TBR News June 10, 2019

Jun 10 2019


The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. June 10, 2019: “Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.

When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.

I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.

He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.

He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.

His latest business is to re-institute a universal draft in America.

He wants to do this to remove tens of thousands of unemployed young Americans from the streets so they won’t come together and fight him.

Commentary for June 10: “Bigotry is the crutch and salvation of the small-minded man.

Trump wants America to be an all-white, all-Christian country and appeals to voters of a similar persuasion.

It is said that a whore keeps a pimp so she can have someone to look down on and insecure citizenry in America love to have some group, be it blacks, Indians or Jews, to hate.

This gives them a false sense of superiority and in their hatred, a form of unity. Trump and his rabid and bigoted supporters from the far political right are fighting a losing battle against public opinion and in that battle there will be many casualties as Trump incites his red-hat bigots to take to the street of America and do battle with anyone who dares to question the purity, magnificience and massive initellect to a man who, in his heart, knows that he is the new King of America.

Trump is over 70 and grossly overweight so in all probability, nature will correct the  recent errors of the electorate and do so, hopefully, with diligence and dispatch.”


The Table of Contents

  • Company part-owned by Jared Kushner got $90m from unknown offshore investors since 2017
  • Exclusive: American banker and Putin ally dealt in access and assets, emails reveal
  • Massive tax frauds, money-laundring and the Russian drug mob in action in the US
  • Deal or no deal, US needs Mexicans
  • An Oral History of Trump’s Bigotry
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations


Company part-owned by Jared Kushner got $90m from unknown offshore investors since 2017

Overseas investment flowed to Cadre while Trump’s son-in-law works as US envoy, raising conflict of interest questions

June 10, 2019

by Jon Swaine in New York

The Guardian

A real estate company part-owned by Jared Kushner has received $90m in foreign funding from an opaque offshore vehicle since he entered the White House as a senior adviser to his father-in-law Donald Trump.

Investment has flowed from overseas to the company, Cadre, while Kushner works as an international envoy for the US, according to corporate filings and interviews. The money came through a vehicle run by Goldman Sachs in the Cayman Islands, a tax haven that guarantees corporate secrecy.

Kushner, who is married to Trump’s elder daughter Ivanka, kept a stake in Cadre after joining the administration, while selling other assets. His holding is now valued at up to $50m, according to his financial disclosure documents.

Cadre’s foreign funding could create hidden conflicts of interest for Kushner as he performs his work for the US government, according to some ethics experts, who raised concerns over the lack of transparency around the investments.

“It will cause people to wonder whether he is being improperly influenced,” said Jessica Tillipman, a lecturer at George Washington University law school, who teaches government ethics and anti-corruption laws.

Kushner resigned from Cadre’s board and reduced his ownership stake to less than 25% after he joined the White House, according to his attorneys. He failed to list Cadre on his first ethics disclosure, later adding the company and saying the omission was inadvertent. Cadre says he is not actively involved in the company’s operations.

The names of the foreigners investing in Cadre via Goldman Sachs are not disclosed by the companies, which are not required to make the information public. Two sources familiar with the firm said much of the money came to the Cayman Islands vehicle from a second offshore tax haven, while some came from Saudi Arabia.

Kushner was initially denied a security clearance by career officials when he joined Trump’s administration. A whistleblower has told Congress it was blocked due to concerns about Kushner’s outside business interests and “foreign influence”. Kushner was later granted a clearance, allegedly after a Trump appointee intervened.

The White House and Abbe Lowell, an attorney for Kushner, did not respond to questions about the foreign investors and Kushner’s stake in Cadre.

A spokesman for Cadre declined to comment on the record. A spokesman for Goldman Sachs, Patrick Scanlan, said: “Cadre does not have access to any information about the Goldman Sachs clients who have invested in these vehicles.”

Cadre was founded in 2014 by Kushner, his brother Joshua and their friend Ryan Williams, who previously worked for Goldman Sachs. The company operates from a building in Manhattan owned by the Kushner family’s real estate corporation.

The company styles itself as an online marketplace where investors can come together to buy property. But it has also built a real estate investment fund, now worth more than half a billion dollars, that is used to buy properties across the US. The fund’s value has risen fivefold since 2017, when Kushner was appointed a White House adviser, following earlier slower growth.

The offshore Goldman Sachs vehicle began collecting funds for Cadre in August 2017, according to a securities filing. The bank announced in January last year that it had struck a deal for clients to invest up to $250m in total with Cadre.

The vehicle is managed by accountants on the Cayman Islands and is owned by another offshore Goldman Sachs entity. The arrangement is legal. Offshore jurisdictions have come under increased scrutiny in recent years from international authorities concerned about their secrecy.

Funding from the Cayman Islands vehicle goes into Cadre’s real estate purchases in the US, according to sources familiar with the company’s work. Cadre charges an annual fee and takes a cut of profits made from the properties.

This funding is separate from ownership stakes in Cadre itself bought by venture capitalists in Silicon Valley and foreign billionaires, including the Chinese technology tycoon Jack Ma and the Russian investor Yuri Milner. Cadre last year held talks with a fund backed by money from the Saudi Arabian government, but no deal was done.

Trump and several members of his administration, including Kushner, have bucked precedent by retaining business interests after entering the government. George W Bush and Bill Clinton moved their wealth into “blind trusts”, while Barack Obama had few assets beyond savings accounts and investments in index funds.

Richard Painter, a former ethics lawyer in Bush’s administration who ran for the Democratic US Senate nomination in Minnesota last year, said he was troubled by the lack of disclosure around some of Cadre’s funding.

“The problem with Kushner – and with Trump – is that we have all these corporate entities, and often nobody knows who is invested in them and where those investors borrowed their money. We simply have no idea,” said Painter.

Government officials are barred by law from being involved “personally and substantially” in actions that benefit them financially, and are obliged to ensure they do not create an appearance of bias.

Kushner says he has excluded himself from government policy on real estate. A footnote to his financial disclosure form said he was recused from “particular matters in the broker-dealer, real estate, and online financial services sectors to the extent they would have a direct and predictable effect on Cadre”.

The conflict of interest law treats spouses’ financial interests as combined. Ivanka Trump has been credited by Trump with advocating for an administration policy that promises to be lucrative for real estate developers and investors. She denies any impropriety.

Kushner’s own recusal on real estate matters in front of the government would not in itself prevent him from taking actions in other policy areas that could entice foreign investors to Cadre.

In all, Cadre’s investment arm manages more than $522m in assets, according to its latest filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which was submitted at the end of March.

Kushner has had financial ties to several different countries. His family’s single most expensive purchase, a skyscraper on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, was last year refinanced by a fund backed by the Qatari government. In an article for the Washington Post defending the family’s businesses, Kushner’s father, Charles, said foreign investments were “a legal and appropriate stream of funding”.

As Trump’s special representative in the Middle East, Kushner has developed a close relationship with Saudi Arabian officials, particularly prince Mohammed bin Salman. Cadre says it does not have any sovereign wealth funds among its investors.

Sources familiar with Cadre’s setup said a small amount of money in the Goldman-Cadre vehicle, estimated at about $1m, came from Saudi Arabia. Other funding arrived through vehicles based on the British Virgin Islands, adding another layer of offshore secrecy to its origins.

Virginia Canter, the chief ethics counsel at the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said the opaque investments in Cadre would continue raising concerns as Kushner carried out his government duties.

“It was one of the only assets that Kushner retained and it continues to collect foreign investors without transparency,” said Canter, a former White House attorney for Obama and Clinton.

Kushner owns a stake worth between $25m and $50m in a “holding company for” Cadre, according to his most recent financial disclosure form, which he filed in May 2018. Kushner and his wife estimate their total wealth at between $235m and $812m.

Cadre was one of dozens of holdings added to a revised version of Kushner’s 2017 financial disclosure form that corrected his original filing.

Williams, Cadre’s chief executive, has said the firm is “democratizing” real estate investment. The small print of its website says its offerings are intended only for people who earn at least $200,000 a year or have a net worth of $1m excluding the value of their home. The company requires a minimum investment of $50,000.

Cadre recently announced plans to raise multimillion-dollar funds to invest in real estate developments in parts of the US covered by the Trump administration’s “opportunity zones” program, which offers valuable tax breaks to developers and investors.

The program was championed by Ivanka Trump, according to her father, who said at the White House that Ivanka had been “pushing this very hard”. The remarks raised allegations that policy she worked on could benefit her husband financially. She has denied any impropriety.


Exclusive: American banker and Putin ally dealt in access and assets, emails reveal

June 10, 2019

by Catherine Belton


LONDON (Reuters) – A senior American banker once secretly awarded a shareholding in powerful Moscow investment bank Renaissance Capital to one of Vladimir Putin’s closest friends and brokered meetings for the friend with top U.S. foreign policy officials a decade ago, emails show.

The American banker, Robert Foresman, currently vice chairman at UBS investment bank in New York, held a series of prominent roles in Moscow’s financial world. He headed Dresdner Bank’s investment banking operations in Russia in the early 2000s, served as Renaissance Capital’s vice chairman from 2006 to 2009, and then led Barclays Capital’s Russia operation until 2016. Putin’s friend, Matthias Warnig, sits on the boards of several Russian state-controlled firms.

