Donald Trump’s Russian Mob Money Connections

I picked a bad week to get sick again. Lots of crazy stuff coming out of Washington this week.

I don’t have time to get into the unconfirmed “Donald Trump dossier” and his allegedly being compromised by the Russians which blew up his press conference earlier this week. How Russian ‘kompromat’ destroys political opponents, no facts required:

Putin-Trump-KissShort for “compromising material” in Russian, kompromat is all about the intersection of news and blackmail. It’s the ability to sully the reputations of political opponents through hints, images, videos, promises of disclosures, perhaps even some high-quality faked documentation. Sex or pornography often figures prominently. The beauty of kompromat is that it has to create only a sense of doubt, not prove its case conclusively. This sounds a bit like “fake news,” but in a classic kompromat operation, real Russian state media organizations work in tandem with the Kremlin to find appealing and effective ways to discredit the target. Often, that means in the most visceral and personal ways possible.

Now kompromat may have come to the United States.

Arizona’s angry old man, Senator John McCain, managed to get himself entangled in this “Donald Trump dossier” scandal as well, so bonusJohn McCain intrigue grows in Donald Trump dossier affair:

McCain this week confirmed he received the “sensitive information,” which originally was compiled as anti-Trump opposition research during the 2016 GOP primaries and general election, and gave the explosive file to the FBI.

I did what any citizen should do: I received sensitive information, and then I handed it over to the proper agency of government and had nothing else to do with the issue,” McCain told reporters Wednesday.

The FBI apparently was already aware of the memos, or at least most of them. The memos became news this week when CNN reported that intelligence officials had given Trump a summary of the allegations. The website BuzzFeed subsequently published the memos.

A hint of this scandal was actually first reported by David Corn at Mother Jones before the election but went unreported by American media outlets, which were also in possession of the “Trump dossier.” A Veteran Spy Has Given the FBI Information Alleging a Russian Operation to Cultivate Donald Trump.

I’ll focus on the reporting of what we actually do know about Donald Trump’s business ties to Russia.

Twitter troll Trump tweeted before his Russian circus tent fire of a press conference that:

Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 1.00.28 PM

This is a blatant lie. His own son has flatly contradicted him. Here’s what we know about Donald Trump and his ties to Russia:

Q: What about investments from Russia in Trump’s businesses?

A. There is strong evidence that Trump’s businesses have received significant funding from Russian investors. Most notably, Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. made that very claim at a real estate conference in New York in 2008, saying “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets.” Donald Trump Jr. added, “we see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”

Trump also made millions when he agreed to bring the Miss Universe pageant to Moscow in 2013, a deal financed in part by the development company of a Russian billionaire Aras Agalarov. Agalarov is a Putin ally who is sometimes called the “Trump of Russia” because of his tendency to put his own name on his buildings. At the time, Trump mingled with the Russian business elite oligarchy at a swanky after-party. “Almost all of the oligarchs were in the room,” Trump bragged on returning home.

As a sign of the importance of Russian investors, partners of one of Trump’s projects then under construction in Panama visited Moscow to sell condos at the building in 2006.

Trump also made significant money from one Russian oligarch in 2008, when he sold a mansion in Palm Beach for $95 million to Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev. Trump had bought the home at a bankruptcy auction less than four years earlier for $41.4 million.

In a series of reports by the Financial Times largely ignored by the lazy American media but summarized in a post by Mark Sumner at Daily Kos, we learn a good deal more about Trump’s Russian business ties. Donald Trump was bailed out of bankruptcy by Russia crime bosses:

Human rights lawyer Scott Horton, whose work in the region goes back to defending Andrei Sakharov and other Soviet dissidents, has gone through a series of studies by the Financial Times (paid subscription) to show how funds from Russian crime lords bailed Trump out after yet anther bankruptcy. The conclusions are stark.

