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Happy Throwback Thursday! Remember Paul Manafort? He's still in jail, don't worry. But it looks like he might be getting some company soon from his old pal Stephen Calk, who just got indicted today by the Southern District of New York.

Calk was a simple CEO and COB at the Federal Savings Bank of Chicago, but he had big dreams. He'd been an army pilot and a money guy, so he figured he was competent to be either Secretary of Treasury or Secretary of Army. He'd take Commerce or HUD, or even a cool ambassadorship to France, or the UK, or the UN -- he wasn't picky. Just any old position befitting a guy who is 100 percent going to be played by Michael McKean in the movie version of this nightmare.

Luckily Calk knew a guy on the inside. Sure that guy had recently been You're Fired from the Trump campaign for ratfucking the Ukrainian election, but Paul Manafort was still waving his bits all over Trumpland in the summer and fall of 2016, so Paul Manafort had the hookup that Calk needed. Luckily, Calk had what Manafort needed, which was MONEY. Manafort's fountain of untaxed cash had dried up since the Ukrainians gave his guy Viktor Yanukovych the boot, and he was in danger of losing multiple investment properties to foreclosure. So naturally Calk stepped up to the plate with $15 million in loans to keep the wolves at bay, because what are friends with more political ambition than scruple for, right?


It all started in late July 2016, when Paul Manafort came knocking at Federal Saving's Bank's door looking for cash. He met with Calk, who said he'd like to be a campaign advisor. And five minutes after the bank conditionally approved a $5.7 million loan, Calk found himself appointed to candidate Trump's National Economic Advisory Council on August 5. Heckuva coincidence!

Well! It turned out that the properties Paul Manafort was claiming to own free-and-clear were anything but, and the bank's underwriters started losing their shit about blahblabblah BAD CREDIT RISK and blahblahblah LACK OF COLLATERAL and probably even blahblahblah ACCRUAL METHOD!!! (Just kidding they probably didn't but that one cracks the editrix up like crazy.) So Calk did what any normal businessman would do. That's right, he upped the loan amount to $9.5 million. (Incidentally, at trial Manafort argued that he couldn't be convicted of filing a fraudulent loan application because Calk and his underwriters spotted the lie and put the deal through anyway.)

And then, the weirdest thing happened. Donald Trump ACTUALLY WON.

[Moment of silence.]

And then, it was ON for Calk and Manafort. Here's the memo Calk sent three times describing the "Perspective Rolls" he'd like in the incoming Trump Administration. SIC.

Oh, you laugh, but he made Ben freakin' Carson Secretary of HUD! Calk would have been so much less worse.

Anyway, Jared Kushner got right "On it!" Although this little exchange was absent from today's SDNY indictment, where they were kind enough to leave the presidential son-in-law out of the filing. It's good to be the prince!

But those administration jobs don't come cheap! Manafort was still in danger of having his investments foreclosed on, and he wanted another $6.5 million from Calk. The bank's underwriters were still losing their shit more, though, since that would make Manafort the bank's biggest borrower and put the institution over its legal lending limit. But you gotta spend money to make money -- even if the money you're spending isn't "yours" and the money you're making is actually the property of the American taxpayers. Details!

So Calk worked it out to have the bank's holding company take some of the loan, and voilà, they were back in business. Which is really not how this shit is supposed to go, but who's ever gonna find out? (Narrator ...) On January 10, 2017, Calk got his interview to be Undersecretary of the Army, and on January 17, the second loan to Paul Manafort for $6.5 million closed. Sadly, Calk never did get a job with the administration. But Manafort got the cash, so all's well that ends well, right?

Or maybe not. Because on March 29, the Wall Street Journal reported that Paul Manafort had gotten some hinky loans from a guy applying to work in the Trump administration, which brought federal banking regulators knocking on Calk's door within hours. And despite the fact that he had sent copious emails proving the opposite, Calk told them he was SHOCKED to hear that fine, upstanding Paul Manafort's properties were in foreclosure. And NO, OFFICER! he'd never tried to use Manafort as an intermediary to get a job in the Trump administration. Why ever would you ask such a question?

Was this a wise choice? IT WAS NOT. And not only because Paul Manafort stopped making payments once he got arrested and the bank had to eat the $12 million loss. But also because Calk now finds himself indicted for taking bribes, and the US gubmint would like all his money now please as a substitute forfeiture asset. And unless he's got something really awesome to trade -- which we doubt, since he was clearly the patsy here -- Calk is shit out of luck.

Because he's not even the low guy on the totem pole. He's just one last loose end from the Manafort investigation getting tied up by the Public Corruption Unit.

Remind us to feel sorry for this guy, ummm ... NEVER. Does never work for you?

[USA v. Calk]

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There was a time, a few months ago, when everyone had written off Elizabeth Warren. Well, not me, because I am a fabulous genius, but lots of other people. The "very reasonable" talking heads on all the various news channels, the kind of people who used to say things like "Oh, we'd like universal health care too, but 'the people' will never go for it!" but who definitely did not actually want universal health care for any reason, and even the Trump campaign. Though, to be fair, the Trump campaign didn't think Trump had much of a chance of winning in 2016 either.

But now, as more and more people hear her speak, hear her plans, hear what she wants to do and how she wants to do it... Elizabeth Warren is rising up in the polls. She's a contender. In the most recent Quinnipiac poll, she was closing in on Sanders for second place nationally, and in California and Nevada polls, she's in second place.

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