Russiagate ICYMI Open Thread: Paul Manafort’s Chicago Banker Busted

This was an insanely busy week — and not just for national politics — but it’s good to remember that the work of uncovering the Oval Office Occupation’s myriad crimes goes on, relentlessly. I take this (apart from the obvious) as a reminder to any other Big Money Guys who might’ve approved some less-than-Grade-A Trump-associate transactions… that the Mueller team and its state associates are not demonstrating the kind of sympathetic, who-among-us attitude to which the GOP has accustomed them.

38 replies
  1. 1
    Lapassionara says:

    The corruption is just staggering.

  2. 2
    MattF says:

    Manafort’s corruption and criminality is right there. Trump’s laughable claim that Manafort was just a coffee boy is a staggering, awe-inspiring lie– so it’s simply par for the course.

  3. 3
    germy says:

    Anytime I find myself wondering if Trump’s a willing Russian asset or just a feeble minded dupe, I remind myself of the full page ad he took out in the New York Times in 87′.

    With his “own” money.

    Calling for the dissolution of NATO.

    A month after his KGB guided tour of Moscow

    — Fred Harding (@OPCGhost) May 24, 2019

  4. 4
    Leto says:

    Maddow was all over this almost a year ago. I know people don’t like her delivery style (I agree, she can draw things out at times, and can repeat stuff a bit too much), but she’s been highlighting these corrupt/incompetent fuckers for years now. She spent a few weeks detailing out this dipshits attempt to buy the Secretary of the Army position. He even went to the Pentagon and tried to get briefings from them, claiming he was the incoming Secretary.

    Maddow Blog@MaddowBlog

    In Steve Calk’s multi-page resume/wish-list for jobs he wanted in the Trump administration, one paragraph stood out as uncharacteristically lucid and correctly spelled, so naturally we were suspicious.

    …you guessed it: Wikipedia.

    9:48 PM · Aug 14, 2018

    As Kay has mentioned numerous times, we need better elites. They’re breathtakingly stupid/incompetent.

  5. 5
    Leto says:

    @germy: And since then, he’s had his crotch spawn over there a few times for “guided tours.” Ivanka’s fond memories of sitting in Putin’s chair… they’re all compromised. They’re all corrupt. And they’re all propped up by a corrupt, compromised, and worse, indifferent, Republican Party.

  6. 6
    germy says:

    @Leto: I still say Eric is Gary Busey’s

  7. 7
    Mike in NC says:

    Netflix will soon be showing “When They See Us”, about the 1989 case of the Central Park Five, teens from Harlem falsely accused of assaulting a white female jogger. Will they mention Donald Fucking Trump’s intervention with newspaper ads demanding they be given the death penalty?

  8. 8
    trollhattan says:

    Speaking of Trump’s band of criminals, Bannon is currently skipping around Italy literally working with Mussolinis. They’re getting the band back together and it’s a very, very bad band.

    How is he still doing this and not in prison somewhere?

  9. 9
    zhena gogolia says:


    At first I read that as “Barron.” I thought, my God, he’s starting early.

  10. 10
    MattF says:

    @trollhattan: Bannon doesn’t seem to be particularly greedy, so DAs and grand juries find greener pastures elsewhere. Mere sociopathy isn’t illegal.

  11. 11
    trollhattan says:

    @zhena gogolia:
    “WH playdate with Italian nationalists” doesn’t seem like an impossible headline.

  12. 12
    trollhattan says:

    Sigh, maybe not. I think of him as a serial arsonist with an unlimited supply of free Bics.

  13. 13
    boatboy_srq says:

    REMINDER: This is what the Reichwing convinced itself that Clinton and Obama were doing. For years.

    They thought what they were doing was OK because they believed their opponents did worse.

    One wonders whether they merely assume that being MOTUs makes them unassailable, or whether they think this grade of greed and stupidity is acceptable because They™ got away with it. One suspects the latter; that explains the Benghazi!!11!1!, Fast and Furious and other investigations more readily, since the skullduggery had to be there and failure to unearth it was a failure of the investigators and not exoneration of the investigated.

  14. 14
    germy says:


    With his political capital effectively played out on the American right, Steve Bannon has taken his cultural-anxiety show to Europe, where he hopes to establish a school for nationalists in a former monastery outside of Rome. But the Catholic Church — not to mention the village locals — aren’t thrilled that Bannon has decided to set up reactionary shop in a former abbey built in 1204.

