As you know Trump is being squeezed like a piece of coal deep in a diamond mine. But the process of nature making a lump of carbon into a diamond is a long one and what Trump is almost out of is time. I’m not sure even a lab produced diamond can be made in thirty days and Trump thought for too long that Chubb, who underwrote his bond for the second E. Jean Carroll judgement was going to cover him for the larger $454 million needed for the State of New York case. Turns out he was wrong and apparently only learned this in the last week or so. Certainly less than two weeks. Hence frantic phone calls to other agencies to cover his huge fat butt, and begging GOP mega rich people too. He’s almost out of time.

Speculation has been rampant about which rich person or persons will “loan” Trump the money (and we all know “loan” means they will never see that money again) and the influence they will have over him as a result. However, mega rich GOPers don’t seem willing to step up. I even wrote here on Politizoom about a Fox host doing an on-air rant at rich folks for not helping out poor Donald Trump.  Still, as concerning as say someone like Elon Musk or Harlan Crowe covering Trump on this is, a bigger fear has emerged. That of a foreign entity coughing up the money.

Foreign influence over an American President and our politics was a major fear of our founders. All of that discussion and steps they took to prevent is would take up an entire article here. It’s enough for now to know it was a huge concern. It remains so, and we all know Trump’s actions both as President and since have raised grave national security concerns. Imagine Russia’s Putin, Saudi Arabia’s MBS, North Korea’s Kim or even China’s Xi fronting the money to Trump! It’s an almost unimaginable sum to you and me but for a country who’d love to literally own a U.S. President it would be tip money.

Of course there are a couple of problems with that. No candidate for state or federal office can solicit or accept foreign money for political campaigns according to federal law. Specifically, according to the Federal Election Commission site:

The Act and Commission regulations include a broad prohibition on foreign national activity in connection with elections in the United States. 52 U.S.C. § 30121 and generally, 11 CFR 110.20. In general, foreign nationals are prohibited from the following activities:

If you go to the link you can get a fairly clear bullet pointed description of how it all works. I should note that if you’re a legal geek like me and call up the actual statues you get into the weeds of things like in-kind contributions also being illegal, the point being the words “or any other thing of value” which in practical terms means more than plain old cash money is prohibited by law. Now, at this point you might be saying covering Trump’s bond isn’t a campaign contribution per say. Technically maybe not, but you also know the old saying “If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it’s a duck.” Substitute the word duck with campaign contributions and there you are.

Trump lawyer Alina Habba has set the pundit world buzzing over her response to quite direct question on Fox News. As reported by Salon when asked about whether Trump was seeking foreign money to cover the New York State bond/judgement she dodged:

Fox News host Martha MacCallum asked Habba about the concerns on Wednesday.

“Is there any effort on the part of your team to secure this money through another country, Saudi Arabia or Russia?” she asked.

“Well, there’s rules and regulations that are public. I can’t speak about strategy, that requires certain things and we have to follow those rules. Like I said, this is manifest injustice. It is impossible — it is an impossibility. I believe they knew that,” Habba said.

She didn’t say “No.” Naturally that’s invited its share of quips and more pointed barbs and yes, concerns on social media. However others got at the real issue – national security:

Experts have increasingly expressed concern about where Trump may get the money.

Former Mueller prosecutor Andrew Weissmann told CNN that the presumptive Republican nominee seeking out a third party “is raising national security concerns, because you really don’t want someone who’s running for president…to have hundreds of millions of reasons to be beholden to somebody.”

So yes, if Trump somehow at the last minute gets the money from “somewhere” we need to know where from and that’s a problem. The law in New York state doesn’t really contain a provision to compel Trump to say where he got the money!  Finding out who made a record campaign contribution would have to be done in an indirect way. But make no mistake, it WOULD be a campaign contribution. And from a foreign source which is illegal?  It would be one helluva legal fight to be sure but this is an election year and how it would look politically would be disastrous for Trump.

If he were to lose not so good for the foreign entity involved either. Let’s just say it could create all manner of diplomatic setbacks and not just with the U.S. To me that probably rules out China which has always taken a very long view. For all their current difficulties not having Trump bashing them with one hand while having his hand out with the other during his time in office, not having to put up with more of that isn’t worth it. China will be there long after Trump is dead and buried. Saudi Arabia? They’ve spend literally billions in recent years (actually starting before Kashoggi’s murder) “sportswashing” to improve their image. I doubt they want to erase all that to help Trump, and I doubt they’d appreciate Jared using some of his 2 billion to do so either so cross them off the list.

That leaves North Korea and Russia. Kim has no f**ks to give but Trump can’t really do anything for him beyond what he’s already done with that summit. I doubt it’s worth a half-trillion just to screw with our politics for fun. That leaves Putin and Russia and THERE is something that is worth a hard look. I don’t need to explain to anyone reading this how much Pootie would LOVE for Trump to win, but a financially disgraced Trump wouldn’t just lose conservative leaning independents, he’d even lose some MAGAs. They might only watch Fox or Newsmax and/or listen to RWNJ radio but they still get exposed at work to real news by other people, some of whom they even sort of think know stuff.

