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Trump, Inc.

Updated 2 months ago

Rank #66 in Politics category

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Politics
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He’s the President, yet we’re still trying to answer basic questions about how his business works: What deals are happening, who they’re happening with, and if the President and his family are keeping their promise to separate the Trump Organization from the Trump White House. “Trump, Inc.” is a joint reporting project from WNYC Studios and ProPublica that digs deep into these questions. We’ll be layout out what we know, what we don’t and how you can help us fill in the gaps. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other leading podcasts, including On the Media, Radiolab, Death, Sex & Money, Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin, Nancy and many others. ProPublica is a non-profit investigative newsroom.© WNYC Studios

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He’s the President, yet we’re still trying to answer basic questions about how his business works: What deals are happening, who they’re happening with, and if the President and his family are keeping their promise to separate the Trump Organization from the Trump White House. “Trump, Inc.” is a joint reporting project from WNYC Studios and ProPublica that digs deep into these questions. We’ll be layout out what we know, what we don’t and how you can help us fill in the gaps. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other leading podcasts, including On the Media, Radiolab, Death, Sex & Money, Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin, Nancy and many others. ProPublica is a non-profit investigative newsroom.© WNYC Studios

iTunes Ratings

4695 Ratings
Average Ratings
3969
316
123
86
201

Excited!

By Heidiho71368 - May 11 2020
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Can’t wait for your next story!

Excellent

By thisisanicknamewhatever - Mar 18 2020
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We always knew he was corrupt.

iTunes Ratings

4695 Ratings
Average Ratings
3969
316
123
86
201

Excited!

By Heidiho71368 - May 11 2020
Read more
Can’t wait for your next story!

Excellent

By thisisanicknamewhatever - Mar 18 2020
Read more
We always knew he was corrupt.
Cover image of Trump, Inc.

Trump, Inc.

Latest release on Aug 12, 2020

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 2 months ago

Rank #1: The Company Michael Cohen Kept

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Long before Donald Trump’s attorney paid Stormy Daniels or had his office raided by the FBI, a pattern was established: The associates of Michael Cohen often land in legal trouble.

Apr 18 2018

45mins

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Rank #2: The Hidden Hand of a Casino Company In Trump’s Contact with Vietnam

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Trump’s first call with the Vietnamese prime minister was arranged by Marc Kasowitz, a Trump personal lawyer who has another client with business interests in Vietnam.

Apr 25 2018

27mins

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Rank #3: What We Now Know About Manafort, Cohen and ‘Individual-1’

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Court filings by prosecutors last week shined a light on the business lives of two men who worked get Donald Trump elected president: former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Trump, Inc co-hosts Ilya Marritz and Andrea Bernstein talk with Franklin Foer of The Atlantic about what the documents show -- and the further questions they raise.

Among those questions:- What exactly was Manafort’s connection to a business partner who some in the intelligence committee believe to be a Russian intelligence asset?

- Why did Russian officials approach the Trump campaign about potential “political synergy”?

- How much did Trump know about Cohen’s coordination of hush money payments to two women who alleged they had affairs with the now-president?

Dec 12 2018

25mins

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Rank #4: All The President’s Memes

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President Trump's Doral resort has been in the news a lot lately. His chief of staff announced from the White House that America would host the next G-7 summit there. Then, Trump backed off. We're looking at a conference that did happen at Doral. A conference that attracted conspiracy theorists, where a violent video featuring a fake Trump massacring members of the media was shown. (The conference organizers say they "condemn political violence.") 

Trump, Inc. was there. 

So was the President’s son, Donald Trump, Jr.

This week: The business of conspiracies.

Oct 30 2019

30mins

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Rank #5: The Diplomat, The Machers, And The Oligarch

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The impeachment inquiry focuses on whether or not there was a quid pro quo: Military aid in exchange for an investigation. But what if you look at the same events from a different vantage point? The business interests at play.

This episode: How Rudy Giuliani's associates worked their connections to oust the U.S. Ambassador in Ukraine. How President Trump's personal interests came into alignment with the interests of an indicted foreign businessman. And how all of them have been working to discredit Joe Biden.

