Not collusion, not conspiracy: It’s money-laundering

Money laundering isn’t especially sexy compared to porn star payoffs or clandestine contacts with shadowy foreign intelligence agents in Prague.

But the founders of Fusion GPS—the people who hired “pee tape” dossier author Christopher Steele—think that’s what Trump is fearing right now, as he plays golf as every other member of a living presidential family gathers to pay respects to Barbara Bush.

“A string of bankruptcies in the 1990s and 2000s may have left Mr. Trump’s companies largely unable to tap traditional sources of financing,” they write in a new piece for the New York Times. “That could have forced him to look elsewhere for financing and partners at a time when money was pouring out of the former Soviet Union.”

As Peter Fritsch and Glenn R. Simpson note, it’s unclear whether Robert Mueller is investigating the matter.

“But a comprehensive investigation could raise questions about the Trump Organization’s compliance with anti-money-laundering laws and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which — according to the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice — makes it a crime for a United States company to act with willful blindness toward the corrupt activities of a foreign business partner,” they write.

As they note, Fusion “pored over Donald Trump’s business records for well over a year, at least those records you can get without a badge or a subpoena.”

Among the deals they flagged were one with the Bayrock Group, owned by Felix Sater, who is linked to organized crime and who plead guilty to racketeering, and Sunny Isles Beach, “where over 60 individuals with Russian passports or addresses bought nearly $100 million worth of units in Trump-branded condominium towers in a part of South Florida known as Little Moscow. Among them were Russian government officials who made million-dollar investments and a Ukrainian owner of two units who pleaded guilty to one count of receipt of stolen property in a money-laundering scheme involving a former Ukrainian prime minister.”

Trump plays more than twice as much golf as Obama. And he cheats.

Donald Trump spent a beautiful spring Saturday on his Florida golf course while his wife and every other living president traveled to Houston to pay their respects to former first lady Barbara Bush, who died Tuesday at age 92.

Trump had spent the first part of the week golfing with Japan’s prime minister—which is one way of working around his pledge to “never see” his golf courses again if he were president because he would be too busy doing the people’s business. Trump and his allies claim he is a very good golfer. Other says he cheats.

 Trump relentlessly mocked Obama for playing too much golf—which turned out to be just one more example of his hypocrisy.

Just how much golf does Trump play? A lot.

Writer Laurie Brookins did the math, and found that Trump plays more than twice as much golf as Barack Obama.

Obama played 333 rounds of golf over his 96 months in office. That works out to 3.47 rounds of golf per month, or about 15 holes a week.

Trump has played at least 109 rounds in 15 months. That’s 7.27 rounds, or 130 holes, per month. Trump plays nearly 30 hours of golf a month.

In Syria, Russians played Trump like a drum

Courtesy of Sky News:  

Russia has revealed it warned the US about “red lines” it should not cross before it launched airstrikes on Syria. 

Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov is reported to have said that officials in Washington were contacted before last weekend’s strikes by the US, UK and France. 

Mr Lavrov said: “There were military leadership contacts, between generals, between our representatives and the coalition leadership. 

“They were informed about where our red lines are, including red lines on the ground, geographically. And the results show that they did not cross these red lines.”

Keep in mind that Trump also warned Russia and Syria a few days before the actual airstrike, so that they could move the chemicals and anything of value out of the targeted areas.

But even with Trump obeying those orders from his Kremlin overlords, Russia still feels that after this strike they are now free to support Syria, and Bashir al-Assad, with impunity:

Mr Lavrov says that, following the airstrikes, it is morally free to deliver S-300 missiles to the Syrian regime. 

He said: “Now, we have no moral obligations. We had the moral obligations, we had promised not to do it some 10 years ago, I think, upon the request of our known partners. 

“We took into consideration their claim that this could destabilise the situation. Even though it’s purely defensive. Now we don’t have this moral obligation any longer.”

So to be clear, the Kremlin told Trump where he could and could not drop his bombs, he did not drop his bombs in the forbidden areas, and yet the Russians still feel empowered by the airstrike to provide Assad with more military weaponry.

Does anybody else feel that America got played here?

US Attorney for Southern District of NY is flipping Michael Cohen like a short-order cook flipping pancakes

Donald Trump apparently made a habit of denigrating and shaming his longtime fixer and lawyer Michael Cohen. In fact, Trump’s constant slights and jabs seemed to be his abusive way of relating to Cohen.

But now that Cohen holds Trump’s fate in his hands, Trump allies are conjecturing that Cohen—who once bragged he would “take a bullet” for his boss—might just flip the script on Trump. The New York Times writes:

“Donald goes out of his way to treat him like garbage,” said Roger J. Stone Jr., Mr. Trump’s informal and longest-serving political adviser, who, along with Mr. Cohen, was one of five people originally surrounding the president when he was considering a presidential campaign before 2016.