Still, Putin (or anyone else) would have to hide their giving that kind of money to Trump and that much in such a short time (not thirty days but less, well less probably than two weeks) is a damned tough thing to do. And that friends is where FINCEN comes in. It’s not a well known agency but it’s been in the news some in recent years.  You can check out their website here. The short version is that they, along with counterparts around the world track financial transactions looking for things like money laundering, funneling money to terrorists or other shady activity.

As I said I can get geeky over this stuff but I promise not to make your eyes glaze over. To (vastly) oversimplify they look, hard at individuals, companies, banks/financial institutions and even countries for patterns. And they have a list of such people/entities that merit constant monitoring for various reasons. One thing they are good at is identifying “structuring”, which means putting together a group of individuals and/or businesses to mask a larger, much larger financial transaction. That’s how they bust money launders and those who finance terrorists.

Here’s where Trump’s situation and Russia in particular come in. Russia, via Putin and his oligarchs have engaged in massive money laundering for a very long time and many are already under sanctions which means ever transaction gets a colonoscopy. Russia has also financed terrorist activities and carried out political assassinations in foreign countries which again means spending money outside Russia. Via the tool of Suspicious Activity Reports information flows into FINCEN every single day.  Again, these folks at FINCEN know their stuff. They long ago learned that bad guys were getting around the “10k” rule for the reporting of any financial transaction so they started dropping the amount. FINCEN realized this and created ways of identifying the workarounds!

In practice that means to avoid getting caught “structuring” shady actors are forced to use more people using far smaller amounts to escape notice. So with that in mind let’s do a little exercise using Trump’s predicament. Let’s say Putin wants to, is eager even to help. However if he does so he might find Poland and other NATO countries in Europe directly intervening in Ukraine if he gets caught. But he needs to funnel, LAUNDER 450 million (plus) to the U.S. to a Trump PAC or someone rich person with U.S. citizenship who’s rich and retired and willing to “loan” Trump the money.

To do so Putin needs a LOT of American citizens he can give say 5K to who will then pass it along to Trump’s PAC or some other designee. Now, that’s 450,000,000 divided by say 5000(dollars). That means finding 90,000 Americans willing to play along! And, realistically speaking in less than a week. That folks is one tall task. Sure, Putin can reduce that number by activating sleeper assets, some rich business owner who can cough up a donation of two or three million. He might funnel fifty, perhaps if he wants to push the envelope a hundred million into Trump’s legal PAC. But if not FINCEN others, including journalists will be shining a spotlight on that sudden influx of money in a matter of days! Even so that still means needing another $350 million, which means finding 70,000 donors all in a matter of days. Tic Toc motherf**ker.

Trump has escaped seemingly certain financial death too many times for me to believe THIS time he will finally go down. I do however think it’s possible, and by more than a little bit that the clock will strike 8pm Monday (the 25th) and Trump might not be able to come up with the money or a group to collectively put up the bond. And that first thing when court opens Tuesday morning Letitia James’ people will have a slew of motion they will file to begin “freezing and seizing” all manner of Trump’s assets. Worse for him is that before the day is out other creditors he has will have been preparing just in case and try to beat James to the punch by foreclosing on Trump properties.

I don’t want to get ahead of myself and neither should you. However I wanted to call attention to the fact that there is an actual federal agency with the tools and skills to identify where any money, especially foreign money that magically appears to cover Trump’s judgement/bond has come from. The trick will be finding a legal reason to make it public as there are strict rules on how and when information on financial transactions can be released.   As I said I didn’t want to lose you by diving into the weeds on how FINCEN can be compelled to turn over the information for public consumption. We’ll cross that bridge IF Trump get the money in time.

The point is it’s not so simple for Trump to go groveling to Putin to beg for help. Or he might have and Putin took a cold, hard look and decided it wasn’t worth the risk. Not anymore. Now being a fly on the wall (behind Trump to minimize the odds of getting smashed by a ketchup bottle) to see Trump’s reaction if THAT has happened.

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  1. Microscopic spotlights are on bright these days! Like Leonard Leo and all the dark money groups funneling into SCOTUS, the shell games never end. Thanks for bringing this fascinating article you wrote to your readers! I am a fan!

  2. this is very likely why Judge Engoron just greatly enlarged the powers of the court appointed “babysitter” on the Trump Org. Keeping an eye out for any funny business whatsoever.

    • Yep. He did. He made it very clear that if dingleberry even breaks wind, the court appointed monitor Judge Jones had better know about it and what he ate to cause it.

  3. “Sure, Putin can reduce that number by activating sleeper assets, some rich business owner…” which would be traceable, thus ‘exposing’ all the dolts who got involved. I see a ‘Friday Night at Mar-o-Lago Dance Party’ led by Kimberley, the winners get to push on her exposed upper chest and receive a generous gift of $50,000 which by midnight must suddenly appear in donnie dotard’s bank account or they’ll doxx the volunteer. ‘Your honor, Judge Jones, it was just a party game!’ most likely will not be an acceptable excuse.

    It sure is good news, more and more every morning. Last night I turned to my wife and said, “You know, this has been one of the best weeks in years, instead of a roller coaster week, all the news has been about bad things for donnie, and somehow I feel really good for more than 24 hours in a row!” I can learn to live this way… :):):)



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