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TBR News August 18, 2020

Aug 18 2020

The Voice of the White House

Comments for August 18, 2020; Trump’s scheme to muddle up the balloting in November fell flat today when the Trump stooge that runs the USPS drew in his horns and quit tampering with the mails. A mob trashed his house that this, along with demands to testify to his machinations before Congress must have been strong influencing factors. Hopefully, when Trump sees more of his infantile scheming thwarted, his ego, and pump,  will explode and there will be a badly-attended state funeral in Washington…and universal joy in most of sane America. Fat Farmer Johns in their stained bib overalls carrying their rusty hog legs on their hips will mourn but their numbers are few. They and the rabid Jesus Freaks can go out into the woods and kill small animals in revenge for their loss.

 

The Table of Contents

  • S. Postal Service puts changes on hold after mail-in voting outcry
  • Trump: An Overview
  • Trump as a dual personality
  • Veracity of statements by Donald Trump
  • The Deutsche Bank and Donald Trump
  • The Watchbird is Watching You!
  • Bad Taste in Germany. Could we see this here?

 

 U.S. Postal Service puts changes on hold after mail-in voting outcry

August 18, 2020

by David Shepardson

Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on Tuesday suspended all mail service changes until after the November election, bowing to an outcry by Democrats that the moves appeared to be an attempt to boost President Donald Trump’s re-election chances.

The reversal follows charges by Democrats and others that service cuts could slow the handling of mail-in ballots, the use of which is expected to skyrocket for the election as the coronavirus pandemic raises fears of crowds.

These critics have accused the Republican president of trying to hobble the Postal Service to suppress mail-in voting as he trails Democratic presidential challenger Joe Biden in opinion polls ahead of the Nov. 3 election.

“I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded,” DeJoy said in a statement, adding that the changes are to “avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail.”

DeJoy, a major political donor and ally of Trump, assumed the job in June.

DeJoy also said that the Postal Service will not change retail hours at post offices as well as that mail collection boxes will remain where they are and no mail processing facilities will be closed.

The reversal followed a lengthy call by the postal board of governors on Monday night, two people briefed on the matter said.

Trump said last week he was against Democratic efforts to include funds for the Postal Service and election infrastructure in coronavirus relief legislation because he wanted to limit mail-in voting during the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier on Tuesday, states including Washington, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New York said they were planning legal moves to block the Postal Service changes.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro suggested he might welcome DeJoy’s proposed actions.

“I’ll believe it when I see it,” Shapiro said. “Hopefully the American people can breathe a sigh of relief. But I will not let my foot off the gas so long as the postal officials continue to violate the law.”

Trump has repeatedly and without evidence claimed that mail balloting is vulnerable to fraud. Voting by mail is nothing new in the United States, and one in four voters cast ballots that way in 2016.

Democrats have raised concerns that Postal Service cost cutting could lead to missed or delayed ballots. They have pointed to reductions in overtime, restrictions on extra mail transportation trips and new mail sorting and delivery policies as changes that threaten to slow mail delivery – and in some cases, already have.

DeJoy is scheduled to testify on Friday before the Republican-led Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, spokesmen for the committee and the Postal Service said. DeJoy also is scheduled to testify on Monday before the Democratic-led House of Representatives Oversight and Reform Committee.

Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union that represents more than 200,000 employees, told Fox News that DeJoy’s policy changes “are truly slowing down mail, the customers see it … the postal workers see it – mail is getting all backed up.”

Reporting by David Shepardson, additional reporting by Tom Hals, Karen Freifeld, Jonathan Stempel and David Morgan; Editing by Scott Malone and Will Dunham

 

Trump: An Overview

 

  • Trump is not an honest man by any stretch of imagination. He has a long record of bankruptcies, business failures, very dubious business practices and extraordinarily negative behavior to staff and other employees. To catalogue the full sweep of a flood of patently dishonest business allegations against Donald Trump would require thousands of words and lump together the trivial, the blatently criminal with the truly scandalous.
  • Certainly, the psychological personal profile of Donald Trump could hardly be better tailored to being easily turned by a hostile intelligence agency.
  • The concept of Trump taking bribes from the Russians (or the PRC) is completely understandable if one applies the concept of Occam’s Razor to the tumult and disruption he is deliberately causing both domestically and in foreign areas.
  • Russian intelligence agencies are known to have highly compromising and often bizarre sexual material on him going back more than 30 years and they have used Trump and his elaborate network of business entities as a funnel for laundering dirty money from the Russian mafia and from post-Soviet oligarchs. The Russians are well-known to have more than enough compromising material on Trump to bend him to their will.
  • Trump has constantly been engaged in bribings and manipulations and does this through second parties such as Cohen his former lawyer or Manafort, his recently convicted campaign manager during the election.
  • Following Mr.Trump’s bankruptcies in the 1990s he borrowed very large sums of operating capital from Russian sources. He also obtained large loans from the Deutsche Bank (over 640 million dollars)
  • Other big banks, domestic and foreign, have long refused to lend to him, coining the term “the Donald risk” to refer to his repeated bankruptcies and failures to repay loans. However, Deutsche Bank, whose real-estate division continued to lend him hundreds of millions of dollars to finance his projects, seemed to have a greater risk appetite. There is a solid connection and on-going business between this bank and two Russian-based banks.
  • 1,300 Trump condominiums have been sold to Russian-connected buyers. Even a cheap Trump condo costs over a million dollars, so there over 1,300 condos that meet all the criteria for what is normally called money laundering. Russian intelligence is using Trump real estate to launder money
  • In 2008 his son, Donald Trump Jr., said that Russia was an important source of money for the Trump businesses.
  • Trump and his entourage have made a significant number of trips to Russia in the past (a list of these along with Russian personages he was in contact with can easily be found on Google), seeking financing and permission to build luxury hotels in that country
  • Russian intelligence owns Wikileaks entirely and released the damning, and authentic, ‘Podesta papers’ concurrent with Hillary Clinton’s campaign in coordinated agreement with the Trump people. This did serious damage to her campaign and was a major contributory factor to her narrow defeat and Trump’s election to the presidency.
  • Trump’s actions, as President, are deliberate efforts to alienate both the putative allies of the US such as Germany, France, and Canada and, to a lesser degree, Mexico. Also, the tariffs suggested by Trump against China would result in retaliation by that country and many retail outlets in the United States would be forced to close because they would be unable to purchase Chinese-made goods, the bulk of their stock.
  • Trump has deliberately launched pointless, and destructive, attacks against Mexican and Muslim immigrants, as well as Canadian, Chinese and German imports. All this has done is to create a highly negative image of his persona primarily and secondarily, the global image of the United States. This is only to the benefit of Putin’s Russia, not the United States.
  • Trump’s tariffs, and threats of tariffs, have engendered counter-tariffs that will, when implemented, create serious economic problems for American businessmen and, eventually, the American public.
  • Trump’s politically foolish but calculated support of the Israeli far right has done, and is doing, serious damage to the US image in the Middle East. It should be noted that Russian influence in the Shiite areas of the Middle East, is growing. Also note that Iran, and parts of Iraq, both Shiite, have extensive oil reserves and that Saudi Arabia, a Sunni state, once America’s primary source of badly-need oil, is running dry. Further, his aggressive support of Israel is resulting in increasing antisemitism in the United States.
  • The Middle East areas where Russia now has growing influence, have oil and if Russia sets itself up as major oil merchandising source, this will give them tremendous economic leverage vis a vis the United States which is the world’s largest consumer of oil and its by-products.
  • By alienating America’s allies and disrupting that country’s social structure, Trump benefits only Russia and its interests.
  • When he is caught at this, and it is common knowledge that the FBI was deeply interested in his Russian connections long before he ran for President, either the American public will have to deal with another Dallas or Trump will suffer a fatal heart attack. Vice-President Pence, a Christian fanatic, would then have to be told to mind his manners or suffer similar terminal problems.
  • Trump is very well aware of the ongoing and growing official investigation into his denied but completely genuine Russian connections and is certainly also well aware of what they can find, and probably have already uncovered, so he initially fired the head of the FBI and even now, according to a very reliable source, is determined to replace the FBI with the cooperative CIA (their former head, Pompeo, is now Secretary of State) as the sole foreign and domestic intelligence agency. He, and his Russian intelligence handlers, want to nip any FBI revelations in the bud so that Trump can continue on his course of castrating the United States as a global power to the benefit of Putin’s Russia.
  • There was a full page ad that he took out in the New York Times, the Boston Globe and the Washington Post in 1988, putting forth foreign policy points that could have been dictated by Vladimir Putin. It was an assault against NATO, and the European Union, both anathema to Russia
  • In 2015, Western European intelligence agencies in France and Germany began picking up solid evidence of communications between the Russian government and people in Donald Trump’s orbit. In April 2016, one of the Baltic States shared with then–CIA director John Brennan an audio recording of Russians discussing funneling money to the Trump campaign. In the summer of 2016, Robert Hannigan, head of the U.K. intelligence agency GCHQ, flew to Washington to brief Brennan on intercepted communications between the Trump campaign and Russia.
  • During the Soviet era, Russian intelligence cast a wide net to gain leverage over influential figures abroad. (The practice continues to this day.) The Russians would lure or entrap not only prominent politicians and cultural leaders, but also people whom they saw as having the potential for gaining prominence in the future. In 1986, Soviet ambassador Yuri Dubinin met Trump in New York, flattered him with praise for his building exploits, and invited him to discuss a building in Moscow. Trump visited Moscow in July 1987. He stayed at the National Hotel, in the Lenin Suite, which certainly was known to be bugged
  • Throughout his career, Trump has always felt comfortable operating at or beyond the ethical boundaries that constrain typical businesses. In the 1980s, he worked with La Cosa Nostra, which controlled the New York cement trade, and later employed Michael Cohen and Felix Sater, both of whom have links to the Russian Mafia. Trump habitually refused to pay his counter parties, and if the people he burned (or any journalists) got in his way, he bullied them with threats. He also used LLCs which he created for the purpose of swindling firm who, for example, laid new carpet in one of his hotels. The vendor billed the LLC which promptly went bankrupt. This has been a favorite gambit of Trump.
  • Trump continually acts like a man with a great deal to hide: declining to testify to anything under oath, dangling Presidential pardons to keep potential witnesses and former employees from incriminating him, publicly chastising his attorney general for not quashing the whole Russian investigation, and endorsing Russia’s claims that it had nothing to do with the election. (“Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election!” he tweeted last month, contradicting the conclusion of every U.S. intelligence and counter-intelligence agency.) Trump’s behavior toward Russia looks exactly like that of an accessory after the fact.
  • When, and not if, it becomes public knowledge that the President of the US is an agent of a foreign power, it would be the worst scandal in American history, far surpassing Tea Pot Dome or Watergate.
  • In conclusion, it is clearly obvious that President Trump was jobbed into his office with the full cooperation of Russian intelligence and that he is currently engaged in efforts to carry out their political global programs which, if allowed to continue, will wreak economic and political havoc on the American government, business community and public.
  • And consider that the United States has been harassing Vladimir Putin’s Russia economically and causing considerable problems for that country. Mr. Putin’s reactive countermeasures against the United States are certainly in response to these actions and in the long view, far more effective than sanctions and hysterical threats.

