Published On: Sun, Jan 7th, 2018

In all the Fire & Fury rumpus, no one talks about the Trumps & money laundering

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Another day passes and still no one refutes the ideas raised, through the Steve Bannon mouthpiece in Wolff’s now infamous book, about the possibility of US federal prosecutors upsetting the White House through examination of some of the Trump clan’s real estate activity. This is significant as this particular day passes, because today was the day when Bannon issued a statement apologising for comments appearing in the book about Donald Trump Jr. Naturally, this was jumped on by the Cult of Trump as some kind of admission of guilt; an affirmation of the sneaky low-down good-for-nothingness of the Bannon traitor-criminal (perhaps only Leah Remini was more maligned after she fled Scientology). Unfortunately for the believers, there was no retraction or denial in Bannon’s statement; hence it appears that Wolff’s Steve Bannon character in “Fire and Fury” is the man himself. Moreover, the statement was devoid of any language that delinked Donald Trump Jr or Jared Kushner from an allusion to criminal activity in the form of money laundering. In short, nothing changes in terms of what could be the real reason that the sword of Damocles hangs over the Trump administration, and presumably Sen. Mark Warner (VA), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, would still want “former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon to speak with federal investigators”.

That being said, how very queer it is, then, that no one in big news media wants to talk about it. Needless to say, the likes of Infowars and Breitbart never raised the issue at all, but all mention from corporate-media – which was limited in any case – dropped off two days ago. Could it ever be the case that there is agreement that certain content of Wolff’s book is strictly off limits in the public left-right slanging match? If one looks around for a bigger picture, one might notice that this weekend Trump has declared that he won’t campaign against Republican incumbents, i.e. the Swamp, in forthcoming 2018 elections. Ousting Establishment types from Republican seats in the name of MAGA was Bannon’s new raison d’être after leaving the White House – and now he is hated by the Cult of Trump. One has to wonder, has a bait-and-switch operation to pull and fix slogan-programmed Trump support into the Narrow Church of GOP just been sprung?

Judging by the average comment under a Breitbart story, no one freely flinging MAGA across the internet would notice such co-optioning – and such massive betrayal – if it did happen. In the end, it is of little significance, and no surprise, for anyone who can see through the left-right paradigm to notice that it is engineering its own reinforcement in the USA. We are here to battle the whole system, not fall for its tricks, so all one can do is to continue to go to places that corporate-media don’t want explored, and keep mining the faces found there to make even the best laid Establishment plans go awry. [And for that reason, affixed to the foot of this page are extracts from Fire and Fury, Inside the Trump White House, by Michael Wollf, which are rather lengthier than any this author has hitherto seen in corporate-media, but run to the length they appear here by a necessity (and thus are no more protracted than need be) to present evidence to the reader in the context of investigation of possible wrong doing.]

To begin, let us examine the most significant part of Bannon’s statement:

My comments about the meeting with Russian nationals came from my life experiences as a Naval officer stationed aboard a destroyer whose main mission was to hunt Soviet submarines to my time at the Pentagon during the Reagan years when our focus was the defeat of ‘the evil empire’ and to making films about Reagan’s war against the Soviets and Hillary Clinton’s involvement in selling uranium to them.

My comments were aimed at Paul Manafort, a seasoned campaign professional with experience and knowledge of how the Russians operate. He should have known they are duplicitous, cunning and not our friends. To reiterate, those comments were not aimed at Don Jr.

This amounts to all there is in terms of an apology to Donald Trump Junior, and there are problems even with this, although they won’t reach into the scope of this article. For instance, a tweet randomly (apparently) suggested by Google, by David Frum, the Senior Editor of The Atlantic (who, on further investigation, seems to have written an anti-Trump book), raises one such that will suffice us to mention here:

Bannon clarifies: it was not treasonous of Donald Trump Jr. to organize a meeting with Russian spies, only of Paul Manafort to attend it.