Nov 13 2019

38mins

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Rank #6: Dirt

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In 1996, an 83-year-old Holocaust survivor and refugee to America sat down with an interviewer from the USC Shoah Foundation to recount what she had experienced.

“If we’re not going to tell now, in 20 years I don’t know who’s going to be to tell,” Rae Kushner said in her Yiddish-accented English. “And now we have still the strength and we have the power to do this and to warn the rest of the world to be careful who is coming up on top of your government.”

Rae’s grandson Jared is now one of the most powerful people in the U.S. government. President Trump’s son-in-law and a senior White House adviser, he is an influential voice on some of the nation’s most pressing issues, including immigration across the southern border. And to understand him, you need to understand his family story.

This episode is based on reporting from host Andrea Bernstein’s new book “American Oligarchs: the Kushners, the Trumps, and the Marriage of Money and Power.” Read more about the Kushner family at ProPublica and find an excerpt of Bernstein’s book at The New Yorker.

Jan 08 2020

40mins

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Rank #7: Money Laundering and the Trump Taj Mahal

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The casino’s money laundering controls were so lacking, regulators found, it amounted to “willful" violations of the law.

Feb 14 2018

25mins

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Rank #8: Mongolia

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In the summer of 2019, Donald Trump Jr. traveled to Mongolia. On Instagram, he wrote "Guys I'm back after living the Yurt Life...We covered many miles on horseback and 4WD...Truly one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen."

He didn't mention the fact that he shot and killed an endangered argali sheep. Or that the Mongolian government issued him a hunting permit after the shoot.

We learned that in many respects, Trump Jr.'s visit blurred the lines between private citizen and diplomacy. Trump Jr. even had a meeting with the Mongolian President.

Dec 11 2019

25mins

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Rank #9: Trump, Russia and 'Alternative Financing'

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After Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russians for an intensive, elaborate effort to interfere with the 2016 elections, President Trump reacted as he has before — with bluster and bellicosity, at everyone but Russia.

This week on Trump Inc., we’re exploring the president’s, persistent weirdness around Russia: Why has Trump been so quiet about Russia and its interference?

Glenn Simpson has a theory—that one cannot understand the Russian collusion scandal without understanding Trump’s business.

Simpson is the head of Fusion GPS, the investigative firm behind the now-famous Trump dossier. Before that, he was a Wall Street Journal reporter who specialized in the nexus of money, politics and international skullduggery. Simpson was hired, first by conservatives and then by Democrats, to dig into Trump’s business record.

Simpson has been pilloried on the right as a tool of the Clinton campaign — or worse. He’s been sued multiple times. But amid all the charges, few have followed the details of what Simpson concluded: After a string of Trump failures, disappointments, and bankruptcies, Western financiers shut him off. Trump still needed money to fund his projects. Where did he get it? Simpson came to believe it came from Russia and Russian-connected sources. It came via golf courses, condos, and other conduits.

The eventual result, Simpson suggests, is that Trump ended up beholden to those providing his businesses with “alternative financing.”

One note: The Trump Organization and White House declined to answer our questions for the podcast.

And remember, we want to hear from you: We’re always eager for tips. We also want to hear your questions. What would you like to know about Trump’s businesses? What confuses you? Contact us.

“Trump, Inc.” is a production of WNYC Studios and ProPublica. Support our work by becoming a supporting member of WNYC or visiting donate.propublica.orgSubscribe here or wherever you get your podcasts.

Feb 21 2018

24mins

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Rank #10: The Government's Bar Tab at Mar-a-Lago

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Spending taxpayer money at Mar-a-Lago is a such a "headache," the State Department got a special credit card for visits to the president's private club. This week, the intersection of money, presidential access and security, and the push and pull between government spending and private profits at Mar-a-Lago.