Among the powerful facts that DNI missed were a series of very deep studies published in the [Financial Times] that examined the structure and history of several major Trump real estate projects from the last decade—the period after his seventh bankruptcy and the cancellation of all his bank lines of credit. …

The money to build these projects flowed almost entirely from Russian sources. In other words, after his business crashed, Trump was floated and made to appear to operate a successful business enterprise through the infusion of hundreds in millions of cash from dark Russian sources.

He was their man.

Yes, even that much seems fantastic, and the details include business agencies acting as a front for the GRU, billionaire mobsters, a vast network of propaganda sources, and an American candidate completely under the thumb of the Kremlin.

* * *

Horton’s analysis comes from piecing together information in three Financial Times “deep reports.” One of these focused on Sergei Millian, the head of the Russian American Chamber of Commerce in the US at the time of Trump Jr.’s “money pouring in from Russia” claim.

Mr Millian insists his Russian American Chamber of Commerce (RACC) has nothing to do with the Russian government. He says it is funded by payments from its commercial members alone.

Most of the board members are obscure entities and nearly half of their telephone numbers went unanswered when called by the Financial Times. An FT reporter found no trace of the Chamber of Commerce at the Wall Street address listed on its website.

Why was RACC’s background filled with so many holes? The Financial Times quotes former Russian MP Konstantin Borovoi in tagging the chamber as a front for intelligence operations that dates back to Soviet times.

“The chamber of commerce institutions are the visible part of the agent network . . . Russia has spent huge amounts of money on this.”

Millian helped arrange for Trump to visit Moscow in 2007, and had other outings with Trump in the states, including a visit to horse races in Miami. Millian claims that he had the right to market Trump properties in Russia.

“You could say I was their exclusive broker,” he told Ria. “Then, in 2007-2008, dozens of Russians bought apartments in Trump properties in the US.” He later told ABC television that the Trump Organisation had received “hundreds of millions of dollars” through deals with Russian businessmen.

Despite documents and photos showing Trump with Millian, Trump denied their association during the campaign.

Hope Hicks, Mr Trump’s campaign spokeswoman, said Mr Trump had “met and spoke” with Mr Millian only “on one occasion almost a decade ago at a hotel opening.”

The second Financial Times article puts Trump at the middle of a money laundering scheme, in which his real estate deals were used to hide not just an infusion of capital from Russia and former Soviet states, but to launder hundreds of millions looted by oligarchs. All Trump had to do was close his eyes to the source of the money, and suddenly empty apartments were going for top dollar.

Among the dozens of companies the Almaty lawyers say the Khrapunov laundering network used were three called Soho 3310, Soho 3311 and Soho 3203. Each was a limited liability company, meaning their ownership could easily be concealed.

The companies were created in April 2013 in New York. A week later, property records show, they paid a total of $3.1m to buy the apartments that corresponded with their names in the Trump Soho, a 46-storey luxury hotel-condominium completed in 2010 in a chic corner of Manhattan.

Why would Trump’s organization make such a good means of laundering funds? Because real estate has an arbitrary value. Is that apartment worth $1 million? Two million? Why not $3 million for a buyer who really wants it? When the whole transaction is just one LLC with undisclosed ownership paying another LLC with undisclosed ownership, it’s even neater than hiding the money in an offshore account. And while some businesses require due diligence in looking at the source of funds, real estate is a bit more … flexible.

The laws regulating US real estate deals are scant, experts say. Provisions against terrorism financing in the Patriot Act, passed in the aftermath of the September 11 2001 attacks, obliged mortgage lenders to conduct “know your customer” research. But money launderers pay in cash. Sales such as those of the Trump Soho apartments have passed through this loophole, which was partially closed only this year.

Converting funds stolen overseas into property in the US and cash in the account of an LLC represented a win for both the oligarchs and Trump. Best of all, Trump’s sole requirement was that he pay scant attention to the deal—something at which he was already a proven master. For example, the actual owners of the Trump Soho were another limited liability company, Bayrock. Trump was a partner in the LLC and Bayrock cut the checks Trump received when those apartments were sold. And yet …

In a 2011 deposition, given in a dispute over the Fort Lauderdale project, Mr. Trump said he had “never really understood who owned Bayrock.”  Jody Kriss, a former Bayrock finance director, has claimed in racketeering lawsuits against his former employer that Bayrock’s backers included “hidden interests in Russia and Kazakhstan.” Bayrock has denied Mr. Kriss’s allegations but declined to answer questions about the source of its funds and its relationship with the Khrapunovs.

