Friday, May 26, 2017

"This Is A Gangster Family"-- The FBI's Person Of Interest


The quote in the subject line was something reporter Michelle Goldberg said to Chris Hayes last night, about Prince Jared or, as we know him, Kushner-in-law. Her point was that the Kushners-- like the Trumps-- may be able to afford to clean up nicely but that they are nothing but vicious, merciless predators. And now the law is catching up with them (again). As more than one Twitter wag remarked this morning, "Gangsters don't hire family members because they're qualified. Gangsters hire family members because they're less likely to talk to the FBI." The FBI is looking into Kushner's Putin-Gate role. NBC first reported that Kushner is under scrutiny.
The FBI's scrutiny of Kushner places the bureau's sprawling counterintelligence and criminal investigation not only on the doorstep of the White House, but the Trump family circle. The Washington Post first reported last week that a senior White House official close to Trump was a "person of interest," but did not name the person. The term "person of interest" has no legal meaning.

The officials said Kushner is in a different category from former Trump aides Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn, who are formally considered subjects of the investigation. According to the Justice Department's U.S. Attorneys' Manual, "A 'subject' of an investigation is a person whose conduct is within the scope of the grand jury's investigation."

...Kushner met at least once in December with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, and he also met last year with a Russian banker, Sergey Gorkov... Congressional aides have said they would like to question Kushner about that meeting, and Kushner has said he would voluntarily appear before the Senate intelligence committee as part of its Russia investigation.

Gorkov is chairman of VneshEconomBank, a Russian government-owned institution that has been under U.S. sanctions since July 2014. Gorkov studied at the training school for the FSB, one of Russia's intelligence services.
Sources on the fringe right say Bannon is taking a victory lap over the widely reported FBI news. We've been writing about Jared's fabulous adventure for over a year now, from the jailbird father to the visa-selling in China. But a must-read on this slimy crook came out this week at Slate by Jamelle Bouie, Nothing But Slumlords. "In a feature for ProPublica and the New York Times Magazine," wrote Bouie, "journalist Alec MacGillis shined light on the role of Jared Kushner-- son-in-law and close adviser to President Trump-- as a real estate developer and landlord. In 2011 and 2012, seeking a stable source of revenue, Kushner and his partners purchased thousands of units of working-class housing in the inner-ring suburbs of cities like Baltimore and Pittsburgh. Their largest holdings are in Baltimore County, Maryland, where they control 15 complexes that house up to 20,000 people in total. And in managing these properties, reports MacGillis, Kushner is a harsh and unforgiving landlord." A friend of mine, who was Kushner's tutor when he was in high school tells me Kushner isn't very bright and her son told me he's "a violent, spoiled asshole." No one could believe he got into Harvard-- until it came out that his father bought him a slot in the freshman class.
Kushner’s company is relentless in its pursuit of “virtually any unpaid rent or broken lease-- even in the numerous cases where the facts appear to be on the tenants’ side.” Residents are slapped with thousands of dollars in fees and penalties, even if they had previously won permission to terminate a lease. All of this is compounded by poor upkeep of facilities. MacGillis describes one family that has had to deal with mold, broken appliances, and physical damage to their unit-- even after paying the management company for repairs. In one complex, a resident “had a mouse infestation that was severe enough that her 12-year-old daughter recently found one in her bed.” In another, raw sewage flowed into the apartment.

Jared Kushner stepped down as chief executive of Kushner Companies upon taking his position in the White House, although he retains a $600 million stake in the business, which still holds and manages these properties. “They’re nothing but slumlords,” said one tenant to MacGillis. For someone whose company all but exploits the precariousness and desperation of people who have few other choices for decent housing, it is a fair charge.

...Kushner... is working in an administration whose policies would make life more precarious for even more people. The priorities include a health care plan that would take insurance from tens of millions of people, a budget plan that would slash vital aid for up to one-fifth of all Americans, and a tax plan that would use those funds to lower rates for the wealthiest Americans. In turn, that precariousness opens new opportunities for those, like Kushner and Trump, who will not hesitate to exploit vulnerable people for profit.

The past eight years of Democratic government were far from perfect, but liberal policymakers were at least attuned to the reality of exploitation and the need for policies and protections to stop and punish the businesses that work to make life more difficult, and more expensive, for ordinary Americans. Like President Trump’s “university,” Jared Kushner’s history in the low-income housing market is a reminder: With this White House, we don’t just have an indifference to exploitation-- we have an administration of actual predatory capitalists eager to reshape the government in their image, for their interests.
Last night Politico ran a story by David Freedlander, Meet the Real Jared Kushner in which he reiterates that Kushner "in a White House sullied by ties to Russia and all sorts of unsavory characters from the fringe, Kushner was set to float above, surrounding himself with fellow figures from the elite worlds of Manhattan finance and real estate and deep-sixing the harder-edged ideas of the White House’s 'nationalist' wing... Because he is soft-spoken, slim and handsome, with degrees from Harvard and NYU and a family that donates to Democrats, he couldn’t possibly be the same guy knifing his West Wing rivals and urging the president to go to war with the Justice Department and the FBI."
Except that this isn’t quite how it has gone in the White House over the last several months. It was Kushner who reportedly pushed for the firing of FBI Director James Comey over the objections of Bannon. And it was Kushner who was the lone voice urging for a counterattack after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the appointment of a special prosecutor, according to the New York Times. And it is now Kushner whose family’s business activities leave him open to the same level of charges of conflict of interest that have dogged his wife and father-in-law, and Kushner who appears to be as closely tied to the Russian government as anyone serving in the White House: NBC News and the Washington Post reported Thursday that the FBI is taking a close look at his contacts with the Russians.