May 01 2019

36mins

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Rank #11: Ukraine

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Why Ukraine? It’s the question we at Trump, Inc. have been asking ourselves for over a year. Donald Trump has taken money from Ukrainian oligarchs. Paul Manafort went to prison because of work he did in Ukraine. Michael Cohen has ties to the country. And then there’s Rudy Giuliani, who has been making appearances there for over a decade. Ilya Marritz went to Kiev to meet with the anti-corruption fighters who are being directly targeted by Rudy Giuliani and his associates. And we untangle the new ways that corruption in Ukraine is commingling with corruption in the United States.

Oct 02 2019

33mins

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Rank #12: Gordon Sondland

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Three women recall Sondland made unwanted sexual contact in business settings. One says he exposed himself. All recall professional retaliation after they rejected him. Sondland denies the allegations. 

Sondland is the US Ambassador to the European Union. He also served as a point-man for President Trump in Ukraine, as Trump put a hold on military aid. Then, Sondland became a key witness in the impeachment inquiry.

Long before Sondland moved his residence to a Brussels mansion, he was a high-profile hotelier and philanthropist in the Pacific Northwest. In Portland, he has long been a powerful investor, political donor, and patron of the arts.  

Read more about the accusations against Gordon Sondland. Stay up to date with email updates about WNYC and ProPublica's investigations into the president's business practices.

Nov 27 2019

30mins

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Rank #13: The Mysterious Loan Trump Made to Himself and More

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David Fahrenthold with the Washington Post answers your questions — and then asks one himself.

Feb 28 2018

24mins

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Rank #14: Trump and Deutsche Bank: It’s Complicated

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Whispers of money laundering have swirled around Donald Trump’s businesses for years. One of his casinos, for example, was fined $10 million for not trying hard enough to prevent such machinations. Investors with shady financial histories sometimes popped up in his foreign ventures. And on Sunday, The New York Times reported that anti-money-laundering specialists at Deutsche Bank internally flagged multiple transactions by Trump companies as suspicious. (A spokesperson for the Trump Organization called the article “absolute nonsense.”)

The remarkably troubled recent history of Deutsche Bank, its past money-laundering woes — and the bank’s striking relationship with Trump — are the subjects of this week’s episode. The German bank loaned a cumulative total of around $2.5 billion to Trump projects over the past two decades, and the bank continued writing him nine-figure checks even after he defaulted on a $640 million obligation and sued the bank, blaming it for his failure to pay back the debt.

Trump, Inc. isn’t the only one examining the president’s relationship with the bank. Congressional investigators have gone to court seeking the kind of detailed — and usually secret — banking records that could reveal potential misdeeds related to the president’s businesses, according to recent filings by two congressional committees. The filings were made in response to a highly unusual move by lawyers for Trump, his family and his company seeking to quash congressional subpoenas issued to Deutsche Bank and Capital One, a second institution he banked with. Trump’s lawyers have contended that the congressional subpoenas “were issued to harass” Trump and damage him politically.

Earlier today, a federal judge in New York declined to issue a preliminary injunction to block the subpoenas. During the hearing in which he delivered that ruling, U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos said Congress is within its rights to require the banks to turn over Trump’s financial information, even if the disclosure is harmful to him.

For their part, the filings for the House Financial Services and Intelligence committees say they are “investigating serious and urgent questions concerning the safety of banking practices, money laundering in the financial sector, foreign influence in the U.S. political process, and the threat of foreign financial leverage, including over the President.” The inquiry includes investigating whether Trump’s accounts were involved in two large schemes involving Deutsche Bank and Russian clients.

The committees want to determine “the volume of illicit funds that may have flowed through the bank, and whether any touched the accounts held there by Mr. Trump, his family, or business.” Links to Russia will get a particularly close look. “The Committee is examining whether Mr. Trump’s foreign business deals and financial ties were part of the Russian government’s efforts to entangle business and political leaders in corrupt activity or otherwise obtain leverage over them,” the filing stated.

The episode explores some of the Trump-related moves by the bank:

➧ Deutsche Bank’s private wealth unit loaned Trump $48 million — after he had defaulted on his $640 million loan and the bank’s commercial unit didn’t want to lend him any further funds — so that Trump could pay back another unit of Deutsche Bank. “No one has ever seen anything like it,” said David Enrich, finance editor of The New York Times, who is writing a book about the bank and spoke to Trump, Inc.

