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Trump, Russia and a Shadowy Business Partnership

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An insider describes the Bayrock Group, its links to the Trump family and its mysterious access to funds. It isn't pretty.

By Timothy L. O'Brien

June 21, 2017, 3:00 AM CDT

The special counsel’s investigation of the White House has come more sharply into focus.

"Robert Mueller is examining whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice when he fired James Comey as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Washington Post recently reported. As we've heard for months now, there is also a probe of possible collusion between Trump's campaign team and the Kremlin to tilt the 2016 election in the president's favor.

But the Justice Department inquiry led by Mueller now has added flavors. The Post noted that the investigation also includes "suspicious financial activity" involving "Russian operatives." The New York Times was more specific in its account, saying that Mueller is looking at whether Trump associates laundered financial payoffs from Russian officials by channeling them through offshore accounts.

Trump has repeatedly labeled Comey's and Mueller's investigations "witch hunts," and his lawyers have said that the last decade of his tax returns (which the president has declined to release) would show that he had no income or loans from Russian sources. In May, Trump told NBC that he has no property or investments in Russia. "I am not involved in Russia," he said.

But that doesn't address national security and other problems that might arise for the president if Russia is involved in Trump, either through potentially compromising U.S. business relationships or through funds that flowed into his wallet years ago. In that context, a troubling history of Trump's dealings with Russians exists outside of Russia: in a dormant real-estate development firm, the Bayrock Group, which once operated just two floors beneath the president's own office in Trump Tower.

Bayrock partnered with the future president and his two eldest children, Donald Jr. and Ivanka, on a series of real-estate deals between 2002 and about 2011, the most prominent being the troubled Trump Soho hotel and condominium in Manhattan.

During the years that Bayrock and Trump did deals together, the company was also a bridge between murky European funding and a number of projects in the U.S. to which the president once lent his name in exchange for handsome fees. Icelandic banks that dealt with Bayrock, for example, were easy marks for money launderers and foreign influence, according to interviews with government investigators, legislators, and others in Reykjavik, Brussels, Paris and London. Trump testified under oath in a 2007 deposition that Bayrock brought Russian investors to his Trump Tower office to discuss deals in Moscow, and said he was pondering investing there.

"It's ridiculous that I wouldn't be investing in Russia," Trump said in that deposition. "Russia is one of the hottest places in the world for investment."

One of Bayrock's principals was a career criminal named Felix Sater who had ties to Russian and American organized crime groups. Before linking up with the company and with Trump, he had worked as a mob informant for the U.S. government, fled to Moscow to avoid criminal charges while boasting of his KGB and Kremlin contacts there, and had gone to prison for slashing apart another man’s face with a broken cocktail glass..."

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-06-21/trump-russia-and-those-shadowy-sater-deals-at-bayrock

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Here's another twist to the Sater/Trump story: The prosecutor who flipped Sater is now working for Mueller.

Andrew Weissmann is a longtime federal prosecutor who has joined Robert Mueller’s Trump–Russia special counsel investigation. News stories have described Weissmann as an expert in “flipping” witnesses, i.e. getting them to testify against their co-conspirators.

Put more plainly, Robert Mueller has hired a prosecutor who was previously involved with a case that involved securing the close cooperation of an individual who might (might!) have simultaneously been helping fund Trump projects with laundered money.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2017/06/21/felix_sater_donald_trump_robert_mueller_and_andrew_weissmann.html

No wonder they're all lawyering up.

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Everybody that talks to the fbi or a prosecuter should have a lawyer. Fake talkingpoint.

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PkrBum wrote:Everybody that talks to the fbi or a prosecuter should have a lawyer. Fake talkingpoint.

Especially if they work in the Trump administration.

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PkrBum wrote:Everybody that talks to the fbi or a prosecuter should have a lawyer. Fake talkingpoint.

Do you really not know how to spell prosecutor? Are you that fucking stupid or are you just illiterate?

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