IT’S CLUSTERFUCK CITY NOW FOR TRUMP & RUSSIA

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“IT’S CLUSTERFUCK CITY NOW FOR TRUMP & RUSSIA”

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Ok, let’s just quickly mention Paul Manafort, Trump Campaign Mgr. in 2016. He’s got his hands in the Russian “till” and then some. He’s been on somebody’s payroll over in Russia & Ukraine for years now. At last count he’s up to north of $40-million in payments from these sources. Since 2000 he’s bought several properties in Trump Tower and one in Ft. Lauderdale for ALL-CASH! He Then turns around and places them in an LLC and then takes out a LOAN on the very properties that he paid for with ALL-CASH! Can you say Money Laundering, Boys & Girls!
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Let’s Now move right on to the Center Stage with Michael Cohen, Trump’s Personal Lawyer AND Felix Sater, Trump’s erstwhile business associate operating out of Trump Tower. To be very clear from the beginning, both of these gentlemen made their way to Trump’s doorstop CIRCA 2000/20001. Okay. They’ve been “associated” with the ORANGE ONE going on 17-years now, okay???
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NOW — Michael Cohen, like Paul Manafort, bought multiple properties in Trump Tower and other Trump New York highrises. Cohen was a solo operating personal injury lawyer and could still afford to buy high-priced condo units like these. He and his brother, also a lawyer, then joined a small boutique New York law firm as a partner – Phillips Nizer, but stayed for less than a year. What he brought to the firm other than personal injury expertise is hardly a reason to join or be asked to join such a legal firm.
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He purchased his first Trump apartment at Trump World Tower at 845 United Nations Plaza in 2001. He was so impressed he convinced his parents, his in-laws and a business partner to buy there, too. Cohen’s in-laws went on [to] purchase two more units there and one at Trump Grande in Sunny Isles, Fla.
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Cohen then bought at Trump Palace at 200 E. 69th St., and Trump Park Avenue, where he currently resides. He’s currently in the process of purchasing a two-bedroom unit at Trump Place on Riverside Boulevard – so, naturally, Cohen’s next step is to purchase something at Trump Plaza Jersey City. He’s now in negotiations for a two-bedroom unit there.
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Now, let’s privot on over to Felix Sater. In 2001, Sater joined Bayrock, a real estate development company run by FSU emigres in Trump Tower, and eventually began working directly with Donald Trump. Sater and Bayrock were supplying Trump with income during a period when his other investments had been suffering.
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The money spigot was apparent to all. In a 2008 deposition, Sater even testified that, upon Trump’s request, he accompanied Donald Jr. and Ivanka on business trips to the FSU. Donald Jr. would later declare that the region had become the family’s main source of investment.
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Now ——>
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While Sater was moving up in the Trump orbit, Cohen’s status as a mysterious Trump real estate mega-investor of uncertain wealth and an undistinguished legal practice changed, seemingly overnight.
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In 2006, the year before he went to work fulltime for Trump, Cohen suddenly went big-time, becoming, briefly, a partner at a prominent New York firm, Phillips Nizer, where, according to a profile, “he counted [Trump] as one of his many high-profile wealthy clients.”
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He was then offered a job by the developer. The reason? “I suspect,” Cohen said, “he was impressed with both my handling of matters as well as the results.”
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Now ——>
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Thus we see a fascinating pattern in which two childhood acquaintances began entering the Trump orbit at the same time, circa 2000-2001 (with Cohen making his extraordinary string of Trump property purchases and Sater moving into business in Trump Tower) and, by 2007, both were working near each other inside the Trump empire itself.
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Now ——>
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In September 2007, Trump, Sater and another partner – Felix Tevfik (another Russian-born individual, like Sater himself) – posed for a photo at the opening of their Trump SoHo Hotel in New York.
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The celebration would be brief. In December, the Times revealed that Sater had a criminal past.
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This potentially put Trump in a very difficult spot. If Trump were to admit that he knew Sater was a convicted felon but did business with him nonetheless, he, the Trump Organization, and anyone within the company who knew of it would be potentially liable for sky-high sums.
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Now ——>
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Bayrock unraveled. Trump SoHo went into foreclosure in 2013, after just three years of operation, leaving a slew of unoccupied units in the hands of a new developer. It was the firm’s final deal. As is now well known,Trump, who would later claim to barely know Sater, kept him on in the building and, if anything, he and Sater grew even closer. Indeed, Sater was soon working directly for Trump himself, with an office, business cards, phone number and email address all provided by the Trump Organization. The cards identified him as a “Senior Advisor to Donald Trump.”
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In this period, Trump Organization activities in the countries of the former Soviet Union appear to have accelerated.
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Republics of Kazakhstan and Georgia. It’s worth noting that Bayrock had earlier received large infusions of cash from the ultra-corrupt Kazakhstan, and other funds from Georgia, also awash in ill-gotten fortunes.
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In 2013, leading up to the Russian-hosted winter Olympics in Sochi, a close Putin ally reached out to Trump.