The third article digs more deeply into the origins of Bayrock and its connection with Trump. That connection … was very close.

The Republican presidential nominee and Bayrock were both based in Trump Tower and they joined forces to pursue deals around the world — from New York, Florida, Arizona and Colorado in the US to Turkey, Poland, Russia and Ukraine. Their best-known collaboration — Trump SoHo, a 46-storey hotel-condominium completed in 2010 — was featured in Mr Trump’s NBC television show The Apprentice.

This is the same group about which Trump said he “never really understood” the ownership.

“I don’t know who owns Bayrock,” Mr Trump said. “I never really understood who owned Bayrock. I know they’re a developer that’s done quite a bit of work. But I don’t know how they have their ownership broken down.”

At the very least, Trump confessed to partnering with, taking money from, and acting as a representative for a corporation whose ownership he didn’t know, in deals that totaled hundreds of millions in countries around the world. However, it seems far more likely that Trump knowingly worked with oligarchs, groups associated with the Russian government, and plain old mobsters. Why? Because he was desperate.

By the 2000s, the property developer and casino owner with ready access to the capital markets and the biggest New York banks was no more. A series of corporate bankruptcies had limited his financing options. Mr Trump had become an entertainer who portrayed a tycoon on television and licensed his name to businesses looking for a brand, leading to fee-making opportunities as disparate as Trump University and Trump Vodka.

The Trump Organization was a hollow shell and Trump was bankrupt, but Donald Trump the public figure was a “successful businessman,” a screen behind which criminal activity could be carried out on a massive scale. Throwing his name at every scheme in existence wasn’t a strategy, it was a fire sale on Trump’s respectability. Steaks? Water? Vodka? Fake real estate school? You pony up the cash, and Trump will slap his name on it. Because by the early 2000s, Trump wasn’t just broke, he had nothing left to pawn. He wasn’t a successful businessman, but he still played one on TV. His image had more value than his real estate portfolio.

But the apartments and buildings where Trump held some degree of ownership could be turned into value again. All it took was partnering with foreign crime bosses looking for a place to stash their cash. To inflate the value of his portfolio, Trump had to do nothing other than look away as the dirty money poured in from one LLC to the next. Citizens in Russia, Kazakhstan, and other former Soviet states lost hundreds of millions, but Trump got a cut as looted funds flowed through offices and apartments in buildings that carried those critical gold letters.

Horton’s evaluation of this material in coordination with the declassified DNI report is that Trump actively worked with and for Russian interests.

What these exposes showed, is that Trump pursued the projects hand in glove with Russian mobsters who worked closely with Putin’s Kremlin …

But based on the information in the Financial Times report, it appears that there are actually two possible answers. Trump may have been actively involved with and working for Russian sources. He might also have simply played the role of useful idiot, displaying his readiness to feign ignorance about any deal … so long as it generated some funds to float his sinking boat.

In the end, there’s not a lot of difference in the outcome. Trump got money. Oligarchs cleaned their cash. Russia got their man.

Daily Kos has a follow-up report today on the Trump SoHo and Bayrock Russian connections.  Trump SoHo and the Russian Mafia: Follow the Money:

From Ruth Sherlock, of The Telegraph of London, reporting on a conversation she had with a former US intelligence source:

The former agent also urged me to follow the money. Not just the election, but Mr. Trump’s whole career, he claimed, is wrapped up in questionable financing from Russia.”It’s like every part of his business is somehow tied up in it” he said.

Much has been written, including in this newspaper, about Bayrock, the property development firm that was building Trump SoHo, his towering building in New York and other projects.

A key principle in Bayrock was Felix Sater, a Russian convicted of helping to lead a massive mafia-linked Wall Street stock fraud scheme. (Mr. Sater also attacked a man at a New York bar by stabbing him in the face with the broken stem of a Martini glass).

