Mueller Homing in on Trump’s Inauguration Graft

There are twin scoops today that suggest a new direction in the Mueller investigation. The AP broke the report that Mueller’s team interviewed Tom Barrack — who on top of being an actual billionaire (unlike Trump), one of his closest friends, and the guy who recommended he hire Paul Manafort, was his Inauguration Committee Chair — in December.

One of the people who spoke to AP said the questioning focused entirely on two officials from Trump’s campaign who have been indicted by Mueller: Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and Manafort’s onetime deputy, Rick Gates. Gates agreed to plead guilty to federal conspiracy and false-statement charges in February and began cooperating with investigators.

A second person with knowledge of the Barrack interview said the questioning was broader, including financial matters about the campaign, the transition and Trump’s inauguration in January 2017.

Rick Gates, who served as Deputy Chair of the inauguration, flipped in late February.

In early April, the press reported that multiple oligarchs were being questioned about inauguration donations by Mueller.

Investigators are asking whether wealthy Russians illegally funneled cash donations directly or indirectly into Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and inauguration.

Yesterday, NYT confirmed that the oligarch stopped in NY was Viktor Vekselberg. In addition to the inauguration, Vekselberg attended the RT dinner attended by Mike Flynn, and ran a corrupt Cypriot bank with Wilbur Ross.

Federal agents working with Mr. Mueller stopped Mr. Vekselberg, a billionaire businessman, at a New York-area airport this year, searched his electronic devices and questioned him, according to people familiar with the matter. They confronted him after he stepped off a private plane about two months ago, according to one of the people.


Vekselberg also attended a December 2015 dinner in Russia where Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s first national security adviser, was also among the guests and sat beside Mr. Putin. The dinner was hosted by RT, the English-language television news network financed by the Kremlin.


Another potential area of interest for Mr. Mueller is Mr. Vekselberg’s business in Cyprus, the Mediterranean nation considered a magnet for Russian money. Mr. Vekselberg has controlled a company that has been the largest single shareholder in the Bank of Cyprus. Around the same time that Mr. Vekselberg was investing in the bank, Mr. Trump’s future commerce secretary, Wilbur L. Ross, was its vice chairman.

Remember, Barrack raised double money for the inauguration than a normal take. And as of earlier this year, Trump still hadn’t donated the money, as promised.

In late September, the committee announced that it had donated $3 million to multiple groups involved in hurricane relief efforts in the Gulf Coast, Florida and the Caribbean. An undetermined amount of funds were allocated to redecorating the White House and Vice President Mike Pence’s home in Washington, rather than charitable efforts.

Barrack, chairman of the inaugural committee, said details about the committee’s donations to charity would be released in November. Yet the deadline passed without further financial information being disclosed. A spokesman for Barrack declined to comment on the report’s delay or allegations that the committee mismanaged funds under his leadership.

So that money went … somewhere.

Update: My use of “honing” instead of “homing” has set off quite the debate. I’ve changed it to move discussion back to the topic at hand. Thanks to all who weighed in.

55 replies
  1. matt says:

    “Investigators are asking whether wealthy Russians illegally funneled cash donations directly or indirectly into Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and inauguration”

    Now that’s a Russian Collusion smoking gun… let’s hope more comes of it.

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      From Russia With Love.

      Consider the scenario where the money may have originally came from US.

  2. NorskieFlamethrower says:

    Rachel Maddow will be ecstatic that Mueller is excavating the toxic waste dump that is the inauguration fund. Is there a single thing that this administration or it’s campaign operation has done that isn’t either directly criminal or related to the criminal conspiracy to defraud the USofA?

  3. Trip says:

    I’m still interested in Melania’s BF/advisor who took home a curiously large amount of the inauguration booty. There were no lavish, nor the quantity of, parties of past presidents, nor big entertainment or celebs, so why was her arranging/planning so pricey? “President Trump’s inaugural committee paid nearly $26 million to an event planning firm started by an adviser to the first lady, Melania Trump”..