A deeply religious conservative, the blue-eyed, curly-haired U.S. banker, has said it has always been his calling to be a peacemaker between the two nuclear superpowers.

Now, a cache of Renaissance Capital emails from 2007 to 2011 reveal new details about the close relationship Foresman cultivated within Putin’s circle over the years and how he leveraged these ties to win deals. The emails, which were reviewed by Reuters, also shine a light on the part played by Western bankers in the heady days of Moscow’s 2007 economic boom, when the Kremlin was moving to take over ever greater swathes of the Russian economy.

The emails were exchanged among Renaissance Capital’s top executives and between the bank and its clients and business associates before ownership of the bank changed hands in 2012. They have figured in a long-running legal battle over the controversial takeover by the Russian state of Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s Yukos oil firm in the mid 2000s, and are reported here for the first time.

Foresman’s relationship with the Kremlin was more complicated – and more mercantile – than that of peacemaker, these emails show. They offer insight into how Foresman and his colleagues sought to help the Kremlin pull off, and profit from, its dismantlement of Yukos at a time when analysts say Moscow was seeking international legitimacy for the politically-charged process. They also show how the American banker guided Warnig around Washington foreign policy circles during the Bush and Obama administrations.

In a statement to Reuters, Foresman said he considered it inappropriate to comment on matters that may relate to proceedings before the English court – a reference to a civil lawsuit in the UK – but he refuted any suggestion of wrongdoing. Renaissance Capital’s new management declined to comment.

Foresman’s Moscow connections gained fresh attention recently when the banker was named in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. According to the report, Foresman was among the many influential people who reached out to Donald Trump when the future American leader’s campaign was building momentum.

In March 2016, Foresman emailed Trump’s assistant inviting the presidential candidate to an international business forum in St Petersburg, saying he’d had “an approach” from “senior Kremlin officials” about the candidate, according to the report. Foresman asked for a meeting with Trump, or with campaign manager Corey Lewandowski or “another relevant person,” saying he had other issues to discuss that he felt uncomfortable discussing over “unsecure email.”

In a later email, Foresman sought a meeting with one of Trump’s sons, Don Jr or Eric, to pass on information that should be “conveyed to [the candidate] personally or [to] someone [the candidate] absolutely trusts.”

The Mueller report says there wasn’t any evidence that Trump’s campaign team followed up on these approaches. When questioned by Mueller about these contacts, Foresman played down his ties to the Kremlin. He suggested he was merely seeking to “burnish his credentials” with the Trump team, the Mueller report says. No charges were made against Foresman.


Back in 2007, Foresman was part of a small group of Renaissance Capital executives involved in drawing up a secret agreement to award an unspecified stake in Renaissance Capital, the privately owned investment bank where he was vice chairman, to close Putin associate Warnig, according to a series of emails related to the deal. The shares were awarded for “nil consideration,” or without any money changing hands, the agreement showed. The emails reviewed by Reuters didn’t reveal the percentage or value of the stake.

Contacted by Reuters, Foresman and Warnig declined to discuss the transaction.

Warnig served as an officer in East Germany’s Stasi secret police at the same time as Putin was a KGB officer in Dresden in the late 1980s. Warnig has said they first met in the early 1990s in St Petersburg, when Putin was that city’s deputy mayor. Today Warnig is chief executive of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Europe. He also sits on the boards of several Russian state-controlled firms, including oil giant Rosneft. He served for 12 years on the board of Bank Rossiya, sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury as the “personal bank” for senior Russian officials.

From 2001 to 2006, Foresman worked side by side with Warnig as head of Dresdner’s investment banking arm in Moscow, while Warnig was Dresdner Bank’s president for Russia.

In the months before and after he received the Renaissance Capital stake, Warnig sought to funnel at least three Kremlin-linked deals the bank’s way, Renaissance Capital emails dated between 2007 and 2009 show. In one instance, in 2007, Warnig helped broker crucial backing from Rosneft for a consortium including Renaissance Capital that was bidding for Yukos’ Dutch assets in an auction.

The consortium went on to win the auction. But the transaction became mired in lawsuits and was blocked. Yukos executives successfully argued in a Dutch court that the Russian state had no right to sell a Dutch-incorporated company. The Dutch Supreme Court ruled earlier this year the sale was illegal.

The emails were submitted as evidence as part of that case. They have also been submitted as part of a civil fraud lawsuit filed by Yukos’ former management that is due to come to trial on June 10 in the UK High Court. The suit alleges Foresman, as vice-chairman of Renaissance Capital, played a key role in paving the way for the consortium to knowingly participate in a rigged auction for the Yukos subsidiary. It alleges the foreign investors who formed the consortium stood to make enormous personal gain, and seeks tens of millions of dollars in damages.

In his statement to Reuters, Foresman said he is contesting the lawsuit vigorously.

Among the foreign bankers that joined the investor consortium with Foresman was Stephen Jennings, a tall and lanky New Zealander. Jennings founded Renaissance Capital in 1995, and the bank became a symbol of Russia’s transition to a market economy. In an interview in 2005 with the Financial Times, Jennings professed hopes that Russia’s economic growth under Putin would one day produce a middle class strong enough to counter any authoritarian turn.

Instead, the lawsuit alleges, Foresman and Jennings sought to benefit from Kremlin abuses of the market system and the rule of law. They acted, the suit claims, together with the two other main Western investors in the consortium: Stephen Lynch, a former U.S. Peace Corps volunteer, and Richard Deitz, the wiry founder of hedge fund VR Capital, which has offices in New York, London and Moscow.

Deitz and Jennings declined to comment for this article. Lynch didn’t respond to emailed questions. A person familiar with the consortium rejected any suggestion that the auction was rigged.


The auction of Yukos Finance BV, a Dutch subsidiary of Khodorkovsky’s oil company. was the last in a series of Yukos bankruptcy sales by the Kremlin. These sales were to pay off more than $33 billion in back-tax bills levied against Yukos by Moscow after Khodorkovsky posed a political challenge to the Kremlin and was jailed for fraud. The Yukos bankruptcy transformed Rosneft from a state-owned minnow to Russia’s biggest oil company after it snapped up most of the assets. The Dutch unit was a prize: It held up to $1.5 billion in cash reserves, of which up to $650 million was net of debt. It also had a 49% stake in a strategically important Slovakian pipeline operator, Transpetrol, which later sold in 2009 for $240 million.

The bankruptcy auction took place on Aug. 15, 2007. The foreign investor consortium, acting through a Russian bidding vehicle, named Promneftstroy, won the auction for less than $310 million – well below the roughly $890 million combined value of the Yukos unit’s net cash reserves and its Transpetrol stake. The consortium won after making just three bids against a rival company, Versar, which, according to Yukos, never participated in any business apart from unsuccessfully bidding in Yukos auctions. Versar ceased to exist in 2010 when it was merged into another company, Russian corporate records show.

Foresman had begun urging executives at Renaissance Capital to take part in the Yukos bankruptcy auctions earlier that year, the emails show.

In an email dated Feb. 21, 2007, Foresman wrote to three senior executives at “RC” – Renaissance Capital – pointing to the Kremlin-run Yukos asset auctions as an opportunity.

“I have reason to believe that RC, and only RC, can pull off the trade of our lives,” Foresman wrote. “We could pull off something that makes us huge profit, makes top global investors very happy, materially mitigates Rosneft’s litigation risk. And allows the Kremlin to show that the auction of Y assets is not rigged but rather is competitive.” Rosneft’s success in the auctions had raised the possibility of a legal challenge and the Kremlin was under international scrutiny over the process.

A memo drawn up by Renaissance Capital the day before the auction named the deal “Project Surplus” and said it could net the consortium a profit of up to $340 million. The memo, seen by Reuters, indicated the Western bankers believed the auction would go in their favor.

“The opportunity to participate and be the likely winner has largely arisen due to very close relationships that certain Renaissance individuals enjoy with the Kremlin,” the memo said. The Kremlin declined to comment.

The U.S. government was watching proceedings closely because of the strategic importance of the pipeline network Transpetrol operated. Foresman told an unidentified U.S. embassy official in Moscow in October that year that the consortium “had not been acting as a proxy for Rosneft” in the auction and said there was no prearranged deal with Rosneft over the Transpetrol stake, according to a diplomatic cable about the conversation later leaked by Wikileaks. Foresman didn’t dispute the contents of the cable in a deposition for the UK civil lawsuit.

But documents in the email cache and depositions of consortium members indicate that Rosneft was closely involved with the consortium in the deal. Foresman described in his deposition in November 2018 how Warnig channeled the consortium’s proposal for participating in the auction to the top of Rosneft.

In the hours before the sale of the Yukos unit, the consortium reached two legal agreements with Rosneft.

In the first of those agreements, reviewed by Reuters and dated Aug. 15, 2007, Rosneft agreed to lift any legal claims the Russian oil giant had against the Dutch firm’s assets.

In the second, also reviewed by Reuters and dated Aug. 15, 2007, the state oil champion agreed to delay repayment of a $60 million loan it had extended to Promneftstroy, the bidding vehicle, until the consortium arranged to sell Yukos’s Slovak pipeline to a company nominated by Rosneft. A month later, the consortium agreed to sell the pipeline stake to a Cyprus-registered firm for $105 million – less than half the price it fetched two years later. An email chain leading up to the sale agreement indicates the buyer was designated by Rosneft.