 

 

Trump as a dual personality

Trump has been a manipulative, thoroughly dishonest, businessman as evident in his methodology of non-payment of bills, planting false information, threatening those who dare to criticize him, constant boasting, chronic lying and short-term memory problems.

He has, unfortunately, brought his defects to the Oval Office and we constantly see such fictions rampant as ‘The Poisoned Russians in Britain,” “Spies in the Presidential campaign,” threats to put tariffs on various foreign imports, threats to use military force on perceived uncooperative former allies, and a host of other actions that Trump hopes will energize legions of far-right and Jewish voters to support him in the next election.

Because Trump has led an insulated life and gets what he wants by connivance and threats, he is out of touch with reality.

His negative actions are seen daily on the Internet and in the media and these build up with even the most stupid voter.

He has, often deliberately, antagonized such a large field of potential opponents that his hubris will destroy him and, in the end, cause chaos and disruption in the United States and many other countries.

Since Trump is used to having his way in the business world, he is of the opinion that his successful techniques in that field will work just as well in the political one.

The only positive aspect of the coming storm is that many disparate groups will join against Trump in a common cause and force him from the White House.

There will be many far right supporters, Jewish groups and others who will mourn his passing and as a parallel, today in Russia, who is fortunate to have a successful and effective president, there are still some who yearn for the return of the murderous Josef Stalin.

Washington has always been a city filled with rumors, speculations, gossip, and many manifestations of self-importance.

 

Veracity of statements by Donald Trump

Wikipedia

Donald Trump has made many false or misleading statements, including thousands during his presidency. Commentators and fact-checkers have described the rate of his falsehoods as unprecedented[1] in politics,[2][3][4] and they have become a distinctive part of both his business and political identity.[5] He has a pattern of making controversial statements and subsequently denying having done so.[6][7] By June 2019 many news organizations had started describing some of Trump’s falsehoods as lies.[8]

Business career

Within years of expanding his father’s property development business into Manhattan in the early 1970s, Trump attracted the attention of The New York Times for his brash and controversial style, with one real estate financier observing in 1976, “His deals are dramatic, but they haven’t come into being. So far, the chief beneficiary of his creativity has been his public image.” Der Scutt, the prominent architect who designed Trump Tower, said of Trump in 1976, “He’s extremely aggressive when he sells, maybe to the point of overselling. Like, he’ll say the convention center is the biggest in the world, when it really isn’t. He’ll exaggerate for the purpose of making a sale.”[9]

The architect Philip Johnson said in 1984 that Trump often lied.[10]

In 2018, journalist Jonathan Greenberg released audio recordings from 1984 in which Trump, posing as his own spokesman John Barron, made false assertions of his wealth to secure a higher ranking on the Forbes 400 list of wealthy Americans, including claiming he owned over 90 percent of his family’s business.[11]

A 1984 GQ profile of Trump quoted him stating he owned the whole block on Central Park South and Avenue of the Americas. GQ noted that the two buildings Trump owned in that area were likely less than a sixth of the block.[12]

Alair Townsend, a former budget director and deputy mayor of New York City during the 1980s, and a former publisher of Crain’s New York Business, said “I wouldn’t believe Donald Trump if his tongue were notarized.”[13][14] Leona Helmsley later used this line as her own when she spoke about Trump in her November 1990 interview in Playboy magazine.[15]

His 1987 book Trump: The Art of the Deal stated, “I play to people’s fantasies. I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration — and a very effective form of promotion.”[16]

When the stock market crashed in October 1987, Trump told the press that he had sold all of his stock a month before and taken no losses. But SEC filings showed that he still owned large stakes in some companies. Forbes calculated that Trump had lost $19 million on his Resorts International holdings alone.[13]

Challenging estimates of his net worth he considered too low, in 1989 Trump stated he had very little debt.[17] Reuters reported Trump owed $4 billion to more than 70 banks at the beginning of 1990.[18]

In 1997, Ben Berzin Jr., who had been tasked with recovering at least some of the $100 million his bank had lent Trump, said “During the time that I dealt with Mr. Trump, I was continually surprised by his mastery of situational ethics. He does not seem to be able to differentiate between fact and fiction.”[19][13]

David Fahrenthold investigated the long history of Trump’s claims about his charitable giving and found little evidence the claims are true.[20][21] Following Fahrenthold’s reporting, the Attorney General of New York opened an inquiry into the Donald J. Trump Foundation’s fundraising practices, and ultimately issued a “notice of violation” ordering the Foundation to stop raising money in New York.[22] The Foundation had to admit it engaged in self-dealing practices to benefit Trump, his family, and businesses.[23] Fahrenthold won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in National Reporting for his coverage of Trump’s claimed charitable giving[24] and casting “doubt on Donald Trump’s assertions of generosity toward charities”.[25]

In 1996, Trump claimed he wagered $1 million on 20-to-1 odds in a Las Vegas heavyweight title boxing match between Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson. The Las Vegas Sun reported that “while everyone is careful not to call Trump a liar,” no one in a position to know about such a sizable wager was aware of it.[26]

A 1998 New York Observer article entitled “Tricky Donald Trump Beats Jerry Nadler in Game of Politics” reported that “Nadler flatly calls Mr. Trump a ‘liar’,” quoting Nadler stating, “Trump got $6 million [in federal money] in the dead of night when no one knew anything about it” by slipping a provision into a $200 billion federal transportation bill.[27]

Promoting his Trump University after its formation in 2004, Trump asserted he would handpick all its instructors. Michael Sexton, former president of the venture, stated in a 2012 deposition that Trump selected none of the instructors.[28]

Trump often appeared in New York tabloid newspapers. Recalling her career with New York Post’s Page Six column, Susany Mulcahy told Vanity Fair in 2004, “I wrote about him a certain amount, but I actually would sit back and be amazed at how often people would write about him in a completely gullible way. He was a great character, but he was full of crap 90 percent of the time”. (Trump told the magazine, “I agree with her 100 percent”.)[29][30]

During a 2005 deposition in a defamation lawsuit he initiated about his worth Trump stated, “My net worth fluctuates, and it goes up and down with markets and with attitudes and with feelings, even my own feelings…and that can change rapidly from day to day.”[31]

Barbara Res, a former Trump Organization executive vice president who worked for Trump from 1978 until 1998, said “he would tell the staff his ridiculous lies, and after a while, no one believed a single word he would say.”[32]

In The Art of the Deal

          Main article: Trump: The Art of the Deal

Tony Schwartz is a journalist who ghostwrote Trump: The Art of the Deal.[33] In July 2016, Schwartz was interviewed by Jane Mayer for two articles in The New Yorker.[34][33] In them he described Trump, who was running for president at the time, highly unfavorably, and described how he came to regret writing The Art of the Deal.[34][33][35] When Schwartz wrote The Art of the Deal, he created the phrase “truthful hyperbole” as an “artful euphemism” to describe Trump’s “loose relationship with the truth”.[33] This passage from the book provides the context, written in Trump’s voice: “I play to people’s fantasies…People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration — and it’s a very effective form of promotion.”[36] He said that Trump “loved the phrase”.[33][37]

Schwartz said that “deceit” is never “innocent”. He added, “‘Truthful hyperbole’ is a contradiction in terms. It’s a way of saying, ‘It’s a lie, but who cares?'”[33] Schwartz repeated his criticism on Good Morning America and Real Time with Bill Maher, saying he “put lipstick on a pig”.[38]

Fearing that anti-German sentiments during and after World War II would negatively affect his business, Fred Trump began claiming Swedish descent.[39][40][41] The falsehood was repeated by Fred’s son Donald to the press[9][10] and in The Art of the Deal,[42][43][41] where he claimed that his grandfather, Friedrich Trump, “came here from Sweden as a child”.[44] In the same book, Donald also said that his father was born in New Jersey.[33][45] Trump later said, “My father is German. Right? Was German. And born in a very wonderful place in Germany, and so I have a great feeling for Germany.”[46] Trump’s father was born in the Bronx, New York.

