It always was about the money. The president* always defined himself by it. It was the comforting myth of his public existence, the fairytale he told himself so he could sleep at night through all the failure and bankruptcy and the whoring after cash, dirty or laundered, all over the world. Take away the moneyâ€”or, more accurately, the perception of the moneyâ€”and there simply is nothing left of the man. Take away the money, and he can’t see himself in the mirror. So he would do anything, including imperil his presidency and, therefore, the country, to save himself from the horrible realization that the money was all there was to him and there wasn’t any money anymore.
It’s obvious from the public record, never mind what might be in his tax returns, that Trump was never a successful businessman. He’s been propped up all his life, first by his father, and then by banks who decided they’d lose more if they him crash than if they kept him propped up. It appears his properties have been used for money laundering by Russians. And then there’s the fact that in 2006 he was suddenly flush with cash, and there’s no accounting for where he got it. His “success” was entirely in his ability to market himself as a success. And when he got the stint on reality television, he literally became an actor playing a successful businessman on the teevee. His supporters still buy the image and don’t see the man.
Greg Sargent spells it out:Â Trumpism is rotten to its core. And the stench of corruption and failure is everywhere.
AÂ new Post piece offers an arresting summaryÂ of Trumpâ€™s current travails. Former Trump fixer Michael Cohen has now revealed that Trumpâ€™s company pursued a Trump Tower in Moscow through June 2016 â€” while GOP primary voters were choosing their nominee for president â€” which Trump concealed.
Meanwhile, the special counsel isÂ scrutinizing phone calls between Trump and longtime adviser Roger StoneÂ to determine whether Stone communicated advance knowledge heÂ allegedly possessedÂ of a WikiLeaks operation carrying out Russiaâ€™s sabotage of our election on Trumpâ€™s behalf.
The PostÂ weaves these strands togetherÂ this way: â€œInvestigators have evidence that Trump was in close contact with his lieutenants as they made outreach to both Russia and WikiLeaks â€” and that they tried to conceal the extent of their activities.â€
The precise nature of all these contacts probably wonâ€™t, by itself, bring down Trump. But they provide a new glimpse into just how corrupted his ascension to the presidency really was. He repeatedlyÂ praised Russian President Vladimir Putin and called forÂ better relations with Russia â€” positions presented as good-faith proposals in the national interest â€” while pursuing a lucrative deal thatÂ required Kremlin approval.
Trump doesn’t even seem to fully grasp what he did wrong. His rage tweets continue to slam the Mueller probe as “illegal” and a “witch hunt” that has hurt “innocent people.” Like Paul Manafort? And he continues to openly dangle the possibility of a pardon for Manafort. That’s obstruction on its face.
When will this illegal Joseph McCarthy style Witch Hunt, one that has shattered so many innocent lives, ever end-or will it just go on forever? After wasting more than $40,000,000 (is that possible?), it has proven only one thing-there was NO Collusion with Russia. So Ridiculous!
â€” Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2018
And instead of denying that he was pursuing a business deal with Vladimir Putin while running for president, he tweeted,
Oh, I get it! I am a very good developer, happily living my life, when I see our Country going in the wrong direction (to put it mildly). Against all odds, I decide to run for President & continue to run my business-very legal & very cool, talked about it on the campaign trail…
â€” Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 30, 2018
The Trump organization planned to sweeten the deal by offering Vladimir Putin a $50 million penthouse in the Moscow Trump Tower.Â See alsoÂ Trump Jr.’s 2017 Testimony Conflicts With Cohen’s Account Of Russian Talks.
The president lies about just about everything, but in particular he has lied on matters related to Russia. The latest exposure of his dishonestly comes out of the plea agreement from his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, who supplied evidence that the Trump Organization was actively pursuing a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow while Trump was running for president. TrumpÂ assertedÂ yesterday in response to Cohenâ€™s plea, â€œI mean, we were very open with it. We were thinking about building a building [in Russia].â€ In fact, throughout the campaign he claimed again and again that he had no business interests in Russia, sayingÂ things likeÂ â€œI donâ€™t know Putin, have no business whatsoever with Russia, have nothing to do with Russia.â€
To take just one other example, when it was revealed that Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner held a meeting in 2016 with a group of Russians they believed would supply them with damaging information on Hillary Clinton, President TrumpÂ personally dictatedÂ a misleading statement intended to deceive the public about what the meeting was actually about. Trumpâ€™s representatives, including lawyer Jay Sekulow and spokesperson Sarah Sanders, then issuedÂ denialsÂ that Trump wrote the statement. They laterÂ admittedÂ that these denials were false and Trump had in fact dictated it.
And of course Trump knew about the 2016 meeting before it happened.
At 6:14 p.m. on June 7, 2016, Donald Trump Jr. clicked the send button on an email to confirm a meeting with a woman described as a â€œRussian government attorneyâ€ who would give him â€œinformation that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia.â€
Three hours later, his father, Donald J. Trump, claimed victory in the finalÂ primary racesÂ propelling him to the RepublicanÂ presidentialÂ nomination and a general election contest against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In his victory speech, Mr. Trump promised to deliver a major address detailing Mrs. Clintonâ€™s â€œcorrupt dealingsâ€ to give â€œfavorable treatmentâ€ to foreign governments, including â€œthe Russians.â€
We see, over and over again, that Trump is a very limited man with little capacity for much of anything except being an ass. And it’s all closing in on him now.
BTW, wonder why the Moscow deal fell through? Philip Bump writes,
The plea deal indicates that the last known discussion about the deal was â€œon or about June 14,â€ 2016, when Cohen told Sater that he was canceling plans to travel to Russia.
Why is that date significant? It happens to be the day The Washington Post brokeÂ a big story that Russia had hacked the Democratic National Committee.