We know a few things about Donald Trump's richness, or lack of it. We know he's been shall we say reticent about releasing his tax returns for several years running, and many suspect it's partially because they show that he isn't as rich as he says he is. We know Michael Cohen testified to Congress that Trump would rig up his financial statements, either to inflate his assets -- like when he was trying to buy something big like the Buffalo Bills or get financing for big projects, to make it look like he could afford it, AKA bank fraud -- or deflate them, like if he was trying to commit insurance fraud. ALLEGEDLY.

Rachel Maddow had a fascinating and hilarious report a couple weeks ago about a particular asset on those financial disclosure forms, Trump's Seven Springs estate in Bedford, New York, which he bought for $7.5 million in 1995, but suddenly in 2012 Trump decided for the purposes of a financial disclosure that it was worth $291 MILLION DOLLARS IN AMERICAN CURRENCY. The next year, the tax assessor put it at $18.9 million. (Trump is apparently bad at hiding these things in plain sight.)

Whenever the subject of Trump's weird money comes up, the discussion inevitably leads to Deutsche Bank, which has its own massive problems (Russian money laundering, anyone?), and which kept giving Trump money, long after every other American bank decided Trump was dead to them -- even after Trump personally screwed Deutsche Bank. And the question has always been OMG LOL WTF WHYYYYYYYYY?

Oh yeah, another thing we know about Trump's relationship with Deutsche Bank? One of the times he tried to have special counsel Robert Mueller fired, it was because there were news reports that Mueller was requesting records pertaining to Trump's relationship with Deutsche Bank. So that is interesting and strange and kind of screams "THERE ARE CRIMES HERE, LOOK HERE FOR THE CRIMES."

David Enrich at the New York Times published a gigantic thing yesterday that tells us one important thing, which is that it seems Deutsche Bank totally knew Trump was screwing them in real time, that they knew multiple times he was lying about his assets, and they ... just kept working with him anyway! Like you do!

It's impossible to encapsulate this whole thing, because it is one million words long and you should read the whole thing, but here is a brief list of things we learned from the article:

  • One of Trump's earliest loans from Deutsche Bank, for a casino in Atlantic City, seemed pretty normal until it was discovered that the "signature of the credit officer who had approved the Trump Marina deal had been forged," SO THAT'S WEIRD. That's when Trump was working with a guy there named Mike Offit, who is the son of a writer named Sidney Offit.
  • Later on, as the bank's relationship with Trump grew, the commercial real estate division featured a man named Justin Kennedy, who is the son of this one judge named Anthony Kennedy. You might have heard of that guy.
  • One time in the early 2000-sies, a group from Deutsche Bank had the hard job of selling bonds on Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts, but WOMP WOMP, nobody wanted to buy that shit. So Trump promised them all Mar-a-Lago vacations if they got those bonds sold, and they did, and then Trump almost reneged on his promise to take them to Mar-a-Lago. But he took them, and they had a very good time, and in 2004, Trump defaulted on his loan. WOMP WOMP again. That was the last time (that particular arm of) Deutsche Bank was gonna do business with Trump ever again!
  • When Trump was trying to get financing for a Trump hotel in Chicago in 2005, "Mr. Trump told Deutsche Bank his net worth was about $3 billion, but when bank employees reviewed his finances, they concluded he was worth about $788 million, according to documents produced during a lawsuit Mr. Trump brought against the former New York Times journalist Timothy O'Brien." TOTALLY NORMAL. And one of the high-up executives in the commercial real estate division at Deutsche Bank said in an interview that "he and others cautioned that Mr. Trump should be avoided because he had worked with people in the construction industry connected to organized crime." TOTALLY NORMAL AGAIN! But, you know, they gave him money anyway. And in 2008, Trump defaulted, blamed it on the financial crisis, but claimed that should be OK, because the financial crisis was "an act of God." So he sued Deutsche Bank for billions in "damages." EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS IS TOO NORMAL. Anyway, after that, (that particular division of) Deutsche Bank decided they definitely were not gonna work with that guy again!
  • They moved him over to the private banking division, where Jared hooked Trump up with a private banker lady named Rosemary Vrablic, which was great because Trump wanted to buy Doral in Florida, and he needed $100 million (he even said please!). Unfortunately, in his financial statements to the bank, he "overvalu[ed] some of his real estate assets by as much as 70 percent." WOMP WOMP, no loan for you, just kidding, here is a loan for you! "Aside from his history of defaults, he was an attractive borrower." Just like how aside from how Trump is a Russian intelligence asset, a white supremacist, and a total fucking failure, his presidency has been pretty normal!
  • So then he asked for another loan on the Chicago project, and said don't worry, he'll use some of that loan to pay off what he owes to that other division of the bank, because a really good way to deal with banks is to ask them for a loan to pay debt that is owed to themselves. Surely Deutsche Bank wouldn't ... just kidding, HAVE SOME MONEY, MISTER TRUMP!