2016 presidential campaign

Within six months of Trump’s announcement of his presidential candidacy, FactCheck.org declared Trump the “King of Whoppers” stating, “In the 12 years of FactCheck.org’s existence, we’ve never seen his match. He stands out not only for the sheer number of his factually false claims, but also for his brazen refusals to admit error when proven wrong.”[47]

Trump has promoted a number of conspiracy theories that have lacked substance. These have included Barack Obama citizenship conspiracy theories from 2011. Known as “birther” theories, these allege that Barack Obama was not born in the United States.[48][49][50] In 2011, Trump took credit for pushing the White House to release Obama’s “long-form” birth certificate, while raising doubt about its legitimacy,[51] and in 2016 admitted that Obama was a natural-born citizen from Hawaii.[52] He later falsely stated that Hillary Clinton started the conspiracy theories.[52][53][54]

In 2016, Trump suggested that Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. He also claimed that he lost the popular vote in the 2016 election only because of the “millions” of illegal voters in that election cycle.[55][56]

Trump claimed repeatedly on the campaign trail in 2015 that the actual unemployment rate of around 5% “isn’t reflective [of reality]…I’ve seen numbers of 24%, I actually saw a number of 42% unemployment.” Politifact rated this claim “Pants on Fire”, its rating for the most egregious falsehoods.[57]

Jeremy Adam Smith, writing for the Greater Good Magazine, stated that Trump’s falsehoods may be “blue lies,” which are “told on behalf of a group, that can actually strengthen the bonds among the members of that group.” As a result, he posited, Trump’s dishonesty does not cause him to lose the support of his political base, even while it “infuriates and confuses most everyone else.”[58]

In November 2015, Buzzfeed News’ Andrew Kaczynski reported that Trump, despite having claiming to have the best memory in the world, actually has a history of “conveniently forgetting” people or organizations in ways that benefit him. In July 2016, PolitiFact’s Linda Qiu also pointed out that despite Trump’s boast for his memory, he “seems to suffer bouts of amnesia when it comes to his own statements”. Both Kaczynski and Qiu cited examples of Trump stating he did not know anything about former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke despite past statements showing that he clearly knew who Duke was.[59]

Presidency

          Fact-checking Trump

Trump’s statements as president have engaged a host of fact-checkers. Tony Burman wrote: “The falsehoods and distortions uttered by Trump and his senior officials have particularly inflamed journalists and have been challenged — resulting in a growing prominence of ‘fact-checkers’ and investigative reporting.”[61] The situation is getting worse, as described by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ashley Parker: “President Trump seems to be saying more and more things that aren’t true.”[62]

Glenn Kessler said in 2017 that in his job as a fact-checker for The Washington Post there was no comparison between Trump and other politicians. Kessler gave his worst rating to other politicians 15 percent to 20 percent of the time, but gave it to Trump 63 percent to 65 percent of the time.[63] Kessler wrote that Trump was the most fact-challenged politician that he had ever encountered and lamented that “the pace and volume of the president’s misstatements means that we cannot possibly keep up.”[64]

The Washington Post fact-checker created a new category of falsehoods in December 2018, the “Bottomless Pinocchio”, for falsehoods that have been repeated at least 20 times (so often “that there can be no question the politician is aware his or her facts are wrong”). Trump was the only politician who met the standard of the category, with 14 statements that immediately qualified for the category. According to the Washington Post, Trump has repeated some falsehoods so many times that he has effectively engaged in disinformation.[65]

Professor Robert Prentice summarized the views of many fact-checkers:

Here’s the problem: As fact checker Glenn Kessler noted in August, whereas Clinton lies as much as the average politician, President Donald Trump’s lying is “off the charts”. No prominent politician in memory bests Trump for spouting spectacular, egregious, easily disproved lies. The birther claim. The vote fraud claim. The attendance at the inauguration claim. And on and on and on. Every fact checker — Kessler, Factcheck.org, Snopes.com, PolitiFact — finds a level of mendacity unequaled by any politician ever scrutinized. For instance, 70 percent of his campaign statements checked by PolitiFact were mostly false, totally false, or “pants on fire” false.[66]

At the end of 2018, Kessler provided a run-down summary of Trump’s accelerating rate of false statements during the year:

Trump began 2018 on a similar pace as last year. Through May, he generally averaged about 200 to 250 false claims a month. But his rate suddenly exploded in June, when he topped 500 falsehoods, as he appeared to shift to campaign mode. He uttered almost 500 more in both July and August, almost 600 in September, more than 1,200 in October and almost 900 in November. In December, Trump drifted back to the mid-200s.[1]

Several major fact-checking sites regularly fact-check Trump, including:

PolitiFact,[67] which awarded Trump its “Lie of the Year” in 2015[68] and 2017.

FactCheck.org,[69] which dubbed Trump the “King of Whoppers” in 2015.[70]

The Washington Post, which said on April 29, 2019, that Trump had made more than 10,000 false or misleading claims as president,[71] an average of more than 12 such statements per day.

The Toronto Star, which said that, as of May 2019, Trump had made almost 5,000 false statements since his inauguration.[72]

As late as summer 2018, the news media were debating whether to describe use the word “lie” to describe Trump’s falsehoods. However, by June 2019, many news organizations, including CNN, Star Tribune, Financial Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The New Yorker, and Foreign Policy, had started describing some of Trump’s false statements as lies. The Toronto Sun was one of the first outlets to use the word “lie” to describe Trump’s statements, and continues to do so frequently. Still, some organizations have continued to shy away from the term. Glenn Kessler, author of The Washington Post ‘s “Fact Checker” column, has used the word “lie” only once to describe Trump’s statements, although he has sometimes used other terminology that implies lying.[8]

Credibility polling

According to a September 2018 CNN-SSRS poll, only 32% percent of Americans find Trump honest and trustworthy, the worst read in CNN polling history. The number was 33% on election day, November 8, 2016.[73]

Commentary and analysis

As president, Trump has frequently made false statements in public speeches and remarks.[74][64][75][76] Trump uttered “at least one false or misleading claim per day on 91 of his first 99 days” in office according to The New York Times,[74] and 1,318 total in his first 263 days in office according to the “Fact Checker” political analysis column of The Washington Post.[77] By the Post’s tally, it took Trump 601 days to reach 5,000 false or misleading statements and another 226 days to reach the 10,000 mark.[71] For the seven weeks leading up to the midterm elections, it rose to an average of 30 per day[78] from 4.9 during his first 100 days in office.[79] The Post found that Trump averaged 15 false statements per day during 2018.[1]

The New York Times editorial board has frequently lambasted Trump’s dishonesty. In September 2018, the board called him “a president with no clear relation to the truth”.[80] The following month, the board published an opinion piece titled, “Donald Trump Is Lyin’ Up a Storm”.[81]

In the journal Psychoanalytic Dialogues, Dr. Donnel B. Stern commented on Trump’s falsehoods during his presidency. Stern wrote that “Donald Trump lies so often that some have wondered whether he has poisoned the well […] We expect politicians to stretch the truth. But Trump is a whole different animal. He lies as a policy. He lies to get whatever he wants, and he clearly feels entirely justified in doing it…He will say anything to please what gets called ‘his base’ and to inflate his own sense of importance.”[82]

Specific topics

Inaugural crowd

Trump’s presidency began with a series of falsehoods originated by Trump himself. The day after his inauguration, he falsely accused the media of lying about the size of the inauguration crowd. Then he exaggerated the size, and White House press secretary Sean Spicer backed up his claims.[83][84][85][86] When Spicer was accused of intentionally misstating the figures,[87][88][89] Kellyanne Conway, in an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd, defended Spicer by stating that he merely presented “alternative facts”.[90] Todd responded by saying, “Alternative facts are not facts; they’re falsehoods.”[91]

Election results

Further information: United States presidential elections in which the winner lost the popular vote