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Yup, a lot of money for a party.  If I recall correctly, the legal entity set up to receive the funds for “planning” that party was closed out not long after receiving them.  Always an invitation to a prosecutor to take another look.

      • Trip says:

        Almost a quarter of the total sum of funds seems excessive, to me. Especially, as mentioned, there were only b-list celebs/entertainment, at best.

        Tom Barrack, chairman of the committee, had pledged to donate whatever was left to charity, but as of last month had not yet revealed where the surplus money would be spent. The tax filings revealed that the committee’s charitable donation totaled just $5 million, less than expected, which included a $3 million donation to hurricane relief that was reported in September. (breakdown of charitable donations at link):
        Feb 2018, NBC News:
        The first lady has “severed the gratuitous services contract” with Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, the spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, confirmed to NBC News. Wolkoff’s termination comes two weeks after news emerged that the president’s inaugural committee paid nearly $26 million to an event planning company that was reportedly founded by her.

        Inaugural Tax Return document:

  4. Avattoir says:

    “Tom Barrack … the guy who recommended [Trump] hire Paul Manafort”

    I think it’s important to continue to bear in mind that, by the time Tom Barrack made that ‘introduction’, Trump and Manafort already had known each other personally (at least in the sense of having been introduced, thru Manafort’s early years in the partnership / firm of Lee Atwater, Charlie Black, Roger Stone et al) for decades (possibly, i.e. not unreasonably, over a period that extended back 35 years).

    Also (FWIMBW), for a period around the early 2000 aughts, Trump and Manafort owned / resided at least part-time in closely contiguous residential properties (Long Island?) – i.e. were neighbors.

    Bottom line: IMO there’s some factual basis for harboring a reasonable suspicion (<<a concept very much in my mind as a consequence of my having seen that today you retweeted a thread from Sean Davis’ feed) that Tom Barrack’s letter to Trump in early 2016 ‘introducing’ Manafort:

    a. was not at all any ‘pure’ introduction at all usefully comparable to one of one stranger to another;

    b. might more credibly (certainly more intriguingly) be characterized as an ‘endorsement’ (framed quite intriguingly – indeed, suspiciously in the sense of grounds for initiating criminal investigative inquiry – in the guise of some more ‘pure’ introduction); and

    c. post-election at least, appears to have been employed as a fig leaf, creating some basis for Trump and supporters to deny, really, knowing who TF this Manafort character ‘really was’.

      • Trip says:

        Just adding to your comment, From Slate:

        In 1980, Manafort, Charles Black, and Roger Stone (all Ronald Reagan campaign officials) opened a lobbying shop in Washington, D.C. One of their very first clients: Donald Trump, who employed the lobbying firm of Black, Manafort & Stone through the early 1990s.

        Plus, both men have mutual close friends, including Barrack and Stone, whom Manafort and Trump have been close with for decades. Both Manafort and Trump were active in the New Jersey political scene in the 1980s, and later, both men were involved in lobbying Capitol Hill on American Indian gaming issues. Since 2006, Manafort has owned a condo in Trump Tower in Manhattan, and around the same time, became involved in the Manhattan real estate scene. A lot more details and timeline at link

  5. Peterr says:

    Opaque funding of the inauguration, despite promises of transparency?

    Missouri Governor Eric Greitens is looking more and more like Donald Trump every day.

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      The parallels are many, but Greitens will come out ahead on the impeachment race (as in, be impeached first). But, I expect he will resign to avoid that because he is under a lot of pressure from MO GOP.

      Extramarital Sex? Check
      NDA? Check
      NRA? Check
      And other parallels.
      Truly amazing coincidence, no?

      • bmaz says:

        The state legislature does seem rather aggressively set on doing the deed. That in and of itself is pretty astounding; Greitens seems to be fresh out of friends there.

