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WTF is going on here? Did Michael Cohen really try to shake down the Qatari sovereign wealth fund for the Trump family? Is that what Michael Avenatti was getting at in this tweet on Sunday?

Avenatti's tweet shows Trump dipshit Michael Cohen boarding an elevator at Trump Tower on December 12, 2016, with Ahmed Al-Ruhaimi, the former diplomat who was then heading up the Qatar Investment Authority -- a $100 billion branch of the Qatari sovereign wealth fund. After first refusing to comment, Al-Ruhaimi confirmed yesterday that he was in Trump Tower that day for a series of meetings with the incumbent president's posse. But in his version of the story, he only saw Cohen briefly when Cohen "popped in" to a meeting.

The Daily Mail reports that a "a senior Kuwaiti government source close to Al-Rumaihi" told the paper,

Al-Rumaihi called him and boasted that Cohen had asked him for money in exchange for influence in the Trump administration.

The official said: 'He said Cohen told him to send millions to various members of the Trump family.' Al-Rumaihi did not do so, the official added. The Trump family members were not named.

We're taking this whole story with several grains of salt, since there were a lot of people in that elevator, including Michael Flynn. It's difficult to imagine anyone, even a guy as bone stupid as Michael Cohen, busting into a meeting like the Kool-Aid man to shout GIVE ME MUNEEZ FOR MISTER TWUMP AND THE SPAWN OF HIS PERFECT LOINS.

On the other hand, we are talking about someone who put on this jacket and parked himself at a cigar bar with the cast of Goodfellas during his own court hearing. So, anything's possible.

Embed from Getty Images

But why are we talking about Qatar again? Why is your favorite mommyblog bringing you a second story this week (and it's only Wednesday!) about a country half the size of New Jersey whose entire population is 2.5 million people? Why does this Al-Rumaihi character keep popping up at the weirdest times?

GOOD QUESTION!

Al-Rumaihi is the guy who allegedly offered to sponsor Steve Bannon's political fuckery as a way to influence the Trump Administration. And he did it by cozying up to rapper Ice Cube and subsidizing his 3-on-3 basketball league. Because it is 2018, and we are all trapped in the stupidest timeline!

Remember, Ice Cube and his business partner Jeff Kwatinetz are suing a whole spate of Qataris, including Al-Ruhaimi, for failing to pony up the full $20 million of promised seed capital. Kwatinetz alleges that the Qataris were never really into him at all, they just wanted to get with his hot friend Steve Bannon once they found out he'd been dumped by Rebecca Mercer and was back in the market for a sugardaddy. The Daily Mail reports,

'Mr. Al-Rumaihi requested I set up a meeting between him, the Qatari government, and Steven Bannon, and to tell Steve Bannon that Qatar would underwrite all of his political efforts in return for his support,' Kwatinetz said.

Kwatinetz said in the court document that he was 'appalled' at the idea of 'a bribe of any kind', declined the offer immediately and did not tell Bannon about it.

The court document says: 'Mr. Al-Rumahi laughed and then stated to me that I shouldn't be naive, that so many Washington politicians take our money, and stated 'do you think [Michael] Flynn turned down our money?''

Oh, the Qataris joked about having Michael Flynn in their pocket? This guy on the Trump Tower elevator with Cohen and Al-Ruhaimi on December 12?

You don't say!

Look, there are a lot of theories about how Qatar fits into the Trump-Russia sexxytimes. Last night, Fordham law professor Jed Shugarman suggested to Rachel Maddow that the Qataris were funneling money from the sale of Rosneft to Trump. To which we say ... MAYYYYYYBE??? Some people think that Jared Kushner encouraged Saudi aggression against Qatar as a way of exerting pressure on the Qataris to loan money to his family business. Which is also a big MAYYYYYYBE??? in our book.

Let's just say there are A LOT of coincidences.

Here, we made you a timeline!

  • December 2016: Russian government sells 19.5% stake in Russian oil giant Rosneft to Qatari sovereign wealth fund and Swiss commodities trading company Glencore, who then turn around and sell some parts of it back to Russia.
  • Also December 2016: Al-Ruhaimi and Qatar's finance minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani show up for those meetings at Trump Tower with Michael Cohen and Michael Flynn.
  • April 2017: Jared Kushner's father hits up the Qatari foreign minister for money to refinance the family's devil building at 666 5th Avenue. Qataris politely tell him to take a hike.
  • May 2017: Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates institute a blockade of Qatar with Donald Trump's blessing. Although the US has 40,000 troops stationed in the country, Donald Trump decides that Qatar is a state-sponsor of terrorism.
  • August 2017: Al-Ruhaimi tries for 3-pointer from half-court, fails to buy Bannon from Ice Cube.
  • November 2017: Kushner family business gets $184 million loan from Apollo Commercial Real Estate Trust, whose largest investor is the Qatari sovereign wealth fund.
  • March 2018: NBC reports that the Qataris decided not to drop a dime on Kushner for trying to shake them down for cash, and so they have ceased to cooperate with the Mueller investigation.
  • Also March 2018: Trump tells Saudis and Emiratis that Qatar is really good on terrorism now, so they should lift the blockade.
  • April 2018: Hosanna! Kushner companies finds someone to refinance their loan on 666 5th Avenue.