Trump went on to claim that his electoral college victory was a landslide;[92][93][94] that three of the states he did not win in the 2016 election had “serious voter fraud”;[95][96][97][98] and that Clinton received 3 million to 5 million illegal votes.[99][100]

Trump made his Trump Tower wiretapping allegations in March 2017, which the Department of Justice has twice refuted.[101][102] In January 2018, Trump claimed that texts between FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were tantamount to “treason”, but The Wall Street Journal reviewed them and concluded that the texts “show no evidence of a conspiracy against” Trump.[103][104]

Dismissal of FBI director

On May 9, 2017, Trump dismissed James Comey, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, stating that he had accepted the recommendations of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein to dismiss Comey. In their respective letters, neither Trump, Sessions nor Rosenstein mentioned he issue of an FBI investigation into links between Trump associates and Russian officials, with Rosenstein writing that Comey should be dismissed for his handling of the conclusion of the FBI investigation into the Hillary Clinton email controversy, while Sessions cited Rosenstein’s reasons.[105][106][107] On May 11, Trump said in a videoed interview: “…regardless of recommendation, I was going to fire Comey…in fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.”[108][109][110] On May 31, Trump wrote on Twitter: “I never fired James Comey because of Russia!”[103]

Personal lawyer

In 2017 and in the first half of 2018, Trump repeatedly praised his personal attorney Michael Cohen as a “a great lawyer”, “a loyal, wonderful person”, “a good man”, and someone Trump “always liked” and “respected”. In the second half of 2018, with Cohen testifying to federal investigations, Trump attacked Cohen as a “rat”, “a weak person, and not a very smart person”, and described Cohen as “a PR person who did small legal work, very small legal work…He represented me very little.”[108][111][112]

Spygate

In May 2018, Trump developed and promoted the false[113][114] Spygate conspiracy theory[113][56] alleging that the Barack Obama administration planted a spy inside Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign to assist Hillary Clinton in winning the 2016 US presidential election.[115][116]

Special Counsel Investigation

In March 2019, Trump asserted that the special counsel investigation is “illegal”; previously in June 2018, Trump argued that “the appointment of the Special Counsel is totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL!” However, in August 2018, Dabney Friedrich, a Trump-appointed judge on the DC District Court ruled the appointment was constitutional, as did a unanimous three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit in February 2019.[117][118]

The Mueller Report asserted Trump’s family members, campaign staff, Republican backers, administration officials, and his associates lied or made false assertions, with the plurality of lies from Trump himself (mostly while he was president), whether unintentional, or not to the public, Congress, or authorities, per a CNN analysis.[119]

Also in March 2019, following the release of Attorney General William Barr’s summary of the findings of the completed special counsel investigation, Trump tweeted: “No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION.” However, Barr had quoted special counsel Mueller as writing that “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him” on whether he had committed obstruction of justice. Barr declined to bring an obstruction of justice charge against the President. In testimony to Congress in May 2019, Barr said that he “didn’t exonerate” Trump on obstruction as that was not the role of the Justice Department.[120][121][122]

Economy

Through his first 28 months in office, Trump repeatedly and falsely characterized the economy during his presidency as the best in American history.[123]

As of March 2019, Trump’s most repeated falsehoods, each repeated during his presidency over 100 times, were: that a U.S. trade deficit would be a “loss” for the country; that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, passed during his term, was the largest tax cut in American history; that the American economy was the strongest ever during his administration; and that the Trump wall was already being built. By August, he had made this last claim at least 190 times. He has also made 100 false claims about NATO spending, whether on the part of the United States or other NATO members.[124]

Trump claimed during the campaign that the U.S. real GDP could grow at rate of “5 or even 6” percent under his policies. During 2018, the economy grew at 2.9%, the same rate as 2015 under President Obama. Longer-term projections beyond 2019 by the CBO and Federal Reserve are for growth below 2%. President Obama’s advisers explained growth limits as “sluggish worker productivity and shrinking labor supply as baby boomers retire”.[125]

Trump claimed in October 2017 that he would eliminate the federal debt over 8 years, even though it was $19 trillion at the time.[126] However, the annual deficit (debt addition) in 2018 was nearly $800 billion, about 60% higher than the CBO forecast of $500 billion when Trump took office. The CBO January 2019 forecast for the 2018–2027 debt addition is now 40% higher, at $13.0 trillion rather than $9.4 trillion when Trump was inaugurated.[127] Other forecasts place the debt addition over a decade at $16 trillion, bringing the total to around $35 trillion. Rather than a debt to GDP ratio in 2028 of 89% had Obama’s policies continued, CBO now estimates this figure at 107%, assuming Trump’s tax cuts for individuals are extended past 2025.[128]

Trump claimed in March 2019 that Chinese exporters were bearing the burden of his tariffs. However, studies indicate consumers and purchasers of imports are bearing the cost and that tariffs are essentially a regressive tax. While Trump has argued that tariffs would reduce the trade deficit, it expanded to a record dollar level in 2018.[129]

Trump has sought to present his economic policies as successful in encouraging businesses to invest in new facilities and create jobs. In this effort, he has on several occasions taken credit for business investments that began before he became president.[130][131]

Family separation policy

President Trump has repeatedly and falsely said that he inherited his administration’s family separation policy from Obama, his predecessor. In November 2018, Trump said, “President Obama separated children from families, and all I did was take the same law, and then I softened the law.” In April 2019, Trump said, “President Obama separated children. They had child separation; I was the one that changed it.” In June 2019, Trump said, “President Obama had a separation policy. I didn’t have it. He had it. I brought the families together. I’m the one that put them together…I inherited separation, and I changed the plan.” Trump’s assertion was false because the Obama administration had no policy systematically separating migrant families, while the “zero tolerance” policy was only instituted by Trump’s own administration in April 2018. Politifact quoted immigration experts saying that under the Obama administration families were detained and released together and separations rarely happened.[143][144][145]

Article II and unlimited executive power

In July 2019, during a speech addressing youth at Turning Point USA Teen Student Action Summit in Washington, The Washington Post reported that, while criticizing the Mueller investigation, Trump falsely claimed that Article Two of the United States Constitution ensures that “I have to the right to do whatever I want as president.” The Post clarified that “Article II grants the president ‘executive power.’ It does not indicate the president has total power.”[146]

          Hurricane Dorian

President Trump receives an update on Hurricane Dorian on August 29, 2019. This map was later altered to show Dorian impacting Alabama

President Trump displays the altered map in a video published by the White House on September 4, 2019

As Hurricane Dorian approached the Atlantic coast in late August 2019, Trump presented himself as closely monitoring the situation, tweeting extensively about it as The New York Times reported he was “assuming the role of meteorologist in chief.”[147] On September 1, Trump tweeted that Alabama, among other states, “will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated” by Dorian.[148] By that time, no weather forecaster was predicting that Dorian would impact Alabama and the eight National Hurricane Center forecast updates over the preceding 24 hours showed Dorian steering well away from Alabama and moving up the Atlantic coast.[149][150] The Birmingham, Alabama office of the National Weather Service (NWS) contradicted Trump twenty minutes later, tweeting that Alabama “will NOT see any impacts from Dorian.”[151] After ABC News White House reporter Jonathan Karl reported the correction, Trump tweeted it was “Such a phony hurricane report by lightweight reporter @jonkarl.”[152]

On September 4 in the Oval Office, Trump displayed a modified version of an August 29 diagram by the National Hurricane Center of the projected track of Dorian. The modification was done with a black marker and extended the cone of uncertainty of the hurricane’s possible path into southern Alabama. Modifying official government weather forecasts is illegal in the United States.[153][154][155] A White House official later told The Washington Post that Trump had altered the diagram with a Sharpie marker.[156] Trump said he did not know how the map came to be modified and defended his claims, saying that he had “a better map” with models that “in all cases [showed] Alabama was hit.” Later on September 4, Trump tweeted a map by the South Florida Water Management District dated August 28 showing numerous projected paths of Dorian; Trump falsely asserted “almost all models” showed Dorian approaching Alabama.[157] A note on the map stated it was “superseded” by National Hurricane Center publications and that it was to be discarded if there were any discrepancies.[149][158]

On September 5, after Fox News correspondent John Roberts reported about the story live from the White House, Trump summoned him to the Oval Office. Roberts later characterized Trump as “just looking for acknowledgment that he was not wrong for saying that at some point, Alabama was at risk — even if the situation had changed by the time he issued the tweet.”[159] Late that day, Trump’s Homeland Security Advisor Peter Brown issued a statement asserting Trump had been provided a graphic on September 1 showing tropical storm force winds touching the southeastern corner of Alabama; a White House source told CNN that Trump had personally instructed Brown to issue the statement.[159]

