Monday, March 5, 2018

Porn star's payoff and other Trump debts

Do you care about Donald Trump and the porn star? You are entitled not to, and not to care as well about the Playmate who said he, um, engaged her and then offered to pay.

In both instances, said activities would have occurred two years into his marriage to Melania. Busy man.

USA Today recently asked: Should we care? Do we have to? As everyone knows, infidelity has been a part of many presidential narratives.

However, something is different about the porn star matter. Not surprisingly, it involves money.

What you may know about is that Trump's attorney paid $130,000 for the silence of the stage-named Stormy Daniels, enthraller of small audiences in such big hits as "The Witches of Breastwick" and "Dripping Wet Sex 4."

What you may not know is what the Washington Post now reports: When Trump dallied on the agreed-upon hush fund, she threatened to go public before the 2016 election.

So Trump attorney Michael Cohen did what one would for any exceedingly slimy client. He created a limited-liability company that served as a vehicle for the payoff.

Now, once again, you are entitled to not care. Except for that money thing, because it may have broken the law.

Public interest group Common Cause has filed inquiries with the Federal Election Commission and the Justice Department to investigate whether the money in question came from Trump or from his campaign stash. The latter would violate federal finance law.

Carnal deeds aside, this should add to a thousand points of fascination about Trump and his money.

It would appear that all the pennies he has he owes back to someone.

Last year's Pulitzer Prize in public affairs reporting went to David Farenthold of the Washington Post for revealing the extent to which Trump's charitable foundation – ultimately shut down by the New York attorney general -- was a joke and a fraud.

Among other things, its funds had gone to a Republican candidate (illegal) and to trinkets like a portrait of the Orange Stallion himself. Charity? Not nearly as much as Trump claimed.

Truly, however, this is micro potatoes compared to what Robert Mueller is investigating: How Trump used others' money, particularly that of overseas lenders.

As Mueller presses allegations of money-laundering against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, recall that Steve Bannon told author Michael Wolff, "This is all about money laundering. (Mueller's) path to Trump goes right through Paul Manafort, Don Jr. and Jared Kushner."

Mueller has subpoenaed records from Germany's Deutsche Bank, which "was the only major commercial bank willing to lend to Trump after his string of bankruptcies," reports NPR.

Trump has denied having business deals inside Russia, but NPR reports that money from the former Soviet Union has helped finance projects for him in New York and Canada.

What we have is a supposed business wizard who, because of how often he leaned on the "bankruptcy" button, has had to turn to overseas sources of support.

There's extreme symmetry to Trump's reliance on other's money – aka debt. For that is how he proposes to finance the tax cuts he has touted as president.

Whereas analyses pointed to $1.5 trillion in additional debt, an analysis by Politico points to $2.3 trillion over 10 years.

Trump seeks to profit in office exactly the way he did as a businessman and builder, coasting on someone else's dime.

The other day I encountered someone who said he voted for Trump and gave but one simple rationale:

"He paid for his own campaign."

This is news to most who paid any attention to anything at all about Trump, particularly to the $30 million he received from the National Rifle Association and $15 million from the Big Daddy of big data, Robert Mercer.

Paid for his own campaign? The man can't even keep his porn stars mum.

Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: jyoungcolumn@gmail.com


1 comment:

Lyman Baker said...

The aspect of this story we should be focusing on is that it tells us what Trump does when he is blackmailed: he pays off. That's why some of the various discreditable things he's done in his private affairs (yes, that's a pun, but it includes his money-making ventures that violate the law [laundering, for example]) are of interest both to individuals who might seek leverage over his conduct of foreign affairs and investigators whose commission extends both to crimes per se and to counterintelligence concerns about his vulnerability to deliver what potential blackmailers demand.