  6. Avattoir says:

    A bit OTT, but …

    The surname “Vekselberg” may serve to remind – certainly serves to bring to my mind, anyway – that the long, epic history of Russia includes some 400 years which historians now refer to as ” Kievan Rus’ “, around 880-1280 A.D., starting around the time of the collapse of the Byzantine Empire. In that era, there wasn’t so much central rule as that Kiev (now Ukraine) typically was the most influential among the Eastern Slavic city states – the easterly parts of what we now know as Russia (as well as Belarus, Lithuania, even Poland) were subjected seasonally to the sort of piracy the Brits came to know over much the same period emanating from Denmark, Norway and “Feisia” – except, in the case of the East Slavic states, more Swedish Varangians than Norse Vikings.

    As with England and Vikings, what began with Scandinavian pirates morphed into significant scale Scandi resettlement. Indeed, over the first century or so of Kievan Rus’, before Vladimir the Great (no, not the current one), what passed for palace intrigue in the northwest reaches of Kiev Rus’ included dalliance with the idea of importing Swedish royals and nobles as kings, to avoid the chaos and internecine violence that typified in ruler succession (and, of course, just like us today with so-called “outsider” campaigns for the White House, to allow the established palace intriguers themselves the best possibly chance at retaining power).

    • Bob Conyers says:

      Nerdy history quibble, but the decline of the Byzantine Empire didn’t begin until the middle of that period from 880 to 1280 – in 880 they were in the middle of their second wind when they were expanding and beating up on Arab and Eastern European rivals and retaking a lot of old territory.
      Even then, by 1280 they were on something of a third wind, having retaken Constantinople from the Venetian-backed invaders, and reestablished themselves through much of the 1300s as significant players in the Black Sea Eastern Mediterranean, including theur role in the Sicilian Vespers incident.

      The Byzantines were tutors of sorts to Kievan Rus in the finer arts of diplomacy and palace intrigue, since the Byzantines frequently had money but not huge armies. They preferred to exert influence when possible through bribery, trade, religion, and careful balancing of different factions within rivals, including the Rus.

      If you squint hard, you can see little bits of Byzantine methods in Russian policy today.

      • posaune says:

        Trying to understand Polish-Lithuanian positioning in the context of these informative comments:  re Roman Catholic (western) alignment in 966 instead of Eastern orthodoxy.   Any thoughts on this?


        • aubrey mcfate says:

          Geography. The first Christian Polish king was a protege of the Holy Roman Emperor. Poland was much more Western-facing at that time than in subsequent centuries. It’s only when they chose the pagan Lithuanian Jagiello/Jogaila as their king did they become a vast eastward-facing one. Ironically Stalin restored Poland geographically to a state that geographically more resembles what it was a thousand years ago, and until the current regime post-communist Poland was also economically and culturally a protege of the Germans again.

  7. Molly says:

    The word is “homing,” not “honing.” Home in means to direct on a target. Hone means to sharpen or to perfect.

  8. Avattoir says:

    I’d be interested in knowing of the emptwheel take on Sean Davis, but FWIW, to me at least, reading Sean Davis’ Twitter feed isn’t just a window into the right wing conspiracy-theory addict mindset, but may also serve as something of a window into the collectivity of FBI senior leadership over a period around the 2016 election bracketed by 2015 and the commencement (presumably then, who TF really ever knows with the FBI) of the FBI’s involvement with the 2015 FOIA application into Hilllary Clinton’s emails as SoS during Obama’s first term, and forward to when Trump  Keith Schiller Al Neri Sessions Rosenstein  cable news  some conglomeration someone fired Comey (Everyone seems pretty clear he got fired, anyway.).

    The Sean Davis threat thread, certainly once one reads beyond that into his Twitter feed, evidences:

    a. a fundamental misunderstanding (or possibly a deliberate miscasting) of the first stage in any, including any constitutionally-valid, investigation under Rule of Law by a proper law enforcement agency, being grounds for suspicion.