On September 6, at Trump’s direction, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told Commerce secretary Wilbur Ross to order acting NOAA administrator Neil Jacobs to fix the contradiction by Birmingham NWS, and Ross threatened to fire top NOAA officials if he did not.[160][161] NOAA then tweeted a statement by an unnamed spokesman disavowing the Birmingham NWS tweet, asserting “the information provided by NOAA and the National Hurricane Center to President Trump and the wider public demonstrated that tropical-storm-force winds from Hurricane Dorian could impact Alabama,” adding that the Birmingham tweet “spoke in absolute terms that were inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time.”[162][163] The president of the NWS Employees Organization responded, “the hard-working employees of the NWS had nothing to do with the utterly disgusting and disingenuous tweet sent out by NOAA management tonight.”[164] Former senior NOAA executives were also sharply critical.[165] That evening, Trump tweeted a video of a CNN hurricane forecast from the Wednesday before his Sunday tweet in which the forecaster mentioned Alabama could be affected by Dorian — with the video altered to show “Alabama” being repeated several times; the video ended with a CNN logo careening off a road and bursting into flames.[166] Trump continued to insist he was correct through September 7,[167] asserting “The Fake News Media was fixated” on the matter and tweeting forecast maps from at least two days before his original Sunday tweet, as the media dubbed the episode “Sharpiegate.”[168][169][170] Numerous commentators expressed bafflement that Trump chose to continue insisting he was correct about what might otherwise have passed as a relatively minor gaffe.[171][172][173][174][175][176]

On September 9, NWS director Louis Uccellini said that the Birmingham NWS had not tweeted in response to Trump’s tweet, but rather in response to numerous phone calls and social media contacts their office had received in response to Trump’s tweet. “Only later, when the retweets and politically based comments started coming to their office, did they learn the sources of this information,” he said.[177]

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143.Flaherty, Anne (November 2, 2018). “Trump falsely blames Obama for family separations at border”. ABC News. Retrieved July 2, 2019.

  1. Montoya-Galvez, Camilo. “In misleading claim, Trump accuses Obama of separating migrant children”. CBS News. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  2. Valverde, Miriam (July 1, 2019). “Donald Trump, again, falsely says Obama had family separation policy”. Politifact. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  3. Brice-Saddler, Michael (July 23, 2019). “While bemoaning Mueller probe, Trump falsely says the Constitution gives him ‘the right to do whatever I want'”. The Washington Post. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
  4. Rogers, Katie (September 2, 2019). “President Trump, Weatherman: Dorian Updates and at Least 122 Tweets” – via NYTimes.com.
  5. @realDonaldTrump (September 1, 2019). “In addition to Florida – South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated. Looking like one of the largest hurricanes ever. Already category 5. BE CAREFUL! GOD BLESS EVERYONE!” (Tweet). Retrieved September 8, 2019 – via Twitter.

149 Embury-Dennis, Tom (September 5, 2019). “Trump forced to deny personally doctoring hurricane map after sharpie spotted on his desk”. The Independent. Retrieved September 5, 2019.

  1. “DORIAN Graphics Archive: 5-day Forecast Track and Watch/Warning Graphic”. www.nhc.noaa.gov.

151.Wu, Nicholas. “National Weather Service appears to correct Trump on Hurricane Dorian hitting Alabama”. USA TODAY. Retrieved September 4, 2019.

  1. Gstalter, Morgan (September 4, 2019). “Kentucky pastor says he’s ‘victim of a drive-by tweet’ after Trump mistakenly goes after him”. TheHill.

153.”Why does Trump’s hurricane map look different than others?”. NBC News. Retrieved September 4, 2019.

  1. Smith, David (September 4, 2019). “Trump shows fake hurricane map in apparent bid to validate incorrect tweet”. The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved September 5, 2019 – via www.theguardian.com.
  2. Cappucci, Matthew; Freedman, Andrew (September 4, 2019). “President Trump showed a doctored hurricane chart. Was it to cover up for ‘Alabama’ Twitter flub?”. The Washington Post. Retrieved September 5, 2019.
  3. CNN, Veronica Stracqualursi. “Washington Post: Trump was the one who altered Dorian trajectory map with Sharpie”. CNN.
  4. Trump, Donald J. (September 4, 2019). “This was the originally projected path of the Hurricane in its early stages. As you can see, almost all models predicted it to go through Florida also hitting Georgia and Alabama. I accept the Fake News apologies!pic.twitter.com/0uCT0Qvyo6”.
  5. Naylor, Brian (September 4, 2019). “Trump Displays Altered Map Of Hurricane Dorian’s Path To Include Alabama”. NPR. Retrieved September 5, 2019.
  6. a b Correspondent, Jake Tapper, Anchor and Chief Washington. “Trump called Fox News correspondent into Oval Office to argue he wasn’t wrong about Alabama”. CNN.

160.”President Trump pushed staff to deal with NOAA tweet that contradicted his inaccurate Alabama hurricane claim”. Washington Post. September 11, 2019.

  1. Baker, Peter; Friedman, Lisa; Flavelle, Christopher (September 11, 2019). “White House Pressed Agency to Repudiate Weather Forecasters Who Contradicted Trump”. NYTimes.com.
  2. Flavelle, Christopher; Friedman, Lisa; Baker, Peter (September 9, 2019). “Commerce Chief Threatened Firings at NOAA After Trump’s Dorian Tweets, Sources Say” – via NYTimes.com.

163.CNN, Kyle Feldscher. “NOAA slams weather service tweet that refuted Trump’s Alabama claim”. CNN.

  1. “NOAA backs up Trump’s claim that Alabama could be affected by hurricane”. www.cbsnews.com.

165.”NOAA draws backlash after disavowing Weather Service tweet that refuted Trump | TheHill”.

  1. Trump, Donald J. (September 6, 2019). “pic.twitter.com/J3aTzBG7ao”.
  2. “Trump Attacks Peter Baker as He Drags False Hurricane Forecast Story Into Day Seven”. September 7, 2019.
  3. Trump, Donald J. (September 6, 2019). “The Fake News Media was fixated on the fact that I properly said, at the beginnings of Hurricane Dorian, that in addition to Florida & other states, Alabama may also be grazed or hit. They went Crazy, hoping against hope that I made a mistake (which I didn’t). Check out maps…”
  4. Trump, Donald J. (September 5, 2019). “Just as I said, Alabama was originally projected to be hit. The Fake News denies it!pic.twitter.com/elJ7ROfm2p”.
  5. “Fox News’ John Roberts Breaks Down Trump’s Sharpiegate”. September 5, 2019.
  6. Graham, David A. (September 5, 2019). “Trump’s Most Pointless Lie”. The Atlantic.
  7. “Shepard Smith Destroys Trump’s Fake Sharpie Map By Listing Off His Biggest Whoppers”. Mediaite. September 5, 2019.
  8. Stieb, Matt (September 5, 2019). “Trump Insists Sharpie-Doctored Map Shows Alabama Was in Hurricane’s Path”. Intelligencer.

174.”The Sharpie is mightier: Trump mocked after that map of Dorian’s path”. NBC News.

  1. “Opinion | Trump isn’t even good at lying anymore”. Washington Post.
  2. “‘Mr. President, you’re going to weather jail’: Trump roasted for altered Hurricane Dorian map”. Washington Post.
  3. “National Weather Service chief: Forecasters did the right thing in contradicting Trump’s Dorian claim | TheHill”.

 

The Deutsche Bank and Donald Trump

The remarkably troubled recent history of Deutsche Bank, its past money-laundering woes — and the bank’s striking relationship with Trump — became the subject of investigation by the German State Attorney’s office. The German bank loaned a cumulative total of around $2.5 billion to Trump projects over the past two decades, and the bank continued writing him nine-figure checks even after he defaulted on a $640 million obligation and sued the bank, blaming it for his failure to pay back the debt.

  • Deutsche Bank’s private wealth unit loaned Trump $48 million — after he had defaulted on his $640 million loan and the bank’s commercial unit didn’t want to lend him any further funds — so that Trump could pay back another unit of Deutsche Bank.
  • Deutsche Bank loaned Trump’s company $125 million as part of the overall $150 million purchase of the ailing Doral golf resort in Miami in 2012. The loans’ primary collateral was land and buildings that he paid only $105 million for, county land records show. The apparent favorable terms raised questions about whether the bank’s loan was unusually risky.
  • To widespread alarm, and at least one protest that Trump would not be able to pay his lease obligations, Deutsche Bank’s private wealth group loaned the Trump Organization an additional $175 million to renovate the Old Post Office Building in Washington and turn it into a luxury hotel.

Like Trump, Deutsche Bank has been scrutinized for its dealings in Russia. The bank paid more than $600 million to regulators in 2017 and agreed to a consent order that cited “serious compliance deficiencies” that “spanned Deutsche Bank’s global empire.” The case focused on “mirror trades,” which Deutsche Bank facilitated between 2011 and 2015. The trades were sham transactions whose sole purpose appeared to be to illicitly convert rubles into pounds and dollars — some $10 billion worth.

The bank was “laundering money for wealthy Russians and people connected to Putin and the Kremlin in a variety of ways for almost the exact time period that they were doing business with Donald Trump,” “And all of that money through Deutsche Bank was being channeled through the same exact legal entity in the U.S. that was handling the Donald Trump relationship in the U.S. And so there are a lot of coincidences here.”

Deutsche Bank AG is a German multinational investment bank and financial services company headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany.

