he has run from the White House, which has largely abandoned the elaborate systems created since President Harry Truman’s day to think ahead about the potential costs and benefits of presidential decisions.”
There you have it. Trump is accused of having an “independent” foreign policy, emanating out of his office of all places, even though he is the elected President of the US and the one charged with executing foreign policy.
Who is Trump “independent” from? It’s not the US citizenry according to the Times. As the article points out: “Mr. Trump sensed that many Americans share his view – and polls show he is right… Mr. Trump has correctly read the American people who, after Iraq and Afghanistan, also have a deep distaste for forever wars.”
So, who might Trump have betrayed? According to the article, it’s “circumventing the American generals and diplomats who sing the praises of maintaining the traditional American forward presence around the world.” This is who his alleged crime of independence is against. They fear Trump could “abandon” the post-war imperial consensus.
Note that the Times, as reflective of current ruling class ideology, no longer bothers to justify the dictates of the world’s sole hegemon as a crusade against the current evil, be it communism or terrorism. Simply, the imperial state must be supported. Hence, Trump’s view that “acting as the world’s policeman was too expensive” or his tweet, “time for us to get out,” have become grounds for impeachment.
The article favorably cites Republican majority leader Senator Mitch McConnell, who called on Trump “to exercise American leadership” by capitulating to the dictates of the imperial state, while contrasting it to that glory day “not even three months after his inauguration, [when] he ordered the first military strike of his presidency.”
The Times article continues: “That system is badly broken today. Mr. Trump is so suspicious of the professional staff – many drawn from the State Department and the C.I.A. – and so dismissive of the ‘deep state’ foreign policy establishment, that he usually announces decisions first, and forces the staff to deal with them later.”
“That system,” cited above, is the post-WWII permanent state. Trump is chastised in the Times for being “so dismissive of the ‘deep state’ foreign policy establishment.” Trump instead, according to the article, has the temerity to make his own decisions and then he expects the agencies of government to follow his instructions. For some, having the elected representative formulate policy and the unelected state apparatus follow it would be democratic. But not so for the cheerleaders of US imperialism.
The Dark Knight Rises
Trump’s habitual corruption and bullying have now been outed by a whistleblower. Unlike Ellsberg, Manning, and Snowden, who sought to correct US imperial policy, this whistleblower comes from the very gatekeeper of imperialism, the CIA. According to his lawyers, there is not a lone whistleblower but a whole cabal of well-placed spooks in the secret US security apparatus. The deep state (I would prefer the term “permanent” state) is more than a conspiracy theory.
The impeachment imbroglio is bigger than Trump. That the outing of Trump was done by a current employee of a US agency shrouded in secrecy, who is unaccountable and unknown, should be a subject of enormous concern for all small-d democrats and not just anti-imperialists. The CIA has the means and mission to overthrow regimes, and now ours may be one of them, however undesirable the current president may be.
We, the people, should take no solace that Trump, in his careening about, may stumble in the direction of anti-imperialism. Trump is just as much an imperialist as the rest. Only he is not as reliably consistent and that is what has gotten leading segments of the ruling class into a hissy fit. The ruling class is not always unified on policy. Here we are, witness, to an intra-class struggle. But we needn’t take sides, because the ruling class is always unified in serving their class interests, which are not ours.
A policy conflict, some have speculated, is raging within the ruling class between Trump’s “isolationist” and a more “globalist” imperialism. Rest assured the ruling class has institutions to adjudicate these disputes such as the Council on Foreign Relations. For the neocons and the “liberal” right-to-protect “humanitarian imperialists,” Trump’s lurches in the direction of non-intervention and rapprochement are only venial sins. The mortal sin would be if the erratic Trump fails to listen to what the Times delicately calls the “professionals.”
A corollary fear is if the “populist” (note how the ruling class thinks of this is a pejorative) Trump listens to the people’s desire for peace. Unlike the first fear, the latter is unwarranted. That is, unwarranted unless and until the people rebuild an independent peace movement to check the rising tide of US militarism.
Feature photo | President Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Friday, Oct. 11, 2019, as he returns from a campaign rally in Minneapolis. Patrick Semansky | AP
Roger D. Harris is on the state central committee of the Peace and Freedom Party, the only ballot-qualified socialist party in California.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect MintPress News editorial policy.
EXCLUSIVE: President Donald Trump talks to Farage on LBC: Live Stream & Phone In
The leader of the free world President Donald Trump speaks exclusively to LBC’s Nigel Farage from 6pm.
