Don’t Bank on Trump

Yesterday the bankers who lent money to Trump Inc. resigned, or more likely, were allowed to resign. The bank they worked for has not enjoyed the spotlight that comes with financing Trump. It will probably jettison him as a client as soon as possible (he still owes the bank over $300 million).

There probably aren’t any other mainstream banks that want anything to do with Trump’s businesses. So he will have to look for other sources of financing. Most likely private investors and/or banks from countries in the Middle East, Russia and China. Lenders that will be pleased to have Trump owe them big money.

Especially if he or his kids stay in politics. And don’t look to closely at how the money was laundered sourced.

Biden Bite Back #103

During the election campaign, Donald Trump is sure to accuse Joe Biden (and his son Hunter) of corrupt business dealings. Biden can try to deny and defend, but he would be better off adopting Trump’s tactics: go on the offensive.

“All of the information about me (and Hunter) is public – look at it,” Biden can retort. “But with Trump, who knows where the money behind his projects really comes from? He won’t say. He’s friendly with the Russians. His bankers are being investigated for money laundering. Maybe that’s why he has something to hide.”

Putin’s Goods On Trump

Every couple of weeks speculation surfaces that Vladimir Putin has the goods on Donald Trump and is somehow blackmailing him. The same speculators go on to wonder what it is that Putin has.

It is not women. Trump may well have slept with women in Russia while married, but no one really cares. His supporters accept that he is a philanderer. After all, here is a guy who boasted about the size of his penis in a presidential debate. Of course he is going to use it any chance he gets.

Steve Bannon was right. What Putin has over Trump is money laundering. Specifically, Russian money. It will probably come out that either Trump’s business or his son-in-law Jared Kushner’s business depended on laundered Russia money, breaking all sorts of laws.

Unfortunately for Putin, using this blackmail evidence carries some costs. He can’t just say that Trump was money laundering. He has to do it indirectly, which will probably mean sacrificing one of his oligarch allies and charging them with Russian crimes that would then highlight the money trail and expose Trump’s laundering.

In addition Putin’s leverage may decline over time. Special counsel Robert Mueller will likely put it all together on his own and charge Trump’s and/or Kushner’s organizations with money laundering. Of course, Putin retains some leverage in that he could still be able to supply some details that make Mueller’s case airtight.

Any way you look at it, in all probability Trump’s son or his son-in-law is going to need a presidential pardon.

Trump The Business

Donald Trump wrote a book about his business acumen and even started a ‘university’ to teach it to others. But like most things Trump, the reality is not as good as he says it is.

I once spoke to a banker about the traders in his company that used computers to trade massive amounts of money and make a few cents on each trade. It was impressive. He replied, not so much. The traders were trading using the bank’s money for free. If they had to borrow the money at market rates instead they would be losing their shirts.

It is a good bet that Trump Inc. is built on a similar model. The economics of his business deals are probably based on getting financing from unsavory characters (alleged mobsters and worse), highly aggressive tax maneuvers and illegal undocumented quid-pro-quo agreements. Trump Inc. might not be a money launderer per se, but you won’t have to scratch the surface very deeply to find the rinse cycle.

This is why Trump is so afraid of Robert Mueller’s investigations. They are bound to uncover the extent of the shady deals he and his family have done to stay in business. And since he and his family make all of the important decisions, there really aren’t a lot of henchmen to take the fall when the truth comes out.

So in addition to the Charles Kushner pardon pool, we ought to be thinking about wagering on pardons for Donald Trump, Jr. and Jared Kushner.