In the hours after the auction, another investor in the consortium, Benjamin Heller, then a managing director at U.S. fund HBK Investments, wrote to an associate saying: “Rosneft basically controlled the auction and decided it would clear at a certain price.” Heller, who isn’t named as a defendant in the lawsuit, declined to comment. Rosneft didn’t respond to Reuters’ questions about the auction. At the time of the sale, the state oil giant denied any involvement in it.

The person familiar with the consortium said there were mistakes in Heller’s email. “Rosneft didn’t set the price, and there were two bidders,” said this person. “The whole premise that Rosneft controlled the consortium, controlled the price and controlled the auction is not correct.”

He added that at the time of the auction the consortium didn’t have access to data valuing the Transpetrol stake above $103 million – a sale price that had been discussed a year earlier. He said the consortium had reached out to both sides of the Yukos divide, agreeing to pay back outstanding loans to Yukos’ former owner.

Two months later, in late 2007, the consortium’s hopes of making profits began to unravel when an Amsterdam court ruled that the auction violated Dutch law, and therefore the consortium owners didn’t have title to any of the assets of Yukos Finance BV.


In emails dated Oct. 11, 2007, a few months after the consortium won the auction, Foresman and his colleagues at Renaissance Capital began discussing the drafting of a secret “phantom share agreement” for an unnamed “prospective new shareholder.” Phantom share deals are a common arrangement under which a company promises the holder a future cash payment that is tied to the value of a notional share of stock. Among the executives discussing the award of these shares was the bank’s founder, Jennings, who was the main owner at the time. He declined to comment about the transaction.

An agreement identifying Warnig as the recipient of “40,034 phantom shares” in Renaissance Capital’s parent company, Renaissance Holdings Management Limited, was drawn up by the investment bank’s legal counsel and sent to Foresman in an email dated Nov. 27, 2007.

An additional consultancy agreement drawn up by the legal counsel and sent to Foresman on Dec. 17, 2007, provided for paying $700,000 to an unnamed recipient for advice on “certain investment banking transactions and business development opportunities.” In his November 2018 deposition for the UK civil suit, Foresman said Renaissance Capital paid consultancy fees to Warnig. He didn’t specify the amount.

Foresman and the other Renaissance Capital executives sought to keep these arrangements secret, the emails show. When a RenCap employee mistakenly sent a message to Warnig’s official company email address in 2007 about the shareholding, Foresman fired off an angry reply to three senior Renaissance Capital executives. “This is clearly unacceptable and I cannot believe this could happen,” he said in the message, dated Dec.18, 2007. He said Warnig had immediately destroyed the message.

In a later email to the same colleagues, dated Feb. 12, 2008, Foresman stressed how Warnig had insisted the agreements remain absolutely confidential: They were to be known only by the executives at Renaissance who drew up the agreements. The email says: “Our man has signed his phantom share agreement, in his name, and also the consultancy agreement in the name of a legal entity.” It went on, “He stressed the absolute confidentiality of this.”

Warnig’s relationships with Foresman and Renaissance Capital’s founder and chairman, Jennings, were cemented over dinners and “banya” steam-bath sessions in Moscow, the emails show. And Foresman helped open doors for Warnig with U.S. ambassadors to Russia and U.S. government officials in Washington during the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

The email cache shows, for instance, that Foresman helped set up meetings in 2009, early in Obama’s presidency, for Warnig with the U.S. government’s then national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia, Fiona Hill, as well as with Mary Warlick, then the acting deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia. He also brokered meetings for Warnig with officials in the Department of Energy and separately in Houston with Ross Perot Jr, the U.S. billionaire. Perot declined to comment for this article. Hill and Warlick didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The emails reviewed by Reuters didn’t reveal what came of the meetings.

After one such visit in March 2009, Foresman indicated these meetings were to become a back channel for Putin into Washington. In one email, he wrote, “my friend briefed his Big friend on the meetings” – an apparent reference to Warnig speaking with Putin. “That person was extremely satisfied with the messages that were received and absolutely committed to improving things. He asks for a repeat performance in Q2 for which he will have my friend deliver specific messages,” Foresman wrote.

Reporting by Catherine Belton; editing by Janet McBride


Massive tax frauds, money-laundring and the Russian drug mob in action in the US

June 10, 2019

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.

FBO 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.”

Sequence of Events

In March 2017, Rosenzweig, after she, her husband, or both had engaged in discussions with Low, wrote up a draft agreement for a contractual hire of her and her firm, the Colfax Law Office. She demanded $8 million upfront, with a promise of another $50 million from Low if the firm “settled the matter” of the DOJ investigation within a year.

The firm demanded $75 million if it could persuade the DOJ to terminate the investigation within 180 days. After she learned that “success fees” and “non-refundable retainer fees” are not legal in New York, Rosenzweig adjusted the contract to require a stiff flat fee from Low.

In May 2017, Rosenzweig informed Low that her firm would need to enter into a contract with Pras Michel, a friend of Low’s and a member of the hip-hop group The Fugees. She said that Low would need to pay her firm through Michel, who is a friend of Low’s. While Rosenzweig negotiated with Low, Broidy worked with his contacts at the DOJ, circulating talking points that were designed to convince the department to drop the Malaysia investigation.

In August, Broidy sent an assistant from his investment firm an email entitled “Malaysia Talking Points *Final,*” apparently drafted for delivery by a Malaysian official who would soon meet with a US official.

Two days after the email was sent, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson went to Malaysia as part of a larger Southeast Asia tour; in September, Trump met with Najib at the White House.

Najib also met with Tillerson, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. Trump subsequently appeared in public with Najib, and said: “He does not do business with North Korea any longer. We find that to be very important.” Najib reportedly did not bring up the 1MDB case with Trump.

The talking points concerning the investigation emphasized that the investigation is being competently handled by Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, and Malaysia; no Americans were harmed by any 1MDB transaction; the investigation could chill relations between the US and Malaysia and cause unrest among ordinary Malaysians; and no investors were harmed by the illegal transactions.

The email reads in part: “Finally, I will send [the] Malaysian Attorney General ahead of my visit to the US in September to meet President Trump. I would like an introduction to Attorney General Sessions. … Secretary Tillerson may mention Elliott Broidy’s name. If he does, I will confirm that I know Elliot [sic] and that he wants a closer relationship between the USA and Malaysia.”

The talking points were ineffective, as the DOJ intensified its investigation.

In January 2018, less than three weeks before the Trump inauguration, Broidy sent himself an email with talking points apparently to be directed to Trump aide Rick Gates.

Broidy’s intent seemed to be to convince Gates to help persuade the DOJ to terminate the investigation. Gates, according to the memo, was to say that he was working with the DOJ and National Security Council to resolve the situation, that he would consult with (possibly) Assistant Attorney General Rachel Brand, that Trump is supposedly committed to resolving the 1MDB situation, and that Trump is deeply invested in seeing Najib re-elected.

Another document reads in part: “I am in the process of scheduling a meeting with Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand who has the oversight for the Malaysia case. She is a Trump appointee and viewed as the only true Trump appointee currently at DoJ. … In addition, the National Security Division of DoJ is involved and President Trump has appointed John Demers (formerly of Boeing) to that position.”

Demers became the Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division in February 2018. “He is awaiting his confirmation but will be confirmed shortly. I will also meet with John. He will be an instrumental figure in the resolution of the Malaysia issues.” Both Broidy and Rosenzweig deny writing the documents describing interactions with Trump and Justice Department officials


Deal or no deal, US needs Mexicans

Trump has used tariffs as a stick to threaten the US’s trading partners into submission, as in his spat with Mexico. But if the US cuts immigration from its southern neighbors, who will do the jobs Americans don’t want?

June 10, 2019

by Jo Harper


US President Donald Trump said on Friday that US tariffs on Mexican goods had been “indefinitely suspended” after negotiators from the US and Mexico finally reached a deal after Mexico promised to tighten its immigration procedures. Ominously, however, discussions will continue within the next 90 days, “if necessary,” a statement from the US State Department said.

The deployment of 6,000 National Guard troops is the key commitment made by Mexico.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador tried to put a brave face on it, suggesting the plan was his all along, while adding that Mexico’s immigration policy would be guided by respect for human rights. He also urged the US to address the root causes of Central American migration by investing in programs to reduce poverty and violence in those countries. Few, however, will be holding their breath. Trump earlier this year cut US foreign aid to those countries.

Trump had threatened to impose tariffs of 5% on all imports from Mexico, worth $346.5 billion (€305 billion), “until illegal immigration across the southern border was stopped.” The tariffs would have begun on June 10, rising to 10% on July 1, 15% on August 1, 20% on September 1 and 25% on October 1.

Mexico exported to the US $346.5 billion worth of goods in 2018 — meaning that a 5% tariff on those products would have meant a de facto tax increase of $17 billion on agricultural goods, machinery, clothing and components used to make other products.

If the price is right

While almost all economists and markets breathed a sigh of relief on the tariffs front, others worry about the economic impact of a lack of low-skilled workers, given the US economy’s rapacious appetite for low- and unskilled immigrants. Over the next 20 years, they will be needed to fill the hole left by the retirement of the baby boom generation.

