Trump was over a billion in debt and the Russians bailed him out.
► Trump was first compromised by the Russians in the 80s. In 1984, the Russian Mafia began to use Trump real estate to launder money. In 1987, the Soviet ambassador to the United Nations, Yuri Dubinin, arranged for Trump and his then-wife, Ivana, to enjoy an all-expense-paid trip to Moscow to consider possible business prospects. Only seven weeks after his trip, Trump ran full-page ads in the Boston Globe, the NYT and WaPO calling for, in effect, the dismantling of the postwar Western foreign policy alliance. The whole Trump/Russian connection started out as laundering money for the Russian mob through Trump’s real estate, but evolved into something far bigger.
► In 1984, David Bogatin — a convicted Russian mobster and close ally of Semion Mogilevich, a major Russian mob boss — met with Trump in Trump Tower right after it opened. Bogatin bought five condos from Trump at that meeting. Those condos were later seized by the government, which claimed they were used to launder money for the Russian mob. (NY Times, Apr 30, 1992)
► Felix Sater is a Russian-born former mobster, and former managing director of NY real estate conglomerate Bayrock Group LLC located on the 24th floor of Trump Tower. He is a convict who became a govt cooperator for the FBI and other agencies. He grew up with Michael Cohen–Trump’s former “fixer” attorney. Cohen’s family owned El Caribe, which was a mob hangout for the Russian Mafia in Brooklyn. Cohen had ties to Ukrainian oligarchs through his in-laws and his brother’s in-laws. Felix Sater’s father had ties to the Russian mob. This goes back more than 30 years.
► Trump was $4 billion in debt after his Atlantic City casinos went bankrupt. No U.S. bank would touch him. Then foreign money began flowing in through Bayrock (mentioned above). Bayrock was run by two investors: Tevfik Arif, a Kazakhstan-born former Soviet official who drew on bottomless sources of money from the former Soviet republic; and Felix Sater, a Russian-born businessman who had pleaded guilty in the 1990s to a huge stock-fraud scheme involving the Russian mafia. Bayrock partnered with Trump in 2005 and poured money into the Trump organization under the legal guise of licensing his name and property management.
► In July 2008, the height of the housing bust, Trump sold a mansion in Palm Beach for $95 million to Dmitry Rybolovlev, a Russian oligarch. Trump had purchased it four years earlier for $41.35 million. The sale price was nearly $54 million more than Trump had paid for the property. Again, this was the height of the recession when all other property had plummeted in value.
► Semion Mogilevich was the brains behind the Russian Mafia. Mogilevich operatives have been using Trump real estate for decades to launder money. That means Russian Mafia operatives have been part of his fortune for years. Many of them owned condos in Trump Towers and other properties. They were running operations out of Trump’s crown jewel.
► From Craig Unger’s AMA: “Early on, a source told me that all this was tied to Semion Mogilevich, the powerful Russian mobster. I had never even heard of him, but I immediately went to a database that listed the owners of all properties in NY state and looked up all the Trump properties. Every time I found a Russian sounding name, I would Google, and add Mogilevich. When you do investigative reporting, you anticipate drilling a number of dry holes, but almost everyone I googled turned out to be a Russian mobster. Again and again. If you know New York you don’t expect Trump Tower to be a high crime neighborhood, but there were far too many Russian mobsters in Trump properties for it to be a coincidence.”
► So many Russians bought Trump apartments at his developments in Florida that the area became known as Little Moscow. The developers of two of his hotels were Russians with significant links to the Russian mob. The late leader of that mob in the United States, Vyacheslav Kirillovich Ivankov, was living at Trump Tower
► According to a Bloomberg investigation (3/16/2017) into Trump World Tower, “a third of units sold on floors 76 through 83 by 2004 involved people or limited liability companies connected to Russia and neighboring states.”
► In 2013, Federal agents busted an “ultraexclusive, high-stakes, illegal poker ring” run by Russian gangsters out of Trump Tower. They operated card games, illegal gambling websites, and a global sports book and laundered more than $100 million. A condo directly below one owned by Trump reportedly served as HQ for a “sophisticated money-laundering scheme” connected to Semion Mogilevich.
