Looking and sounding exactly like one of those old racist crackers from a bygone era (which is what he is), US Attorney General Jeff Sessions collaborated with members of the US Senate to cover up the real issue yesterday. He stumbled and bumbled around, stalling and blowing smoke. “I don’t recall” was his go-to mode. He was aided in this by his questioners, all of whom observed the senate “decorum”. The only senator who even half-way tried to get anything out of him was Kamela Harris (D. CA), and Sessions managed to give such long winded non-answers to anything she asked that her time was very limited. On nine separate occasions Harris asked questions that would have simply required a yes or no answer. Sessions “answered” with a total of 316 words.
The Real Question
But even she avoided the main issue.
“Mr. Sessions, as the chief law enforcement officer of the nation, is it not a matter of concern to you that the president has had a long association with such convicted criminals as Felix Sater and Joseph Weichselbaum and an apparent close relationship with others such as Sheldon and Jay Weinberg, Robert Hopkins, and Vyacheslav ‘Yaponchik’ Ivankov?” (See this story for the facts.) Can you imagine the brouhaha if that had been asked?
So, why is it that even Don Lemon, who goes after Trump every night on CNN, avoids this side of the story like the plague?
The Real Estate Industry
Trump’s corruption has its roots in his financial ties to Russian oligarchs/mafia financiers He had to rely on them for financing after other sources dried up after he had his series of bankruptcies in the ’90s. Much of his real estate activity has been carried out through “Limited Liability Corporations” — LLCs. According to the Wall St. Journal, “Roughly half – at least $304 million – of the revenue Mr. Trump reported in a federal financial disclosure from earlier this year came from assets held in 96 different LLCs, according to the Journal’s analysis. Those assets include a skyscraper at 40 Wall Street in Manhattan and the Mar-a-Logo Club in Palm Beach, Fla. Unlike publicly traded companies, Delaware LLCs don’t have to publish any financial information or even disclose the identity of the owner.”
And there’s the rub! “Don’t have to publish any financial information or even disclose the identity of the owner…” What has happened is that the real estate industry in the US is rampant with money laundering by drug cartels and other criminals. And any serious investigation into Trump’s criminal associations would tend to reveal this. According to Bizjournals.com “In the first half of 2013, 73 percent of condo resales by dollar volume were cash deals, according to the Miami Association of Realtors. Nearly 90 percent of condo buyers were foreign in 2012, and that trend continued this year.”
The same article explains the advantage for money launderers. They quote Michael McDonald, a former IRS criminal investigator: “They can form a corporation and bury you so no one ever knows who you are. You have criminal groups outside the U.S. trying to park money here. One of the best ways to do it is to buy real estate because no one asks who you are.” The article quotes another expert in the field: ‘“Most of them aren’t concerned with source of funds,” he said. “It’s so easy to move money that, as soon as you come up with one precautionary measure, there’s just another way to do it. I don’t know that you would ever have enough protections to find the ultimate sources of dollars.”
‘Intriago (another expert) said there’s much less regulation for putting cash into real estate transactions than for opening a deposit or securities account, which makes real estate a go-to target for people with lots of dirty money to move.
‘“The developers don’t know who’s behind it, and I don’t think they care,” he said. “They want to make sales, regulations be damned.”’
In other words, the entire real estate industry is riddled with money launderers linked up with “legitimate” business people like… Donald Trump. The point is that Trump’s criminal connections are only the tip of the iceberg. And if the real estate developers are tied hand-and-glove to drug cartels and others like that, then the banks and other major financial institutions are too. And if they are, then so are the major capitalist politicians.
Now that is a real story!