When I was with the family, always we were talking about strength. Jesus say, You must go to those who are in positions of power.” And I remember one of the senior brothers talking to me about the metaphor of the sheep and the wolf. He said, “You think Christ came for the sheep, huh?”
And I said, “Yes, of course.”
He said, “You know, it’s good to love the sheep, but who’s going to love the wolf? And you know what? If you can get the wolf alongside you, the wolf’ll get everyone else in line pretty quick. And so we don’t worry about the sheep. We must go out and reach the Wolf King. How do you get the Wolf King? You show him that you have a great power.”
- Jeff Sharlet, Netflix series, The Family, Episode 2, 17:35
[…]An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”
He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
https://saturatetheworld.com/2017/05/23 ... st-wolves/Sheep In the Midst of Wolves
Bold and Blameless
by Dhati Lewis May 23, 2017
I will never leave you. I will never forsake you. I am here with you.” That type of commitment is a tall order—especially in hostile environments but this became my heart’s cry: “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves (Matthew 10:16).
Many have the misconception that sheep are not smart. While they may not be the brightest animals, they are known for their strong following instinct. When a sheep goes into a hostile environment, they are actually quite intelligent. They understand they have no real protection, save their flock instinct. As soon as a wolf comes, the natural instinct for sheep is to come together. The thought is we are more protected together than alone.
https://www.rightwingwatch.org/post/the ... -of-power/
The Family’s most powerful networking event, and virtually its only public-facing event, is the invitation-only annual National Prayer Breakfast, which has been attended by every president since Dwight Eisenhower. One scene in the documentary features Donald Trump making his first appearance at the National Prayer Breakfast, and starting his remarks in typically ham-fisted self-aggrandizing manner, mocking Arnold Schwarzenegger’s unsuccessful effort to replace Trump in his “reality” TV show, “The Apprentice.”
Those who saw Trump’s buffoonish appearance as an embarrassment, Sharlet says, missed the point, and the significance of the National Prayer Breakfast as a ritual of power, a ritual that allows The Family to signal to the world, “We can sanctify anybody, we can anoint anybody we want.” (For a bit of contrast, the Religious Right celebrated when author Eric Metaxas used his remarks at the prayer breakfast to attack Barack Obama’s faith just before the president spoke.)
The prayer breakfast, in and around which world leaders, U.S. politicians and business leaders, and political insiders build relationships and lobby one another, has recently gotten more scrutiny than usual given Russian Maria Butina’s use of the breakfast as a means of gaining access to conservative movement leaders in the U.S. Butina was sentenced to prison for failing to register as a foreign agent, but the breakfast is designed as, in Sharlet’s words, “an unregistered lobbying festival” to promote the kind of networking she was apparently engaged in.
Doug Coe, the longtime leader of The Family who died in 2017, was focused on powerful men, and promoting a Jesus who came for the “wolves” and not “the sheep.” Coe argued that it was important to identify and come alongside the “wolf king”—now personified in the U.S. by Donald Trump. Of course, Trump has plenty of other Religious Right leaders telling him he was anointed by God and put in office by divine intervention.
https://www.rightwingwatch.org/post/god ... ald-trump/
1. God is using Trump to pave the way for the Second Coming
Frank Amedia, a pastor who has been serving as Trump’s “Christian policy” liaison, said that God told him personally last year that Trump would win the GOP nomination and help pave the way for the Second Coming. Amedia also suggested that only God could explain how Trump has survived all his blunders:
And the Lord spoke very clearly to me, and he said to me, ‘This man is going to win the nomination and I want you to be ready to serve my cause when I call you.’…In this instance, it’s not because Donald Trump has heralded his faith or the name of God, but the Lord has put His favor upon him, and how amazing it is that the favor of God can overcome so many mistakes, so many bumbles, so many things that otherwise we would think would destroy somebody in business, destroy them in politics, destroy them in relationships. But yet it’s very evident it was the will of the Lord to do this and here we sit now.
https://www.inquisitr.com/5790807/donal ... abee-2024/
Donald Trump Will Definitely Run For 3rd Term, Says Mike Huckabee, Who Claims He Will Chair 2024 Campaign
December 12, 2019
The former Arkansas governor may have been 'trolling' Democrats when he claimed that Trump will be 'eligible' to serve longer than the Constitution allows.
