Part II of the documentary on Trump’s dealings with unsavory figures

Trump’s Achilles heel has always been his business dealings. He has demonstrated that he is extremely greedy, selfish, and has no ethical standards. Such a combination makes it extremely likely that he has indulged in all manner of unsavory business dealings with other people like him and also with outright crime figures. Although these people are skilled at covering up the money trail, financial transactions involving large sums going all over the globe are difficult to completely hide and skilled journalists should be able to track down the paper trail and connect the dots.

I have long felt that the US media and Democratic party’s efforts to link Russia to Trump’s election by suggesting that they were involved with illegal election activities was to pursue a futile quest. Even if the Russians were involved, showing a link in the world of internet skullduggery where trails can be hidden and there are many actors involved would be difficult. Furthermore, since the US routinely interferes in other countries’ elections and even overthrowing their governments in military coups, it has no standing to complain. Their resources would be much better spent in investigating Trump’s business dealings.

Fortunately, the Dutch investigative journalists at Zembla are doing what US journalists seem to be neglecting. The first part of their documentary examining Donald Trump’s relationships with shady business figures round the world that I linked to yesterday looked at Trump’s connections with Russian and Kazakh organized crime figures and money launderers. In this second part, Zembla looks at more unsavory people who have links with both Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, this time at an Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev who is suspected of dealing in so-called blood diamonds coming out of Angola and Namibia. Leviev is also a member in good standing of the extremely orthodox right-wing Jewish religious group known as Chabad, helps fund the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank and, like Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has strong personal links with Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.

From the Zembla website:

Although still in its early days, Donald Trump’s presidency is coming under fire. The Russians are alleged to be in possession of sensitive information about Trump. And that exposes Trump to blackmail. Fake news, tweets Trump: “I have nothing to do with Russia – no deals, no loans, no nothing!” Trump swears he has no ties with the Russians. But is that actually the case?

In the second part of our programme about Donald Trump’s controversial friends, we will set our sights on the Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev, who is controversial because he is suspected of trading in blood diamonds. He is one of the world’s biggest diamond traders and owns prestigious stores in New York and Moscow, but he is also the owner of Siebel, the Netherlands’ biggest jewellery chain. Leviev has ties with Russian president Putin, US president Trump and his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner. Trump, however, claims he hardly knows this “King of Diamonds”. Zembla investigates Lev Leviev’s business empire.

This is the kind of investigative journalism that the media in the US should be pursuing. Maybe these two documentaries will spur more interest in doing so. But US media institutions tend to be quite parochial and not follow up leads that others have uncovered, especially by foreign journalists. An example of this was in the lead up to the Iraq invasion. The international press was quickly exposing many of the lies told by the Bush administration such as Colin Powell’s infamous speech to the UN about photographs of Iraq’s weapons labs, but the US media simply ignored that coverage.


  1. poolboy says

    Creating conspiracy theories against Trump is not similar to debunking conspiracy theories by Bush.
    We have people like John McCain meeting and arming literal neo Nazis in Ukraine, and jihadis all over the Middle East… but we have to take accusations of Russians making Trump watch Hentai (alleged by a UK agent hired by the McCain team) a national priority to get him out of public office?

    Why do we have to drawn imaginary links between unverifiable accusations when the real unsavery figures are the ones that the US gov. is sending billions of dollars worth of weapons to to continue bombing the F out of people.
    All the real and important crimes are ignored and false ones pushed forward… which are designed to bomb more people.

  2. mnb0 says

    “Fortunately, the Dutch investigative journalists at Zembla are doing what US journalists seem to be neglecting.”
    Now only if American (or British) investigative journalists would return the favour by doing what Dutch journalists seem to be neglecting …. like researching Dutch racism. One relatively infamous example:

    No repercussions for the police officers involved.
    I can tell you there is a lot more. A lot. It’s huge. Really big.

  3. KG says

    Furthermore, since the US routinely interferes in other countries’ elections and even overthrowing their governments in military coups, it has no standing to complain.

    True -- but (a) that doesn’t justify Russian interference in the American election* and (b) that’s not how most Americans will see it, so if one’s aim is to reduce support for Trump and the Republicans, such interference is a juicy target.

    *If it occurred -- I’d say so far there are plenty of grounds for suspicion, but no cast-iron proof.

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