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Aras Agalarov, an Azerbaijani billionaire real estate developer with Russian citizenship who is known as the “Donald Trump of Russia,” paid Trump millions of dollars to bring Trump’s Miss Universe Pageant to Moscow.
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As Trump’s relationship to the former Soviet Union intensified, so, seemingly, did Russian interest in the American political system and the presidency.
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In 2014, we now know, US intelligence secretly identified what it determined was a Russian effort to sow doubt and chaos in the US elections system.
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By then, Trump was widely recognized for his long-standing presidential ambitions — he ran for the office as a Reform Party candidate in 2000, garnering more than 15,000 votes in the California primary before abruptly dropping out. The Russians understood that he also had mass appeal, and a personality, temperament and history associated with provoking strong and divisive reactions.
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By February, 2015, Trump had already recruited staff in early voting states; a month later, he formed a presidential exploratory committee and delayed the production of “The Apprentice,” the still-running reality television show that established Trump as a pop culture icon in the mid-2000s. Trump officially announced his candidacy for president on June 16, 2015.
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To sum up, Trump’s financial fortunes seem — both by appearance and by statements from the Trumps themselves — to have been heavily dependent on money from the former Soviet Union. Besides the Cohen retinue buying at least 11 apartments in Trump buildings, the money that came in through Felix Sater was also from the FSU.
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How much of the funds that kept Trump’s shaky financial empire afloat in those lean years had its origins in the part of the world dominated by the Kremlin? Well, how much did not? Even Donald Trump, Jr. declared in 2008 that “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”
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As for Trump, he has repeatedly tweeted and declared that he has no loans “from Russia” and no “deals” in Russia. While that may be technically true, what’s more important is that money that originated in the FSU has played a crucial role in his business career. The “art of the deal” seems to be about knowing people who need to move money, and getting them to move it through you.
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Sater appears to have been an FBI asset for many years, including at least some of the years when Cohen was working with Trump.
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Sater denied to WhoWhatWhy that any of his reports to the FBI from Trump Tower concerned organized crime figures in Russia, and asserted that he had never even heard of Mogilevich, though his own father was said to be a Mogilevich underling.
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In any case, the FBI agents running Sater were extremely focused on the FSU underworld. It is likely that they would take an interest in the partner of Cohen’s in-law, and all the partner’s ties to organized crime. And they would surely have been interested in how Donald Trump fit into this underworld web all around him.
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Yet Cohen remained mostly out of the public eye, even as myriad Trump associates (including Manafort) ended up in the hot seat for their business dealings in the FSU.
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That changed with the report of the January 27, 2017, meeting between Cohen, Sater and Ukrainian politician Andrii V. Artemenko at a luxury hotel in New York.
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The three men discussed a proposed Russia-Ukraine peace agreement that would result in the lifting of economic sanctions against Russia. Artemenko told The New York Times that Cohen delivered the proposal to Michael Flynn, who was then Trump’s national security advisor. Cohen has told different stories about his role, but in one interview he confirmed that he delivered a bundle of documents containing the proposal to Flynn’s office while Flynn was still part of the Trump administration. Cohen has insisted he was not aware of any Kremlin involvement.
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In bragging about his role in getting such material into the White House, Artemenko comes across as clumsy and artless, seemingly oblivious to how devastating the revelation could have been to Trump had the media and, say, influential congressmen made more of it. But was he naive? Or was this actually a House of Cards-type scenario, where the Russians were deliberately publicizing another bit of incriminating material on Trump in order to gain yet more leverage over him and control over his fate?
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The Artemenko “peace plan” was — importantly — accompanied by documents that purported to reveal corruption on the part of Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, which could be used to weaken (and potentially topple) the Ukrainian regime led by an enemy of Putin.
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Although Felix Sater was present at the meeting as a supposed intermediary, he wouldn’t have been needed for that. Artemenko had known Cohen for years. Cohen’s brother’s father-in-law was, as mentioned earlier, tied to Artemenko through business. Artemenko was also closely tied to Topolov, the allegedly money-laundering Ukrainian politician in business with Oronov, Bryan Cohen’s father-in-law. (Oronov died March 2 after suffering from what Bryan Cohen described to WhoWhatWhy as an “incredibly aggressive” cancer diagnosed three months earlier.)
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Artemenko said that his Russia-Ukraine sanctions proposal had been discussed with Cohen and Sater back during the primaries in early 2016, just as Trump was emerging as the front-runner.
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Why would Cohen go to such a meeting? It seems crazy. But then the Trump team’s defining trait has been its reckless bravado, and a brash disregard for troubling appearances.
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As for Artemenko’s seemingly bumbling admission about the meeting, it is reminiscent of the “indiscretion” of Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the US, who went to the Republican convention to meet with Manafort about softening the GOP’s stance toward Russia. Although Trump and Manafort vigorously denied it, Kislyak then went public with his own account of the meeting.
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In the complex game being played by Putin, with Russia’s (and Putin’s) future at stake, Trump seems to have been cornered into a precarious dependence on Russian “good will.” As we noted months ago, the FBI has long known much of this. What former FBI director and Special Counsel Robert Mueller will do about it remains to be seen.
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