All right, no more pungent posts for the moment, but there are some items the odor of which has attracted my attention. Here’s a partial list —
Trump’s Tax Returns
In 2011 the Orange Foolious told the nation if President Obama would release his birth certificate (responding to OF’s false claims of ‘birtherism’) then OF would release his tax returns. Of course nothing happened. As of April 16, 2017 the New York Daily News had published a handy list of the number of equivocations and outright lies OF told about releasing his tax returns as of that date. As of July 2, 2018 the tax returns remain a mystery. Let’s be clear, there are some stiff penalties for lying (and this occupant of the Oval Office has a penchant for that activity) on IRS returns. Federal prosecutors may decide to bring charges for false statements, such as omitting important information on a return. Prosecutors may also file perjury charges. A perjury conviction can lead to a three year jail term and a $100,000 fine. If the return is deemed fraudulent then the authorities can seek a $10,000 fine and a year in prison. When a person hits one year in prison that’s felony territory. Criminal penalties aren’t the only issue. There’s the 75/25 bit involved in civil penalties. 75% of the unpaid taxes due in fines for willful fraud, and a cap at 25% of the unpaid taxes due in fines for unintentional non-payment.
There’s ample room for speculation about the rationale for OF’s refusal to release the returns — he’s not as rich as he said he is, he’s taken money from sources he’d rather we not know about, and/or he’s got some shady deals under wraps — or all of the above and in addition he’s lied about it to the Internal Revenue Service.
Wilbur Ross and the Bank of Cyprus
Here’s a finely tangled net. March 6, 2017 the New York Times reports that Ross “is no friend of the Russians” having forced out several Russians from roles in the Bank of Cyprus. However, before accepting this as evidence of Ross’s purity, note that one Viktor Vekselberg remained associated with the bank. The New York Times will report Mr. Vekselberg was interviewed by the Mueller team before May 4, 2018. On November 6, 2017 Vox reported Ross’s business dealings (Bank of Cyprus) with the son-in-law of Vladimir Putin. This was important as the first linkage between the Trump cabinet and the Russians, specifically Mr. Putin. November 28, 2017 Newsweek reports another connection, this time between both Putin’s son-in-law and daughter with Ross and the Bank. Mr. Vekselberg returns to the headlines in a May 4, 2018 New York Times article concerning sanctions against Russian oligarchs. [Mother Jones]
If Ross and Vekselberg are bystanders then further revelations of their dealings would exonerate them, at least in the court of public opinion. However, there are sufficient superficial connections of enough specificity to give sentient minds something to ruminate upon. Click over to the Mother Jones article for further enlightenment.
Trump and the Paradise (Panama) Papers
This is a classic Trumpian business model. Let others take the financial risks, then “sell” the “rights” to the Trump brand to the owners, in this instance Mossack Fonseca. [DC McClatchy 4/29/16] We know that all enterprises with Trump in the name aren’t necessarily Trump controlled, some appear to be barely under any financial control at all. We also know that Trump is a brand. He monetizes it, and then collects licensing fees and royalties. We also know that he was ever so please to be associated with the Panama operation:
“And we’re now doing a great, great project in Panama that’s selling like hotcakes, and I think it’s one of the most beautiful buildings in the world,” Trump said, speaking in the collective and sounding like an investor. “So I’m really honored to be involved in Panama.” [DC McClatchy 4/29/16]
But wait, here we go name dropping again. Whose names? These may sound familiar: Oleg Deripaska and Paul Manafort? As of April 29, 2016 there was “nothing to see here” move along. Not. So. Fast. I suspect there’s more to be untangled here than a Cayman Islands court case for $26 million. I for one would like to see more.
This, and we’ve not even begun to explore the wonders of the loans from Deutsche Bank and its loan officer relative of recently retired US Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. Nor have we yet heard from the Mueller team dealing with money laundering and possible financial crimes — see Andrew Weissman. Granted the obstruction of justice report will likely be the first one off the blocks, but there’s the collusion element, and the looming financial report which may well make Stormy Daniels look like a mere tropical depression. There are more things I want to see.