OH, HUH. Well, when you put it like that!

Follow your FDF on Twitter!

Please click here to buy us a shovel. This shit is getting deep!

[Daily Mail / Daily Mail, again / Jed Shugerman Timeline]

Five Dollar Feminist

Your FDF lives in Baltimore under an assumed identity as an upstanding member of the PTA. Shhh, don't tell anyone she makes swears on the internet!

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Once upon a time, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers at least claimed to focus their efforts entirely on immigrants involved in criminal activity. Those days are long gone, and now they're going after anyone, including law-abiding people who are just trying to drive their pregnant wives to the hospital to give birth.

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I'd mentioned this week that there's definitely probably a tape out there of Donald Trump referring to a black person as a "nigger," because Trump is a racist and that's sort of what they do. Sarah Huckabee Sanders won't even affirmatively deny such a tape exists, and she's from the "two plus two equals five" school of communications management. I also speculated that once the tape was released, Republican supporters of the president would flock to defend his vile words: "Hey, if you rearrange the letters in "nigger," you get "ginger" and who doesn't like redheads and the occasional Dark 'n' Stormy?"

The shameful display has already started and the supposed recording isn't even available for pre-order on iTunes. Georgia State Senator Michael Williams stated in appearance on CNN's "New Day Saturday" that if Trump -- who's the president, by the way -- did say "nigger," it would certainly concern him as an "individual" but "not necessarily as a person that is running our country." So, uh, what the hell is that? This has been a standard argument from Republicans ever since Trump crawled his way out of the sewers of birtherism and onto a major political stage: "We think Trump is a terrible human being -- seriously, we have to shower immediately after meeting with him -- but we still think he's a suitable steward of the most powerful nation on the planet."

Normally, you'd think this would work the other way. You know, your brother-in-law is a nice enough guy. Your sister certainly could've done worse. You don't mind the slightly rambling sports-ball discussions with him at family gatherings. He's good for looking after the kids (as long as your sister is present or reachable by cell), but you'd never invest your hard-earned money into whatever half-assed business venture he's trying to get off the ground nor would you back his run for any serious political office.

I've long had issues with the "brilliant asshole" archetype in TV and movies. It's almost always a white male (because women and minorities must be perfect) whose emotional immaturity and overall jerkass behavior we're told to overlook because they're so goshdarned awesome. Do you want some PC "cuck" or do you want Dr. House to figure out that the MS symptoms you're suffering are really just because you ate a stale doughnut? Sherlock Holmes doesn't have time for your feelings or social niceties -- not while he's solving mysteries and being dreamy.

Trump, however, isn't "brilliant." He's just a guy who says "nigger." They're hardly a scarcity in the market. You don't even have to venture out to a klan rally to find one. You can order online -- same day social media delivery.

Williams argues that Trump didn't use the word "nigger" when he was in the "office of the president." It was just some youthful indiscretion when he was almost 60. I don't even know where he's going with this. Does he think Trump has changed? He routinely insults and belittles black people. He also calls black NFL players who peacefully protest "sons of bitches." Was that his way of weaning off calling us "niggers"? Has he been wearing a "nigger" patch on his arm to control his cravings for the racial epithet?

"He used the word in his personal life," Williams said. (It was actually in a workplace context -- SER) "Now if he were president and were to go on TV and use the n-word, I'd have a major problem with that."

media.giphy.com

It's heartening repulsive to see that Williams draws the line at Trump holding an official "nigger" press conference. I think once we reach that point, Trump will probably also reveal that his buddies on the Supreme Court discovered a typo in the Thirteenth Amendment and black folks' work-life balance will start to really suffer.

"I will always say using the n-word is wrong, and it's bad, and should never be accepted in our society. But just because (Trump) might have done it years ago, not as our president, doesn't mean we need to continue to berate him because he used it," GOP state Sen. Michael Williams, who is white, told CNN's Victor Blackwell on "New Day Saturday."

Blackwell, who is black, had to sit there and listen to this crap from a white elected official who is just 45 years old. You know, the word "nigger" doesn't even appear in the Dred Scott decision, for example, but that's not necessary for reasonable people to understand that it was racist as hell. We all know Trump is racist, but now Republicans can't even repudiate the worst demonstrations of his racial animus. The first black president hasn't even been out of office for two full years and already "nigger" is being redefined. What would once end a campaign in its tracks when Blackwell and I were growing up is now just an "oops, my bad."

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