➧ Deutsche Bank loaned Trump’s company $125 million as part of the overall $150 million purchase of the ailing Doral golf resort in Miami in 2012. The loans’ primary collateral was land and buildings that he paid only $105 million for, county land records show. The apparent favorable terms raise questions about whether the bank’s loan was unusually risky.

➧  To widespread alarm, and at least one protest that Trump would not be able to pay his lease obligations, Deutsche Bank’s private wealth group loaned the Trump Organization an additional $175 million to renovate the Old Post Office Building in Washington and turn it into a luxury hotel.

Like Trump, Deutsche Bank has been scrutinized for its dealings in Russia. The bank paid more than $600 million to regulators in 2017 and agreed to a consent order that cited “serious compliance deficiencies” that “spanned Deutsche Bank’s global empire.” The case focused on “mirror trades,” which Deutsche Bank facilitated between 2011 and 2015. The trades were sham transactions whose sole purpose appeared to be to illicitly convert rubles into pounds and dollars — some $10 billion worth.

A spokesperson said Deutsche Bank has increased its anti-financial-crime staff in recent years and is “committed to cooperating with authorized investigations.” The bank said it has policies in place to address the potential for conflicts of interest, including “special measures with respect to clients that hold public office or perform public functions in the U.S.”

The bank was “laundering money for wealthy Russians and people connected to Putin and the Kremlin in a variety of ways for almost the exact time period that they were doing business with Donald Trump,” Enrich said. “And all of that money through Deutsche Bank was being channeled through the same exact legal entity in the U.S. that was handling the Donald Trump relationship in the U.S. And so there are a lot of coincidences here.”

You can contact us via Signal, WhatsApp or voicemail at 347-244-2134. Here’s more about how you can contact us securely.

You can always email us at tips@trumpincpodcast.org.

And finally, you can use the Postal Service:

Trump, Inc. at ProPublica

155 Ave of the Americas, 13th Floor

New York, NY 10013

“Trump, Inc.” is a production of WNYC Studios and ProPublica. Support our work by visiting donate.propublica.org or by becoming a supporting member of WNYC. Subscribe here or wherever you get your podcasts.

May 22 2019

41mins

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Rank #15: "Corruption Is Our Achilles Heel"

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Glenn Simpson has a lot to say about business corruption and Russian influence in the U.S. In this episode, we speak to him. Simpson first came to these issues as an investigative journalist at The Wall Street Journal. In 2010, he co-founded Fusion GPS, a research firm. During the 2016 campaign, he began to research Donald Trump for two clients: first for a Republican opposed to Trump and then for a lawyer for Democrats.

Fusion is most famous — or infamous — for hiring Christopher Steele, the former British spy who wrote the so-called Steele dossier. We asked Simpson about the dossier, about becoming a part of the story, and about the deposition of former national security aide Fiona Hill, who said that when it comes to Russia, "corruption is our Achilles heel."

Simpson is now the author, with Peter Fritsch, of the new book, "Crime in Progress: Inside the Steele Dossier and the Fusion GPS Investigation of Donald Trump."

Nov 26 2019

39mins

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Rank #16: What We’ve Learned From Michael Cohen

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For a year now, Trump, Inc. has been digging into the president’s business. We’ve reached out repeatedly to the Trump Organization with questions. Mostly, we haven’t gotten answers.  

Yesterday was different.

Michael Cohen worked for a decade as the president’s in-house attorney and fixer. In his testimony before the House Oversight Committee, he offered a detailed, insider account of alleged fraud, secrecy and cover-ups.

In many cases, what he described connected to the very stories we’ve been digging into:

-- How Cohen came to work for Trump.

-- Evidence of possible wrongdoing by the Trump inaugural committee. (The District of Columbia’s attorney general just subpoenaed the Trump inaugural committee, citing issues we revealed.)

-- How Trump often changed the value of his assets, sometimes to seem richer, sometimes to lower his taxes, like at his golf courses

Trump, Inc. hosts Andrea Bernstein and Ilya Marritz sat down to review what we’ve learned and what it means for ongoing investigations into the president and his business. Dan Alexander from Forbes joined them.

