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Pierce writes: "The president* and his son-in-law, who has anywhere between three and 81 jobs in the administration*, were shuffling money around in such a funky fashion that money-laundering experts - at the only bank in the world from which the president* can get more than a souvenir calendar - felt compelled to raise an alarm."

Deutsche Bank building. (photo: Getty)
Deutsche Bank building. (photo: Getty)

The Words 'Money Laundering' and 'President' Should Never Be in the Same Sentence

By Charles Pierce, Esquire

21 May 19

None of this comes within several hundred hectares of complying with the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution that the president* swore to preserve and protect.

hese four lengthy sentences from The New York Times should be enough for people of good will and patriotism to consider ending a presidency.

Anti-money laundering specialists at Deutsche Bank recommended in 2016 and 2017 that multiple transactions involving legal entities controlled by Donald J. Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, be reported to a federal financial-crimes watchdog. The transactions, some of which involved Mr. Trump’s now-defunct foundation, set off alerts in a computer system designed to detect illicit activity, according to five current and former bank employees. Compliance staff members who then reviewed the transactions prepared so-called suspicious activity reports that they believed should be sent to a unit of the Treasury Department that polices financial crimes.

The president* and his son-in-law, who has anywhere between three and 81 jobs in the administration*, were shuffling money around in such a funky fashion that money-laundering experts—at the only bank in the world from which the president* can get more than a souvenir calendar—felt compelled to raise an alarm. Putting the words "money laundering" and "president" in the same sentence used to be enough for network news to throw up one of those scarifying "BULLETIN" graphics. Putting the word "Russian" in there, too, used to be enough to get Walter Cronkite to sail his sloop all the way from the Vineyard to Black Rock.

In the summer of 2016, Deutsche Bank’s software flagged a series of transactions involving the real estate company of Mr. Kushner, now a senior White House adviser. Ms. McFadden, a longtime anti-money laundering specialist in Deutsche Bank’s Jacksonville office, said she had reviewed the transactions and found that money had moved from Kushner Companies to Russian individuals. She concluded that the transactions should be reported to the government — in part because federal regulators had ordered Deutsche Bank, which had been caught laundering billions of dollars for Russians, to toughen its scrutiny of potentially illegal transactions.

Apparently, according to the people interviewed by the Times, DB functioned as an all-purpose international laundromat for various people who needed money cleaned. Of course, the stakes rise considerably when one of the folks waiting for the spin cycle to finish is the president* of the United States.

After Mr. Trump became president, transactions involving him and his companies were reviewed by an anti-financial crime team at the bank called the Special Investigations Unit. That team, based in Jacksonville, produced multiple suspicious activity reports involving different entities that Mr. Trump owned or controlled, according to three former Deutsche Bank employees who saw the reports in an internal computer system...Senior executives worried that if they took a tough stance with Mr. Trump’s accounts — for example, by demanding payment of a delinquent loan — they could provoke the president’s wrath. On the other hand, if they didn’t do anything, the bank could be perceived as cutting a lucrative break for Mr. Trump, whose administration wields regulatory and law enforcement power over the bank.

None of this is normal. None of this is right. None of this comes within several hundred hectares of complying with the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution that this guy swore to preserve and protect. Presidents are not supposed to scare bankers into hand-waving money-laundering allegations. That's not in the job description.

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+71 # ER444 2019-05-21 13:58
How much more do we have to see until it is clear that this man is a fraud and a crook and needs to be sent behind bars? When is enough, enough?
+16 # bobmiller101 2019-05-22 01:17
WHEN??? When Nancy decides to do her job as Speaker of the House and decides to use the FULL POWER of her office to execute her DUTY to enforce the Constitutional Duties of the House of Representatives ; begin proceedings to impeach Trump. NOTHING ELSE will work. She tried to play "nice" so as not to inflame the Trumpsters and we see how well that is working.
-9 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-05-22 12:09
ER --- were you or people like you making the same comments when Bush/Cheney were lying the US into endless wars, total surveillance, mass arrests of muslim males, and all the rest. Both were known fronts for weapons industry. Both stood to profit immeasurably from the wars they started. Both hired legions of "experts" including Colin Powell, to spread their lies. More than 2 million people died as a result of their actions.

I was screaming my head off about Bush and Cheney. Obama, too. I don't see anything Trump has done that comes close to Bush/Cheney/Oba ma. What is different is now the major media is screaming its head off about Trump.

Unfortunately, there will never be enough.
+8 # economagic 2019-05-22 20:45
"ER --- were you or people like you making the same comments when Bush/Cheney were lying the US into endless wars, total surveillance, mass arrests of muslim males, and all the rest[?]"