Two lawyers, Frederic Oberlander and Richard Lerner, who have spent much of their careers tracking Bayrock’s dealings, allege in court documents that Bayrock “for most of its existence it was substantially and covertly mob-owned and operated”.

In a petition to the US Supreme Court they write that Mr Sater’s father, Michael Sheferofsky, worked for Semion Mogilevich, the Russian mafia boss allegedly described by the FBI as “the most dangerous mobster in the world”.

The company was based in Trump Tower, and, despite Mr. Trump’s claims that he barely knows Mr Sater, there is much reporting to show the opposite.

David Cay Johnston, an American journalist who has spent years looking into connections between Mr Trump and the mafia wrote in Politico during the election that no other candidate for the White House “has anything close to Trump’s record of repeated social and business dealings with mobsters, swindlers, and other crooks”.

Not every detail in the “Trump dossier” need prove to be true. Some of the sourcing may prove false, but other sourcing may prove true. The intelligence agencies considered the dossier credible enough to brief the President and president-elect about it. The reason  for this that Christopher Steele, the former British MI6 intelligence officer and his sources are considered “very credible.” Donald Trump dossier: intelligence sources vouch for author’s credibility.

As in Watergate, the media should “follow the money” — something most of the lazy American media has failed to do up until now.

31 responses to “Donald Trump’s Russian Mob Money Connections

  1. For Sure Not Tom

    Now reports are coming in that other countries intelligence agencies are looking into Trump’s ties to Russia, and that the 35 page dossier prepared by Steele is just one of many, some with similar content, some with different allegations.

    They want to know who they’re really dealing with when they deal with Trump.

    None of these reports are new, it turns out the GOP, the Clinton’s, Jeb Bush’s campaign, the FBI, the CIA, and all the major news organizations had that dossier months ago, they couldn’t verify so they did not report it.

    Buzzfeed did us all a favor by shining a light on Trump and Russia.

    What interesting times we live in.

    The Birther King is a Russian puppet. He could shut down at least some of his critics by releasing his tax returns.

    But he won’t, because he’s a con man, a liar, and a coward.

    Way to go GOP!

    • For Sure Not Tom

      Don’t forget about Paul Manafort and why he had to leave the Trump campaign in disgrace, or that odd connection from a Trump server to a Russian bank’s server.

      AJ Benza, while on Howard Stern’s show in 2001, while Trump was also a guest, mentioned Trump’s fondness for Russian women, something Trump did not deny on the show.

      And knowing Trump likes to sexually assault women, something he’s admitted and we have all heard on the tapes with Billy Bush, why would anyone dismiss #goldengate out of hand?

      • “…why would anyone dismiss #goldengate out of hand?”

        Not “dismiss” certainly, but perhaps do a little investigating before accepting the stories at face value.

        • For Sure Not Tom

          In this morning’s CryBaby-Trump Tweet, Trump is blaming Brennan and our CIA for Russia invading Crimea/Ukraine!

          Not Putin, John Brennan! Wow.

          And over the weekend in an interview with the Times of London Trump again said NATO was obsolete, same thing Putin says.

          Remember in the debate when Clinton called Trump Putin’s Puppet, and how freaked out Trump got?

          Way to go GOP! You’ve installed a Russian agent as President of the United States of America!

    • For Sure Not Tom

      Oh, yeah, and Trump seems to be hostile to NATO, just like Putin.

      I understand NATO is not perfect, but you don’t toss the baby with the bathwater.

      What a curious position for an American PEOTUS to take.

      • “Oh, yeah, and Trump seems to be hostile to NATO, just like Putin.”

        One of the big problems with NATO is that it lost ot’s mission. There is no longer a Warsaw Pact for it to oppose. Now a large part of it’s membership consists of the very nations it was created to oppose. While it appears to be an easy thing to do in changing the mission from “the Warsaw Pact” to “the Russian Federation”, it isn’t. Trying to do that sets up a situation of conflicting pacts and treaties similar to Europe prior to the First World War where an attack on one member country can trip series of relationships that can easily drag us into a major war in Europe again. It was much more clear cut when it was the Warsaw Pact compared to today.