The bank is operational in 58 countries with a large presence in Europe, the Americas and Asia. As of April 2018, Deutsche Bank is the 15th largest bank in the world by total assets. As the largest German banking institution in the world, it is a component of the DAX stock market index.

The company is a universal bank resting on three pillars – the Private & Commercial Bank, the Corporate & Investment Bank (CIB) and Asset Management (DWS). Its investment banking operations often command substantial deal flow and maintain different “sell side” and “buy side” departments.

Relationship with Donald Trump

Deutsche Bank is widely recognized as being the largest creditor to real-estate-mogul-turned-politician Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States, holding more than US$360 million in outstanding loans to the candidate in the months prior to his 2016 election.

As of December 2017 Deutsche Bank’s role in, and possible relevance to, Trump and Russian parties cooperating to elect him was under investigation by Robert Mueller of the FBI.

As of March 2019, Deutsche Bank’s relationship with Trump was also under investigation by two U.S. congressional committees and by the New York attorney general.

In April 2019 House Democrats subpoenaed the Bank for Trump’s personal and financial records. On 29 April 2019, President Donald Trump, his children Donald Jr. Trump, Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump; and his business sued Deutsche Bank and Capital One bank to block them from turning over financial records to congressional committees that have issued subpoenas for the information.

On May 22, 2019, judge Edgardo Ramos of the federal District Court in Manhattan rejected the Trump suit against Deutsche Bank, ruling the bank must comply with congressional subpoena

In May 2019  anti-money laundering specialists in the bank detected what appeared to be suspicious transactions involving entities controlled by Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner, for which they recommended filing suspicious activity reports with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the Treasury Department, but bank executives rejected the recommendations.

One specialist noted money moving from Kushner Companies to Russian individuals and flagged it in part because of the bank’s previous involvement in a Russian money laundering scheme.

Andrey Kostin (1979–2011), a Russian banker and son of Andrey Kostin who is the President and Chairman of the Management Board of VTB Bank, graduated from the Russian Government Finance Academy in 2000 and began working with Deutsche Bank’s London office in 2000 From 2002–2007, the younger Andrey Kostin worked in Deutsche Bank’s Office of Interbank and Corporate Sales in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In April 2007, Anshu Jain sent the younger Andrey Kostin to work at Deutsche Bank’s Moscow office. While he was at Deutsche Bank’s Moscow office, the Moscow office began posting profits of $500 million to $1 billion a year.He served on its management board beginning July 2008 and was the deputy chairman of the management board from February 2011. On July 2, 2011, at 7:30 a.m., while he was at a vacation retreat reserved for FSB personnel, he tragically died when his Can-Am Outlander-800 ATV crashed into a tree along a country road near Pereslavl-Zalessky and the village of Los in the Yaroslavl region of Russia He was not wearing a helmet

Donald Trump has pursued business deals in Russia since 1987, and has sometimes traveled there to explore potential business opportunities. In 1996, Trump trademark applications were submitted for potential Russian real estate development deals. Mr.Trump’s partners and children have repeatedly visited Moscow, connecting with developers and government officials to explore joint venture opportunities. Mr.Trump was never able to successfully conclude any real estate deals in Russia. However, individual Russians have invested heavily in Trump properties, and following Mr.Trump’s bankruptcies in the 1990s he borrowed money from Russian sources. In 2008 his son Donald Trump Jr. said that Russia was an important source of money for the Trump businesses.

In 1996 Mr.Trump partnered with Liggett-Ducat, a small company, and planned to build an upscale residential development on a Liggett-Ducat property in Moscow. Trump commissioned New York architect Ted Liebman, who did the sketches.

In 1987 Mr.Trump visited Russia to investigate developing a hotel

In Russia, Mr.Trump promoted the proposal and acclaimed the Russian economic market. At a news conference reported by The Moscow Times, Mr.Trump said he hadn’t been “as impressed with the potential of a city as I have been with Moscow” in contrast to other cities had visited “all over the world.

By this time, Mr.Trump made known his desire to build in Moscow to government officials for almost ten years ranging from the Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev (they first met in Washington in 1987) to the military figure Alexander Lebed.

Moscow’s mayor, Yuri M. Luzhkov, showed Trump plans for a very large shopping mall to be located underground in the vicinity of the Kremlin. The mayor complimented Mr.Trump’s suggestion that this mall should have access to the Moscow Metro, and it was eventually connected to the Okhotny Ryad station. Although the 1996 residential development did not happen, Mr.Trump was by this time well known in Russia.

Between 2000–2010, Mr.Trump entered into a partnership with a development company headquartered in New York represented by a Russian immigrant, Felix Sater. During this period, they partnered for an assortment of deals that included building Trump towers internationally and Russia was included. For example, in 2005 Slater acted as an agent for building a Trump tower alongside Moscow River with letters of intent in hand and “square footage was being analyzed.”

In 2006, Mr.Trump’s children Donald Jr. and Ivanka stayed in the Hotel National, Moscow for several days, across from the Kremlin, to interview prospective partners, with the intention of formulating real estate development projects.

Sater had also traveled to Moscow with Mr. Trump, his wife Ivanka and son Donald Jr.

Mr. Trump was associated with Tevfik Arif, formerly a Soviet commerce official and founder of a development company called the Bayrock Group, of which Sater was also a partner.

Bayrock searched for deals in Russia while Trump Towers company were attempting to further expand in the United States. Mr. Sater said, “We looked at some very, very large properties in Russia,” on the scale of “…a large Vegas high-rise.”

In 2007, Bayrock organized a potential deal in Moscow between Trump International Hotel and Russian investors

During 2006–2008 Mr.Trump’s company applied for a number of trademarks in Russia with the goal of real estate developments. These trademark applications include: Trump, Trump Tower, Trump International Hotel and Tower, and Trump Home.

In 2008, Mr. Trump spoke at a Manhattan real estate conference, stating that he really prefered Moscow over all cities in the world and that within 18 months he had been in Russia a half-dozen times.

Mr.Trump had received large and undisclosed payments over 10 years from Russians for hotel rooms, rounds of golf, or Trump-licensed products such as wine, ties, or mattresses, which would not have been identified as coming from Russian sources in the tax returns

A secret KGB memo under date of February 1, 1984 concerned the necessity of making an expanded use of the facilities of cooperating foreign intelligence services—for example, Czechoslovakian or East German intelligence networks.

 

2009-2015: Deutsche Bank Involved in Vast Russian Money Laundering Scheme

 

Tim Wiswell, an American whose father worked in oil and gas in Soviet Russia and who spent a year at the Anglo-American School in Russia, took over the post of Russian equities at Deutsche Bank, which was the only bank that would loan Donald Trump any significant amount of money.

Wiswell worked at Moscow’s Alfa Bank before moving to Deutsche Bank Moscow. Under Wiswell, the bank’s profits in the Russian equities section skyrocket, enough to draw scrutiny.

Christopher Barter, the CEO of Goldman Sachs Moscow, suspected that illicit financial maneuvers were going on under Wiswell’s leadership. Barter later recalled being approached by “broker types, not very senior,” wishing to do large, unexplained numbers of trades with his firm on behalf of unnamed major Russian clients.

Barter examined the deals, and determined that the identities of the Russian partners were hidden behind layers of shell companies, making due diligence impossible.

Barter turned down these proposals. Wiswell welcomed them. Between 2011 and 2015, Wiswell oversaw what investigators later determined to be a vast money laundering scheme on behalf of numerous Russians, many with ties to the Russian mob.

Over $10 billion was shifted from Russia to selected institutions in the West. The method is simple but effective. In Moscow, a Russian client bought blue-chip Russian stocks from Deutsche Bank Moscow in companies like Gazprom or Sberbank. The payments were in rubles.

The size of a typical order was $2 million to $3 million. Shortly afterward, a non-Russian ‘customer’ sold exactly the same number of securities to Deutsche Bank in London, paying in dollars.” There is no economic reason for these “mirror trades,” the investigators determine.

The entire idea was to move illegally gained funds from Russia and convert them into dollars, where they can be used without fear of exposure. Wiswell and his clients used banks in offshore territories such as Cyprus and the British Virgin Islands.

Wiswell handled any questions by giving other banks soothing reassurances, while threatening and berating his colleagues to keep their mouths shut and speed the transactions along.

Wiswell also was tasked with keeping his Russian clients happy, which involved things like skiing trips, island getaways, and visits to elite nightclubs. Wiswell’s Russian wife became the owner of two offshore companies, in Cyprus and the BVI, and began accepting lavish payments for “financial consulting.”

Investigators call those “undisclosed compensations” to be bribes, cleared by Deutsche Bank in New York. In August 2015, Deutsche Bank suspended and then fired Wiswell, who promptly disappeared from public view. Some reports have said tha he is now in Moscow again. In a wrongful dismissal suit, Wiswell painted himself as a fall guy for the bank’s senior executives. The money laundering scandal did terrific harm to Deutsche Bank’s reputation, and cost the bank $475 million in fines. Later examinations determined that the bank’s Moscow branch had been “taken over” by Vneshtorgbank (VTB), a state-run bank with deep ties to Russian intelligence

 

2013-2015: Trump Tower Surveilled by FBI as Part of Effort to Catch Russian Mobsters

 

The FBI conducted a lengthy surveillance operation at Trump Tower, including wiretapping and other methods, in an attempt to gain information on a Russian organized crime money-laundering network operating out of Unit 63A in the building.