► The Russia Mafia is part and parcel of Russian intelligence. Russia is a mafia state. That is not a metaphor. Putin is head of the Mafia. So the fact that they have been operating out of the home of the president of the United States is deeply disturbing.
► Rudy Giuliani famously prosecuted the Italian mob while he was a federal prosecutor, yet the Russian mob was allowed to thrive. Now he’s deeply entwined in the business of Trump and Russian oligarchs. Giuiani appointed Semyon Kislin to the NYC Economic Development Council in 1990, and the FBI described Kislin as having ties to the Russian mob. Of course, it made good political sense for Giuliani to get headlines for smashing the Italian mob.
► A lot of Republicans in Washington are implicated. Boatloads of Russian money went to the GOP–often in legal ways. The NRA got as much as $70M from Russia, then funneled it to the GOP. The Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee lead by McConnell got millions from Leonard Blavatnik. In the 90s, the Russians began sending money to top GOP leaders, like Speaker of the House Tom Delay. Craig Unger’s book alleges that most of the GOP leadership has been compromised by RU money.
► At the Cityscape USA’s Bridging US and the Emerging Real Estate Markets Conference held in Manhattan, on September 9, 10, and 11, 2008, Donald Trump Jr. was frank about the tide of Russian money supporting the family business, saying “…And in terms of high-end product influx into the US, Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets.”
► Eric Trump told golf reporter James Dodson in 2014 that the Trump Organization was able to expand during the financial crisis because “We don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.”
► Russian oligarchs co-signed Trump’s Deutsche bank loans.
Trump now gleefully takes cues from Putin:
► At the end of 2018, Putin and his allies started making a strong push for a resolution that would justify their country’s 1979 invasion of Afghanistan and reverse an 1989 vote backed by Mikhail Gorbachev that condemned it. The Putinists’ goal was to pass the resolution by Feb. There is no one on this side of the Atlantic who thinks the USSR was justified in invading Afghanistan. And out of nowhere, on January 2nd, Trump came out strongly supporting Russia’s 1979 invasion of Afghanistan.
► Trump went against American intelligence on North Korean missiles. He told the FBI he didn’t believe their intelligence because Putin told him otherwise. “I don’t care, I believe Putin”
► Trump met in secret with Putin at the G20 summit in November 2018, without note takers. 19 days later, he announced a withdrawal from Syria. As a note, Trump conducted FIVE completely private meetings and conferences with Putin, and has gone to great lengths to prevent literally anyone, even people in his administration, from learning what was discussed.
► Trump refused to enforce sanctions legally codified into law – and in some cases reversed standing sanctions on Russian companies.
► He has denounced his own intelligence agencies in a press conference with Putin on election meddling – and publicly endorsed Putin’s version of events.
► Trump pulled out of the INF treaty with no explanation, which allows Putin to create long-range hypersonic missiles that threaten Europe with impunity. The US already has all the weaponry that the INF would ban the development of, so this offers us literally nothing, while allowing Russia to develop powerful new weapons to challenge our allies.
► Pushed the CIA to give American intelligence to the Kremlin.
► Withdrew from the Open Skies treaty
► Received intelligence in 2019 that Russia was paying bounties for dead American soldiers, and hasn’t done anything about it by the time of this writing.
► Announced troop withdrawal from Germany (America’s missile defense from Russia and forward operating base against Russian aggression)
► And of course, Trump continues to threaten to pull out of NATO, a move so catastrophically stupid, so inconceivably cosmically myopic, I truly can’t express the profundity of the idiocy. Suffice to say, pulling out of NATO would be like the only guy in a prison yard with a shotgun just throwing it over the fence for absolutely no reason, suddenly giving the people with crude homemade shivs complete power.
► Trump commuted the sentence of Roger Stone, a former advisor convicted several charges, including lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstructing a congressional committee proceeding, as part of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.