- A report out today from Public Citizen details how foreign governments, corporations and trade associations have been patronizing Trump’s properties since he took office. You might say, “Well there’s not necessarily any quid pro quo there,” which is true. But it’s also true that everyone knows that Trump is a man of uncommon greed and pettiness, and if you’re coming to Washington or holding an event, you might as well line Trump’s pockets while you do it, whether you’re the government of Saudi Arabia or the American Petroleum Institute, as a gesture of good will that might pay off later. As an Asian diplomat told The Post right after the election, “Why wouldn’t I stay at his hotel blocks from the White House, so I can tell the new president, ‘I love your new hotel!’ Isn’t it rude to come to his city and say, ‘I am staying at your competitor’?”
- A review by BuzzFeed of all Trump Organization condominium sales since the 1980s shows that 1,300 sales totaling $1.5 billion were made in cash by anonymous shell companies. “Those two characteristics signal that a buyer may be laundering money, the Treasury Department has said in a series of statements since 2016.”
- According to an investigation by USA Today, “President Trump’s companies sold more than $35 million in real estate in 2017, mostly to secretive shell companies that obscure buyers’ identities.” The use of these shell companies exploded once Trump became the Republican nominee for president. “In the two years before the nomination, 4 percent of Trump buyers utilized the tactic. In the year after, the rate skyrocketed to about 70 percent.”
- Eric Trump has repeatedly claimed that his foundation, recently rechristened “Curetivity,” is able to hold fundraising events at Trump properties for free, but as the Daily Beast reports, this is false. In 2016, Curetivity paid Trump properties nearly $150,000, meaning that if you went to a charity golf tournament the group held, part of your tax-deductible contribution went into the president’s bank account.
- McClatchy reports that foreign governments in places such as Indonesia and Panama have suddenly become eager to accommodate Trump properties, doing things like building roads and sewer systems to maximize the value of a property. “And in other countries, governments have donated public land, approved permits and eased environmental regulations for Trump-branded developments, creating a slew of potential conflicts as foreign leaders make investments that can be seen as gifts or attempts to gain access to the American president through his sprawling business empire.”
“Like Nixon, Trump has created a culture in his administration in which people feel comfortable with corruption. Trump himself has shown a complete indifference to democratic norms, to rule of law, and that sends a pretty clear signal to the people beneath him.”