The opulent apartment was owned by Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov (or Tokhtakhounav), a notorious Russian mafia boss.

The surveillance was successful and used to arrest and prosecute over 30 people.

Tokhtakhounov is the only one to escape arrest, and in 2017 was considered a fugitive by American law enforcement officials. Seven months after the April 2013 indictment and after being named in an Interpol “red notice,” Tokhtakhounov appeared near Donald Trump in the VIP section of the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow.

FBI agent Mike Gaeta, who ran the initial FBI investigation of Tokhtakhounov and his money-laundering and gambling ring, told a reporter: “He is a major player. He is prominent. He has extremely good connections in the business world as well as the criminal world, overseas, in Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, other countries.”

Gaeta and the FBI believed Tokhtakhounov and his ring moved over $50 million in illegal money into the US. He noted: “Because of his status, we have kept tabs on his activities and particularly as his activities truly enter New York City. Their money was ultimately laundered from Russia, Ukraine and other locations through Cyprus banks and shell companies based in Cyprus and then ultimately here to the United States.”

Donald Trump himself was not a subject of the investigation, but Trump Tower was under close watch. Another member of Tokhtakhounov’s ring, Vadim Trincher, also lived in Trump Tower. He was convicted of racketeering and was sentenced to a five-year prison term.

Former FBI official Rich Frankel said of Trump Tower: “Everything was moving in and out of there. [Trincher] would have people come in and meet with them. He would use the phones. He would also communicate, whether it was through e-mail or other communications through there. His base of operations was in the Trump Tower.”

One recording by the FBI had Trincher threatening to have a debtor tortured and murdered. One tenant, Eduard Nektalov, a diamond dealer from Uzbekistan, was gunned down in broad daylight on Sixth Avenue in a gang-related assassination.

Nektalov was cooperating with federal investigators at the time of his murder. Trump Organization spokespersons denied that unusually large numbers of Russian citizens have been living spaces in Trump properties, but property records show that is a lie. ABC will report: “Trump-branded developments catered to large numbers of Russian buyers, including several who had brushes with the law. Russian buyers were particularly drawn to Trump licensed condo towers in Hollywood, Florida, and Sunny Isles. Local real estate agents credited the Russian migration for turning the coastal Miami-area community into what they called Little Moscow.” Tokhtakhounov is enjoying a life of luxury in Moscow, and is regularly observed in public. Daily Kos writer Mark Sumner will note that the three floors between Tokhtakhounov’s apartment and Trump’s penthouse suite was occupied by Bayrock, a shady company “owned by post-Soviet oligarchs and operated by securities fraudster Felix Sater.” Sumner will write: “It looks like Trump Tower was a one-size fits all money-laundering superstore. … Was there a wiretap at Trump Tower? Damn right there was. Because Trump Tower is a hotbed of illegal activity, and it’s just part of the ‘open for business’ sign Trump hung out for Russian mobsters.”

Broidy and his wife, attorney Robin Rosenzweig, engaged in a year-long email exchange with Malaysian businessman Jho Low to arrange a consulting contract. Low was  at the center of the investment scandal that also involved, among others, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. The couple proposed a $75 million fee from Low if their company could ensure that the DOJ would drop its investigation into the investment scandal. Broidy also prepared talking points for Najib before the prime minister met with Trump in 2017; Broidy advised Najib to emphasize Malaysia’s committment to standing with the US against North Korea. Lawyer Chris Clark sends a statement on behalf of Broidy and Rosenzweig, saying that they were asked to provide advice to Low “as part of a broader team.” The statement continues, “At no time did Mr. Broidy or Ms. Rosenzweig, or anyone acting on their behalf, discuss Mr. Low’s case with President Trump, any member of his staff, or anyone at the US Department of Justice.” In July 2016, the DOJ filed civil forfeiture complaints seeking to recover over $2 billion in assets illegally acquired with funds misappropriated from 1MDB. The DOJ identified Jho Low (Low Taek Jho) as someone who laundered over $400 million stolen from the firm. A Malaysian investigation cleared Najib and 1MDB of wrongdoing. 1MDB says it is cooperating with the investigation, but also asserts that no money is missing from its coffers. The department says Low and other high-level officials at 1MDB stole over $4.5 billion from a sovereign wealth fund administered by the firm. Najib was the recipient of some $681 million of the stolen funds, according to the DOJ, though both Low and Najib have denied any wrongdoing in the scandal. The money apparently was sunk into, among other things, buying artwork by Monet and Van Gogh, a private jet, a $250 million yacht (later seized by Indonesian authorities on behalf of the US), real estate, and investments in the American film The Wolf of Wall Street. After the Wall Street Journal publishes some of the emails, both Rosenzweig and Broidy’s assistant say that their email account was hacked. “It’s definitely a hack,” Rosenzweig says. “They’ve hacked attorney-client privileged documents.” The Journal initially received the emails from an anonymous group using the nickname “L.A. Confidential,” who describes itself as a group dedicated to “expos[ing] people associated with Hollywood.” Rosenzweig says she does not recognize some of the emails published by the Journal. She says she and her husband are conducting a “personal investigation.” Clark says: “We are concerned that the Wall Street Journal is in possession of internal drafts of documents that were never used, and that were never intended to be shared with third parties. We question the legality and propriety of the manner in which the documents were obtained.”

 

There are also many “black box technologies” being developed out there that the public does not even know about yet.

Then there are the nation’s public schools, where young people are being conditioned to mindlessly march in lockstep to the pervasive authoritarian dictates of the surveillance state. It was here that surveillance cameras and metal detectors became the norm. It was here, too, that schools began reviewing social media websites in order to police student activity. With the advent of biometrics, school officials have gone to ever more creative lengths to monitor and track students’ activities and whereabouts, even for the most mundane things. For example, students in Pinellas County, Fla., are actually subjected to vein recognition scans when purchasing lunch at school.

Of course, the government is not the only looming threat to our privacy and bodily integrity. As with most invasive technologies, the groundwork to accustom the American people to the so-called benefits or conveniences of facial recognition is being laid quite effectively by corporations. For example, a new Facebook application, Facedeals, is being tested in Nashville, Tenn., which enables businesses to target potential customers with specialized offers. Yet another page borrowed from Stephen Spielberg’s 2002 Minority Report, the app works like this: businesses install cameras at their front doors which, using facial recognition technology, identify the faces of Facebook users and then send coupons to their smartphones based upon things they’ve “liked” in the past.

Making this noxious mix even more troubling is the significant margin for error and abuse that goes hand in hand with just about every government-instigated program, only more so when it comes to biometrics and identification databases. Take, for example, the Secure Communities initiative. Touted by the Department of Homeland Security as a way to crack down on illegal immigration, the program attempted to match the inmates in local jails against the federal immigration database. Unfortunately, it resulted in Americans being arrested for reporting domestic abuse and occasionally flagged US citizens for deportation. More recently, in July 2012, security researcher Javier Galbally demonstrated that iris scans can be spoofed, allowing a hacker to use synthetic images of an iris to trick an iris-scanning device into thinking it had received a positive match for a real iris over 50 percent of the time.

The writing is on the wall. With technology moving so fast and assaults on our freedoms, privacy and otherwise, occurring with increasing frequency, there is little hope of turning back this technological, corporate and governmental juggernaut. Even trying to avoid inclusion in the government’s massive identification database will be difficult. The hacktivist group Anonymous suggests wearing a transparent plastic mask, tilting one’s head at a 15 degree angle, wearing obscuring makeup, and wearing a hat outfitted with Infra-red LED lights as methods for confounding the cameras’ facial recognition technology.

Consider this, however: while the general public, largely law-abiding, continues to be pried on, spied on and treated like suspects by a government that spends an exorbitant amount of money on the security-intelligence complex (which takes in a sizeable chunk of the $80 billion yearly intelligence budget), the government’s attention and resources are effectively being diverted from the true threats that remain at large – namely, those terrorists abroad who seek, through overt action and implied threat, to continue the reign of terror in America begun in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

 

The Watchbird is Watching You!

 

Law enforcement agencies all over the United States are starting to use unmanned drones to spy on us, and the Department of Homeland Security is aggressively seeking to expand the use of such drones by local authorities….

The Department of Homeland Security has launched a program to “facilitate and accelerate the adoption” of small, unmanned drones by police and other public safety agencies, an effort that an agency official admitted faces “a very big hurdle having to do with privacy.”

The $4 million Air-based Technologies Program, which will test and evaluate small, unmanned aircraft systems, is designed to be a “middleman” between drone manufacturers and first-responder agencies.

The EPA is already using drones to spy on cattle ranchers in Nebraska and Iowa. Will we eventually get to a point where we all just consider it to be “normal” to have surveillance drones flying above our heads constantly?

