Robert Mueller’s “witch hunt” just cornered the leader of the coven when Donald Trump’s former lawyer-fixer, Michael Cohen, flipped for a second time and blew the whistle on what he claims is his long-time benefactor’s financial lying and manipulation regarding Russia. Cohen’s Thursday revelations in a Manhattan federal court opened the door to further scrutiny of Trump purported commingling of personal and political affairs. If proven, Trump will be deprived of further ability to maintain that his organization had nothing to do with Russia, where official action serves to enhance private enterprise.
Assuming the truth of Cohen’s revelations, which are contested by Trump and his now personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, there was a long-standing relationship between the president and the original red state. Another Trump associate, Felix Sater, has claimed that Russian election meddling had a nexus to a proposed Trump tower in Moscow that included a fifty-million-dollar, in-kind, inducement to Russian president Vladimir Putin.
There has been no shortage of Damon Runyon-like characters in Trump’s orbit, going back to his earliest days in business. The notorious lawyer, Roy Cohen, who played a large part in Senator Joseph McCarthy’s 1950’s hearings into purported communist infiltration of Hollywood, was one of them. Cohen, who mentored Trump, is likely the source of his lifetime obsession with giving no quarter.
Most international real estate tycoons would salivate over the prospect of penetrating the Russian market. With oligarchs galore, who operate under the aegis of officialdom, the potential for enormous profits is tempting. Trump may have succumbed. His offspring, Don Jr. and Eric, have spoken lovingly about beaucoup Russian money flowing to the family enterprise.
Deutsche Bank, a prodigious Trump lender, has been under investigation that peaked this week when the bank’s headquarters were raided by German authorities who seized records they believe will reveal the extent of Deutsche’s alleged money laundering. Trump would’ve gone under without the bank’s help on more than one occasion.
Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, replaced himself as top official at the Bank of Cyprus with a former Deutsche Bank chairman when he left to head Commerce. Due to the bankruptcy of the 2nd largest Cypriot bank, (then headed by Ross), and forced merger with the Bank of Cyprus, Russian depositors wound up with huge shares of the newly combined financial institution that, effectively, controls Cyprus, a valued tax haven.
These issues will come into clearer focus if Mueller’s investigation links Russian endeavors to put a favorite sun behind the Resolute Desk with desires to further enhance that country’s favored citizens. Cohen’s revelations point the way. Trump, who lies easily, particularly about his business connections to Russia, may be close to getting tagged with an insufficient funds penalty.