Donald Trump has repeatedly told what he says are jokes about the possibility that he will stay in office beyond the two-term limit imposed by the Consitution. Most recently, at a Tuesday rally in Pennsylvania, Trump said that he may remain in the White House for another 29 years, making him 102-years-old.
But on Thursday, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee — whose daughter, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, served as the administration’s press secretary — appeared to confirm that Trump does indeed plan to run for what would be an unconstitutional third term in the White House. In fact, as The Independent reported, Huckabee claimed that he has been asked to chair the 2024 Trump re-election campaign.
“Gives me lots of time to plan!” Huckabee said on his Twitter account. But The Independent also noted that Huckabee himself may not have been serious in his seemingly outrageous claim. There has so far been no evidence that Trump is organizing a 2024 campaign.
In fact, the paper noted, Trump faces an uphill battle just to win a second term in 2020. He trails Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden in almost every poll, and also regularly polls behind other top Democrats.
Nonetheless, even if Huckabee was “joking” about Trump’s serving a third term, The Independent reported that some experts say Trump “repeatedly muses about doing so as a means of normalizing the concept before making a serious attempt.”
Huckabee’s “joke” could also fall under the same category of paving the way for normalization of a third term, which would brazenly defy the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
In his tweets on Thursday, as quoted by The Daily Mail, Huckabee claimed that Trump would be “eligible” for a third term due to the supposed attempts by former FBI Director James Comey and congressional Democrats to “oust” Trump from the Oval Office.
Trump himself has suggested that he would be entitled to a third term due to having his time in office “illegally stripped away” due to the investigations against him over his reported collusion with Russia in the 2016 campaign, The Independent noted.
There is, however, no provision in the Constitution that allows for such exceptions to the two-term limit imposed by the 22nd Amendment.
The concern that Trump may not relinquish his hold on the office of president, however, has been seen as no joking matter by political and legal experts. On Tuesday, conservative American Enterprise Institute scholar Norman Ornstein said that the possibility of Trump imposing martial law or even suspending the 2020 elections in order to stay in office, can no longer be seen as “fanciful, alarmist or crazy.”
https://gregolear.substack.com/p/tinker ... ster-trump
Tinker, Tailor, Mobster, Trump
What happens when a Confidential Informant becomes President?
Greg Olear, Mar 31, 2020
IN THE EARLY 1980s it was decided—by whom, and for what ultimate purpose, we can’t say for sure—that Donald John Trump would build a casino complex in Atlantic City, New Jersey—probably the most mobbed-up municipality in the state. Dealing with the mafia might have dissuaded some developers from pursuing a Boardwalk Empire, but not Trump. He was uniquely suited to forge ahead.
Donald’s father, the Queens real estate developer Fred Trump, had worked closely with Genovese-associated and -owned construction entities since building the Shore Haven development in 1947, when Donald was still in diapers (the first time around). Fred was an early mob adopter, the underworld equivalent of an investor who bought shares of Coca-Cola stock in 1919. The timelines is important to remember here. Organized crime did not exist in any meaningful way in the United States until Prohibition. Born in 1905, Fred Trump was just two years younger than Meyer Lansky, the gangster who more or less invented money laundering. Thus, Donald Trump is second generation mobbed-up.
When Donald first ventured from Queens to the pizzazzier borough of Manhattan in the seventies, he entered into a joint business deal with “Big” Paul Castellano, head of the Gambino syndicate, and Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno, of the Genovese family he knew well through his father and their mutual lawyer Roy Cohn. As part of this arrangement, Trump agreed to buy concrete from a company operated jointly by the two families—and pay a hefty premium for the privilege. Only then, with double mob approval, could he move forward with the Trump Tower and Trump Plaza projects. (Among Cohn’s other clients at the time was Rupert Murdoch, whom he introduced to Trump in the seventies; you would be hard pressed to find three more atrocious human beings).
Atlantic City is in South Jersey, closer to Philadelphia than New York, so to build “his” casino, Trump needed to play ball with the Philly mob. That meant dealing with Nicodemo “Little Nicky” Scarfo, head of the most powerful mob family in Philadelphia. Land that Trump needed for his casino was owned by Salvie Testa and Frank Narducci, Jr.—hit men for Scarfo, collectively known around town as the Young Executioners (the nickname was not ironic). To help negotiate the deal, Trump hired Patrick McGahn, a Philly-based attorney known to have truck with the Scarfo family.