    Obviously the framework of the 4th amendment is ‘higher’ than that, but the 4th has to do with warrants, and by extension seizures from warrants, even into formal inquiries like with grand juries, indictments and other charges, trials, appeals, etc.

    But it’s unrealistic (indeed, dizzingly silly) to think that that standards set by the 4th, perforce those set into motion from the 4th, circumscribe the standards for initiating action of any kind by properly constituted law enforcement authority. A cop who hears a building alarm go off and someone running out of a building that appears to have something to do with that alarm isn’t expected let alone required to go thru a 4th amendment balancing exercise before taking chase – that would be Kids In The Hall level silly.

    Similarly, the FBI as an organization (indeed, given all we know about degrees of freedom within that agency) isn’t required to proceed to go thru the sort of comprehensive analysis envisioned by the 4th amendment in order to justify OPENING A FRICKIN’ FILE, FCOL!

    Tho, to read Sean Davis and his fellow troo beeleebers, that appears to be what they kind, or at least proselytize.

    Prime example: Sean Davis points to indications in recently less-redacted materials put out by the R-propaganda tool/borderline terrorist org HPSCI majority that suggest that then-Deputy FBID McCabe expressed at some point that he disagreed that there were indications that Michael Flynn lied to the FBI.

    So Davis takes that, forces it into a defective Bass-O-Matic and purports to produce from that process some con-delicious wing-nutritious blend of 4th amendment goo, to the effect that then FBID Comey, despite that fact / finding / caution / observation / dissenting view / Devil’s advocacy / aside noted in dispatches, proceeded to commence some constitutional outrage on the privacy rights of poor unsuspecting Flynn, simply by authorizing the opening of a file aimed at investigating the possibility that Flynn lied to the FBI.

    And that reasoning isn’t some observation made in passing by Sean Davis: it provides the full photon power of his blindingly insane thread, sparking his merry torch-bearing fantasy 4th followers into the sort of berserker paroxysms we identify with midnight mobs.

    So, FWIW, here’s a cautionary purgative: bureaucratic law enforcement agency activity that only requires a sound basis for reason-based suspicion, such as deciding to open a frickin’ file FCOL, does not justify or require any strict or similar compliance with the 4th amendment.

    • bmaz says:

      Davis is a longtime not just dope, but extremely duplicitous dope. Usually only good for making sport of.

          • Avattoir says:

            I did see the re-tweet; I missed the eye-poke (tho not the implication of one). Actually, wouldn’t have bothered with even mentioning Davis, but reading the thread and enough into his feed to remind me of what a pretentious Hewitt/York hybrid he can be, suggested to my lazy brain a CheapLaffs entrance to making a cheap point on the Comey-era FBI leadership hive mind.

    • Peterr says:

      The fact that the troo beeleeber folks making this dubious argument were cheering on Dick Cheney, John Yoo, David Addington, Jose Rodriguez, and the minions in the crew at Abu Ghraib with chants of “who needs $&#%@! procedures, anyway?” back in the day only adds to the dubiousness of their arguments.

  9. Avattoir says:

    The above was getting too long, so I broke my train before going onto

    b. how the FBI’s senior leadership ‘thought’ and ‘decided’ back when Comey was Director, McCabe AD, and the rest of the senior group that Comey copied with his notes on MsW Trump were still intact.

    FWIW, the more I read of and actually get to listen to the words said by each of Comey, McCabe and Rosenstein (and yes, I’m aware he’s DoJ not FBI and was so during the period under consideration), the more I appreciate Comey as someone driven by feels, including an internal feeling of rectitude, hunches and instincts; McCabe as someone who saw his role as constantly driven to doing things he imagined made it look like he was independent of not just his fellows in senior FBI leadership but even his wife’s political activism; and Rosenstein as one of those dudes who, when in the presence of superiors, actually doesn’t speak up with any dissenting voice or potentially helpful caution, but later on wanders around the office trying on his takes with potential fellow dissidents.

