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    • Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – April 20, 2019
      This post is by Tony Wikrent I have been looking at the work of Cornell University law professor Robert Hockett, who is serving as an economics adviser to Representative Alexandria Occasio-Cortez. I have been delighted to find that Hockett has been working the same angle I have: applying the classical republicanism that informed the creation of […]
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Moscow Versailles

Stop me if you’ve heard this one already. Did you know that the Trump Organization was planning to gift a $50,000,000 penthouse to Vladimir Putin in Trump Moscow? This is according to Buzzfeed. Yeah, yeah, old news already. Less than 12 hours old but you know some of us gotta sleep.

Buzzfeed says:

BuzzFeed News first reported in May on the secret dealings of Cohen and his business associate Felix Sater with political and business figures in Moscow.

The two men worked furiously behind the scenes into the summer of 2016 to get the Moscow deal finished — despite public claims that the development was canned in January, before Trump won the Republican nomination. Sater told BuzzFeed News today that he and Cohen thought giving the Trump Tower’s most luxurious apartment, a $50 million penthouse, to Putin would entice other wealthy buyers to purchase their own. “In Russia, the oligarchs would bend over backwards to live in the same building as Vladimir Putin,” Sater told BuzzFeed News. “My idea was to give a $50 million penthouse to Putin and charge $250 million more for the rest of the units. All the oligarchs would line up to live in the same building as Putin.” A second source confirmed the plan.

[…]

According to the criminal information filed against Cohen Thursday, on Jan. 20, 2016, he spoke with a Russian government official, referred to only as Assistant 1, about the Trump Tower Moscow plan for 20 minutes. This person appears to be an assistant to Peskov, a top Kremlin official whom Cohen had attempted to reach by email.

Cohen “requested assistance in moving the project forward, both in securing land to build the proposed tower and financing the construction,” the court document states.

Cohen had previously maintained that he never got a response from the official, but in court on Thursday he acknowledged that was a lie.

Two FBI agents with direct knowledge of the Trump Tower Moscow negotiations told BuzzFeed News earlier this year that Cohen was in frequent contact with foreign individuals about the real estate venture — and that some of these individuals had knowledge of or played a role in 2016 election meddling. The identity of those individuals remains unknown.

What quid was going to be exchanged for what pro quo?

Some of it is obvious: Trump gets a shiny new tower in Moscow. Putin and his people would help set up the financing. In exchange for what?

If the Russians helped him win the election what would they get in return other than a nice new Versailles on the Moskva?

What did Putin want from Trump?

Two possible things:

1.) Get rid of the sanctions and the Magnitsky act. After all, what’s the point of being a obscenely wealthy Russian oligarch if there’s nowhere to spend all that filthy lucre? You can’t go to visit your fabulously well appointed penthouses in America.

2.) Just completely ruin the West. Yeah, that’s the ticket. Install some incompetent stooge who owes you big time and will help you dismantle the post-WWII global alliance that kept you in check for 70 years. Oh, sure, global warming might finally give you a passage in the arctic circle for you to menace and maraud your neighbors but why not get rid of as many obstacles as you can before then?

Any other theories? Drop them in the comments. And then hold on to your seats. There are going to be a lot of very nervous people doing a lot of unpredictable things in the near future.

Will Trump serve out his term? I seriously doubt it at this point. When it starts to go down, an avalanche tends to have a momentum of its own and Mueller seems like he’s not going to let some acting AG stand in his way of getting the truth out.

In a way, I’m sympathetic to all of the Trump voters who thought his candidacy was more substantial than the criminal venality that it turned out to be. It’s like waking up to find that someone’s stolen your kidney after that wild party last night.

Cheer up. You can operate quite well with only one. We won’t think less of you for falling for it. It could happen to anyone.

🙄

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