Deeper and Deeper He Goes

The last few days have made it clear Trump has no minimum standards of ethics or decency, and it extends well beyond shitholes.

Trump condo sales that match [the US] Treasury [department]’s characteristics of possible money laundering totaled $1.5 billion, BuzzFeed News calculated. They accounted for 21% of the 6,400 Trump condos sold in the US. Those figures include condos that Trump developed as well as condos that others developed in his name under licensing deals that pay Trump a fee or a percentage of sales.

Some of the secretive sales date back more than three decades, long before recent worries that Russians tried to influence Trump by pouring millions of dollars into his businesses.

But a months-long BuzzFeed News examination of every Trump condominium sale in the US shows that such sales surged in the late 2000s and early 2010s, when some Trump businesses were in financial trouble and when Donald Trump Jr. made his now-famous remark about the Trump Organization seeing “a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”

No wonder Trump marked his business as a red line that cannot be crossed, he’s likely been helping Russian oligarchs launder their money. And while Wolff has a less-than-stellar journalistic record, this sounds like something he taped (bolding mine).

It was clear where Mueller and his team were going, said Bannon: they would trace a money trail through Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen, and Jared Kushner and roll one or all of them on the president.

It’s Shakespearean, he said, enumerating the bad advice from his family circle: “It’s the geniuses, the same people who talked him into firing Comey, the same people on Air Force One who cut out his outside legal time, knowing the email was out there, knowing that email existed, put the statement out about Don Junior, that the meeting was all about adoptions … the same geniuses trying to get Sessions fired.

“Look, Kasowitz has known him for twenty-five years. Kasowitz has gotten him out of all kinds of jams. Kasowitz on the campaign- what did we have, a hundred women? Kasowitz took care of them all. And now he lasts, what, four weeks? He’s in the mumble tank. This is New York’s toughest lawyer, broken. Mark Corallo, toughest motherfucker I ever met, just can’t do it.”

“Took care” of “a hundred women?” It sounds an awful lot like Kasowitz paid off hundreds of sexual harassment complaints against Trump. Given news just broke another of Trump’s lawyers may have paid $130,000 to a porn star to bury a sexual encounter, and that over a dozen women accused Trump of sexual harassment or worse is, it’s not that far-fetched.

No wonder Republican representatives are fleeing their party in record numbers. Who wants to share a party with Trump?

[2018/01/13 HJH] PZ Myers brings up an excellent point:

Which means that when a porn actress, Stormy Daniels, says she did not have sex with Donald Trump, you should believe her, barring any solid evidence to the contrary. It is a non-story. At its worst it might be a tale of consensual sexual interactions between two people, one of whom is sleazy and repellent (it’s not Daniels I’m talking about)…but as long as it’s consensual, it’s only their business.

This is nothing but an attempt to harm Donald Trump, an activity I might approve of, by associating him with the unfair disrepute of sex workers. All it can do is further damage the standing of sex workers in general and Stormy Daniels in particular, to no good end.

Still, I think I can mount a worthy counter-argument. The following is an edited version of a comment I posted, with a few more links added.

For one thing, the evidence that nothing happened consists of a letter being produced by Donald Trump’s lawyer. For decades, Trump has lied and openly defied the law; forging a letter wouldn’t be a big deal for him or his “pit bull” lawyer.

Secondly, sex workers almost never talk about their clients. We live in a culture which heavily shames them for their work, so clients usually demand discretion to protect their reputations from splash damage. Coming forward about Publicly naming a client would pretty much kill a sex worker’s career. Nonetheless, Daniels was in negotiations with two separate news organisations to discuss one of her clients before mysteriously cutting off contact. She must have had a good reason to go that far.

Thirdly, we have plausible reason to think something non-consensual happened. Trump has nineteen women claiming sexual harassment or worse against him. His time as owner of Miss Universe demonstrates his sub-human view of women, and those beliefs are correlated with likelihood of sexual assault. It’s quite plausible Daniels was forced into non-consensual acts, and even a sex-positive view of sex work would condemn that. It would also explain Daniels’ move to talk with news organisations, which came at a time when allegations of sexual assault against Trump were a news topic.

There’s a chance Daniels was just in it for the money, of course. But I think there’s reason enough to report on this story, above and beyond our society’s taboo about sex.