Seth Meyers explains the background to the testimony that will be given today before a senate committee where Comey will be asked about his conversations with Donald Trump. Comey released a seven-page document yesterday that described five of the nine conversations he had with Trump and that seemed to suggest that Trump was leaning on him to stop the investigations into Trump and his associates.
The more I follow this story and the more I learn about Trump’s constant grifting, the more that Trump seems to talk and act like a mobster, except not as smart. Take for one example the story I wrote about yesterday. It is the sheer pettiness and venality that is striking. Here’s how the scam works. His son Eric sets up a charity golf tournament as a fundraiser for his own foundation. It is held at one of Trump’s golf resorts. Instead of getting a cut rate for the use of the facility because of his family connection and the fact that it is for charity, Donald Trump charges his son more than usual. But he says that he will reimburse the cost of using the facility by giving an equivalent donation to Eric’s foundation from Donald’s private foundation. The catch is that Donald does not put any of his own money into his foundation. That money is donated by people thinking that it is going to charity. So when all the dust settles, what we have is a transfer of money from people thinking they are giving to a charity into Trump’s pockets, using Donald’s and Eric’s foundations and ‘charities’ as pass-through money laundering devices.
This is why I think that the real story is not going to be about Trump directly colluding with high-level members of the Russian government on matters that involve policy because that requires a certain level of sophisticated discussions and Trump clearly does not care at all about policy. He just cares about money. What is more likely is that he is involved in common-or-garden crooked dealings with shady Russian mobsters who are involved in his business interests, as revealed in the Dutch documentary I wrote about here and here. These mobsters may themselves have links to Russian president Vladimir Putin though he is likely too savvy to leave his fingerprints on the deals. It is the possibility of these revelations that Trump is really scared about.