@NatashaBertrand / Twitter Natasha Bertrand...
@NatashaBertrand / Twitter

There’s a good read over at The Atlantic where Natasha Bertrand makes the point that the FBI officials and members of the Mueller investigating team, including Three Sticks himself, that have drawn most of drumpf’s ire have, not likely coincidentally, made their bones investigating the Russian mob and its efforts to launder ill-gotten gains in the West, often through Trump properties…

“Bruce Ohr. Lisa Page. Andrew Weissman. Andrew McCabe.  President Trump has relentlessly attacked these FBI and Justice Department officials as dishonest “Democrats” engaged in a partisan “witch hunt” led by the special counsel determined to tie his campaign to Russia. But Trump’s attacks have also served to highlight another thread among these officials and others  who have investigated his campaign: their extensive experience in probing money laundering and organized crime, particularly as they pertain to Russia.

As Trump praised and defended Russian President Vladimir Putin along the campaign trail, financial analysts and money laundering experts  questioned whether the real-estate mogul had any financial incentives—including business ties or outstanding debt—to seek better relations with Moscow. Robert Mueller, the special counsel appointed in May 2017 to investigate a potential conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Moscow to defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, assembled a team with revealing expertise in fraud, racketeering, money laundering and other financial crimes.
Trump’s latest obsession is with Bruce Ohr, a career Justice Department official who spent years investigating Russian organized crime and corruption—an expertise he shared with another Trump target named Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence operative who provided valuable intelligence on Russia to the State Department and the FBI’s Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force prior to authoring the Trump-Russia dossier in 2016. Ohr and Steele met in 2007, according to The New York Times, and stayed in touch as a result of their shared interests and mutual respect. Trump has tweeted about Ohr nearly a dozen times this month alone, complaining about his relationship with Steele and Ohr’s wife’s past work for Fusion GPS—the opposition research firm that hired Steele in 2016 to research Trump’s Russia ties.”
By the early 2000’s, a third of the buyers of Trump Tower’s most expensive condos were Russia-linked shell companies or individuals from the former Soviet Union—including Eduard Nektalov, a mob-connected diamond dealer from Uzbekistan, and David Bogatin, a Russian emigre mobster who specialized in bootlegging gasoline. Bogatin’s brother was involved in an elaborate stock fraud with top Russian mob boss Mogilevich, who himself is allied with Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov—another Russian mob leader who ran an entire gambling and money-laundering network out of unit 63A in Trump Tower, just three floors below Trump’s own residence. (Tokhtakhounov was a VIP attendee at Trump’s Miss Universe pageant in Moscow just seven months after the gambling ring was busted by the FBI.) Trump’s own sons have boasted of the Trump Organization’s dependence on Russian money. “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,” Donald Trump Jr. said in 2008. “We don’t rely on American banks,” Eric Trump reportedly told a golfing buddy in 2014. “We have all the funding we need out of Russia.”

The piece is long and includes a lot of suggested reading. Whether Trump is attacking these folks to protect himself or for his BFF Putin (or both) is an open question.

But I think Vlad is definitely helping him with his homework.

Trump and Nunes are not smart enough to make their own enemies list.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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