REPEATEDLY—on the campaign trail, after the election, and during his presidency—Donald John Trump promised to release his tax returns, as all presidential candidates have done since Richard Nixon. Repeatedly, he failed to do so. Not only that, but when both Congress and the Manhattan District Attorney’s office subpoenaed those documents, as part of their respective investigations into his rank corruption, Trump refused to turn them over, citing his lofty position as Chief Executive. The essence of his defense boiled down to two oft-tweeted words, which he trotted out again yesterday:
Far from fulfilling his promise, Trump has moved heaven and earth to avoid turning over his financial documents—his taxes, via his accountant, Mazars; and his banking information, via his creditor, Deutsche Bank. His motives for stalling will soon be abundantly clear. He is the serial killer trying every trick in the book to prevent the cop who pulled him over from opening the trunk where the mutilated corpses lie.
“When you’re the president, they let you do it” is, happily, not a valid legal justification for covering up crime, “white collar” or otherwise. That was what the Supreme Court held in yesterday’s landmark ruling. It will take time, of course—everything with Trump takes time, and in this respect, Trump v. Vance was a victory for the president:
Although some legal experts are not so sure the courts won’t expedite the process:
Me, I’m not as concerned about the timing as much as the ruling itself. Trump lost. Democracy won. Our would-be dictator fell to the rule of law.
Now that the documents will, at long last, be released to the proper authorities, we can focus on what they will reveal: money laundering. This is not pie-in-the-sky speculation on my part, but the best educated guess based on a preponderance of evidence—including Trump’s intransigence in releasing his taxes.
First, we know Trump has long laundered money for the mob—first La Cosa Nostra, following in the footsteps of his front-man father, Fred; and since the mid-80s, for the Russian mafiya. He’s been the property of the latter for decades.
Second, we know Deutsche Bank is verfault. This is a rotten outfit that came to prominence as the bank of choice for Hitler and the Third Reich, and is now the BCCI for the 21st century. DB paid hefty fines for running “mirror trades” with Russia, to help move money out of that corrupt country and into the Western banking system—money laundering, in other words. It paid a record $2.5 billion fine for its role in the Libor scandal, when it was caught manipulating interest rates. It was fined for doing business with countries on the US sanctions list. The bank agreed to a $7.2 billion settlement for its active role in causing the 2008 financial crisis. And just this week, Deutsche was hit with yet another fine, this one of $150 million, for turning a blind eye to the numerous suspicious transactions in the accounts of its late client, the late convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. That’s almost $11 billion in fines alone in the last 12 years, almost a billion a year, for having no scruples in its business dealings. That’s real money! Is it any surprise Trump was a DB customer? I actually chuckled when I read the bank’s statement after yesterday’s ruling:
“Full respect.” Whatever, mein dude.
The journalist Sandi Bachom attended the 22 May 2019 hearing concerning Trump’s suit against Deutsche Bank to block the House subpoenas of his financial documents. She took good notes, which she posted to Twitter. Although that trial involved the House, and not the Manhattan DA, the underlying documents are the same. Thus, that hearing provided clues to what might come next in this saga.
For starters, it was, as Bachom says, common knowledge on Wall Street that Trump was a deadbeat, even back when Reagan was president:
What would possess Deutsche Bank to lend any money at all to this serial bankrupt, let alone half a billion bananas? The likely answer is that DB did not issue the loans itself, but merely legitimized them for the Russian oligarchs/mobsters who were Trump’s true creditors. Trump is like a recent college graduate whose parents have to co-sign the lease for him to get the apartment; in this analogy, Deutsche is the real estate broker, and Putin is Daddy.
Consider: If Deutsche was willing to pay all those billions of dollars in fines and not change its shady business practices, the profits from their underworld clientele must be tasty indeed. They must have been making bank. As the attorney Rick Petree puts it:
That’s the only logical answer to the question Douglas Letter, general counsel for the House, posed at the trial:
As for Trump, he appears to be all-in with the financial crimes, going so far as to employ the time-honored mob tactic of laundering money through accounts of his children and grandchildren:
Why would the House general counsel say that, unless it had direct bearing on the case? This is not just about the president, we can surmise, but also about Donald Trump, Jr., Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, and Jared Kushner—four family members who have, respectively: met with agents of a hostile foreign power to get “dirt” on a political rival; laundered money for the Iranian National Guard through a real estate boondoggle in Baku; ripped off a cancer charity; and done so much illegal shit I had to write an entire piece about it. However hard Ivanka tries to present as normal, these are not good people. These are third-generation mobsters. I’ll add that there’s nothing to prevent the Manhattan DA, or the New York State AG’s office, from indicting Junior, Vanks, Gums, or Boy Plunder between now and Election Day.
And then it gets interesting:
Bachom told me she thinks the entire Trump family and its associates will go down on RICO charges—the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, a tool for prosecuting criminal enterprises. Mobsters, in other words. That won’t happen before November, true. But for the pleasure of watching them all turn on each other, for Ivanka to have to decide whether to betray her father or betray her husband, I’m willing to wait.
The wheels of justice turn slowly, as the saying goes, but grind exceedingly fine. The president wanted to burn the republic to ashes, but in the end, it’s Trump who will be ground to dust. Not tomorrow, and not next month, but eventually, and inevitably.
Photo credit: The Oval Tower in Amsterdam, occupied by German financial giant Deutsche Bank. Photo by DennisM2 via Flickr.