(The last name should sound familiar; Don McGahn, the former White House Counsel, is Patrick McGahn’s nephew. And Don McGahn is not the only Trump Administration hire with ties to the Philly mob. Among Little Nicky’s associates was one Jimmy “The Brute” DiNatale, whose daughter, Denise Fitzpatrick, is the mother of none other than Kellyanne Conway. A number of wiseguys paid their respects at DiNatale’s 1983 funeral. I don’t want to make the mistake of condemning Conway or Don McGahn for the sins of their relations. But given Trump’s OC background, it’s fair to question why he chose two children of mobbed-up families for his inner White House circle.)
Trump acquired the needed Atlantic City property at twice the market value: $1.1 million for a lot that sold for $195k five years before. But there were legal pratfalls, shady dealings, chicanery with the documents. The New Jersey Gaming Commission was investigating the matter, because casino owners could not, by law, associate with criminals. And most of Trump’s friends were crooks. It looked like Trump was in trouble—not only of losing his gaming license, but of criminal indictment.
And then, something miraculous happened. On 4 November 1986, Scarfo and eleven of his associates were indicted on charges that included loan sharking, extortion and conducting an illegal gambling business in a racketeering conspiracy. Prosecutors had tried for years to take down Little Nicky. And now, after all that time, they finally had their evidence. Not only that, but the investigation into Trump? It went away. Poof—as if it never existed.
A confidential informant, or “CI,” is a mole run by law enforcement within a criminal enterprise. Not a “rat,” whose treachery is well known to his comrades, but a craftier, more duplicitous breed of rodent. Crimes committed by the CI are overlooked, or allowed to continue unabated, in exchange for good intelligence—“treasure,” as Control calls it in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.
A fictional example of a CI is the Greek, a character on the show The Wire (spoiler ahead). Baltimore law enforcement piece together that the Greek is the head of a crime syndicate that deals in narcotics and human trafficking. But when they finally move to arrest him, the operation is kibboshed by the feds, for whom the Greek is a Confidential Informant. This is extremely frustrating for viewers of the show, who rightly regard the Greek as the cause of so much woe in West Baltimore.
In real life, there are two famous examples. The first is Whitey Bulger, the head of the so-called Winter Hill Gang, which operated for decades in Somerville, Massachusetts. In 1975, Bulger became a Confidential Informant for the FBI, handled by a corrupt agent named John Connolly. His intelligence helped take down a rival mob family in Providence, Rhode Island—a city notorious for the influence of organized crime. In exchange, Connolly allowed Bulger and his associates to operate with impunity. At least 19 people were killed by the Winter Hill Gang while the feds looked the other way. When the FBI finally realized its mistake, Connolly tipped off Bulger, who went on the lam for 16 years. He was finally arrested in 2011; by then he was in his eighties. He was killed in prison seven years later.
The second famous CI is Donald Trump’s former associate Felix Sater. Racketeering charges against him back in 1998 ended with a fine of just $25,000—a slap on the wrist. From then on, Sater become a top echelon confidential informant, feeding law enforcement intelligence of “a depth and breadth rarely seen,” as court filings show. “His cooperation has covered a stunning array of subject matter, ranging from sophisticated local and international criminal activity to matters involving the world’s most dangerous terrorists and rogue states.”
The winsome ex-con, still one of the more puzzling figures of Trump/Russia, “continuously worked with prosecutors and law enforcement agents to provide information crucial to the conviction of over 20 different individuals, including those responsible for committing massive financial fraud, members of La Cosa Nostra organized crime families and international cyber-criminals,” prosecutors claim. “Additionally, Sater provided the United States intelligence community with highly sensitive information in an effort to help the government combat terrorists and rogue states.”
His intelligence helped prosecutors break up the “Pump and Dump” and “Boiler Room” mob operations in the 1990s. He turned over useful information about the Genovese crime family (note: the same family Fred Trump fronted for), and provided ample dirt on international arms dealing (note: Jeffrey Epstein’s specialty). And his crowning achievement: he helped the United States track down Osama bin Laden (funny how the Russian mob knew where he was). Sater is proud of his CI work, and has talked it up the last few years, probably to counter his association with the mafiya, and with Trump.
We know about Bulger being a CI because his handler turned out to be crooked. We know about Sater being a CI because he outed himself prior to his sentencing in 2009—and because he keeps boasting about it. If Sater had not come forward, Loretta Lynch, the former Attorney General, would not have been legally permitted to reveal his status.