    And of course these 3 aren’t  alone, by any means, and indeed Rosenstein wasn’t in the FBI hive at the time, but nor is there any basis for concluding that Comey as FBID acted, for the most part at least, arbitrarily or covertly, and certainly not in any way that gave off the vibe of a tyrant to his fellow senior agents or the employees in the Bureau more broadly.

    Instead, it APPEARS that the FBI head office leadership may well have functioned by that most favored of elitist bureaucratic dynamics, the CONSENSUS – under which everyone feels free to dissent, the boss has no problem with the stating and recording of dissenting views, and records are produced and maintained to an extent that, if released all at once, might clog the Potomac.

    This situation is, in my experience and view, NOT at all any ‘Bad Thing’, certainly at least when compared to the alternatives.

  10. SteveB says:

    Trump,Inc podcast 14 March 2018 did an interesting piece on the Inauguration financing which is worth a listen. Available on Stitcher.

  11. person1597 says:

    Never a dull moment in the near field as charges accelerate through the circuit…We’re all reactively coupled to the wheelhouse waves!

  12. SteveB says:

    @ Molly
    Hone comes from Old English ‘han’ = stone; hence to hone is to grind using a (whet)stone ; hence to hone in on , means to grind away the surface to reveal the core or edge
    To home in on is derived from pigeon racing in C19th : homing in is what homing pigeons did as they approached their destination.
    There is , as you can see a difference of nuance between honing and homing.7

  13. Avattoir says:

    Everyone see Fearless Leader’s fearless leadership style there? A huge magilla breaks out over “m” versus “n”, teams form into shirts and skins, pitchforks and bats get rattled, stankeyes and harsh words are exchanged … and, very quietly, the title gets altered from “m” to “n”.
    That’s the sort of approach that draws affection for officers i/c, whether they be sanctimonious prigs or they be potty-mouthed acutely incisive types.

    • Peterr says:

      How about sanctimonious potty-mouthed acutely incisive prigs?

      When the question about Team Trump is X or Y, the answer is usually Both.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I prefer the plain ones.  The chocolate covered peanut version is hard on my teeth.

    • obsessed says:

      And it all started with Trump “ho-ing in” Moscow.

      On a less solecistic note, what about this McClatchy report that Mercer’s hedge fund owes the IRS seven billion? One of the reporters (Greg Gordon) is the guy from that tantalizing piece about Cohen in Prague. It’s impossible to keep track of all these scandals. And the thing with dirty ops against the Iran deal diplomats – did that get confirmed by any other sources?

      • matt says:

        I would love see the Mueller investigation bring charges against the Mercers, but I fear Russian oligarchs are easier targets than American ones.


        The Guardian article is a big deal- Collusion with Netanyahu to kill the Iran deal and start a war with Iran (while simultaneously escalating fighting in Syria) is the biggest foreign policy issue of the Trump presidency.  It has far reaching implications for the future of the world and an issue with far more weight than fucking Paul Manifort.  The American media is consumed with Russia, Russia, Russia… and daftly silent on Israel, Israel, Israel.  Pompeo has given to green light to Netanyahu… and we all know where Bolton stands.  So against the hard won planing and negotiations of the Obama/Hilary efforts and the will of Europe and the rest of the world… Trump, Pompeo, and Bolton are in line to to allow the “bombing of Iran into the stone-age.” The only thing missing is a pretext for war.  Wait for it, it’s coming…

    • Avattoir says:

      So as a single skewed solipsism stimulates solecism, that’s not to say succeeding solecisms necessarily cede to solipsistic seconds.
      (So sorry.).

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      More a barbarism, at least in my own mind. I can’t be sure about anyone else’s.

  14. Rapier says:

    Here is an unrelated story from Asia Times. An investigative story that has all the worst aspects of such stories in that it ties multiple names together with  layers of innuendo. Still, it isn’t nothing. One thing it  demonstrates is that old fashioned swamp high tone K Street lawyers is alive and well alongside the even older fashioned  corruption by lower grade thugs that’s so a part of Trump’s melieu.

