Newsweek has broken a story about the twisty financial ties of Trump, and how very easy it would be for foreign governments to do some serious arm twisting, to get Trump to do their bidding. As I hope has been made clear through dozens upon dozens of posts, Trump is primarily concerned with his name and his wallet. This whole government thing, not so much. Anyone who thinks Trump will actually divest prior to inauguration, oh please, make it back to reality land. That simply won’t happen. Trump has already stated he doesn’t care if it’s a violation of the constitution. Unfortunately, that particular mess does not rest there. If you need one more reason to actively fight against Trump, here it is – this is person who thinks of the presidency as nothing more than a good business opportunity. He not only does not understand the implications, he does not care. This is just the tip of the iceberg, one which spells out, very clearly, that Trump is placing the U.S. government in a prime position to be blackmailed by an assortment of other governments.
Despite universal condemnation of the ongoing slaughter of Filipinos, Trump signaled his approval of Duterte’s policies during a phone call on December 2. According to Duterte—an account that has gone uncontested by Trump—the president-elect endorsed his tactics as “the right way.” Duterte added: “[Trump] was wishing me success in my campaign against the drug problem.” (He also said Trump invited him to the White House, a courtesy not yet extended to Theresa May, the prime minister of Britain, America’s most important strategic ally.)
One thing, however, is clear: The Trump family has an enormous financial interest in keeping Duterte happy. Trump Tower at Century City in Makati, Philippines, is on the verge of completion, with potential buyers having placed deposits on at least 94 percent of the condominiums, according to Century Properties, the Trump Organization’s business partner there. During the U.S. presidential campaign, Trump’s sons Donald Jr. and Eric traveled to Makati to shovel some dirt in a ceremony to celebrate the structural completion of the building; a photograph of the two men shoveling alongside top Century Properties executives was posted on the building’s website. (On that same website, a line of jewelry by Trump’s daughter Ivanka is offered for sale, and it is expected to be available for purchase at the $150 million property.) As with almost every property with Trump’s name on it built over the past decade, his company is not the developer; it merely sold its name to Century Properties to use on the building. Although details of the transaction are not public, contracts for other Trump branding deals reviewed by Newsweek show that they require a multimillion-dollar up-front payment as well as up to 25 percent of the developer’s revenue, year after year. So, under the deal, Trump’s children will be paid millions of dollars throughout their father’s presidency by Jose E.B. Antonio, the head of Century Properties.
Duterte recently named Antonio the special government envoy to the United States. The conflicts here could not be more troubling or more blatant: President Trump will be discussing U.S. policy in Southeast Asia with one of his (or his children’s) business partners, a man who is the official representative of a foreign leader who likens himself to Hitler. Also note that the Trump family has an enormous financial interest in Duterte’s deadly campaign: Rooting out crime in the Philippines is good for the real estate values.
Rachel Maddow also addressed highly troubling concerns when it comes to a Trump financial tangle and Turkey.
According to Maddow, Trump has a business relationship with the Doğan family, owners of Doğan Holding, which is building twin towers in Turkey bearing the Trump name for which the Trump family stands to make millions of dollars.
Maddow then got to the heart of the matter.
“Turkey desperately wants the U.S. government to extradite an imam [Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen],” Maddow explained. “They [the U.S.] have said that they are not extraditing him. But if that’s what you wanted, what if you could squeeze the personal financial interests of the American president as a way to get what you want from the American government?”
“I mean, the Trump family and the president-elect themselves, they stand to make millions of dollars from their relationship with the Doğan group in Turkey. That will stop if they get locked up,” she continued. “So they started locking them up. Nice leverage, right? It would be one thing if it was business leverage — but it’s leverage against all of us as Americans.”
As Eichenwald notes in his article: “If Erdoğan’s government puts more pressure on the company that’s paying millions of dollars to Trump and his children, revenue flowing from that tower complex in Istanbul could be cut off. That means Erdoğan has leverage with Trump, who will soon have the power to get Gulen extradited.”