An additional 600,000 in the food preparation and the service sector, for example, are estimated to be needed between 2016 and 2026 and nearly 800,000 in the elderly care sector.

Numbers down

About 8 million immigrants from Mexico have jobs, making up 5% of the US workforce.

But even before Trump started his wall campaign, economic growth in Mexico and the aging of the country’s population were slowing the flow of Mexican workers into the US.

The number of undocumented immigrants in America declined to 10.7 million at the end of 2017 from a height of over 12 million at the peak of the housing bubble in 2008, according to the Center for Migration Studies.

Over 144,000 migrants were encountered or arrested at the US-Mexico border this May, a 32% increase from the previous month and the highest monthly total in a decade, US Customs and Border Protection said. Of those, nearly 133,000 crossed the border illegally, including 11,000 unaccompanied children.

This is especially important for the automotive industry and textile jobs, many of which depend on the proximity of cheaper labor in Mexico.

The problem for builders, meanwhile, is that the recovery in home building in the US has been accelerating faster than the growth of the labor force. The number of additional laborers needed is estimated at about 150,000.

The Department of Agriculture estimates that about half of the nation’s farm workers are unauthorized and without immigrant workers, it would likely face serious problems, despite Trump’s optimism.

In 2017 research by the Cornell Farmworker Program, 30 New York dairy farmers said they used undocumented workers because they were unable to find and keep reliable US citizens.

Higher prices

A study for the dairy industry said that if federal labor and immigration policies cut the number of foreign-born workers by 50%, about 3,500 dairy farms would close, leading to a drop in milk production and a rise in prices of about 30%.

Unauthorized immigrants make up 24% of maids and cleaners, an occupation expected to need 112,000 more workers by 2024. The US will soon require more than 800,000 people to fill the jobs necessary to take care of retiring baby boomers.

And this shortage is set to continue for some time. The Pew Research Center projects very little growth in the working-age population over the next two decades. If the US were to cut off the flow of new immigrants, Pew said, its working population would shrink to 166 million in 2035 from 173 million in 2015.

US firms moving to Mexico

While Mexican workers in the US average $1,870 per month, the average wage in Mexico is $291 per month, or just over $2 an hour, with the minimum wage roughly $4.15 for a full day’s work.

Caterpillar is considering opening a plant in Monterrey in northeastern Mexico while General Motors is shifting some of their Detroit operations to Mexico. Ford is planning on moving some of its Detroit south of the border.

Mexico provides lower-priced inputs that feed into supply chains in the US and enable US factories to produce goods at a price that can compete with goods made in China and Europe.

“You can pay low wages. You’re not too far away. You’ve got a border that because of the free trade area you can bring goods into the US. So given the substantial wage advantages, for many companies, it’s an attractive proposition,” says Martin Neil Baily, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.


An Oral History of Trump’s Bigotry

His racism and intolerance have always been in evidence; only slowly did he begin to understand how to use them to his advantage.

by David A. Graham, Adrienne Green, Cullen Murphy, and Parker Richards

June 2019 Issue

The Atlantic

The first quotation from Donald Trump ever to appear in The New York Times came on October 16, 1973. Trump was responding to charges filed by the Justice Department alleging racial bias at his family’s real-estate company. “They are absolutely ridiculous,” Trump said of the charges. “We have never discriminated, and we never would.”

In the years since then, Trump has assembled a long record of comment on issues involving African Americans as well as Mexicans, Hispanics more broadly, Native Americans, Muslims, Jews, immigrants, women, and people with disabilities. His statements have been reflected in his behavior—from public acts (placing ads calling for the execution of five young black and Latino men accused of rape, who were later shown to be innocent) to private preferences (“When Donald and Ivana came to the casino, the bosses would order all the black people off the floor,” a former employee of Trump’s Castle, in Atlantic City, New Jersey, told a writer for The New Yorker). Trump emerged as a political force owing to his full-throated embrace of “birtherism,” the false charge that the nation’s first black president, Barack Obama, was not born in the United States. His presidential campaign was fueled by nativist sentiment directed at nonwhite immigrants, and he proposed barring Muslims from entering the country. In 2016, Trump described himself to The Washington Post as “the least racist person that you’ve ever encountered.”

Instances of bigotry involving Donald Trump span more than four decades. The Atlantic interviewed a range of people with knowledge of several of those episodes. Their recollections have been edited for concision and clarity.

  1. “You Don’t Want to Live With Them Either”

The Justice Department’s 1973 lawsuit against Trump Management Company focused on 39 properties in New York City. The government alleged that employees were directed to tell African American lease applicants that there were no open apartments. Company policy, according to an employee quoted in court documents, was to rent only to “Jews and executives.”

The Justice Department frequently used consent decrees to settle discrimination cases, offering redress to plaintiffs while allowing defendants to avoid an admission of guilt. The rationale: Consent decrees achieved speedier results with less public rancor.

Nathaniel Jones was the general counsel for the NAACP. He later became a federal judge. John Yinger, an economist specializing in residential discrimination, served at the time as an expert witness in a number of fair-housing cases. Elyse Goldweber, a Justice Department lawyer, brought the first federal suit against Trump Management.

Nathaniel Jones: The 1968 Fair Housing Act gave us leverage to go after major developers and landlords. The situation in New York was terrible.

John Yinger: Community groups like the Urban League started doing audits and tests to show discrimination. In 1973, the Urban League found a lot of discrimination in some of the properties that Trump Management owned.

elyse goldweber: I went to a place called Operation Open City. What they had done was send “testers”—meaning one white couple and one couple of color—to Trump Village, a very large, lower-middle-class housing project in Brooklyn. And of course the white people were treated great, and for the people of color there were no apartments. We subpoenaed all their documents. That’s how we found that a person’s application, if you were a person of color, had a big C on it.

The Department of Justice brings the case and we name Fred Trump, the father, and Donald Trump, the son, and Donald hires Roy Cohn, of Army-McCarthy fame. [Cohn, a Trump mentor, had served as Senator Joe McCarthy’s chief counsel during his investigations of alleged Communists in the government and was accused of pressuring the Army to give preferential treatment to a personal friend.] Cohn turns around and sues us for $100 million. This was my first appearance as a lawyer in court. Cohn spoke for two hours, then the judge ruled from the bench that you can’t sue the government for prosecuting you. The next week we took the depositions. My boss took Fred’s, and I got to take Donald’s. He was exactly the way he is today. He said to me at one point during a coffee break, “You know, you don’t want to live with them either.”

Everyone in the world has looked for that deposition. We cannot find it. Trump always acted like he was irritated to be there. He denied everything, and we went on with our case. We had the records with the C, and we had the testers, and you could see that everything was lily-white over there. Ultimately they settled—they signed a consent decree. They had to post all their apartments with the Urban League, advertise in the Amsterdam News, many other things. It was pretty strong.

john yinger: Trump had some interesting language after the settlement: He said that it did not require him to accept people on welfare, which was kind of beside the point.

Under the terms of the settlement, reached in 1975, the Trumps did not admit to any wrongdoing. But soon, according to the government, they were back at it. In 1978, the Justice Department alleged that Trump Management was in breach of the agreement. The new case dragged on until 1982, when the original consent decree expired and the case was closed. Soon, Trump’s headquarters would be installed in Trump Tower, which opened in February 1983. Barbara Res was the construction manager.

barbara res: We met with the architect to go over the elevator-cab interiors at Trump Tower, and there were little dots next to the numbers. Trump asked what the dots were, and the architect said, “It’s braille.” Trump was upset by that. He said, “Get rid of it.” The architect said, “I’m sorry; it’s the law.” This was before the Americans With Disabilities Act, but New York City had a law. Trump’s exact words were: “No blind people are going to live in this building.”

elyse goldweber: Was he concerned about injustice? No. Never. This was an annoyance. We were little annoying people, and we wouldn’t go away.

barbara res: As far as discrimination, he wouldn’t discriminate against somebody who had $3 million to pay for a three-bedroom apartment. Eventually he had some very unsavory characters there. But if you read John O’Donnell’s book [Trumped! The Inside Story of the Real Donald Trump—His Cunning Rise and Spectacular Fall, written with James Rutherford and published in 1991], Trump talked about how he didn’t want black people handling his money; he wanted the guys with the yarmulkes. He was very much the kind of person who would take people of a religion, like Jews; or a race, like blacks; or a nationality, like Italians, and ascribe to them certain qualities. Blacks were lazy, and Jews were good with money, and Italians were good with their hands—and Germans were clean.

nathaniel jones: Consent decrees were an important tool. The sad thing now is that, in his last act as Trump’s attorney general, Jeff Sessions issued a memorandum curtailing enforcement programs and consent decrees across the board when it comes to discrimination.

  1. “Bring Back the Death Penalty”

The so-called Central Park Five were a group of black and Latino teens who were accused—wrongly—of raping a white woman in Central Park on April 19, 1989. Donald Trump took out full-page ads in all four major New York newspapers to argue that perpetrators of crimes such as this one “should be forced to suffer” and “be executed.” In two trials, in August and December 1990, the youths were convicted of violent offenses including assault, robbery, rape, sodomy, and attempted murder; their sentences ranged from five to 15 years in prison. In 2002, after the discovery of exonerating DNA evidence and the confession by another individual to the crime, the convictions of the Central Park Five were vacated. The men were awarded a settlement of $41 million for false arrest, malicious prosecution, and a racially motivated conspiracy to deprive them of their rights. Trump took to the pages of the New York Daily News, calling the settlement “a disgrace.” During his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump would again insist on the guilt of the Central Park Five.

