Trump and Politics: Deconstructing Business Deals For A Greater America

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Focus Sentence(s): Although some of Trump’s business deals involved Russian businessmen and criminals, they were not branded criminals while Trump was conducting business with them; thus, he could not have known about their criminal activity.

Ever since he announced that he would be running for president, Donald Trump has faced an unprecedented amount of criticism for his past actions. The mainstream media excoriates him, perpetually reporting on Russian collusion and obstruction of justice. In a recent development, The New York Times reported that the Trump Organization’s business records have been subpoenaed as part of his inquiry into Russian interference in the presidential election.

Democrats have incessantly monitored all of the allegations made against Trump, and this is no exception. In light of this speculative evidence, many believe these business records can answer the question of whether or not real estate investors used Trump-branded properties to launder the proceeds of criminal activity around the world.

Journalists at The New York Times hired former British intelligence official Christopher Steele to investigate President Trump’s possible ties to Russia. In an investigation, bankrolled by Democrats, he found information that led him to believe that President Trump, then a candidate, might have been involved in foreign corruption. Steele uncovered a series of activities involving bribery, money laundering, and racketeering.

Prosecutors pointed to a string of bankruptcies Trump faced in the 1990s into the 2000s, which left him with few investors and trade partners from whom he could get his “traditional” sources of financing. Democrats argue that this desperate need for an investor may have served as a motivation for Trump to resort to unconventional methods, looking for financing by using offshore accounts in Russia and former Soviet republics.

To support these claims, Steele pinpoints the records of Trump projects primarily in New York and Florida, which have relied heavily on foreign cash. Much of this foreign cash was outsourced from wealthy Russian businessmen via wire transfer loans. Since then, many of these Russian capitalists have been arrested for criminal activity. Along with accounted loans, a significant amount of money was funneled through offshore shell companies, a medium often used to conceal the trail of cash flow, making it difficult to determine the source of financing.

Although this may sound incriminating, this evidence is far from enough to prove that the Trump Organization or its business partners knowingly abetted criminal activity. A large organization with over 30,000 employees and $9 billion in revenue cannot be expected to keep track of every buyer in a Trump-branded building. Even with this in mind, prosecutors say the board of directors routinely dealt with individuals whose backgrounds should have raised red flags. However, in the competitive nature of the contemporary business world, maintaining a large business like Trump Organization requires venture capitalism. Essentially, increasing the revenue of such a large business warrants a great deal of risk-taking. And although Trump may have taken part in illegal dealings, there is no conclusive evidence for it, making him a victor in his audacious act of venture capitalism. Moreover, according to Trump’s business record, he was not present for many of these meetings, suggesting he did not know of his buyers’ backgrounds or ever meet with them in person.

An outstanding scenario in the case against Trump includes his dealings with Bayrock Group, once a prominent investor in the Trump Organization. The representatives of the distinguished Russian organization were provided with luxurious offices in Trump Tower. The prosecution states Trump bribed Bayrock board members with extravagant amenities and indulgences in exchange for Bayrock serving as an essential investor in the Trump Organization. Trump, however, is not guilty of any bribery; it is a textbook case of corporate bootlicking. Businesses tend to treat their investors very well in order to keep them content, thus increasing the likelihood of them remaining an investor. Seeing that Trump did not give large amounts of cash to any Bayrock board members, these allegations made against Trump for blackmailing and bribing Bayrock Group for investments are ludicrous.

The firm was partners with Trump between 2002 and 2006, primarily supplying funds for the development of the Trump SoHo in Lower Manhattan, along with other real estate developments. What caught Mr. Steele’s eye was the principal of the operation, Felix Sater, who was recently linked to organized crime and is currently serving a sentence for felony assault and racketeering involving a $40 million stock fraud scheme. However, while dealing with Trump, Sater appeared to be a successful entrepreneur with a clean record, suggesting that Trump and his board had no knowledge of his criminal activities at the time. Furthermore, his image as a prolific and successful venture capitalist made him an attractive investment for the Trump Organization.

In another case, Belgian authorities convicted a financier recruited by the Bayrock group for executing a $55 million money-laundering scheme. A further study of this case revealed that a former mayor of a city in Kazakhstan laundered millions in stolen tax dollars, which was invested in Trump’s real estate in SoHo. This anonymous family has denied all charges and claims it is a victim of political persecution.

One major fact that Democrats overlook about this particular case is that Belgian “authorities” convicted this financier without an admission of guilt or a proper jury to convict him. The judge of that trial is said to have suddenly moved into a new penthouse a few months after convicting the Kazakh financier. This penthouse is valued at over 30 million euros, far more than this judge can afford. Moreover, this property was commissioned by the PPF Real Estate Group, a Russian real estate group that is a major rival of Bayrock Group. This all points to corruption. Furthermore, as this trial happened after Trump ended his association with Bayrock Group, it suggests that he again had no knowledge of any illicit activity.

Trump’s business career, which has lasted nearly half a century, is comprised of countless business deals. Only a small fraction of these deals allegedly involved Russian businessmen with criminal backgrounds. Therefore, Trump’s involvement in Russia only played a minor role in making Trump Organization the $10 billion company that it is today. Along with dealings that included Russia playing a tiny part in the larger scheme of things, there is no evidence suggesting the fact Trump had any knowledge of illegal activity or participated in clandestine business deals.

In fact, his business deals often involved so much money, marketing, and consumerism that the Trump Organization single-handedly improved the American economy. Trump dominated the stock market, increasing competition against him. Competition against powerful businesses prompts stockbrokers and investors to increase involvement in the market, increasing economic activity. The prodigiousness of Trump’s stock warranted an enormous amount of business, strengthening the stock market by an overall of three points in 2010, demonstrating the energizing effect Trump had on the American economy. As Trump emerged as the probable Republican nominee, he was approached by many businessmen and politicians of Russian backgrounds, all hoping to gain influence ahead of the election. It does not make logical sense for Trump’s campaign to knowingly deal with them, as it would warrant more scrutiny, which Trump already had enough of. It is much more likely that a campaign worker made an independent decision to “clear the air” with Russian businessmen and politicians, triggering an onslaught of criticism surrounding the “collusion” scandal.

Trump does have a controversial past, but that is simply a side effect of being a businessman of his magnitude. Democrats constantly castigate him for making executive decisions for his personal benefit. These allegations are exaggerated, for Trump resigned all roles from Trump Organization a week prior to his inauguration, most likely in an effort to give his undivided attention to carrying out his vision of “Making American Great Again” and eliminating any speculation that he would be making presidential decisions in his company’s best interest. He also donated his presidential salaries to the National Park Service, the Department of Education, and the Department of Health and Human Services. All Americans should realize President Trump is an ardent American who will do anything it takes to fulfill his presidential ambitions, which includes leaving his business life behind to focus on making presidential decisions in the national interest, rather than foreign ties forged by business ventures of his past.