That’s the thing about Confidential Informants: they are confidential. The informant doesn’t want to be made as a mole, any more than law enforcement wants to burn a source. Both sides are bound to secrecy. It is the good guy version of omertà.
The only way to know for sure if Donald John Trump is a Confidential Informant is if he admits it himself (unlikely), or if law enforcement comes forward (illegal). But the circumstantial evidence is compelling. The pattern is: 1) Trump deals with mobsters as usual; 2) Law enforcement begins investigating Trump; 3) Mobsters suddenly get busted, while 4) investigation into Trump is scuttled. This happened three times that we know about. I’m not counting the first known instance of Trump providing information to prosecutors, concerning Cody and concrete, in the late 70s:
I can conceive of no scenario in which Trump was not a CI, and a top echelon one at that. He’s avoided indictment too many times. No one is that lucky.
Or, put another way: How can someone that lucky manage to run a fucking casino into the ground?
Salvatore Gravano, known as “Sammy the Bull,” was an underboss of the Gambino crime family. After the assassination of “Big” Paul Castellano in 1985—an audacious hit, done in broad daylight—John Gotti was installed as the figurehead capo. But in practice, the Bull was the one calling the shots. His territory? Manhattan. For as long as he was in power, any construction that took place in New York, New York had to be approved by Gravano. “I literally controlled Manhattan,” he told ABC News. He did a lot of business deals with Donald John Trump, and speaks of him fondly.
After his arrest on 11 December 1990, Gravano turned state’s evidence to help put away Gotti, his nominal boss. The lead prosecutor of the case? Robert Swan Mueller III. (This is why, when Trump found out Mueller was named Special Counsel, he collapsed into a chair and muttered, “I’m fucked.”)
We know that Gravano flipped on Gotti. But who flipped on Sammy the Bull?
On 19 July 1990, the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) of the State of New Jersey opened an investigation into Donald John Trump, regarding the Trump Organization’s business dealings with Joseph Weichselbaum, a mob associate and embezzler who had been convicted not once, not twice, but three times. Trump hired Weichselbaum’s company to provide helicopter transportation to Atlantic City, conveying high rollers to and from New York. As a casino owner, Trump was prohibited by law to do any business with the serial felon. He not only continued to do so, but he went to bat for the guy, going so far as to write him a letter of recommendation. (There’s more bizarre stuff with Wiechselbaum, whose case wound up being initially tried by Trump’s sister, a federal judge, but I won’t get into it here).
Six months after the DGE opened its investigation, Gravano got pinched. And once again, as if by the wave of a magic wand, Trump’s legal troubles seemed to vanish.
It’s worth noting here that Sammy the Bull likes Trump personally, then and now, and seems not to blame him for ratting him out. There were likely others who informed on Gravano, too. But given the timing, the investigation against Trump, his disastrous finances at the time, and his long familiarity with federal prosecutors, it stands to reason that Trump, too, turned on his longtime business associate.
The Kurt & Courtney decade was unkind to Donald John Trump. The Bush I recession hit his businesses hard. Trump filed for bankruptcy protection for Trump Taj Mahal (1991) and Trump Plaza (1992). Again: our “lucky” guy had managed to go bust in the casino business. In between those bankruptcy filings, he lobbied Congress for tax relief for real estate developers, began phoning reporters claiming to be a publicist named John Barron, had an affair with a D-list actress named Marla Maples, and divorced his wife of 14 years, the mother of his kids Donald, Ivanka, and Eric: the former Ivana Zelníčková. (Sidenote: Ivana Trump’s father was a big wheel in Czechoslovakia’s Státní bezpečnost intelligence service; Miloš Zelníček helped raise his grandchildren, especially Don Jr., who speaks fluent Czech…but this is a subject for another dispatch).
Things were going south fast. Trump desperately needed a lifeline. He found one in Moscow.
The Soviet Union collapsed on Christmas Day 1991. What the West viewed as the triumph of capitalism over communism was really the subversion of a conventional superpower by the shadowy forces of transnational crime. The Cold War was not over; it just shifted modes of attack. In the early 90s, Russia invaded the United States—not with soldiers, but with mobsters.
The commander of this underworld incursion was a violent ex-con named Vyacheslav Ivankov, known as “Yaopnchik,” or “Little Japanese.” Hardened in the brutal Soviet prison system, Ivankov was a member of the vor y zakone, or thieves-in-law—the arm of the Russian mafiya that originated in the post-Second World War gulags. He was such a nasty, violent motherfucker that when it was necessary to rough someone up to extort them, he didn’t send in a subordinate—he did the job himself.
