Analysis by Reporting San Diego
July 25, 2017 (San Diego) Back on May 10 we wrote that there were many parallels to Watergate, after the firing of FBI Director James Comey. The parallels to one of the darkest times in American history were hard to deny. Yet, the crisis was one that was not very clear yet. In fact, most media still refuse to use the word crisis.
However, there are signals that President Donald Trump intends to either have Attorney General Jeff Sessions either resign or ultimately fire him. It is suspected the president will appoint Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) instead. Why is Trump doing this? For starters, Sessions has done one thing about the Russian probe that Trump cannot tolerate. He recused himself. While we usually do not magnify the President’s Tweets, this early morning Tweet is relevant. He is trying to pressure Sessions to resign.
Sessions recusal was required by the internal rules of the Department of Justice and professional ethics. Sessions may very well become a witness, therefore could not lead any potential or real probe. This led to the hiring of Robert Mueller, former FBI Director, as special counsel. So far Mueller has built an A Team to investigate possible Russian collusion.
Sessions was not able to slow the probe down. In fact, that probe now includes business dealings of the president including records from Deutche Bank, that may include material related to the probe. The New York Times reports:
After a string of bankruptcies in his casino and hotel businesses in the 1990s, Mr. Trump became somewhat of an outsider on Wall Street, leaving the giant German bank among the few major financial institutions willing to lend him money.
Now that two-decades-long relationship is coming under scrutiny.
Banking regulators are reviewing hundreds of millions of dollars in loans made to Mr. Trump’s businesses through Deutsche Bank’s private wealth management unit, which caters to an ultrarich clientele, according to three people briefed on the review who were not authorized to speak publicly. The regulators want to know if the loans might expose the bank to heightened risks.
This is the kind of regulation that might also reveal toxic ties between Trump and less than savory characters in the Russian Federation. They may even point to Kompromat. This potentially toxic information could be used by a foreign agent to influence or directly control the actions of the president. This is no longer a Tom Clancy novel, but the current reality. Esquire goes into how this could have worked.
It is about the money because it always has been about the money, and, because it always has been about the money, we suspect that the hounds now are baying loudly at the doors of the Kompromat Laundromat. This is how it could have happened: The Trump Organization, reportedly deeply in debt, needed money and couldn’t get a loan from a U.S.-based bank. Meanwhile, the vicious Russian kleptocratic elite had a lot of dough it needed cleaned and was washing it through Deutsche Bank and through banks in Cyprus, an underrated spot for such enterprises. It was a profitable relationship for both parties: Both of the older Trump boys boasted in the past about how important Russian investment had been in maintaining the Trump Organization. Then Dad ran for president. Then he won. And then, by all indications, the bills came due.
One of the lynchpins to this is Paul Manafort, who at one time managed Trump’s campaign. He has multiple business links in both Russia and at one time Ukraine.
What we have is at the very least the worst corruption scandal since Tea Pot Dome taking shape in Washington. That scandal did not fully manifest itself until after President William Harding left power, but it became the greatest scandal until Watergate.
What we are seeing is corruption, possible collusion with a foreign state, and a paralyzed government. This is a multifaceted crisis. Regardless, if Sessions leaves and the president gets his way, and has Mueller fired, a full blown, obvious crisis will be in front of us. This will be similar in some ways to the final days of the Nixon White House. While the firing of James Comey had clear parallels to the Saturday Night Saturday, this will show deep desperation
For the moment Republicans are in a vice. They know that like Nixon, Trump has a rabid base that will follow him, However, they know that what the president is doing will sooner or later touch them. They also know they have not been able to do anything of what they intend to do, Partly due to their own internal factions. Partly because Trump has proven to be a poor leader if we are to be kind.
We are not happy that the country is starting to go through a national nightmare, but in the end, it might be good for the country. We are faced with an incompetent leader. However, we also need to ask how deep does this collusion with Russia go? Does it spread to members of Congress? Dana Rohrabacher was once warned by the FBI the Russians were trying to recruit him. He represents a deep red district in California. He is not alone.
However, others in Congress are pointing to the issues. For example, Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-CA) posted this image on his site, with a full list of links.
This is not insignificant, and it carries the investigative report from both the New York Times and Washington Post.
Where this will go is a good question. However, that crisis we detected back in May is starting to come sharply into focus.