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Jul 02 2018

No Collusion

Just the normal Washington D.C. corruption. Maybe.

Donald Trump, Anthony Kennedy and the “boy” at Deutsche Bank: Not just about the money
by Jesse Kornbluth, Salon
July 2, 2018

As a way of looking at a presidency that is enamored of every possible felony — self-dealing, conflicts of interest, emoluments, collusion with foreign governments and domestic corporations — crime-breeds-crime is a reasonable way to look at any Trump-related event.

What started the speculation about dirty money connecting Trump, Kennedy and his son is the revelation that Kennedy and Trump have had a longstanding relationship through their children and their children’s success. We knew about Trump’s dealings with Deutsche Bank, the only bank willing to do business with him. (It’s also, perhaps not coincidentally, the bank that seems to have the longest illegal relationship with laundered Russian money. In January 2017, it was fined $425 million by New York regulators to settle allegations that it helped Russian investors launder as much as $10 billion through its branches in Moscow, New York and London.) But we’re just finding out about the Trump relationship with Justin Kennedy, the justice’s son, who worked at Deutsche Bank for a decade.

Media speculation about Trump’s surprising relationship with Justice Kennedy started with The New York Times.

Stephanie Ruhle of MSNBC has reported, Justin Kennedy left Deutsche Bank long before the money laundering and had no direct connection to the bank’s loans to Trump. The more interesting fact is where Justin Kennedy went next — he became the co-CEO of LNR Property. And that brings us straight to the most immediately vulnerable member of the Trump family, Jared Kushner.

The 666 Fifth Avenue deal is generally regarded as the all-time stinker in New York commercial real estate. What did LNR see as the upside? Better question: Was there any upside? As we know, 666 Fifth Avenue went badly for the Kushners, so badly that they were scrambling for a partner. Where might one be?

The Intercept reported earlier this year that Charles Kushner, Jared’s father, had discussed a financing deal for 666 Fifth Avenue with Qatari finance minister Ali Sharif Al Emadi in April 2017. A month after that deal cratered, a group of Middle Eastern countries, with Jared Kushner’s backing, led a diplomatic assault that culminated in a blockade of Qatar. NBC News reported that Qatari government officials visiting the U.S. “considered turning over to Mueller what they believe is evidence of efforts by their country’s Persian Gulf neighbors in coordination with Kushner to hurt their country.”

Inside the White House’s Quiet Campaign to Create a Supreme Court Opening
By Adam Liptak and Maggie Haberman, The New York Times
June 28, 2018

The younger Mr. Kennedy spent more than a decade at Deutsche Bank, eventually rising to become the bank’s global head of real estate capital markets, and he worked closely with Mr. Trump when he was a real estate developer, according to two people with knowledge of his role.

During Mr. Kennedy’s tenure, Deutsche Bank became Mr. Trump’s most important lender, dispensing well over $1 billion in loans to him for the renovation and construction of skyscrapers in New York and Chicago at a time other mainstream banks were wary of doing business with him because of his troubled business history.

About a week before the presidential address, Ivanka Trump had paid a visit to the Supreme Court as a guest of Justice Kennedy. The two had met at a lunch after the inauguration, and Ms. Trump brought along her daughter, Arabella Kushner. Occupying seats reserved for special guests, they saw the justices announce several decisions and hear an oral argument.

Ms. Trump tweeted about the visit and posted a photo. “Arabella & me at the Supreme Court today,” she wrote. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to teach her about the judicial system in our country firsthand.”

So, while Kennedy’s resignation may not be motivated by Trump financial coercion (indeed all evidence suggests Trump, Kushner, et al are fully leveraged and then some), it may turn out Justice Kennedy through his son Justin, Deutsche Bank, and loans to Jared Kushner is colluded up to his eyeballs.

She should have died hereafter.