    • matt says:

      “Viettel Group’s telecoms unit is active in Asia, Africa and the Americas, where it holds considerable market share in almost a dozen countries’ telecoms sectors. The company reportedly turned a US$18.4 billion profit in 2016.  At the same time, Viettel Group has been accused of abetting surveillance of human rights defenders in autocratic nations where it operates.”

      For profit mercenary armies are the wave of the future.  Especially if controlled by Western Establishment interests.  Also note that Erik Prince is doing contract work for the Chinese military (WaPo Eric Prince)

  15. harpie says:

    Again, “deplorable” was always too good a word for the FUCKERS.

    1] Colin Kahl @ColinKahl  […] Perhaps it was just a coincidence that this obvious scam targeting my family had all the hallmarks of an intel op and coincided with Team Trump’s reported efforts to “dig up dirt” on me. 9/10 But the fact that I even have to think about the possibility that my family was targeted by people working for the President is yet another sign of the fundamental degradation of our country that Trump has produced. 10/10

    2] Laura Rozen @lrozen [Laura Rozen Retweeted Colin Kahl] Thread. Sounds like MO used by Black Cube as documented in Ronan Farrow Weinstein expose

    • harpie says:

      Laura Rozen confirms her suspicions re: Black Cube in this thread:
      Laura Rozen @lrozen 1h1 hour ago 

      On Reuben Capital Partners, cover firm used in op to suppress negative Harvey Weinstein stories, per New Yorker, &in email to Kahl’s wife 1/

      (((aweisburd))) @webradius 1h1 hour ago links to this article:

      Story discusses BlackCube’s work for SCL/Cambridge Analytica, and for Vincent Tchenguiz, but seems to miss(?) that Tchenguiz was until 2015 the major stockholder of SCL.

      Wendy Siegelman wrote a thread about it on 3/27/18: 

      The Black Cube work with SCL is a big story – SCL’s former largest shareholder until 2015 was Vincent Tchenguiz – and Tchenguiz has had a very close relationship to Black Cube, which had it’s London office based at one time in Tchenguiz’s Park Lane office

    • harpie says:

      Colin Kahl @ColinKahl  33m33 minutes ago [about 4:15 ET]
      [Colin Kahl Retweeted Amichai Stein [reporting Black Cube’s response]] To say that the least, Black Cube’s dodge is not credible. And lots more will be coming out on Black Cube’s role in all of this very soon.

  16. mitchell says:

    So that money went … somewhere.

    Try looking in Donald’s wallet. Like he can’t stop lying, he can’t stop grifting.

    Another, related mystery: That $26M to Melania’s friend: Some sort of laundering? Maybe setting up a slush fund in case divorce comes before widowhood? Or maybe both, because if she’s still married to Don when the healthiest man ever elected POTUS croaks, she knows, we know, that Ivana’s kids are going to make her life hell as they try to gauge every penny they can — just like they were raised.

  17. Trip says:

    So the Ramblin’ Rudy tour continues. LMAO. I’ll take some pity because the reality is that anyone connected to Donald can’t find the facts, because there are none, so it’s difficult to ever get “up to speed” on nonexistent truths. Lies are always moving and truth is stationary. I’m waiting for the inevitable breakdown, where Rudy just screeches, “9/11, 9/11, 9/11!” at the camera on live TV.

    Meanwhile, it’s my guilty pleasure to watch, and be delighted by the continuation of the Avanetti and Daniels hard troll.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Good point.  This is not about Rudy “getting up to speed” on the facts.  That’s first year law student stuff.  Rudy is peddling Trump’s McCarthyite disregard for facts.

      When the facts and the law are against you, peddle confusion.  It has the advantage of being all the Don knows, so Rudy and the Don make a virtue of it.

      • Trip says:

        He done messed up.