That is just some shit! And we haven't even gotten to the whole Buffalo Bills shit. Shall we?

In early 2014, Mr. Trump and his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, approached Ms. Vrablic about more potential loans.

The owner of the Buffalo Bills had died, and the N.F.L. franchise was up for sale. Mr. Trump was interested, and he needed to show the league he had the financial wherewithal to pull off a transaction that could top $1 billion.

Mr. Trump asked Ms. Vrablic if the bank would be willing to make a loan and handed over bare-bones financial statements that estimated his net worth at $8.7 billion.

Mr. Cohen testified to Congress last month that the documents exaggerated Mr. Trump's wealth. Deutsche Bank executives had reached a similar conclusion. They nonetheless agreed to vouch for Mr. Trump's bid, according to an executive involved.

WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYY? Like, we get that Deutsche Bank has really been into risk over these past couple of decades, but WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY? At this point, it's like "Hey Deutsche Bank, why are you hitting yourself?"

According to David Enrich's sources, after the 2016 election, the question of Trump's relationship with Deutsche Bank became so toxic that they told their Wall Street employees to not even say his name (literally), because they didn't want their gross relationship with him to get any more attention than it already was. But oh well, best laid plans!

Deutsche Bank has reportedly been cooperating with Maxine Waters's House Financial Services Committee, and with the New York attorney general's investigation, so that's good. And as for Rosemary Vrablic, she says she's just waitin' on her subpoena to come testify to Congress.

So are we, Ms. Vrablic. So are we!

[New York Times]

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Evan Hurst

Evan Hurst is the senior editor of Wonkette, which means he is the boss of you, unless you are Rebecca, who is boss of him. His dog Lula is judging you right now.

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Good morning, America! Attorney General Bill Barr is doing a presser at 9:30 AM EDT about the Mueller report, which nobody will be able to see until around noon or after, once Congress gets the redacted report on CDs. Seeing as that is bullshit, there's no reason to watch this thing, as journalists won't be able to ask him questions about a document they haven't seen. So ... go back to bed, everyone!

Ugh, fine, we guess we will do this, and that is because we care, even though we are quite certain HGTV is doing some kind of very important "Property Brothers" marathon that adds much more of value to the national discourse, and also covers it up with shiplap accent walls. Does Bill Barr do cover-ups with shiplap? No, because he doesn't have the good taste for that.

Reportedly, we are going to hear from Barr why certain things were redacted, including why he thinks certain facts are subject to executive privilege, which is funny because he is not the president and therefore cannot invoke executive privilege. But oh whatever! Details! Robert Mueller won't be there and none of his team will be there, which tells you something about how they feel about this whole process. If they felt like this was on the up-and-up, you'd imagine they might show up to present a united front. As that is not happening, assume the entire thing is a bullshit act meant to help Donald Trump set the narrative for what will otherwise be a very bad day for him.

The New York Times reported last night that the White House has already been briefed on significant portions of the report, because Bill Barr is a rightwing scam artist piece of shit who gives the Trump White House reacharounds. The briefings have reportedly been very helpful for the White House in coming up with how to rebut today's report, which is funny because we thought Trump said this report was a full exoneration, NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION. (Actually nope on both counts, since Mueller didn't decide the obstruction question, and even according to Barr's mash notes, he took a very limited view of the conspiracy question, focusing on the Russian government's hack and dump WikiLeaks operation.)

Anyway, assuming Trump is right about full exoneration, we guess Rudy Giuliani's rebuttal will state that Trump is guilty, full stop. Because that's what "rebuttal" means, correct?

Committee chairs in the House including Jerry Nadler, Adam Schiff and Maxine Waters have called upon Bill Barr to cancel today's briefing, as it is useless horseshit. Because Barr literally gives zero fucks about his reputation and apparently is OK with going down in history as a fecal stain on our institutions and the rule of law, the show will go on.

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Now What? Wonkagenda For Thurs., April 18, 2019

Bill Barr's book report, the NRA is doomed, and Johnny Cash will watch over the Capitol. Your morning news brief!


Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.

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