Sticking strictly to our purposes, we should notice that there is definitely no apology for mentioning Trump Jr in a sentence also containing the phrase “money laundering”. Although we might surmise Trump would like one of those too, it would be a good guess that it has not emerged because money laundering is the topic that we’re not allowed to draw attention to. Even so, when all is done and dusted, Bannon, by what he has omitted, has confirmed that certain knowledge was communicated in conversations either indirectly or directly to Michael Wolff for him to then include in his book. All we can do right now is read and digest this material, perhaps even decide for ourselves what we think should happen, and wait to see what does (given that at least one Senator has expressed an interest). Here are some pertinent extracts (obviously reproduced here for journalistic purposes in the pursuit of an investigation, and not for entertainment):

From Chapter 1, Election Day

Paul Manafort, the international lobbyist and political operative who Trump retained to run his campaign after Lewandowski was fired—and who agreed not to take a fee, amping up questions of quid pro quo—had spent thirty years representing dictators and corrupt despots, amassing millions of dollars in a money trail that had long caught the eye of U.S. investigators. What’s more, when he joined the campaign, he was being pursued, his every financial step documented, by the billionaire Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who claimed he stole $17 million from him in a crooked real estate scam. For quite obvious reasons, no president before Trump and few politicians ever have come out of the real estate business: a lightly regulated market, based on substantial debt with exposure to frequent market fluctuations, it often depends on government favor, and is a preferred exchange currency for problem cash—money laundering. Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, Jared’s father Charlie, Trump’s sons Don Jr. and Eric, and his daughter Ivanka, as well as Trump himself, all supported their business enterprises to a greater or lesser extent working in the dubious limbo of international free cash flow and gray money. Charlie Kushner, to whose real estate business interests Trump’s son-in law and most important aide was wholly tied, had already spent time in a federal prison for tax evasion, witness tampering, and making illegal campaign donations…

From Chapter 21, Bannon and Scaramucci

“You realize where this is going,” Bannon continued. “This is all about money laundering. Mueller chose Weissmann first and he is a money laundering guy. Their path to… [expletive deleted] Trump goes right through Paul Manafort, Don Jr., and Jared Kushner… It’s as plain as a hair on your face… It goes through all the Kushner shit. They’re going to roll those two guys up and say play me or trade me. But… executive privilege!’” Bannon mimicked. “‘We’ve got executive privilege!’ There’s no executive privilege! We proved that in Watergate.” An expressive man, Bannon seemed to have suddenly exhausted himself. After a pause, he added wearily: “They’re sitting on a beach trying to stop a Category Five”…

…”Charlie Kushner,” said Bannon, smacking his head again in additional disbelief. “He’s going crazy because they’re going to get down deep in his shit about how he’s financed everything… all the shit coming out of Israel… and all these guys coming out of Eastern Europe… all these Russian guys… and guys in Kazakhstan… And he’s frozen on 666 [Fifth Avenue]… [If] it goes under next year, the whole thing’s cross-collateralized… he’s wiped, he’s gone, he’s done, it’s over… Toast.” He held his face in his hands for a moment and then looked up again.

“I’m pretty good at coming up with solutions…But he’s the president, he gets a choice, and he’s clearly choosing to go down another path… and you can’t stop him. The guy is going to call his own plays. He’s Trump”.

From Chapter 16, Comey

Even more urgent was Charlie Kushner’s fear, channeled through his son and daughter-in-law, that the Kushner family’s dealings were getting wrapped up in the pursuit of Trump. Leaks in January had put the kibosh on the Kushners’ deal with the Chinese financial colossus Anbang Insurance Group to refinance the family’s large debt in one of its major real estate holdings, 666 Fifth Avenue. At the end of April, the New York Times, supplied with leaks from the DOJ, linked the Kushner business in a front-page article to Beny Steinmetz—an Israeli diamond, mining, and real estate billionaire with Russian ties who was under chronic investigation around the world. (The Kushner position was not helped by the fact that the president had been gleefully telling multiple people that Jared could solve the Middle East problem because the Kushners knew all the best people in Israel.) During the first week of May, the Times and the Washington Post covered the Kushner family’s supposed efforts to attract Chinese investors with the promise of U.S. visas.

“The kids”—Jared and Ivanka—exhibited an increasingly panicked sense that the FBI and DOJ were moving beyond Russian election interference and into finances. “Ivanka is terrified,” said a satisfied Bannon…

…His daughter and son-in-law, their urgency compounded by Charlie Kushner’s concern, encouraged him, arguing that the once possibly charmable Comey was now a dangerous and uncontrollable player whose profit would inevitably be their loss. When Trump got wound up about something, Bannon noted, someone was usually winding him up. The family focus of discussion— insistent, almost frenzied—became wholly about Comey’s ambition. He would rise by damaging them. And the drumbeat grew.

“That son of a bitch is going to try to fire the head of the FBI,” said Ailes.

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