More than one-fifth of Donald Trump’s U.S. condominiums have been purchased since the 1980s in secretive, all-cash transactions that enable buyers to avoid legal scrutiny by shielding their finances and identities, a BuzzFeed News investigation has found.
Records show that more than 1,300 Trump condominiums were bought not by people but by shell companies, and that the purchases were made without a mortgage, avoiding inquiries from lenders. Those two characteristics signal that a buyer may be laundering money, the Treasury Department has said in a series of statements since 2016. …
Trump condo sales reportedly are under scrutiny by special counsel Robert Mueller, whose team includes Justice Department prosecutor Kyle Freeny, a money-laundering expert. …Trump-Russia investigators in Congress also are interested in the timing of any money laundering and whether it coincided with periods when Trump could not get conventional loans.
As the Buzzfeed piece reminds us, Stephen K. Bannon was quoted in Michael Wolff’s book saying the Mueller probe “is all about money laundering.”
* Yesterday the Trump administration announced that states could apply for waivers to impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients. The move is already generating results:
Kentucky will now require many of its Medicaid recipients to work for their benefits, the first time ever a state has been permitted to impose such a requirement.
The state announced Friday that it received federal approval to mandate certain Medicaid enrollees to hold jobs or participate in other employment activities for 80 hours a month. … Also, Kentucky can start charging its Medicaid enrollees monthly premiums ranging from $1 to $15, depending on income, and suspend some of those who fall behind in payments.
Recall that Kentucky has seen one of the largest drops in the uninsured rate of any state in the country, in part due to the Medicaid expansion. So this will be an interesting test case to see whether the new work requirements actually do fulfill their stated goal of improving Medicaid for recipients, or whether they instead roll back that progress (which may be the real goal).
* In a statement today, Sen. Dick Durbin pushed back on Trump’s denial of his “shithole” comments. Durbin said:
“President Trump said things that were hate-filled, vile, and racist. He used those words, and he used them repeatedly. I cannot believe that in the history of the White House, in that Oval Office, any president has ever spoken the words that I personally heard our president speak yesterday.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Tim Scott says his fellow South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham privately confirmed the “shithole” comment to him, so there you go.
* But Sens. Tom Cotton and David Perdue put out a statement insisting that “we do not recall the President saying these comments specifically but what he did call out was the imbalance in our current immigration system.” We do not recall! Profiles in courage!
* Rep. Martha McSally just launched her Arizona Senate campaign with new video vowing not to “bow down” before “Sharia law,” and featuring footage of Trump calling her “tough.” And she is the GOP establishment’s pick, a sign of what GOP primary politics will look like this cycle.
* NBC’s Garrett Haake asked McSally for a response to Trump’s “shithole” comments, and she pulled a homina homina homina, claiming only that she wouldn’t criticize his “salty” language and that there’s a dispute about what was said. Again: The GOP establishment pick.
* Also check out the new ad just out from Kelli Ward, the Trumpist challenger to McSally, blasting her for her endless disloyalty to Trump. These primaries are going to be lit.
* Philip Klein reminds us of how Ronald Reagan used to talk about immigrants, to illustrate the GOP’s slide into Trumpian anti-immigrant madness.
* Elizabeth Bruenig argues that Democrats have a moral obligation to shut the government down if the alternative is leaving hundreds of thousands of dreamers with an uncertain future and millions of children without health care.
* And a new NPR/PBS/Marist poll finds that Oprah Winfrey would beat Donald Trump in a head to head matchup by 50-39. This, even though 54 percent don’t even want Oprah to run, which probably shows just how unpopular Trump really is. #FakePolls