Ivankov arrived to the United States in 1992, ostensibly to work in the film industry. Even the new Russian government warned the FBI that he was up to no good. The feds lost sight of him almost immediately, even as he traveled from New York to Florida and everywhere in between, consolidating power, and displacing the Italian mob. (That brazen 1985 hit on “Big” Paul Castellano was instrumental in achieving this Vor hegemony, as the Gambino boss neither liked nor trusted the Russians). Per the testimony of Bob Levinson, the FBI’s foremost Russian mob expert:
Ivankov’s organization’s income was derived from a number of sources: his group was implicated by sources to have been involved in the “gasoline tax scam” whereby so-called “daisy-chains” of petroleum handling companies were established with the specific intention of defrauding governmental tax authorities using non-existent or ghost companies to pay the gasoline taxes due.
A primary source of the group’s funds was the collection of “krisha” or protection money from wealthy Russian and Eurasian businessmen operating between North America and the former Soviet republics. In addition, the Ivankov organization organized the collection of, in effect, a “street tax” from Russian-born and Eastern European criminals who were operating their illegal enterprises in North America. Ivankov organization members fanned out across the United States and Canada identifying and then approaching these criminals saying that each now had to contribute to an “obshak” (mutual benefit fund) being collected and organized by the Ivankov group.
In addition, Ivankov and other members of his organization settled business disputes for Russian and Eastern European businessmen operating between North America and the former Soviet Union, receiving in return a percentage of the amount in dispute, usually hundreds of thousands of dollars. Through his authority as a “thief-inlaw” and the head of a criminal organization, Ivankov was able to exercise a kind of informal power in the émigré business community tantamount to decisions made by formal, official courts of law. Those who went against the decisions made by Ivankov and his associates were usually met with violence, including beatings and/or murder.
As Little Japanese worked the States, Semion Mogilevich, the current head of the Russian mob, set up his base of operations in Budapest, Hungary, where he moved in 1992 with his Hungarian girlfriend. “The Brainy Don,” as he is called, soon acquired a bank in Russia, which allowed him access to the global financial system. Meyer Lanksy may have invented money laundering, but it was Mogilevich who took it to Hollywood, so to speak: Lansky wrote the book, and the Brainy Don made it into an international blockbuster. (Note: Levinson, the FBI agent, moved to Budapest around this time, to investigate Mogilevich more closely.)
For three fruitful years, Ivankov did his thing, laying the foundation for what would become the world’s pre-eminent organized crime operation—more S.P.E.C.T.R.E. than GoodFellas. He ran amok. Law enforcement had no idea where he was….until, one day in 1995, they found him living in a deluxe apartment at—you’re not gonna believe it—Trump Tower. And that was not the only Trump property he frequented: Ivankov was also a regular at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. He was arrested in June of 1995, convicted, imprisoned, and deported to Russia in 2004 to face murder changes. Once home, he was promptly acquitted. He was gunned down in Moscow in 2009.
This monster was living in Trump’s building, gambling in Trump’s casino.
What was Donald John Trump doing in 1995? Failing tremendously. That was the year when he declared a loss of an unfathomable $916 million on his tax returns. It was also at this time that Trump Tower became a sort of Moscow on Fifth Avenue, with any number of Russian mobsters scooping up apartments—an arrangement that began in 1984, when the Russian mobster David Bogatin purchased five condos for $6 million. Trump Tower was one of just two buildings in all of New York City that allowed units to be purchased by shell companies. Why did Trump, virtually alone among New Yorkers, allow these fishy deals?
As the indefatigable Craig Unger writes in the Washington Post, the shady Bogatin deal began a 35-year relationship between Trump and Russian organized crime. Mind you, this was a period during which the disintegration of the Soviet Union had opened a fire-hose-like torrent of hundreds of billions of dollars in flight capital from oligarchs, wealthy apparatchiks and mobsters in Russia and its satellites. And who better to launder so much money for the Russians than Trump — selling them multimillion-dollar condos at top dollar, with little or no apparent scrutiny of who was buying them.
Over the next three decades, dozens of lawyers, accountants, real estate agents, mortgage brokers and other white-collar professionals came together to facilitate such transactions on a massive scale. According to a BuzzFeed investigation, more than 1,300 condos, one-fifth of all Trump-branded condos sold in the United States since the 1980s, were shifted “in secretive, all-cash transactions that enable buyers to avoid legal scrutiny by shielding their finances and identities.”