The FBI uses aerial surveillance drones over US soil, and has agreed that further political debate and legislation to govern their domestic use may be necessary.

The bureau’s director admitted it used drones to aid its investigations.

However, the potential for growing drone use either in the US, or involving US citizens abroad, is an increasingly charged issue in Congress, and the FBI acknowleged there may need to be legal restrictions placed on their use to protect privacy.

It is known that drones are used by border control officials and have been used by some local law enforcement authorities and Department of Homeland Security in criminal cases.

The government intelligence agencies and their allied private contractors now regularly accesses all emails, chats, searches, events, locations, videos, photos, log-ins and any information people post online with a warrant, which the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court always  grants secretly and without being ever made public.

And the revelation of Prism, a secret government program for mining major Internet companies, states that the government now has direct access to Internet companies’ data without a warrant.

Every company impacted – Google, YouTube, Yahoo, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Skype, PalTalk and AOL – publically deny knowing about the program or giving any direct access to their servers. These denials are intented to bolster public confidence in their services because in reality, all of these entities cooperate fully with requests for customer information.

Google is the supplier of the customized core search technology for Intellipedia, a highly-secure online system where 37,000 U.S. domestic and foreign area spies and related personnel share information and collaborate on investigative missions.

And there is absolutely nothing one can commit to the Internet that is private in any sense of the word

In addition, Google is linked to the U.S. spy and military systems through its Google Earth software venture. The technology behind this software was originally developed by Keyhole Inc., a company funded by Q-Tel http://www.iqt.org/ , a venture capital firm which is in turn openly funded and operated on behalf of the CIA.

Google acquired Keyhole Inc. in 2004. The same base technology is currently employed by U.S. military and intelligence systems in their quest, in their own words, for “full-spectrum dominance” of the American, and foreign, political, social and economic spheres.

Government surveillance of the American public is very widespread and at the present time, almost every aspect of an American citizen, or resident, is available for official surveillance. This includes mail, television viewing, telephone conversations, computer communications, travel, ownership of property, medical and school records, banking and credit card transactions, inheritances and other aspects of a citizen’s daily life.

This is done to circumvent any possible organization that could contravene official government policy and has its roots in massive civil resistance to governmental policy during the war in Vietnam. The government does not want a reprise of that problem and its growing surveillance is designed to carefully watch any citizen, or groups of citizens, who might, present or future, pose a threat to government policy.

Another factor to be considered is the current American attitudes towards racial issues. There has always been prejudice in the United States against blacks. In 1943 there were bloody riots in Detroit and Los Angeles, the former aimed at blacks and the latter against Mexicans. Since then, there has been chronic racial prejudice but it has been relatively small and very local. Also, there is growing anti-Semitic prejudice in American but this is officially ignored and never is mentioned in the American media. Much of this growing problem is directed at the brutal actions of Israel against Palestinians. Israelis have an undue influence in the American political scene. The very far right so-called neo-cons are almost all Jewish and most are Israeli citizens. Also, the middle-level ranks of American CIA personnel are heavily infiltrated by Israelis and it is said that any secret the CIA has is at once passed to Israel and that countries needs are assuming importance in CIA actions.

 

Bad Taste in Germany. Could we see this here?

 

The institution of the Nuremberg racial laws in 1936 and the pogroms that swept Germany in November of 1938, made it clearly evident to the world that Hitler was determined to drive the Jews out of Germany. There was no program or intention in Germany then to put them into concentration camps because these camps were designed solely for political dissidents and common criminals. The addition of the 500,000 Jews living in Germany at that time would have put an intolerable strain on the camp system. It was the general idea that there should be a new diaspora, a dispersing of the Jews. But the problem facing the Germans, aside from international outrage engendered by their program of harassment and expulsion, was that no other country wanted to accept the Jewish refugees. Many of these originated in Russia and had fled into what was then the Grand Duchy of Poland when the Imperial Russian government started its great pogroms at the end of the nineteenth century.

When Poland gained its independence from Russia after the First World War, the new Polish head of state, Marshal Pilsudski, strongly encouraged as many of the five million Jewish residents of his country to leave it as quickly as possible. The great bulk of these escaped into what was then a very tolerant Germany only to encounter, after 1933. the political programs of Adolf Hitler.

Once it became evident to the Jewish community of Germany that the persecutions would not cease, many fled the country, some legally and some illegally. A number went to Switzerland, which took in about fifty thousand, and many others went to France, Belgium and Holland, while a very few managed to go to England and America. The British initially permitted immigration to Palestine, a territory they had controlled since the end of the First World War, but in 1939, when Müller took over the Jewish diaspora, the Arabs of that territory were in a state of open revolt against the British, in part because of the influx of Jews. The British then curtailed any Jewish immigration and threatened to sink any refugee boats full of Jewish refugees headed for Palestine.

France was overwhelmed with a quarter million refugees from the recently ended Spanish Civil War and declared that they would accept no more refugees. The desperate Jews trickled in small numbers to South America and such remote places as Shanghai, the foreign business center of a China that was engaged in a major war with the Japanese. When that city fell to the Japanese Army, Shanghai was cut off as a haven for any further refugees.

‘The United States had a reputation as a haven for the persecuted of Europe, but this reputation was about to be irremediably tarnished through the actions of U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt and Breckenridge Long, one of the highest officials of the U.S. Department of State.

When confronted with a mass of frightened German (and Austrian) Jews seeking entrance into the United States, Roosevelt at first attempted to find some other area in the world that would accept a large number of them. The President, through the Department of State, suggested Ethiopia as a country into which “refugees could be admitted in almost unlimited numbers,” while the Germans recommended Madagascar. Mussolini felt  that Siberia had its attractions and Roosevelt then decided that central Africa might be a better choice. The British suggested the jungle areas of South America or perhaps Venezuela could be an “excellent settlement area for unwanted German Jews.” Needless to say, the German Jews had no great interest in the jungles and unpopulated, remote areas of the world, and as middle-class professionals and businessmen, preferred to go to the United States since the rest of civilized Europe plainly did not want anything to do with them.

In 1938, the immigration quota from Germany was 25,957. This figure reflected German immigrants, not Jewish, and the question put to the State Department was how many of the German quota would be Jews. This matter was never officially resolved because it suited the Department of State not to do so.

Breckenridge Long, the official in the State Department who oversaw immigration, was strongly xenophobic, disliked immigrants from countries that were not Northern European Protestant in origin, and most especially detested Jews. In these attitudes, Long was entirely in harmony with the American East Coast establishment which felt exactly as he did.

The United States was still suffering from the effects of the Depression that had begun in 1929 and had erupted again in 1938. In times of economic travail, the minorities always suffer and this maxim was certainly true from 1938 onwards. While Roosevelt had opened his administration to Jews, something that had never happened before, he nevertheless had no interest in assisting the Jews of Europe in entering the United States. The President was a man of his age and of his milieu, and anti-Semitism in America was not violent as it was in Germany, but was certainly evident and very persistent in American society.

After the pogroms of Crystal Night, Roosevelt publicly expressed outrage to the German government about the blatant mistreatment of the Jews. But in private, he agreed with the stringent boycott of Germany and her exports by his friend Samuel Untermeyer and powerful members of the American Jewish community, who had expressed their anger against Hitler for a number of years before the 1938 incidents. But when it became evident that the United States was the intended goal of the Jews of Germany, Roosevelt balked. Verbal outrage and high-sounding morality was one thing, but an influx o f Jews was quite something else. Even after Crystal Night, American public opinion was strongly opposed to any loosening of the very restrictive 1924 immigration act, and, in fact this opposition rose from 70 percent to 83 percent following the German pogroms.

If nothing else, Roosevelt was a thoroughly pragmatic and coldly realistic politician. Even though he personally enjoyed considerable support from America‘s Jewish community, he realized that the Jews alone could not keep him in office so he quickly pandered to the exclusionist view of the overwhelming bulk of his electorate.

His personal views were certainly reflected in the elitist attitudes of his career diplomats. In 1938, after Mussolini had promulgated some anti-Semitic laws. Roosevelt wrote to his Ambassador in Rome, “What a plight the unfortunate Jews are in. It gives them little comfort to remind them that they have been ‘on the run’ for about four thousand years.”

In 1942, after the war had been raging for three years and there was no doubt that all of Europe’s Jews were being rounded up and put into detention camps, Roosevelt remarked to Leo Crowley, an Irish-American Catholic who was his Custodian of Alien Property, and Henry Morgenthau, Jr., his Secretary of the Treasury, “ Leo, you know this is a Protestant country, and the Catholics and Jews are here on sufferance. It is up to both of you to go along with anything that I want at this time.”

In a 1943 trans-Atlantic scrambled telephone conversation with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Roosevelt said. “Of course, I have pity on the Jews, but we simply don’t want them over here. No one wants them here. You don’t want them in Palestine and neither do the Arabs. Could we not send them to some place like South America?” to which Churchill replied, “Certainly that could be done, but I cannot countenance shipping hundreds of thousands of perfectly obnoxious Polish Jews to our territories.”

 

 

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