“Ironically, Michael now holds the leverage over Trump,” said Sam Nunberg, a former aide to Mr. Trump who worked with Mr. Cohen and Mr. Stone. […] Mr. Nunberg added that “whenever anyone complains to me about Trump screwing them over, my reflective response is that person has nothing to complain about compared to Michael.”

Mr. Stone recalled Mr. Trump saying of Mr. Cohen, “He owns some of the finest Trump real estate in the country — paid top dollar for it, too.” In Mr. Trump’s worldview, there are few insults more devastating than saying someone overpaid. […]

Over the years, Mr. Trump threatened to fire Mr. Cohen over deals that didn’t work out, or snafus with business projects, people who were present for the discussions said. He was aware that Mr. Cohen benefited in other business projects as being seen as affiliated with the Trump Organization, and it irked him.

Could Trump possibly be a worse person? Also, you reap what you sow. Trump’s routine disparagement of Cohen was likely exactly why Cohen made recordings of his calls—so he could play them back to earn points with the bossman and cover his own butt at the same time.

Well, congrats, Trump! Because those recordings might just ruin your presidency, devastate your personal business, and perhaps even earn you a trip to jail some day. In fact, all of those prospects are likely what led Trump to add Rudy Giuliani to his legal team this week, according to Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz.

“I think this does send a powerful message to Michael Cohen,” he told MSNBC. “The message is, ‘Hey, stay strong, we have a really good lawyer in our team, on our team, to focus on the Southern District of New York where your problems are.’ So I think it was a very, very smart move.”

Perhaps. Or maybe Cohen will decide for his own sake and the sake of his family that it’s high time Trump got his just deserts.

(The one caveat to the NYT story quoted above is that Roger Stone and his mentee Sam Nunberg must have some self-interest in pushing the narrative they’re pushing above. I’m honestly a little unclear what it is, but certainly people could weigh in below.)

Another Playmate comes forward with a really great story about Trump . . . and photos

President Donald Trump’s scandals continue to multiply as his long history of sexual assault and serial philandering is finally catching up with him. Adult film star Stormy Daniels has been dominating the news since she came forward and alleged that she had an extramarital affair with Trump behind his wife Melania’s back. Ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal also claims to have had an affair with Trump.

Now, another name can be added to this growing list. The Daily Mail reports that former Playboy model Barbara Moore claims she had a six-month affair with Trump and had sex with him in front of her friend. It happened while Trump’s then-fiance Marla Maples was pregnant with his daughter Tiffany.

Moore alleges that she and Trump sneaked around behind Maple’s back, spending time together at Trump Tower and Mar-a-Lago.

Daily Mail also managed to get  photographs of Moore posing in a bikini at Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago residence as well as one she took of him flexing his biceps. Moore decided to come forward with her stories after rumors of the affair began to circulate online in the wake of a legal filing by Karen McDougal that mentioned her by name.

Moore was also photographed with Trump’s personal chef in the Mar-a-Lago kitchen.

Apparently, Trump failed to tell Moore that he was engaged and she had no idea that Trump was having a child with another woman.

“But at the time I didn’t know he was with someone else, let alone engaged to Marla Maples and it was only recently I learned she was pregnant at the time. This has shocked me, but I don’t hold it against Donald, he was a great lover and I think he’s a great president,” Moore said.

The two of them met in March 1993 at Trump’s Castle Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey where she was doing a fashion show. After the show, she and several other playmates moved to a cocktail party in one of the hotel rooms. After that, Trump invited her back to his suite where they proceeded to have sex.

Moore contends that Trump “didn’t ask me to do anything weird at all,” a surprising statement about a man who reportedly enjoys watching women urinate on each other. After having sex, the two of them cuddled into the morning. Soon after the liaison, Trump invited her to visit Mar-a-Lago.

Later, Moore and her friend visited him at Trump Tower. Trump and Moore ended up having sex in front of her friend.

“We had a couple of glasses of champagne and Donald was laying on his back, on his bed with his arms up and we were just sitting on the corner of his bed talking and chatting. Then he goes ‘come here’ and I just started to hug him and we started kissing and my friend was still there. We just went at it and it was like she just didn’t exist,” claims Moore.

Trump mislead Moore and made her believe that they were developing a serious relationship. She didn’t know that she was simply his latest mistress.

“I definitely felt like our relationship was getting stronger. And, and that’s when he invited me to New York to the Trump Tower and I just thought that, you know, we were an item. I thought that we were dating and I was special,” she said.

Moore says the secret relationship petered out shortly before the birth of Tiffany Trump. Later that year, Trump married Marla Maples. Moore was shocked by the news.

“That made so much sense to me because I was like wondering why was this relationship was getting distant? But I was still shocked when I found out, because he was obviously with her at the same time as he was with me.I never knew. What’s worse is that she was pregnant and gave birth before they married, that I didn’t know until recently,” Moore said.

While Moore is just the latest to come forward with a sordid tale about Trump, it seems unlikely that she will be the last. The president is chronically incapable of being faithful and delights in practicing duplicity. A man of such low moral character doesn’t belong in the White House.