There's a number of developments today to review in the ongoing Trump/Russia probe led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and it starts with our old friend Erik "of Darkness" Prince and his interview with Daily Beast reporter Betsy Woodruff.
[Woodruff]There’s been a lot of reporting that Mueller’s interested in some of the meetings you had in the lead-up to the campaign and after the election and I was just wondering if you could tell me if you’ve heard from anyone on Mueller’s team?
[Prince]I certainly understand the intense interest in the investigation and certainly some of the wild-eyed reporting in the media. I have spoken voluntarily to Congress and I also cooperated with the special counsel. I have plenty of opinions about the various investigations but there’s no question some people are taking it seriously and I think it’s best to keep my opinion on that to myself for now. All I will add is that much of the reporting about me in the media is inaccurate, and I am confident that when the investigators have finished their work, we will be able to put these distractions to the side.
[W]You told the House intelligence committee that the Seychelles meeting [with Dmitriev] was unplanned, but ABC reported that George Nader briefed you on it beforehand. What do you make of that ABC reporting?
[P]All I can say is, there’s been a lot of media reporting about me over the years and most of it is wrong. They get it wrong way more than they ever get it right.
[W]What do you think the United States’ posture toward Russia should be? Do you support the president’s rhetoric about trying to thaw that relationship?
[P]Absolutely. As I’ve said before, if Franklin Roosevelt can work with Joseph Stalin to defeat German fascism, Nazi fascism, national socialist fascism, then certainly Donald Trump can work with Putin to defeat Islamic fascism. And I think good statesmanship could even start to drive a wedge between Russian policy and Iran policy because we can disagree vehemently on their policy in Ukraine but we don’t have to be, certainly, their enemy in the Middle East. And even from a NATO perspective, I mean look, remember, 400,000 Americans died in World War II. Twenty-two million Russians died breaking the Nazi army. And from a Russian perspective, there are more unfriendly nations aligned on their borders now than at any time since May of 1940. So I don’t think we have to be provocative with NATO and I think it’s a good idea for the president to reach out diplomatically. I mean for heaven’s sakes, he’s sitting down and talking to Kim of North Korea. Putin is a much more rational actor and I think it’s totally appropriate for the president to sit down and try to thaw the situation.
Two things here: Prince happily talked to both Mueller and Congress, and he's still convinced he's untouchable to the point of being fully available to advise the regime on coming military matters. Nice guy. Would hate for that notion to be disabused by a couple dozen US Marshals.
Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani now doing a 180 on calling for Mueller's head from last week.
President Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani said on Monday that he was actually just bluffing last week when he called for Justice Department leaders to suspend special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation within 24 hours.
“I didn’t think it would,” Giuliani told POLITICO with a laugh when asked about the Mueller inquiry’s still being very much an active investigation. “But I still think it should be.”
So, apparently somebody had a nice long conversation with Rudy about his antics over the last week or so and is reining him in. Whether it's Trump himself or somebody on his behalf I don't know, but the lesson to learn here is not to take anything Giuliani says at face value anymore, not that it should have happened in the first place.
That doesn't however mean that all of Trump's mouthpieces are easing off the Mueller probe, far from it as a matter of fact as the WSJ 's Bill McGurn is calling for Rod Rosenstein's head, as well as the head of Trump FBI Director Chris Wray. It's a bit incongruous I know, but that's the Trump regime for you. Hell, Trump 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale is calling for Jeff Sessions's head along with Mueller. These guys still want blood.
However, there's yet another piece of the money laundering/real estate puzzle in the Trump/Russia probe that has come to light this week as McClatchy's Anita Kumar explains.
Aleksandr Burman, a Ukrainian who engaged in a health care scheme that cost the federal government $26 million and was sentenced to a decade in prison, paid $725,000 cash for a condo at a Trump Tower I in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla. in 2009.
Leonid Zeldovich, who has reportedly done extensive business in the Russian-annexed area of Crimea, bought four Trump units outright at a cost of more than $4.35 million, three of them in New York City between 2007 and 2010.
And Igor Romashov, who served as chairman of the board of Transoil, a Russian oil transport company subject to U.S. sanctions, paid $620,000 upfront for a unit at a building adorned with the future U.S. president's name in Sunny Isles Beach in 2010.
Buyers connected to Russia or former Soviet republics made 86 all-cash sales — totaling nearly $109 million — at 10 Trump-branded properties in south Florida and New York City, according to a new analysis shared with McClatchy. Many of them made purchases using shell companies designed to obscure their identities.
Once again, buying real estate properties in all-cash sales through shell companies is classic, classic money laundering 101. Russian buyers purchased more than $100 million in Trump real estate with cash in this way. This isn't the first time we've heard of this happening with Trump's real estate assets, but the fact that this keeps coming up should be setting off major alarm bells that Trump and his sleazy family have been engaging with criminal activity with Putin and the Russians long before the 2016 election.
Mueller's on it, believe me.