Jonathan C. Moore represented four of the Central Park Five when they later sued the City of New York. Yusef Salaam was one of the five young men who were wrongly convicted. Timothy L. O’Brien spent hundreds of hours with Trump while researching his 2005 book, TrumpNation. C. Vernon Mason represented Salaam and other defendants.

jonathan c. moore: The Trump ad was calling for the death penalty for juveniles. It was taken out at a time before there was any adjudication of their guilt. The theme was: Here are all these young black kids and Hispanic kids who are going to rape our young white women, so let’s put them all away. You know, we call them the Central Park Five, but it’s really the Central Park 15, or 18, or however many family members there were, because the family members suffered a great deal as well. They visited the boys in prison, on holidays; they did their birthdays inside, had Christmas parties. To this day I talk to some of them and they go into tears when they think about what happened.

yusef salaam: When we were accused of raping the Central Park jogger, it really wasn’t an accusation. It wasn’t like we were innocent and had to be proved guilty in the eyes of the law and in the eyes of the people. Everybody, including Donald Trump, rushed to judge us, and therefore it became that much more difficult to be able to mount a really successful fight. And, of course, we lost.

timothy l. o’brien: One of the things Trump learned when he injected himself into the Central Park Five case was that he could get attention for himself because he was a spokesman for a certain type of Archie Bunker New Yorker. I think that’s one of the bonds that he shares with [Trump attorney and former New York City Mayor] Rudy Giuliani: They’re both profoundly guys from that moment in New York when a lot of racial boundaries got drawn.

  1. vernon mason: The level of animosity and hatred was palpable. It was brutal. The language used around this case—“savages”—bordered on the kinds of stuff that Ida B. Wells and others wrote about during the lynching period.

yusef salaam: For him to say, You know what? I’m going to take out an ad, and I’m going to call for the state to kill these individuals—it was almost as if he was trying to get the public or somebody from the darkest places in society to come into our homes. Remember, they had published our phone numbers, our names, and our addresses in New York City’s newspapers. So we were pariahs.

  1. vernon mason: The defendants were afraid for their own safety and for their families. These were not people who had substantial means to protect themselves with security guards, or who were living in some gated community.

yusef salaam: I think about when they took our DNA and they tried to match it against what they had. And there was no match, and they still moved forward. The spiked wheels of justice continued to roll down the hill and mow us down. And all of this on the heels of what Donald Trump had published. Donald Trump’s ad was vicious. It was very disrespectful of what the law is supposed to be about.

jonathan c. moore: I have children, and I can’t imagine my son being in prison from age 14 to age 21. You’re stealing the most innocent part of somebody’s life. None of these kids had ever had any real interactions with the law before. When they were finally vindicated, there was never any apology from Trump, or even a hint of an apology.

yusef salaam: Donald Trump’s ad ran on May 1, 1989. The crime had happened April 19, 1989. We hadn’t even started trial! That was just a few weeks after we were accused. He put nails in our coffin. He’s continuing to do that by continuing to say that we are guilty, by continuing to say that the police department had so much evidence against us. What evidence did they have that stuck? They had no evidence. They had manufactured false confessions.

  1. vernon mason: In 2016—this is 26 years after the case, and 14 years after it had been proved that none of these defendants had anything to do with that rape—Donald Trump said, I still believe they’re guilty. And I guess, in his mind, he would suggest that they still should be executed.

timothy l. o’brien: He trusts his gut on issues surrounding race, because he’s got a simplistic, deterministic, and racist perspective on who people are. I think at his core he has a genetic understanding of what makes people good and bad or successful. And you see it all the time—he talks about people having good genes. He looks at the world that way. He’s got a very Aryan view of people and race.

III. “They Don’t Look Like Indians to Me”

In the early 1990s, Trump attempted to block the building of new casinos in Connecticut and New York that could cut into his casino operations in Atlantic City. (All of Trump’s casinos eventually went into bankruptcy.) In October 1993, Trump appeared before the House Subcommittee on Native American Affairs of the Committee on Natural Resources. The subcommittee was chaired by Bill Richardson, later New Mexico’s governor. Trump was there to support an effort to modify legislation that had given Native American tribes the right to own and operate casinos. George Miller, a Democrat from California and the chair of the Committee on Natural Resources, was also present.

Tadd Johnson, of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Bois Forte Band, served as the Democratic counsel on the subcommittee. Rick Hill is a former chair of the National Indian Gaming Association and of the Oneida Tribe in Wisconsin. Pat Williams was a member of Congress from Montana.

Trump began by noting that he had prepared a “politically correct” statement for the committee, but almost immediately went off script. The hearing became loud and acrimonious.

bill richardson: He said he didn’t think that Native Americans deserved the legislation, because there was a lot of corruption around Native American casinos. I remember asking him after the hearing, “Well, what’s the evidence?” He said, “The FBI has it.” I said, “You’re making the accusation; why don’t you bring the evidence?” He said, “No, you should ask the FBI.” I said, “You’re making the charge of corruption and you’re not backing it up—that is unacceptable.”

tadd johnson: Trump was wearing pancake makeup, which I hadn’t seen before, at least not on somebody testifying in Congress. He was very evasive, and he made all these allegations about organized-crime activity but could produce no single incident, no tangible evidence, nobody we could talk to. A lot of what he was saying were just fabrications.

rick hill: He said, “You guys are all going to have egg on your faces.” This was going to be the worst thing to happen since Al Capone. Trump went all threatening, raving about how there is no way we could stop the Mafia. He used the phrase Joey Killer. He said there was no way the tribal chairmen could stop Joey Killer.

bill richardson: The second allegation he made that was very disturbing at that hearing was to examine some Native American tribes’ application as Indian tribes—they were trying to get the subcommittee to basically declare their tribes or their group of individuals Native Americans. Trump mentioned Native Americans who had recently opened casinos and said to George Miller, “They don’t look like Indians to me.” He said that. It was so outrageous.

rick hill: Miller challenged him. He said, “You know how racist what you’re saying is? How racist that is to judge people by what we think they look like and ignore their inherent rights as a person?”

tadd johnson: George responded, “Well, thank God people don’t have rights based upon your look test. And, you know, how many times have we heard this before in this country?” And then he went through a litany of various groups that were discriminated against, which is a long list.

pat williams: I was stunned by the openness of Trump’s anger toward anyone who would compete with him—and particularly if they were people of color.

tadd johnson: I remember watching the faces of the Indian people in the back. There were some tribal elders who had come in from Minnesota, and were giving looks that could kill.

bill richardson: It was the most hostile hearing that I’ve ever been involved in. And I was in Congress for 15 years.

pat williams: I think the reason Trump blew up at Miller didn’t so much have to do with whatever the debate was about at the moment. He blew up because he came to realize that Miller was more important than he was.

Later, using a front organization called the New York Institute for Law and Society, Trump and his associate Roger Stone placed advertisements in upstate–New York newspapers in an attempt to block the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe’s planned Sullivan County casino. On a page proof of one ad, featuring hypodermic needles and lines of cocaine, Trump wrote: “Roger, this could be good!” Trump, Stone, and the institute would later pay $250,000 in fines for violating disclosure rules governing political advertising. Bradley Waterman served as general counsel and tax counsel for the Saint Regis Mohawks. Tony Cellini was the town supervisor of Thompson, where the casino was going to be built.

bradley waterman: Trump and Stone created an organization that was said to be pro-family and anti-gaming. Its real mission was to put the kibosh on gaming by the Mohawks in the Catskills and in that way protect Trump’s casinos in Atlantic City. To that end, the organization—actually Trump and Stone—purchased ads that portrayed the Mohawks as criminals, drug dealers, etc. The Mohawks regarded the ads as racist. So did I. So did everyone else who weighed in.

tony cellini: We were hurting for jobs in this area. And then all of a sudden these attack ads came out, which were financed, we found out later, to the tune of more than $1 million by Donald Trump.

bradley waterman: Trump personally approved the ads. For example, he wrote comments on proofs such as “Roger—do it.” Not surprisingly, Trump and Stone lied about the number of people who contributed financially to the organization. It was strictly a Trump-Stone operation. The chiefs were furious, particularly since Trump never met any Mohawks, set foot on Mohawk territory, or otherwise tried to learn about the Mohawks.

  1. “Our Very Vicious World”

In the summer of 2005, Donald Trump had an idea: What if the next season of his reality-TV show, The Apprentice, pitted “a team of successful African Americans versus a team of successful whites”? Trump thought the format would be a sort of social commentary—“reflective of our very vicious world.” The concept never made it to air, but Trump’s treatment of black contestants on his show generated controversy.

One contestant, Kevin Allen, a graduate of Emory University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Chicago, was criticized by Trump on the show for being too educated; at the same time, Trump suggested that Allen was personally intimidating.