UPDATE: It's Friday So The News Is Coming Hot And Furious

The NY Times has their own new Putin-Gate blockbuster tonight-- just hours after the story about how Kushner proposed to the Russians that they set up a secret channel of communication using secure Russian facilities, something he carefiully hid from American intelligence. This one is about a Putin crony, Oleg Deripaska, who Manafort used to work for. He wants immunity to testify in front of Congress. Congress turned him down. Deripaska lives in Moscow and has been banned from traveling to the U.S. because of his connections to organized crime.
But he was able to enter the country in another way during that period, according to previously undisclosed court documents. Mr. Deripaska came to the United States eight times between 2011 and 2014 with government permission as a Russian diplomat, according to affidavits he gave in a little-noticed lawsuit in a Manhattan court. Mr. Deripaska said in the court papers that his visits were brief and made in connection with meetings of the G-20 and the United Nations, not to conduct business.

The court documents and public records show that Mr. Deripaska, whose companies have long had offices in New York, has expanded his American holdings over the past 10 years, buying high-priced Manhattan townhouses and a major stake in a Russian-language newspaper in New York.

The lawsuit was brought by Alexander Gliklad, a Russian-born businessman, who charged that Mr. Deripaska had used his diplomatic status as a cover to do business, which the oligarch denied. Mr. Gliklad claims he is entitled to collect funds that Mr. Deripaska had agreed to pay to settle a lawsuit with a man who owed Mr. Gliklad money from a court judgment. Last month, a New York State Supreme Court justice rejected Mr. Gliklad’s argument that the Manhattan court had jurisdiction over Mr. Deripaska.

As Mr. Manafort’s dealings with Russia-friendly Ukrainian politicians, business activities and loans have come under examination in recent months, his former client has gotten caught up in the media scrutiny. The two men were partners in an offshore fund set up in 2007 to buy telecommunications and cable television assets in Ukraine, where Mr. Manafort had advised then-President Viktor F. Yanukovych. That deal fell apart, winding up in litigation in the Cayman Islands.

In March, Mr. Deripaska took out newspaper ads stating that he was willing to participate in hearings before Congress after The Associated Press published a report alleging that Mr. Manafort had provided him with a plan in 2005 outlining steps to “greatly benefit the Putin government,” by influencing politics and news coverage in the United States. Mr. Deripaska has denied ever entering into such an arrangement and sued The A.P. for libel last month. The news organization has said it stands by its article. Mr. Manafort has denied that his work for the oligarch was aimed at aiding the Russian government.

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At 4:29 AM, Anonymous Hone said...

Yes, the whole Trump family is an abomination. Now only four months in (is it only that long? It seems like years), and look at the damage. At this warp speed rate of destruction, we will not last until the midterm elections. Our hopes are pinned on Mueller. Surely Congress will do absolutely nothing, with the evil Republicans at the helm, and Nancy Pelosi doing zip - she really needs to go.

I sure hope the expose is as astounding as it seems it will be. I imagine if the truth comes out, it will be a sight to behold: mobsters, gangsters, etc., with a chokehold on our supposed President, all out to sell off the USA like they sold off Russia to enrich those at the top. Unbelievable.

Maybe Trump will wind up in that orange jumpsuit after all. If it all comes crashing down, Pence had better not pardon Trump and his crew.

At 6:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trump has been a gangster and law-breaker his entire life. Yet he's now president.

Kushner's family has been no less gangster and law-breaking, so much so that his daddy was imprisoned by then-NJ AG Christie in a political bones-making trial that led to him becoming governor.

Anyone wanna put money on ANYONE in this whole clusterfuck going to prison? I didn't think so.

Treason was committed by Nixon and Reagan in order to get elected. neither of them suffered any kind of inconvenience for it.

The drumpfsterfire won't suffer as much for his and his people's crimes than slick willie did for his blowjob. bank on it.

We live in a morally inverted society where consensual sex is bad and treason is just fine. (also just fine: drone murder, torture, bank fraud, forever wars, austerity leading to death...)

At 8:08 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

our commander in THIEF has been a slum lord and constant liar. he is a business failure with at least 4 bankruptcies. he has not paid his contractors, but sued them rather than pay the agreed amount per the signed contract. DJT is unable to get business or personal loans from US banks - WHY? - because of his past defaulting on loans.
Jared Kushner is made of the same privileged ilk. He committed a crime by not disclosing meeting he had with foreign agents. therefore his security clearance must be removed and he needs to be prosecuted.
as a former USMC E5 Sgt, who had a security clearance, I understand the duty and responsibility with having a security clearance. I was able to benefit from the GI bill to attend and graduate from Medical School and work as a Family physician.
I have trouble understanding how we elected a con man as president of the USA. DJT/Jared Kuhner and ilk represent the worse of America perverting our common national goals understanding that we citizens are all equal and that our elected/appointed officials are employed by all of us citizens to protect our best interests.

At 9:11 AM, Blogger Robert Murphy said...

$800 billion dollar military budgets. Broken economic system.

At 4:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The pathetic attempts to bring justice to the Trump Cabal only distract from the increasing concentration of global power into fewer hands. Greed will prove to be the root cause of the imminent decline of humanity, of which there is no reason to doubt that our eradication as a global life form is increasingly possible.

At 6:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

6:46 et al, the question that comes to mind here and now is this:

How horrible would a candidate have to be for R voters to decide he's too horrible even for them to vote for?

The answer for this keeps plummeting to new depths. I honestly feel that, here and now, this is bottomless. At some point very soon, our literal hitler/stalin/amin/pol pot is inevitable. We just need someone with that degree of ambition. We might have him now.


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