        Now all the pundits are trying to make it seem like he is some brilliant political strategist. Trump and Giuliani are confused because they are desperate and don’t know what line to use. They keep stepping into Avenatti’s flaming bag of poop on the front porch, after the doorbell has been rung.

        If the pundits would cut the crap with applying equal weight to both sides, the public wouldn’t consider other variables beyond, “this is all horseshit, and poorly executed horseshit, at that”. But no, even MSNBC and CNN allow talking heads to pontificate on the “strategic public opinion” BS. Never mind the numerous morons they allow on to reply that they have never heard D Trump lie. What is the point of THAT?


  18. harpie says:

    CNN [linked in post, above]: Investigators are asking whether wealthy Russians illegally funneled cash donations directly or indirectly into Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and inauguration. 

    There were two stories that came out yesterday which referenced use of [large amounts] cash:

    1] WaPo: As the ‘King of Debt,’ Trump borrowed to build his empire. Then he began spending hundreds of millions in cash.  May 5 at 1:30 PM

    […] The cash purchases began with a $12.6 million estate in Scotland in 2006. In the next two years, he snapped up two homes in Beverly Hills. Then five golf clubs along the East Coast. And a winery in Virginia.
    The biggest cash binge came last, in the year before Trump announced his run for president. In 2014, he paid a combined $79.7 million for large golf courses in Scotland and Ireland. Since then, those clubs have lost money while Trump renovated them, requiring him to pump in $164 million in cash to keep them running. […] 

    and 2] NYT: How Michael Cohen, Trump’s Fixer, Built a Shadowy Business Empire 

    […] In addition to his legal and taxi businesses, Mr. Cohen has had a seemingly charmed touch as a real estate investor. On one day in 2014, he sold four buildings in Manhattan for $32 million, entirely in cash. That was nearly three times what he paid for them no more than three years earlier. […] While his business is dwarfed by Mr. Trump’s assemblage of properties, it is not insignificant. From 2011 to 2015, limited liability companies connected to Mr. Cohen purchased at least five buildings in Manhattan, public records show.
    Like many of Mr. Cohen’s business dealings, the transactions were unconventional. His companies would buy a building, often in cash. Soon after, they would flip the building in another all-cash deal for four or five times the previous purchase price. The buyer was generally another limited liability company. […]

    • harpie says:

      I thought it was interesting that both of those article mentioned these cash transactions that took place in 2014, so…I guess I kind of fixated on that year to see if their might be related news. Among the items I found:
      Trump commerce secretary’s business links with Putin family laid out in leaked files 11/5/17 [This is from The Guardian’s coverage of the Paradise Papers] 

      In 2014, [Wilbur] Ross led a €1bn takeover of the Bank of Cyprus, a favoured destination for Moscow oligarchs seeking to store their wealth. Until 2013, the bank’s biggest shareholder was the Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev. In 2008, as the US began to fall into a financial crisis, Rybolovlev bought a Florida mansion from Trump for $95m. The future president had paid $41m for it four years earlier. […] Also invested in the bank takeover was the billionaire Russian industrialist Viktor Vekselberg. Vekselberg, who owns the world’s biggest collection of Fabergé eggs, attended the now infamous December 2015 dinner in Moscow for the Kremlin TV channel RT, where Trump’s future national security adviser Michael Flynn was photographed next to Putin.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Golllly Mr. Cohen, is that money you’re laundering?

      And yet Mr. Cohen could not find $130K in cash to pay for a Trump expenditure?  Something is rotten in “Mr. Cohen’s” business empire.  What are the odds that his looks like a Mini-Me version of the Don’s?

      What made these people think that they could rise to national prominence in public office and not have decades of their history subjected to close scrutiny?

  19. JacobLadder says:

    I guess you’ve all missed Judge Ellis’s rebuke. Basically Mueller was told to stick to matters of Russian election interference — like he was told to in the scope document. So exploring this “inauguration graft” angle, I’m afraid, is going to accomplish nothing but getting his boy Dreeben another scolding.

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