Mark Harris was a television critic for Entertainment Weekly. Kwame Jackson was the runner-up on The Apprentice’s first season.

mark harris: We were still very early in the history of reality-competition TV. The Apprentice started in January 2004, so the models that I was working off of as a critic were really just Survivor and American Idol. The Apprentice had this very manipulative approach to race. I felt that it was casting and shaping stories toward stereotypes that a default white audience would find somehow satisfying.

kevin allen: I remember Donald Trump asking me, “Kevin, why are the women in the suite scared of you?” I had never heard this before from anybody. It was shocking to me to hear that sort of attack. There was a lot of picking at me and trying to make me come out and be that overly aggressive, overbearing, scary African American male. But I was in law school at the time and I had worked on Capitol Hill, and I’m fairly adept at diffusing that sort of thing. I think it made me sort of a boring character. But there were moments when I was put in situations where it could have gone wrong.

mark harris: It’s interesting to look back at it now, because the way Kevin Allen was treated was like a sneak preview of white critical reaction to Obama. It was like, Well, maybe he’s too qualified, maybe he’s too smart, maybe he’s too cerebral.

kwame jackson: I think that Donald Trump had only been used to dealing with black men of a very specific genre: Mike Tyson, Don King, Herschel Walker—celebrities, entertainers. So to have a young African American man with arguably a better education than him—I don’t think that was something he was used to, because obviously he didn’t hire any in his organization.

Randal Pinkett, a black man and the show’s 2005 winner, was asked by Trump to share his title with the white runner-up, Rebecca Jarvis. Pinkett refused. As the winner, he later worked briefly for the Trump Organization.

randal pinkett: He did not want to see an African American as the outright and sole winner. I believe I backed him into a corner. It goes back to an old adage that I’ve been told throughout my life as an African American man—that you have to be twice as good just to be considered equal. And that is a statement that reflects the thinking of a Donald Trump. Donald can be racist in ways that he’s not even aware are racist, because he is so out of touch with people who are not like him.

timothy l. o’brien: The only people of color he’s gone out of his way to try to establish relationships with are people who are athletes, celebrities, or entertainers. He became close to Mike Tyson because Donald and Don King were trying to arrange heavyweight fights in Atlantic City, to draw high rollers to the casinos. It wasn’t because he was fond of black athletes. It was because black boxers were good for his business.

randal pinkett: I was the only person of color that I saw at an executive level in my entire year with the Trump Organization. And to put that into context, this was 2006. This was the height of Donald’s popularity with The Apprentice. He had launched several ventures, most of which are now defunct: Trump University, Trump Institute, Trump Ice, Trump Mortgage, Trump magazine. All of those companies were up and running. All of them had employees; they had CEOs who ran those companies—and still, as I recall, none of them had persons of color in executive roles. None of them.

  1. “He Doesn’t Have a Birth Certificate”

“Our current president came out of nowhere, came out of nowhere … The people who went to school with him—they never saw him; they don’t know who he is.” That statement, made at the February 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference, marked the launch of Donald Trump’s public efforts to sow doubt about whether President Barack Obama had been born in the United States. “Birtherism” had been festering for several years before Trump embraced it—supplanting other proponents and becoming its most prominent advocate. In March, on The View, Trump called on Obama to show his birth certificate. In April, he said that he had dispatched a team of investigators to Hawaii to search for Obama’s birth records.

For Trump, the run-up to birtherism had been a controversy that flared when a Manhattan developer proposed building an Islamic cultural center on a site in Lower Manhattan—the so-called Ground Zero mosque. In 2010, on the Late Show, Trump told David Letterman: “I think it’s very insensitive to build it there. I think it’s not appropriate.” Letterman pushed back, saying that blocking an Islamic facility would be akin to declaring “war with Muslims.” Trump answered: “Somebody’s blowing up buildings, and somebody’s doing lots of bad stuff.” Trump offered to buy out one of the investors in order to halt the project. The action made him one of the project’s key opponents and for the first time gave him national visibility on the political right.

Anti-Muslim sentiment animated Trump’s birtherism campaign. He said of Obama on The Laura Ingraham Show in March 2011: “He doesn’t have a birth certificate, or if he does, there’s something on that certificate that is very bad for him. Now, somebody told me—and I have no idea whether this is bad for him or not, but perhaps it would be—that where it says ‘religion,’ it might have ‘Muslim.’ ”

Sam Nunberg became an adviser to Trump after working with him to oppose the Islamic cultural center. Jerome Corsi, the author of Where’s the Birth Certificate?, and Orly Taitz, a dentist and an attorney, are among the instigators of the birther movement. Dan Pfeiffer was the White House communications director.

sam nunberg: I don’t believe Donald Trump would have done birtherism if he had not done the Ground Zero mosque and gotten all the conservative publicity he did. I had met Roger Stone, and we briefed Trump on the issue, and he came out and said he wanted to buy the site. Then he got interviews on Fox News. It also was a part of his brand—he wasn’t just somebody coming out saying, “I’m opposed to you,” but “I want to buy it.” He went where the “Just run on lowering taxes” Republican intelligentsia, the Republican establishment, will tell you not to go.

jerome corsi: Donald Trump came into it pretty late. I was driving the story well before Donald Trump. He called me maybe three or four times in the period around April and May 2011. Donald Trump’s interest advanced the story in terms of public awareness.

orly taitz: I just turned over all the information to him. I talked to his assistant. She told me to forward all the information to his attorney Michael Cohen. Because Trump was a well-known public figure, the issue did get attention.

dan pfeiffer: It wasn’t until Trump picked this up that it spilled into the mainstream. It created a permission structure for normal reporters to ask this question. It’s like, Well, Donald Trump, this famous person, said this on The View, which is different than saying Jerome Corsi wrote it in a book.

sam nunberg: It was about destroying Obama’s favorability, his likability. It was this way to differentiate Trump from Mitt Romney, who was dancing around not wanting to criticize Obama directly. We looked at Obama as a Manchurian president. Trump will do anything to win. Birtherism would brand Trump as the guy who would do anything he could to take down Obama. He wasn’t just going to lose with a smile and lose respectably the way John McCain and Mitt Romney liked doing.

Attempting to quell the conspiracy theories, on April 27, 2011, Obama released his long-form birth certificate. Ben Rhodes was Obama’s deputy national security adviser for strategic communications.

ben rhodes: I remember Obama started to get increasingly frustrated in Oval Office sessions—not just that Trump would say these things, but also that the media would cover it as a story. Obama was angry that he had to release the birth certificate. I remember being in the Oval Office and him commenting that he couldn’t believe he had to do this, but feeling he had to nip it in the bud. Obama was more acutely aware of issues involving race and racism than he sometimes projected. Obama knew this wasn’t going away, and he knew it was racist, and he knew he needed as much armor as he could get.

A few days later, at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, Obama and the comedian Seth Meyers mocked Trump’s birther claims, leaving Trump red-faced and seething at a table in the audience. Jay Carney was the White House press secretary.

seth meyers: We were constantly getting a refreshed list of who was going to be in the room. I will say that we were happy when we saw that Trump was going to be there. I think our best joke about him being a racist that night was: “Donald Trump said recently he has a great relationship with the blacks, but unless the Blacks are a family of white people, I bet he is mistaken.” There’s a thing Donald Trump does better than anybody else, which is that by stating one position, he reveals that he actually holds the opposite position.

One of the reasons we piled on with our Trump jokes wasn’t that he was a reality star. It was that he was someone who was doing the rounds, continuing to double down and triple down and quadruple down on this incredibly racist rhetoric. Historically, if you look at other rooms I’ve been in, I’ve never done a run of 10 jokes about anyone before. Obviously we felt pretty strongly for that to be the case.

jay carney: After that, birtherism diminished as a subject in most media, but I’m sure folks took notice of what Trump had done, and how, by completely concocting this nonsense, he had hijacked the conversation. It still pisses me off.

dan pfeiffer: The mainstream political conversation after Obama released his birth certificate was: Trump is a clown, right? He’s a clown who got out of his depth and has embarrassed himself and should be run out of politics forever. It was not long after that that every Republican—even, you know, putatively serious Republicans like Mitt Romney—went and begged Trump for his endorsement. I don’t think any of us realized that there was a tremendous appetite for anger in the Republican base that Trump was seeking to use.

Trump did not let up. In May 2012, he told the CNN host Wolf Blitzer that “a lot of people do not think it was an authentic certificate.” In August, he called the birth certificate “a fraud.” Finally, in September 2016, under political pressure during his presidential campaign, Trump acknowledged that Obama had in fact been born in the United States. That was not the end of the matter. In November 2017, The New York Times reported that Trump was still privately asserting that Obama’s birth certificate may have been fraudulent.

ben rhodes: It cannot be overstated that this is the creation story of Donald Trump becoming president of the United States. His whole brand is: I will say the things that the other guys won’t. Without birtherism there is no Trump presidency.

  1. “On Many Sides”

Roughly six months into Trump’s presidency, on the night of Friday, August 11, 2017, hundreds of neo-Nazis and white supremacists marched onto the University of Virginia’s campus in Charlottesville chanting “Jews will not replace us” and “Blood and soil,” a Nazi slogan. The “Unite the Right” rally was protesting the proposed removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Confrontations arose between members of the so-called alt-right and groups of counterprotesters, including members of the anti-fascist movement known as “antifa.”