Feb 28 2019

33mins

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Rank #17: The Numbers Don't Match

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Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, is serving prison time for understating his income to the IRS, and for overstating his income to banks. Trump's former executive vice president and special counsel, Michael Cohen, is also serving prison time, for, among other things, making false statements to a bank. And Donald Trump? A lot of people want to see his taxes: At least two congressional committees. The Manhattan District Attorney. Trump doesn’t want ANYONE to see them. He’s gone to court three times to make sure they stay secret. The court fight is ongoing. Trump's tax documents remain walled off. Heather Vogell of ProPublica found some anyway. She compared them to financial documents Trump filed with his lender — and discovered that certain key numbers don't match. Heather spoke with over a dozen experts in accounting, law, and real estate. Not a single one of them could explain the discrepancies away.

Oct 16 2019

30mins

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Rank #18: Trump’s Moscow Tower Problem

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This week, we’re exploring President Donald Trump’s efforts to do business in Moscow. Our team — Heather Vogell, Andrea Bernstein, Meg Cramer and Katie Zavadski — dug into just who Trump was working with and just what Trump needed from Russia to get a deal done. (Listen to the podcast episode here.)

First, the big picture. We already knew that Trump had business interests involving Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign — which he denied — that could have been influencing his policy positions. As the world has discovered, Trump was negotiating to develop a tower in Moscow while running for president. Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen has admitted to lying to Congress about being in contact with the Kremlin about the project during the campaign.

All of that explains why congressional investigators are scrutinizing Trump’s Moscow efforts. And we’ve found more:

•  Trump’s partner on the project didn't appear to be in a position to get the project approved and built. On Oct. 28, 2015 — the same day as a Republican primary debate — Trump signed a letter of intent with the partner, a developer named Andrey Rozov, to build a 400-unit condominium and hotel tower in Moscow.

In a letter Rozov wrote to Cohen pitching his role, he cited his work on a suburban development outside of Moscow, a 12-story office building in Manhattan’s Garment District (which he bought rather than constructed) and two projects in Williston, North Dakota, a town of around 30,000.We looked into each of them.

Rozov’s Moscow project has faced lawsuits from homeowners, some of which have settled and some of which are ongoing, and the company developing it filed for bankruptcy. It remains unfinished.

Property records show that Rozov owned his New York building for just over a year. He bought it for about $35 million in cash, took out an almost $13 million loan several months later, made no significant improvements and then sold it for a 23 percent profit. Trump’s former business associate, Felix Sater, who once pleaded guilty to financial fraud and reportedly later became an asset for U.S. intelligence agencies, is listed on the sale as an “authorized signatory.”

We did find a developer with a workforce housing project in Williston, as well as approved plans for a mall/hotel/water-park. (The town attracted interest from developers as the center of North Dakota’s oil boom earlier in the decade.) Rozov’s name doesn’t appear on materials relating to the company, but a person familiar with the project confirmed that this is what Rozov was bragging about in his letter. Oil prices cratered and the mega-mall was never built.

Rozov did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Here is a rendering of the plan:

Plans for "Williston Crossing," a 218 acre site in Williams County, North Dakota.
(Williston Crossing Major Comprehensive Plan Amendment Presentation/Gensler)

•  An owner of a sanctioned Russian bank that vouched for the Trump Organization in Moscow had a criminal history that included involvement in a Russian mafia gas-bootlegging scheme in the U.S.

Making a business trip to Russia requires an official invitation. According to correspondence published by BuzzFeed, Sater arranged for an invitation from Genbank, a small Russian bank that expanded significantly in Crimea after Russia invaded in 2014.

One of Genbank’s co-owners is Yevgeny Dvoskin, a Russian-born financier who grew up in Brighton Beach at the same time as Sater. Dvoskin pleaded guilty to tax evasion in federal court in Ohio for the bootlegging scheme and spent time in prison. He was later deported to Russia, according to press accounts. In Russia, he remained tied to criminal networks, according to the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project. (We were unable to reach Dvoskin for comment.)