        Then there is also the issue of who pays for NATO now. For years the cost was spread fairly equally and proportionally among the member nations. Today, the United States carries an undue portion of the costs in order to keep our finger in the pie of Europe.

        Then there is the question of who carries the heaviest burden for fighting a war under the auspices of NATO. early on, the member states bore a proportional burden in the operations plans and activities. Over the years the burden of fighting has slowly shifted toward the U.S. in standing guard over the flashpoints and likely avenues of approach. We have always manned the Fulda Gap in Germany, but now we have taken responsibility for other lesser points of entry while European forces have been withdrawn or stood down.

        NATO does have problems and it may have outgrown it’s usefulness to us in the world strategy.

    • “… they couldn’t verify so they did not report it.”

      That is rather an important point you are choosing to ignore. Rumors are very common as are conspiracies but unless you have something to verify them and prove your suspicions you really don’t have anything other than an opinion. You may be absolutely correct, Not Tom, but right now you are only repeating rumors, innuendo, and conspiracy theories. To you, they may seem clearly obvious, but to someone else they sound like frightening possibilities, but only possibilities.

      “He could shut down at least some of his critics by releasing his tax returns.”

      What do his alledged activities as a “Russian Puppet” have to with his tax returns? And you can’t seriously think releasing his tax returned would silence any of his critics. His critics will use anything they have to attack him and if he releases his tax returns, they will simply attacj every entry on the forms and when they finish that, they will move on to something else. Truth is not the goal here…condemnation and delegitimatizing is the goal.

      • For Sure Not Tom

        What they could verify is that Trump and Obama had been briefed on a dossier claiming Russia owns Trump.

        That’s legit news.

        And they should report on the contents of the dossier just like they reported on claims by Birther King Trump and Arpaio, claims that Trump had to walk back.

        You do see the irony of Trump’s whining about fake news I hope.

        The Trump dossier was prepared at the request of Republicans, and created by someone who is reported as being a credible former MI6 spy.

        That’s legit news.

        I suspect Trump will continue to tick off our allies until one of them decides he’s not worth it, and they release evidence of Russia’s ownership of Trump.

        His tax returns will show that he owes Russian banks huge sums of money, this is not a secret, it’s been widely reported ALL LAST YEAR, including in The Wall Street Journal and Fortune, hardly “leftist” sites.

        There is no reason not to release his taxes, there’s no law about being under audit, nor is it an established accounting control best practice.

        His ego doesn’t want the public to see the proof that’s he’s not the great businessman he claims to be.

        Why do conservatives always whine about the left attacking them? Have you looked into a mirror?

        Have you seen the unhinged people screaming at town hall meetings that Obama is a Muslim from Kenya working to destroy America?

        Sorry for “attacking” you conservatives and hurting your feelings, walk it off.

        Rub some dirt on it. 🙂

        • Not Tom, the very essence of “fake news”, like the best propaganda, takes a kernel of verifiable truth and then adds rumor, innuendo, outright lies and speculation to that nugget of truth and sell it as being all true. The intent is to make the illegitimate appear legitimate because a portion of it is real and verifiable, ergo it must all be true. Your explanation of why the dossier showing Trump is a pawn to Russia follows that formula exactly, even as you describe it.

          Take your first statement: “What they could verify is that Trump and Obama had been briefed on a dossier claiming Russia owns Trump.”. You take a kernel of truth (that Trump and Obama were briefed on a dossier) and throw in sheer speculation (the dossier claims Trump is owned by Russia). You then proceed to call ALL of it “legit news” as if it were all true. But it isn’t…it is a dossier filled with speculation. That is NOT “legit news”, that is speculation.

          I could do the same breakdown on your next two examples of “legit news”, but that would take up too much space.

          “I suspect Trump will continue to tick off our allies until one of them decides he’s not worth it, and they release evidence of Russia’s ownership of Trump.”