Mike Signer, Charlottesville’s mayor, had been dealing with far-right protests all summer. Richard Spencer was one of the key figures behind the “Unite the Right” rally.

mike signer: The first event was in May of 2017, led by Richard Spencer, who invented the term alt-right and is a UVA graduate. He had done an event right after Trump’s inauguration where he had led a fascist salute with all these people at a hotel in Washington, D.C.—buzz cuts, uniforms, very frightening.

richard spencer: There is no question that Charlottesville wouldn’t have occurred without Trump. It really was because of his campaign and this new potential for a nationalist candidate who was resonating with the public in a very intense way. The alt-right found something in Trump. He changed the paradigm and made this kind of public presence of the alt-right possible.

David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan leader, who participated in the Charlottesville rally, called it a “turning point” for his own movement, which seeks to “fulfill the promises of Donald Trump.” Will Peyton, the rector of St. Paul’s Memorial Church, near the UVA campus, hosted an interfaith service in opposition to the rally. As alt-right protesters marched by, the roughly 700 people in the church were advised to stay inside for their own safety.

will peyton: I was out in a parking lot during the morning while all the various neo-Nazi people and different white-supremacist groups were gathering and unloading. They were piling out of vans and trucks, and kind of giddy. I’d never seen swastikas and Nazi salutes out in the open like that—people wearing helmets and carrying clubs and shields.

richard spencer: The whole day was chaotic. I woke up that morning; we had breakfast. We didn’t quite know what was going to happen. I certainly thought it was going to be a big event, but I never quite knew that it was going to turn into this ultimately historic event.

mike signer: Richard Spencer and David Duke spent time attacking me and talking about the Jewish mayor of the city. There was a threat against a synagogue saying, “It’s time to torch those jewish monsters lets go 3pm.” There was an intensity in the anti-Semitism that previously was unthinkable in American political life. I grew up five blocks from the headquarters of the American Nazi Party, in Arlington, Virginia. It was above what is now a coffee shop, in a ramshackle house, and we laughed at this lonely, pathetic old man who would come in and out of that building. Now you’re seeing something different. I was infuriated that you weren’t seeing a condemnation of this coming from the White House.

On August 12, a black man named DeAndre Harris was beaten by at least four white supremacists. At about 1:45 p.m. that day, James Alex Fields Jr., a 20-year-old white supremacist from Ohio, drove his Dodge Challenger into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring 35 others. Fields was convicted in December 2018 of first-degree murder. In March, he pleaded guilty to 29 of 30 federal hate-crime charges in a separate trial. Speaking on the afternoon of the attack from his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club, Trump denounced “this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides.” He paused, then repeated: “On many sides.” Lisa Woolfork is a UVA professor and an organizer with Black Lives Matter’s Charlottesville chapter. Jason Kessler was an organizer of the rally.

richard spencer: We were dealing with this terrible accident that occurred with James Fields and Heather Heyer, and it was certainly not why I came and I don’t think it’s why anyone else came. I was trying to deal with that situation in the best way I could by just saying that we simply don’t know what happened and we should stress that this young man deserves a fair investigation and a fair trial. Trump, in his own way, was being honest and calling it like he saw it. I was proud of him at that moment.

mike signer: This was a coordinated invasion of the city by violent right-wing militias. I watched a clip of the president and my mouth fell open, and I was at once ashamed for him and for the country.

lisa woolfork: The car sped down Fourth Street and collided with the counterdemonstrators who were marching that way. I was about 100 feet from the impact, and it was complete chaos. I remember seeing a shoe fly into the air. I remember people screaming. It was an utterly terrible moment. After a long and traumatic day, the president’s remarks were chilling. One of the dangers of having the president speak in the way that he spoke about the events in Charlottesville—about “many sides”—was that it promotes this very dangerous false equivalency. Trump made things much worse by explicitly stating that you can be a white supremacist or a Nazi or a neo-Confederate and still be a good person.

jason kessler: The president was absolutely correct in blaming both sides. I’ve probably seen more video of the event than anyone alive. People who are upset feel that the majority of the blame should be with the alt-right because of the tragic death of Heather Heyer. It’s fair enough to acknowledge their emotional need for this, but no one at “Unite the Right” was responsible for that car accident but James Fields himself.

will peyton: I had a visceral, emotional reaction when I heard what the president said. I was an eyewitness. I saw with my own eyes that there was one side here that came planning and intending violence. There’s just no two ways about that.

On August 14, Trump walked back his initial statement and specifically condemned “the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups.” A day later, he walked back his walk-back. There were “very fine people on both sides,” he said, adding that the “alt-left” had been “very, very violent.” White-nationalist leaders welcomed his remarks.

mike signer: There was a robocall that went out in November 2018, because the trial of Alex Fields was happening and he was about to be convicted. The call was all about how the Jew mayor and the Negro police chief had created this situation, and how we’re the ones who should be held responsible for Heather Heyer’s death.

VII. “Go Back to Their Huts”

In office, Donald Trump followed through on his promise to curb immigration from majority-Muslim countries. He created a commission to investigate voter fraud (virtually nonexistent, according to state election officials), claiming that he would have won the popular vote but for millions of ballots cast by people in the U.S. illegally. He shut down the government for 35 days in an attempt to secure funding for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. He reportedly referred to African countries as “shithole” nations—asking why the U.S. can’t have more immigrants from Norway instead—and complained that, after seeing America, immigrants from Nigeria would never “go back to their huts.” The administration favored victims of Hurricane Harvey, which hit Houston, over those of Hurricane Maria, which hit Puerto Rico, sending three times as many workers to Houston and approving 23 times as much money for individual assistance within the first nine days after each hurricane.

sam nunberg: Remember in 2011 he was criticized when he said, “I’ve always had a great relationship with the blacks”? I think he just doesn’t speak “politically correct.” It’s not in his vernacular, or consciousness. It’s generational. It’s also probably—not to play psychiatrist—it’s growing up where he grew up, in Queens, New York, and dealing with union members, dealing in a crime-riddled New York City. I think it’s just the way things were thought of as different then.

timothy l. o’brien: This is the same debate we have about whether or not he’s a liar. And I get the journalistic need to be really clear about how we use terms. You know, lying implies volition and knowledge. But I’m very comfortable saying I think he’s got a pathology around lying. And when it comes to race, I don’t think it’s merely using racial animosities or race-baiting as tools to promote his business. I think it’s a deep-seated reflection of what he thinks about how the world works.

kwame jackson: America’s always trying to find this gotcha moment that shows Donald Trump is racist—you know, let’s find this one big thing. Let’s look for that one time when he burned a cross in someone’s yard so we can now finally say it. People refuse to see the bread crumbs that are already in front of you, leading you to grandma’s house.

This article appears in the June 2019 print edition with the headline “An Oral History of Trump’s Bigotry”


Encyclopedia of American Loons

Linda Salvin

We should probably give a honorable mention to VSP wanker lord Will Saletan, who apparently feels qualified to share his wisdom about any topic outside of his expertise that comes his way, resulting in egregious nonsense, but the task of having to write up a complete entry for him fills us with dread, so we’ll let the opportunity pass.

Linda Salvin is much more (unintentionally) hilarious. Salvin is an intuitive healer, whose credentials include surviving a commercial airliner crash in 1981 (“As she exited the plane … she heard reassuring voices that told her she would be unharmed”), being struck by a fire truck, a car accident and a life-altering surgery:  “[w]ith each of these experiences, her spiritual connection and psychic abilities began to grow,” says Salvin. Now she is ready to diagnose and heal you using her intuitions (currently, she is “directly linked to the other side due to a white light experience and three near death”). Medical school and evidence-based practices are for wussies. Apparently she is “on a journey”.

Well, to aid you in your healing Salvin offers several products for you to buy, including her wicks of wisdom, a “spiritual candle-magic line created by Dr. Linda in 1999 while on national radio.” (The “Dr.” part is not particularly well explained.) Apparently, “[s]he was trained in candle magic and took the concepts mainstream for people from all walks of life.” If we understand the procedure correctly, you light the candles (carefully following instructions) and offer some kind of incantation, and the magic will bring you wellness, fortunes and good luck. Oh, and she does fortune-telling, too: “If you are seeking answers to life’s questions such as love, finances, career, relationships, spiritual guidance, health and wellness, legal issues or anything more personal, then you want to book a session for a psychic reading.” Especially the legal issues thing seems to set her apart from most of the competition, which seems to be rather careful about offering that kind of advice.

Diagnosis: Probably harmless, yet it continues to amaze us – even after all these loons – that people still fall for purveyors of good-luck magic. But apparently they do.


The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

June 10, 2019

by Dr. Peter Janney

On October 8th, 2000, Robert Trumbull Crowley, once a leader of the CIA’s Clandestine Operations Division, died in a Washington hospital of heart failure and the end effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. Before the late Assistant Director Crowley was cold, Joseph Trento, a writer of light-weight books on the CIA, descended on Crowley’s widow at her town house on Cathedral Hill Drive in Washington and hauled away over fifty boxes of Crowley’s CIA files.

Once Trento had his new find secure in his house in Front Royal, Virginia, he called a well-known Washington fix lawyer with the news of his success in securing what the CIA had always considered to be a potential major embarrassment.