•  We also get a hint about why Trump may have needed the Kremlin to get his deal done. Some of the sites under consideration for a potential Trump Tower Moscow were in historic areas with strict height restrictions. Just a few years before the 2015 letter of intent that Trump signed, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin pledged to do all he could to prevent the city from being overrun by skyscrapers.

If Trump’s deal was to move forward in some place like the Red October Chocolate Factory, one of the spots that was considered, getting around zoning restrictions would need help from the very top.

Sater and Cohen were also kicking around a plan to offer Putin the building’s $50 million penthouse, according to BuzzFeed. That need for special help, combined with the potential offer of a valuable asset, raises questions about whether the plan ran afoul of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, according to Alexandra Wrage, the president and founder of Trace International, an organization that helps companies comply with anti-bribery laws. “What you describe is certainly worrying,” she said.

The Trump Organization, the White House, and Michael Cohen did not respond to requests for comment.

For his part, Sater is scheduled to testify before the House Intelligence Committee on March 27. The committee members will undoubtedly have plenty of questions.

You can contact us via Signal, WhatsApp or voicemail at 347-244-2134. Here’s more about how you can contact us securely.

You can always email us at tips@trumpincpodcast.org.

And finally, you can use the Postal Service:

Trump, Inc. at ProPublica

155 Ave of the Americas, 13th Floor

New York, NY 10013

“Trump, Inc.” is a production of WNYC Studios and ProPublica. Support our work by visiting donate.propublica.org or by becoming a supporting member of WNYC. Subscribe here or wherever you get your podcasts.

Mar 21 2019

38mins

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Rank #19: Trump, Inc. Goes Beyond Collusion

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In this Trump, Inc. podcast extra, we talk about what we know, what we don’t know and what we still want to know after Attorney General William Barr gave his summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report. Trump, Inc co-hosts Andrea Bernstein and Ilya Marritz joined Maya Wiley, professor at the New School and MSNBC Legal Analyst on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer show to review the on-going investigations. 

Collusion was never the only thing. For the last year and a half, we have been looking at the conflicts of interest that pervade President Donald Trump’s administration. That trail has led us from Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, to Panama, India and, yes, Russia, where we reported on how Trump’s associates appealed to the Kremlin for help at the same time the Kremlin was preparing an attack on the 2016 elections.

And Andrea Bernstein also talks with Eric Umansky, Trump, Inc. Editor and Deputy Managing Editor at ProPublica, about how to interpret what we know (and don't know) about the special counsel's report.

Mar 25 2019

36mins

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Rank #20: 'Harm to Ongoing Matter'

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On Thursday, the “Trump, Inc.” team gathered with laptops, pizza and Post-its to disconnect — and to read special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.

What we found was page after page of jaw-dropping details about the inner workings of the administration of President Donald Trump, meetings with foreign officials and plots to affect our elections. But we also found rich details on how Trump ran his business dealings in Russia, itself the subject of our recent episode on his Moscow business partners.

It backed up a lot of our earlier reporting: The deal with Andrey Rozov, a relatively unknown developer whose claim to international prominence was the purchase of a building in Manhattan’s garment district, did go further than agreements with other developers. The type of development they were hoping for would need signoff from Russia’s powers that be — namely, President Vladimir Putin — potentially putting Trump in the position of owing favors to a hostile foreign power. And the deal went on longer than the Trump campaign wanted the public to know, with the then-candidate rebuffing Michael Cohen’s concerns about the accuracy of his portrayal of his relationships with Russia.

Here are a few of our takeaways:

The deal was bigger…

The Mueller report puts the terms of Trump’s most infamous Trump Tower deal side by side with a failed prior deal with the family of Russian pop star Emin Agalarov. In doing so, it proposes an answer to why Trump chose to move forward with Rozov: he offered Trump a much better deal.

In fact, Cohen said the tower overall "was potentially a $1 billion deal.” Under the terms of the agreement, the Trump Organization would get an upfront fee, a share of sales and rental revenue, and an additional 20% of the operating profit. The deal offered by the well-known Agalarov developers, in contrast, would have brought in a flat 3.5%. We’d tried to reach Rozov to talk about the deal for our earlier reporting. He never responded.