          When that happens, and they provide evidence to support their claim, then you have something. That may even provide sufficient grounds for impeachment. In fact, if it is true, it IS sufficient grounds for impeachment and removal from office and I hope that is just what happens. In the meantime, though, it is just a political hatchet job based on nothing more than wishful thinking.

          “His tax returns will show that he owes Russian banks huge sums of money…”

          Okay. You already know that because it has been widely reported by reliable sources and has not been kept a secret. So what if he owes money to Russian banks? If I had financed my last Mercedes, I would have gone through Mercedes-Benz Finance Corp. If I owed them money, would that have meant I was held in thrall to them? Early in my busines years, I was loaned a large amount of money from a Japanese bank. I was extremely thankful that I got the loan at such a good intereste rate, but I never felt I owed the bank anything more than to make timely payments and finish out the loan contract as agreed. So if Trump owes money the Russian banks, what makes you think he owes anything more to them than timely payments? What could his tax returns possibly show beyond that?

          “His ego doesn’t want the public to see the proof that’s he’s not the great businessman he claims to be.”

          Now that might be a good reason why Trump wouldn’t want you to see his tax returns. It would hurt his ego badly. But, again, so what? If his abilities in business are not as good as he brags, then he will be embarrassed, but where is the harm except to his ego?

          “Why do conservatives always whine about the left attacking them?

          You say this often and I have to say I think this is something you wish was the case, but it isn’t. No one is whining about attacks from the left…it goes with the territory. I mention it in order to cut through the BS of indignation, surprise and outrage often donned by democrats when trying to gain the moral high ground in any discussion about the actions of Republicans. When you cut through all the BS, you find the histrionics are just a smoke screen to cover up the real end game of attacking and harassing the opposition. No whining, just a desire to point out the screamingly obvious.

          “Have you looked into a mirror?”

          Yes, I have. I am very comfortable and happy with what I see. Children and dogs like me as do the people at St. Mary’s Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity, and the Humane Society, to name just a few places. I lead a very full and happy life. But why do you ask?

          • For Sure Not Tom

            Oh my.

            There is a dossier, it was circulated widely in DC and among reporters. The dossier claims that Russia has “Kompromat” on Trump.

            That’s 100% true. It is not fake news. I am not taking a kernel of truth from anything, the report exists, Trump and Obama were briefed because the US intelligence agencies thought it may be important, those are facts.

            Now, I am speculating that Trump refuses to say anything bad about Putin (a brutal dictator) and disparages NATO because he may be an unwilling Russian agent.

            I base that on the existence of the Steele dossier, and lots of other things already mentioned, but I’ll add Rex Tillerson as exhibit A.

            The man about to be Secretary of State eceived the 2013 Order of Friendship from Putin, and has a half trillion dollar deal with Russia pending lifting of sanctions.

            My evidence that Trump is an unwilling Russia agent is all circumstantial, but none of it is fake news. It’s 100% verifiable.

            You are parroting the Breitbart’s of the world with your definition of “fake news”, things you don’t like are “fake”, when in fact, if it’s fake, it’s not news at all.

            We give to all the same charities. Good for you.

          • “My evidence that Trump is an unwilling Russia agent is all circumstantial, but none of it is fake news. It’s 100% verifiable.

            When it comes to Trump you have a very generous interpretation of what constitutes “legitimate” news. If your standard is “someone said” and you can verify they said it, then you have Trump painted into a corner. Congratulations! You have set the bar low enough that all Trump haters can easily convict Trump of all sorts of malfeasance with no evidence at all.

            “…[in] your definition of “fake news”, things you don’t like are “fake”, when in fact, if it’s fake, it’s not news at all.”

            It also helps, I guess, to set the standard for fake news high enough that it dovetails neatly, and prevents conflicts, with your definition of “legitimate” news. It wouldn’t do to have them in conflict, now would it?

            “We give to all the same charities. Good for you.

            Actually I was referring to their being happy to see me when I show up to work there. I am glad to know you also contribute to them. I had a hunch you probably did, given the little glimpses of yourself you’ve shown through your messages.