The Trump Organization has dismissed money laundering charges as unsubstantiated, and because it is so difficult to penetrate the shell companies that purchased these condos, it is almost impossible for reporters — or, for that matter, anyone without subpoena power — to determine how much money laundering by Russians went through Trump-branded properties. But Anders Aslund, a Swedish economist, put it this way to me: “Early on, Trump came to the conclusion that it is better to do business with crooks than with honest people. Crooks have two big advantages. First, they’re prepared to pay more money than honest people. And second, they will always lose if you sue them because they are known to be crooks.”
It is simply inconceivable that a creature of the underworld, a man who had extensive dealings with mob figures for his entire career, would, in a moment of dire need, be unaware that mobsters were buying his properties, using shell companies to conceal the origin of the dirty rubles.
It is also inconceivable that a mobbed-up real estate developer—a crook whom the government of Australia would not grant a gaming license because of his obvious mob connections; the subject of a 41-page initial investigation by the Department of Gaming Enforcement in the State of New Jersey that, taken together, is positively damning—could have avoided indictment for all these years unless he was covertly helping out law enforcement. Trump is a criminal, yes, but his crimes are not as heinous as Ivankov’s, or Gravano’s, or Scarfo’s. Prosecutors would happily toss a minnow like Trump back into the sea if it helped them catch the big fish.
Nothing about Trump’s term as president suggests he’s turned his back on organized crime. He hasn’t “gone legit.” His Twitter antagonists comprise a “Who’s Who” of the FBI’s Russian mob experts: Robert Mueller, Andrew McCabe, Bruce Ohr, Lisa Page. He has attacked the credibility of those who know what he really is. That is what made Trump’s attacks on Mueller so ironic. He impugned the former FBI director as corrupt, while depending on his incorruptibility to not reveal his (alleged) CI status.
To reiterate: we cannot know for sure if Trump was a CI unless he admits to being one (maybe Yamiche Alcindor can goad him into admitting it?), or if the federal prosecutors in the know break protocol to expose him.
As it stands, prominent G-men have given us clues. When McCabe was fired, he began his statement thus: “I have been an FBI Special Agent for over 21 years. I spent half of that time investigating Russian Organized Crime as a street agent and Supervisor in New York City.” The subtext there is that McCabe knows who Trump is.
In the excerpt of his book Higher Loyalty sent to the press, James Comey compared Trump to Gravano. “The [loyalty] demand was like Sammy the Bull’s Cosa Nostra induction ceremony—with Trump in the role of the family boss asking me if I have what it takes to be a ‘made man.’ ” Of all the famous mafiosos, why did Comey choose Gravano, a relatively obscure figure, as the comp? He wants us to dig into Gravano.
(Gravano himself was asked about the Comey pull-quote by Jerry Capeci of Gangland News; he said, “The country doesn’t need a bookworm as president, it needs a mob boss. You don’t need a Harvard graduate to deal with these people…[Putin, Kim, Xi] are real gangsters. You need a fucking gangster to deal with these people.” This seems to indicate that Sammy the Bull thinks Trump is a “mob boss” and a “fucking gangster.” Takes one to know one?)
Unless he thought it would help him avoid prison, Trump will never cop to being a Confidential Informant. We can only infer that he served that function by presenting the circumstantial evidence to support the hypothesis. But plenty of people can confirm or deny (rather than refuse to confirm or deny) Trump’s involvement. Bob Mueller, certainly, but every prosecutor too that dealt with Scarfo, Gravano, and Ivankov, and plenty of smaller cases besides.
When a Confidential Informant is deliberately fucking up the federal government’s response to a pandemic—when his willful negligence will cost hundreds of thousands if not millions of American lives—protocol must be sacrificed for the greater good. Is not the purpose of that law, of all laws, to protect the people from enemies foreign and domestic? And has not the COVID-19 response, or lack thereof, proven Trump to be an active enemy of the United States?
We don’t need more careful legalese. We don’t need more cryptic phrasings along the lines of “If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.” We need to hear, loud and clear, what the FBI knows. We need to be told, unequivocally, that Trump is an inveterate crook—a real crook; an actual criminal; not just a cute Twitter assertion—and, even more surprising, and contrary to all recent evidence, that he is capable of telling the truth when it serves him.
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