    According to a letter obtained by Politico, a top cardinal, Renato Maria Martino, rejected Bannon’s plan for the academy on the monastic site. Martino wrote to Bannon associate Benjamin Harnwell in January, demanding that they not implement any “distortions or modifications” to their initial plan — which was for an “apolitical Catholic study and training center,” per Politico. Cardinal Martino also threatened to resign as the honorary president of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, the association overseeing the project.

  15. 15
    tokyokie says:

    @trollhattan: Perhaps he’ll visit Milan’s Piazza Loreto and have a vision of his demise.

  16. 16
    West of the Rockies says:


    Prison or rehab, you decide. I bet anyone near him can smell the gin, oozing from every pore.

  17. 17
    trollhattan says:

    @West of the Rockies:
    I’d happily supply the pruno for his stint at Club Fed. He’ll never 12-step himself into becoming a mensch.

  18. 18
    germy says:

    I keep seeing headlines about Stephen Calk’s indictment that call him Manafort’s banker but don’t mention that he was on Trump’s Council of Economic Advisors, which seems important…

    I wish the major media outlets would point this out more.

  19. 19
    James E Powell says:


    I wish the major media outlets would point this out more.

    If we assume that they are working to re-elect Trump, their behavior makes perfect sense.

  20. 20
    Aleta says:

    May 23 (Bloomberg)

    Kushner Cos., the real estate firm owned by the family of President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, has received about $800 million in federally backed debt
    to buy apartments in Maryland and Virginia — the company’s biggest purchase in a decade.

    The loan was issued by Berkadia, a lender co-owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and Jefferies Financial Group Inc., in a deal that’s backed by government-owned Freddie Mac, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be named discussing the private transaction.

    The arrangement increases the government’s exposure to Kushner Cos.

    Bloomberg reported in February that Kushner was purchasing 6,030 apartments across 16 properties in the two states from private equity firm Lone Star Funds in a $1.15 billion deal. The Real Deal reported earlier Thursday on the closing of the transaction.
    Trump appointed Joseph Otting to oversee the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates Fannie and Freddie. Otting previously served as CEO of OneWest Bank, founded by now-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, an ally of Kushner’s in the West Wing.

    [Kushner Cos.] sold almost $2 billion of apartments in 2007 to help finance the purchase of 666 Fifth Ave. …

    Kushner Cos. reached a deal to sell a 99-year lease on 666 Fifth to Brookfield Asset Management Inc. last year,

    In 2017, Kushner Cos. teamed up with Israel-based Psagot Investment House to buy Quail Ridge, a 1,032-unit complex in Plainsboro, New Jersey, that the Kushner family had owned until a 2007 sale. In April last year, the firm bought the 360-unit Prospect Place in Hackensack, New Jersey.


  21. 21
    Anya says:

    I am anticipating a conviction, the appeal and then Robert’s court legalizing this as business as usual. Mueller seems to have legalized conspiracy and foreign intervention into our election so I am anticipating the courts to legalize purchasing government positions.

  22. 22
    Doug R says:

    So is that why Guliani prosecuted the Italian mob? So the Russians could slip in? The fix has been in since at least when Mitch McConnell felt free to not give Obama’s Supreme Court choice a hearing.

  23. 23
    Aleta says:

    A reminder of how Kushner Cos. keep receiving money even while failing on the surface. (Old reporting about the 666 building, going up to Aug. 2018 in Bloomberg) So now we taxpayers are backing their $800 million loan to buy more real estate, “the company’s biggest purchase in a decade,” after they got 99 years of rent money upfront for the 666 building deal.

    In 2011, Kushner Cos. sold about half of the [666 tower] building to Vornado Realty Trust, a better-capitalized firm headed by Steve Roth. …

    Kushner in 2011 had been given an extension on his mortgage, and had even had some loan interest forgiven, concessions designed to give him and Roth time to make the building profitable. They failed. The tower lost $25 million last year, a figure that was exacerbated by the fact that the Kushners recently hadn’t made serious efforts to lease the property up. …

    As the situation worsened, one thing that bothered some Vornado executives, as well as some of the building’s lenders, was the Kushners’ management fee, said people with knowledge of the negotiations. Every year, no matter how well the building did, a division of Kushner Cos. was slated to receive about $3 million for overseeing it, according to loan documents.