  2. WOW! Not only is Trump in thrall to the Russians, he is in thrall to the Russian MOB!!! WOW, again! I told you, AzBM, that you were going to have more fun with Trump in office than you have ever had in your “blogging” life.

  3. John Huppenthal

    Words, words, meaningless words from people who seem to be hoping for the worst. Stock market is sitting at 23.8 trillion – real money anticipating and predicting the best ever.

    • Words, words, meaningless words from people who seem to think that a bubble in the stock market is real wealth and all the poor folks need to do is just wait for that trickle down to happen. Then they will be able to pay for their own health insurance.

      Oh, wait, I forgot. Y’all don’t care about folks.

    • And what the stock market is anticipating is tax cuts. There will be a spectacular sell-off, maybe you should take some profits.

    • For Sure Not Tom

      You and Trump have something in common, Falcon9, Trump used to pretend to be his own publicist, John Miller, or sometimes John Barron (hey, Barron is his son’s name!) in phone calls with the press.

      Sockpuppet-Bros!

    • Trump’s business expertise is going to be great for the whole world:

      http://money.cnn.com/2017/01/14/news/economy/donald-trump-mexico-tariffs-response/

    • John Huppenthal

      You are right, it might be a bubble. Former Fed Chairman said that stock market was suffering from “irrational exuberance” when it was sitting at 7.2 Trillion.

      Right now, it is sitting at $23.7 Trillion – implicitly predicting 4% growth in the economy, incomes and jobs. If you are absolutely convinced and certain that Trump is going to be toxic for incomes and jobs and America; that economic growth under his plans will be less than the 1.5% under Obama this year, you can become an instant millionaire by buying put options.

      If the democrats are successful in their attacks, his tax package may not get through and this future would collapse along with the stock market.

      You could become rich betting against Trump and America.

      • Ha ha. Actually, I’m a relatively conservative investor these days. I’m too old for the roller coaster ride I was on from 2000 -2009. And I think it’s time for me to quit or risk becoming a homeless person. Never was much of a gambler.

  4. For Sure Not Tom

    Feel better, AZBlueMeanie.

    Of course Russian has dirt on Don the Con, the guy’s a disgusting con man, just listen to some of his fine work on Howard Stern’s show.

    Birther Boy is in big trouble. The CIA is worried, our allies are worried.

    That nice lawyer lady he had speak at his “presser”? She works for Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, named “Russian Law Firm of the Year” in 2016.

    Twittler’s Russian ties are hiding in plain site.

    Our spies have warned Israeli spies about sharing information with Trump’s people, for fear it will get to the Russians and from there to the Iranians.

    Holy crap!

    And former and current intelligence people are warning that we’re about to see a departure of experience intelligence operatives that may surpass the train wreck left by Stansfield Turner. You can’t insult the people who work for you and who put their lives on the line for their country.

    Trump won’t have anyone with any experience to guide him on world affairs, or guide whoever will actually be running the country, because it ain’t gonna’ be Don the Con.

    A Commander in Chief lacking intelligence, on so many levels.

    Good one, GOP! You own this mess. Have fun ramming BS through for Trump’s first 100 days, because he may not last much longer than that.

    • “Have fun ramming BS through for Trump’s first 100 days, because he may not last much longer than that.”

      That’s exactly what the Two Satans (McConnell and Ryan) plan to do.

      All the GOP really wants is the inauguration. They would be more than happy with President Pence who would always rubber stamp whatever the Two Satans can get passed in Congress.

      They are moving fast on the Obamacare repeal because they want to get it done before the American people understand what it actually means for the ACA to be repealed.

      In the meantime, the left leaning folks are still busy calling each other names. Unity seems like a pipe dream.

      This will get worse in the dark days ahead. It can only get worse.

      Will the American people catch a break, I keep wondering. Will something just simply happen to save us? I kind of doubt it. No one saved Haiti or Syria or Iraq. And what do we really deserve when you think of it in a historical context?