For Trump, this agreement promised to be the deal of a lifetime.

There were more Russian contacts…

The report says Cohen and Felix Sater, a fixer who brought the Trump Organization together with the potential developer for the Moscow deal, both believed securing Putin’s endorsement was key. There was also plenty of outreach from Russians, many of them offering to make that very connection.

But even as the two were figuring out how to pitch the tower plan to Putin, at least three intermediaries who claimed to have connections to the Russian president were reaching out to Trump and his associates. They promised help with Trump’s business interests and his campaign, the report says.

One was Dmitry Klokov, whom Cohen looked up online and mistakenly identified as a former Olympic weightlifter. Klokov, in fact, worked for a government-owned electric company and was a former aide to Russia’s energy minister. He told Cohen he could facilitate a meeting with a “person of interest” — that is, Putin — and also offered help creating “synergy on a government level.” But Klokov’s overtures for talks on matters beyond mere business interests were rebuffed by Cohen.

The report also clarified that it was Sater who approached the Russian developer with the idea of a Trump Tower Moscow — and later brought his pitch to the Trump Organization. This sequence of events raises new questions about whether the tower deal, which Trump had wanted for decades, was part of the Russian government’s multiple intelligence approaches to Trump and his advisers at the time.

One other figure in our previous Trump Moscow episode surfaced again in the Mueller report: Yevgeny Dvoskin, a Russian national with a U.S. criminal record and alleged ties to organized crime. Dvoskin is now a part-owner of Genbank, a small Russian bank sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury. He grew up in Brighton Beach at the same time as Sater, who, in 2016, called on Dvoskin to invite Trump and Cohen to Russia for an exploratory visit. To arrange the invitation, Dvoskin asked for copies of Cohen’s and Trump’s passports, which Cohen was happy to provide. The Mueller report says that Trump’s personal assistant even brought Trump’s passport to Cohen’s office, but that it is not clear whether it was ever passed on to Sater.

Sater declined to comment for the podcast. Genbank and Dvoskin did not respond to earlier requests for comment.

And there was more cover-up…

Mueller describes continued efforts to mislead investigators and the public about the Trump Moscow deal and associates’ contacts with Russian officials. Many of the details are gleaned from Cohen’s cooperation.

Cohen confronted Trump after he denied having business ties to Russia in July 2016 and pointed out that Trump Tower Moscow was still in play. “Trump told Cohen that Trump Tower Moscow was not a deal yet and said, ‘Why mention it if it is not a deal?’” according to the Mueller report.

To maintain Cohen’s loyalty during the investigation, multiple Trump staff members and friends told him the “boss” “loves you,” according to the Mueller report. “You are loved,” another associate told him in an email. Cohen also said the president’s lawyer told him he’d be protected as long as he didn’t go “rogue.”

The report concludes that active negotiations in Moscow continued into the summer of 2016. Cohen told Mueller’s team that the project wasn’t officially dead until January 2017, when it was listed with other deals that needed to be “closed out” ahead of the inauguration.

After admitting to lying to Congress about when the Moscow deal fizzled, Cohen told Mueller about the “script,” or talking points he’d developed with Trump to downplay his ties to Russia. He also said he believed lawyers associated with his joint defense agreement — including attorneys for the president — edited out a key line about communications with Russia from his congressional testimony. The offending line: “The building project led me to make limited contacts with Russian government officials.”

You can contact us via Signal, WhatsApp or voicemail at 347-244-2134. Here’s more about how you can contact us securely.

You can always email us at tips@trumpincpodcast.org.

And finally, you can use the Postal Service:

Trump, Inc. at ProPublica

155 Ave of the Americas, 13th Floor

New York, NY 10013

“Trump, Inc.” is a production of WNYC Studios and ProPublica. Support our work by visiting donate.propublica.org or by becoming a supporting member of WNYC. Subscribe here or wherever you get your podcasts.

Apr 19 2019

34mins

Play