Yes, millions of us were.
+12 # boredlion 2019-05-21 22:19
It's Limbo Lower Time - "How low - - Can you Go ! ! ? "

(Okay, a rhetorical question . . )
+4 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-05-23 08:11
bored -- I don't think we've even got a glimpse of the bottom yet. Things will go a lot lower. This will be subterranean limbo. Or the Limbo from Hell, way down there.
+26 # USADUDE 2019-05-21 22:52
A career criminal President is still obstructing justice. This fraudulent swamp creature needs to be held to account in a court of law.
+24 # ChefDave 2019-05-22 04:34
The fact that he is still firmly lodged in his presidential seat is further confirmation that everyone in our representative government, excluding about a dozen principled individuals, is in the game for their own benefit. Nobody wants to step out of line. Everyone wants to keep the wheels on the revolving door greased.

Step one is to get money out of politics. Our “tool” of government, with which we accomplish the goals of society, is broken. We can’t go to work on the problems of society with a broken tool. Fix the damn tool!!!
-13 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-05-22 04:54
I guess I am just tired of the retailing these vague and pointless charges. Most major global banks like Duetsche Band do many things that can be said to look like money laundering. Are we forgetting that James Comey was hired as chief counsel by HSBC to deal with its indictment for billions of dollars in money laundering for drug cartels? And how about the way Mueller covered up the charges against the Clinton Foundation for money laundering.

There are important issues that Trump is very wrong on. Among the most important is his Venezuela regime change. The nation has made a lot of progress since the Bolivarian revolution and Chavez. Trump wants to turn it all back to the control of US oil companies.

The NYTimes has been one of the biggest liars and fake news purveyors on Venezuela. It has laundered Trump's and Bolton's lies through its pages day after day.

I guess I'm more worried about fake news laundering. That's the specialty of the NYTimes. It is sad to see Pierce take the bait. There's no details to this story; just vague and silly accusations: "were shuffling money around in such a funky fashion." That's just not a crime. In fact, it is normal. Money laundering has a legal definition but the NYT does not know what it is.
+14 # RMF 2019-05-22 12:46
If you are truly a critic of trumpolini then why give him a pass in presence of strong suspicions of money laundering?

And secondly, what kind of logic says to ignore money laundering because there may be several large banks engaging in such criminal misconduct -- wouldn't the proper conclusion in face of this probable cause fact pattern be to step up investigations of money laundering more generally -- not argue against such criminal inquiries.
-2 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-05-22 17:20
RMF -- OK. What exactly is the case of Trump's money laundering. The article above has no specifics, only accusations.

I think we all know that real estate developers are extremely loose with how they handle money, how they report gains and losses for taxes, and how they use bank accounts to pay bills and receive payments. The Cayman Islands and other such tax havens are filled with the cash of real estate developers.

Most of this is legal, however. You remember the Panama Papers. No one was charged with a crime. All was legal, even if it was repugnant to most people like me. This is how congress wrote the laws. Many members of congress use the same tax law loopholes for themselves.

I read Craig Unger's House of Trump, House of Putin. He tries to lay out the worst case imaginable. But I think he falls short. Selling apartments to Russians is not illegal. It is not the business of US law if that money was earned in a way that violates Russian law -- ask Bill Browder. He's been convicted in Russia but he is the darling of the US and UK. 99% of what Unger describes is odious and repugnant to me and most normal people -- but it is legal in the US, the utopia of free market capitalism, where capital has more freedom and rights than human beings. Capital can cross borders that most humans cannot. That's the law.
+4 # NAVYVET 2019-05-23 06:22
I agree that Bush/Cheney should have been impeached specifically for money laundering. Some pols are so greedy or so easily blackmailed that they can't help but use their elected office for their own gain, or that of their blackmailers.
Drumpf certainly isn't the first to trample down a smooth path for criminal profit! For some presidents it goes 'way beyond money laundering. "Follow the money."

Pierce evidently has forgotten about the scandals of Presidents Grant and Harding. And before them, Jackson and every one of his presidential colleagues, who were corrupt enough to enslave humans (Africans) and murder others (Indigenes) by the millions. Does Pierce think that couldn't have been done without the collusion of the rich, including the banks, and the crowds of envious people who followed like sheep and supported the crimes? It was the deep-swamp corruption of white supremacy & envy of the slaveholders that seduced Southerners into attacking a United States fort and starting the Civil War--clearly treason--invent ing the "states' rights" whine to excuse their crimes.
+1 # DongiC 2019-05-24 05:26
NAVYVET, using the startlingly powerful arguments from American History to condemn money laundering, how very, very clever of you.
I have always been amazed at how the elite class in the South convinced the majority of white Southerners to support their peculiar institution of slavery while these same whites owned no slaves. And to the utter destruction of most of the infrastructure of the South which put them behind the rest of the nation for over a 100 years. The true swamp creatures of the South were amazingly effective at persuasion; the masses there still bear the scars of their primordial conversion to the baser parts of our human nature.

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