Three months before, on July 20th of that year, retired Marine Corps colonel William R. Corson, and an associate of Crowley, died of emphysema and lung cancer at a hospital in Bethesda, Md.

After Corson’s death, Trento and the well-known Washington fix-lawyer went to Corson’s bank, got into his safe deposit box and removed a manuscript entitled ‘Zipper.’ This manuscript, which dealt with Crowley’s involvement in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, vanished into a CIA burn-bag and the matter was considered to be closed forever.

The small group of CIA officials gathered at Trento’s house to search through the Crowley papers, looking for documents that must not become public. A few were found but, to their consternation, a significant number of files Crowley was known to have had in his possession had simply vanished.

When published material concerning the CIA’s actions against Kennedy became public in 2002, it was discovered to the CIA’s horror, that the missing documents had been sent by an increasingly erratic Crowley to another person and these missing papers included devastating material on the CIA’s activities in South East Asia to include drug running, money laundering and the maintenance of the notorious ‘Regional Interrogation Centers’ in Viet Nam and, worse still, the Zipper files proving the CIA’s active organization of the assassination of President John Kennedy..

A massive, preemptive disinformation campaign was readied, using government-friendly bloggers, CIA-paid “historians” and others, in the event that anything from this file ever surfaced. The best-laid plans often go astray and in this case, one of the compliant historians, a former government librarian who fancied himself a serious writer, began to tell his friends about the CIA plan to kill Kennedy and eventually, word of this began to leak out into the outside world.

The originals had vanished and an extensive search was conducted by the FBI and CIA operatives but without success. Crowley’s survivors, his aged wife and son, were interviewed extensively by the FBI and instructed to minimize any discussion of highly damaging CIA files that Crowley had, illegally, removed from Langley when he retired. Crowley had been a close friend of James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s notorious head of Counterintelligence. When Angleton was sacked by DCI William Colby in December of 1974, Crowley and Angleton conspired to secretly remove Angleton’s most sensitive secret files out of the agency. Crowley did the same thing right before his own retirement, secretly removing thousands of pages of classified information that covered his entire agency career.

Known as “The Crow” within the agency, Robert T. Crowley joined the CIA at its inception and spent his entire career in the Directorate of Plans, also know as the “Department of Dirty Tricks. ”

Crowley was one of the tallest man ever to work at the CIA. Born in 1924 and raised in Chicago, Crowley grew to six and a half feet when he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in N.Y. as a cadet in 1943 in the class of 1946. He never graduated, having enlisted in the Army, serving in the Pacific during World War II. He retired from the Army Reserve in 1986 as a lieutenant colonel. According to a book he authored with his friend and colleague, William Corson, Crowley’s career included service in Military Intelligence and Naval Intelligence, before joining the CIA at its inception in 1947. His entire career at the agency was spent within the Directorate of Plans in covert operations. Before his retirement, Bob Crowley became assistant deputy director for operations, the second-in-command in the Clandestine Directorate of Operations.

Bob Crowley first contacted Gregory Douglas in 1993 when he found out from John Costello that Douglas was about to publish his first book on Heinrich Mueller, the former head of the Gestapo who had become a secret, long-time asset to the CIA. Crowley contacted Douglas and they began a series of long and often very informative telephone conversations that lasted for four years. In 1996, Crowley told Douglas that he believed him to be the person that should ultimately tell Crowley’s story but only after Crowley’s death. Douglas, for his part, became so entranced with some of the material that Crowley began to share with him that he secretly began to record their conversations, later transcribing them word for word, planning to incorporate some, or all, of the material in later publication.


Conversation No. 116

Date: Wednesday , December 10, 1997

Commenced: 3:05 PM CST

Concluded: 3:30 PM CST


RTC: How are you today, Gregory? Getting ready for Christmas?

GD: Just another day, Robert. A bit quieter. I’m sure the business people regret that they have to shut up on Christmas because they might make a few more dollars. Just a commercial venture these days. Did you ever hear ‘Green Christmas’? The song?

RTC: I can’t say that I have.

GD: A pointed satire in the manifest and bald-faced greed of the season, Robert. Thanksgiving is nothing but the Massacre of the Turkeys but Christmas is highlighted by the figurative ringing of the cash register bells and the crisp crackle of greenbacks. And many lovely and totally innocent trees are sacrificed for what was always a Roman pagan holiday.

RTC: Indeed?

GD: The Saturnalia. End of the year celebration to take up the extra days. Evergreens in abundance. Presents given and received.

RTC: No star in the sky?

GD: None that I have read about. And no three wise men from some unspecified place bearing gifts. The whole scene was lifted from the Romans and the Ascension of Christ taken directly from the cult of Isis which was very popular in Rome at the time.

RTC: Then you reject the historical accuracy of the New Testament?

GD: Entirely. After the fact fiction almost entirely and historically totally inaccurate. The Gospels came from a source document written about 45-50 AD and were constantly being cleaned up to reflect the changes of the day. None of them written closer to the events chronicled than about a hundred years. And the Revelations book was written by a lunatic confined on the island of Patmos which was a Roman nut house colony and about 96 AD. John was supposed to be living there with the Virgin Mary so you figure it out.

RTC: Aren’t there historical references to Jesus?

GD: None. The writings of Flavius Josephus, a renegade Jew of the time, had an inserted reference to Jesus but it has long been known as a gross ex post facto insertion by pious Christians in the second century. All fake, Robert, like the so-called Shroud of Turin. That dates to 1300.

RTC: How did the image get on it?

GD: Painted a naked model with egg tempera paint and pushed the cloth down over the body. That simple. Of course, the Vatican knows it’s a fake but they don’t discuss it because it is a big drawer for the pious of soul and incredulous of belief. In Vienna, in the cathedral of St. Stephan, we find the skull of that saint but at St. Polten, the skull of St. Stephan as a fifteen year old boy.

RTC: You’re putting me on.

GD: (Laughter) No, I’m not. And the sacred bones of St. Agnes turned out to be part of the spine of a goat. I wonder how Michelangelo would have depicted that one? With lots of muscle and a small penis. A wonderful artist but gay as a goose. And that brings me to yet another interesting aspect of the whole business. If you really look into the Gospels and try to discern the teachings of Jesus, you will realize that Jesus was an Essene. Now our modern theologians can discuss Jesus in detail and the Essenes in equal detail but never, ever at the same time. That’s would not be correct.

RTC: And why is that, pray tell?

GD: Well, because the Essenes were an all-male organization. They were communistic in their community activities with shared purses and so on and hated women. They bred with them and if the babies were male, all well and good but if female, both mother and child were expelled. They boys they kept.

RTC: There seem to be sinister overtones here, Gregory. Are you saying….?

GD: Yes, I am saying. Like the Spartans and Zulus, the Essenes were homosexuals.

RTC: Now, Jesus H. Christ, Gregory, by implication, by what you are saying and assuming you are accurate, was Jesus a fairy?

GD: It’s ‘gay’ now, but yes, that’s the way it appears. Don’t forget James the Beloved of Christ.

RTC: Are you certain about the facts…never mind your warped conclusions…the facts?

GD: Always. Yes, look it all up. None of it is connected but study the Essene cult. They were eventually shut down but it’s all there for you to find. But there never has been made a connection between Jesus and that group. Yet study the preachings of Jesus, or at least what the Gospels claim are the preachings, and then study the Essene dogmas and you at once see very clear and unmistakable parallels.

RTC: I could look all of this up but you seem to know your history. Of course you can’t say such things because you can never get it public. You do like to get involved in useless quests.

GD: No, but I like facts, not fictions. And I find it very, very entertaining that our evangelical Christians loathe and want to kill off any homosexual they can find. I doubt if any of them would even bother to do the research on the subject because a closed mind is a wonderful thing to behold.  And as another interesting fact, the so-called ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’ are Essene writings. Consider that the scholars have been pouring over these for years and yet only a few garbled passages have been released to the public. Why? Because the writings bear out what I just told you and our Jewish chums have agreed to shut up about it. I suppose they get more cluster bombs and nerve gas from Washington with which to civilize the Palestinians in return for said silence. I’m not joking about this, Robert.

RTC: Sadly, probably not. Jim was so determined to serve Tel Aviv’s interests that I’m afraid he has set this country up for future decades of Muslim hatred. Well, I doubt if I’ll see the results of this pandering in my lifetime.

GD: Yes, you’re no doubt right but the wheel always turns, Robert. And the sins of the fathers shall be visited upon their children.

RTC: More biblical exhortations, Gregory?

GD: The Devil can cite scripture, Robert, and your chums down in the Gerbil Palace consider me to be, at the least, a minor devil. Know the truth, Robert, and the truth shall set you free. More likely get you ten to twenty for having a kilo of smack in your glove compartment. Of course you never put it there but the alternative would be a dead baby suddenly being found in your suitcase at the airport. Societies or their control groups have a way with such things. The prisons are full of dissenters and more than a few have been gassed, electrocuted or hanged. Justice is depicted with a blindfold but I think she would be more appropriate wearing a gas mask to avoid the stench of the rotting bodies of the innocent dead sacrificed in her name.


(Concluded at 3:30 P.M. CST)

No responses yet

Leave a Reply