      I’m almost ready to sit in a chair by the window and stare out. But I probably won’t.

      • You are correct, Liza. If it happens that Trump is impeached and removed from office, it isn’t a big crisis because Vice President Pence is actually a real conservative and is probably an even greater problem for democrats than Trump. Trump is outlandish and outspoken, but Pence is dead serious and knows how to work the system. I think democrats should worry more about Pence than Trump. The beautiful thing about it, though, is that liberals hate Trump so much that they won’t see the threat posed by Pence and they will blunder ahead to hurt Trump. It will be too late before they realize that Pence was the one they should have been watching.

        I don’t think Trump is going to be impeached. It is really is hard to work an impeachment and the Republicans hold the reins of power right now. It could happen, but it is highly unlikely. But with either Trump or Pence, it is going to be an interesting eight years.

        • Trump is a loose cannon, highly unpredictable in the sense that almost anything can happen. We don’t know what his boundaries are, or if he even has any, but it’s not looking good. And he’s off to a bad start.

          I wouldn’t say that liberals are unaware of the threat posed by Pence, but there isn’t anything to be done right now. Most of this depends on how bad a president Trump turns out to be, how much of a threat he is to democracy as we know it, and what is found out about his various shenanigans.

          Going forward, it’s all bad, Steve. But you seem delighted. Well, don’t sell the people short just yet. Eight years of this is highly unlikely. And if the Democrats and progressives figure this out, the 2018 midterms could look like 2006.

          The Two Satans will overplay their hand, you can bet on that.

          I don’t know how long it will take folks to wake up, Steve. But they will. No one is going back to the first half of the 20th century which is where the GOP wants to take the country. If things are looking great right now for “conservatives” and white supremacists, well, bask in that temporary glory while you can. It isn’t going to last.

        • Just saw this. Watch California, y’all, always watch California. After the Two Satans overplay their hand, the backlash will look a lot like this:

          https://www.healthcare-now.org/blog/ca-senator-lenos-single-payer-health-care-bill-passes-health-committee/

          It’s an idea whose time has come. John Huppenthal, of course, thinks we live and die by stock market bubbles that anticipate “real” economic growth.

          But that isn’t true. We live and die by our most fundamental beliefs. And it is quite apparent that most of our younger citizens are more supportive of social justice and other equality issues than previous generations. And they are growing in numbers, while the older ones are dying.

          We can’t predict how long the dark days will last or how many people will die or suffer because of the current setback. Some folks out there seem to think that the Two Satans and Comrade Trump will never get their evil, anti-populist agenda off the ground, that the resistance will be too great. I guess we’ll see.

          But the pendulum that swings one way always swings back in the opposite direction.

          Eventually.

        • Democrats should worry more about Pence but those of us who are Americans first will worry about Trump more

          • Yeah, that’s true. But the Democratic party leadership needs to focus on what they HAVE to get done and their first line of defense is to take back the Senate in 2018. That stops the Two Satans from legislating us back to 1930.

            The rest is just too uncertain.

          • “…those of us who are Americans first will worry about Trump more.”

            Well, eric, a little less that half of American voters disagree with you about that. I know it is easy to forget, but there is a significant, and almost 50/50, difference of opinion on Trump in this Country.

          • Steve, read my comment again. I am saying that Democrats are patriots first and political voters second. And your remark about his taxes? It would show us how much he owes to foreign entities.

          • I misunderstood what you were saying, eric. Sorry for the confusion!

            As far as his taxes are concerned, I don’t know if they would show if he owes money to foriegners or not. I think it depends on how he set his Corporations up. Bob Lord (one of the “Big Kahunas” on this blogosphere) is a tax attorney and if he happens to catch this posting and feels like providing answers to the question, we might find out together.

            In any event, owing money to foriegners does not equate to being controlled by them any more than financing a Mercedes means you are controlled by the Mercedes Corporation. In fact, I would think that if a person was held in thrall to a foreign government the last thing they would want to do is to advertise that on their tax forms. The tax forms are basic investigative tools for financial malfeasance.