    The company neared a potential rescue from China’s Anbang Insurance Group Co. last year, but talks fell apart after the terms of a particularly advantageous deal for the family were made public. … … (T)he $1.2 billion mortgage comes due this February.

    Eventually, Roth, who had long desired to own the building outright, agreed to sell Vornado’s stake back to Kushner. The company said Friday that it got $120 million in the deal. It still owns most of the retail space.

    [Brookfield ] planned to invest $700 million, plus more to facilitate a paydown of the tower’s debts. For that deal to make sense for Brookfield’s investors, they’d need to receive more than Vornado’s half of the property …. Some estimated Brookfield would need to buy it outright.

    The deal [with Brookfield] that emerged Friday does that in a clever way. Brookfield will take a 99-year leasehold at the property. What that means is Brookfield will pay a fixed rent to the deedholder, Kushner Cos., while essentially managing the building as owners, and taking the upside, or loss, for themselves. Leasehold structures are popular with property owners who don’t want to worry about management, and also those who don’t want to deal with the tax implications of a sale.

    What’s unusual about Brookfield’s deal is that it pays Kushner Cos. the 99-years rent upfront, rather than annually, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Exactly how much that is hasn’t been disclosed, but would need to be enough to help the Kushners’ pay off at least $1.1 billion they owe lenders.

  24. 24
    Harbison says:

    “But, but, I need facebook to keep up with my writing group.”

  25. 25
    Duane says:

    Mueller’s investigation has kept some of the crooks from having a position in government other than federal prisoner #XXXXX.
    This administration is like an invasion of cockroaches. They’re everywhere and you can’t kill them all no matter what you do.

  26. 26
    EthylEster says:

    @trollhattan wrote:

    Bannon is currently skipping around Italy literally working with Mussolinis.

    Hmm, virtually, maybe?

  27. 27
  28. 28
    Duane says:

    @EthylEster: Pretty sure we need @Steve’s in the Somewhere approval before using the word literally anymore. Literally.

  29. 29
    SFAW says:

    One fucking day. I want just ONE fucking day without more and bigger examples of the corruption of this entire Maladministration.

    Where the fuck is Kevin Uxbridge when we need him, to rid us of these Husnock?

  30. 30
    SFAW says:


    Pretty sure we need @Steve’s in the Somewhere approval before using the word literally anymore. Literally.

    I literally never use the word “literally.”

  31. 31
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @tokyokie: Wouldn’t it be cool if someone went there with a stencil & spray paint can & put his name on one of the lampposts? And then sent him a photo? (A coil of rope in one corner of the image would not seem out of place either.)

  32. 32
    J R in WV says:

    In Italy it looks like the olives don’t fall far from the tree.

    Shame those folks couldn’t think of a better way to thrive than to leverage their monster ancestor’s name and fame.

    Worse shame that anyone in Europe would vote for someone with a name that will live forever in infamy. I thought Italy would be better than that!

  33. 33
    different-church-lady says:

    Look, if we can’t realistically impeach the motherfucker, can’t we at least call for his resignation?

  34. 34
    different-church-lady says:

    @SFAW: Do you mean literally in the figurative sense, or in the literal sense?

  35. 35
    SFAW says:


    Do you mean literally in the figurative sense, or in the literal sense?


    More or less. Well, more less than more, un-less it’s more more than less.

  36. 36
    different-church-lady says:

    @SFAW: Do you mean yes in the literal sense, or in the sarcastic sense?

  37. 37
    SFAW says:


    Do you mean yes in the literal sense, or in the sarcastic sense?


    Or maybe no.

    If we keep this up, all the various commenters with any sense of self-preservation will desert the blog, causing it to drop from a “Top 10,000” blog, to status approaching my own blog’s position.

  38. 38
    Procopius says:

    @germy: OT, but …

    … a former abbey built in 1204.

    Is there any builder in the world today who could construct a building that would last nine hundred years and counting? Granted the roof has to be replaced from time to time, but the basic structure is still there. Certainly not Halliburton. And definitely not KBR.

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