By Darren Samuelsohn
Nearly 3,000 miles from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Washington offices, another investigation into President Donald Trump is underway. This one unfolds in the public libraries and coffee shops of San Francisco, where a self-employed 40-year-old named Geoff Andersen has worked since November for 16 hours a day, seven days a week, burning through nearly $45,000 in personal savings and donations from friends and family in pursuit of hidden truths about Trump’s rise to power.
Andersen, a freelance Democratic opposition researcher who worked on President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign and is now between jobs, has downloaded thousands of newspaper articles dating from the 1970s, hunted down obscure court and real estate records, and is even reading a textbook on money laundering. He posts his findings on his website, offers tips to reporters and sends a weekly newsletter to about 50 subscribers; one recent installment covered everything from Trump’s 1980s dealings with former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos and the Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi to his belief that Trump’s father “may have been a Soviet asset.”
“I don’t think from the outside perspective looking at it you can trust any of the institutional actors to provide a full and complete reckoning of what the hell is going on.”
Convinced that major media reporters are too overwhelmed and distracted to dig deep, Andersen looks in unusual places. His recent request for access to a long-forgotten microfiche cabinet containing old Securities and Exchange Commission records related to pre-internet-era Trump casino deals left the librarians scratching their heads.
“They had to find the key,” Andersen chuckled.
Andersen is not alone in his largely solitary quest. Countless amateur sleuths are on the case, from a short-order cook in Belfast, Northern Ireland, whose research was recently cited by The Daily Beast to a Florida art teacher who tells POLITICO he is applying his pattern-recognition skills to Trump’s sprawling business empire. Undaunted by a lack of subpoena power or search warrants, and the government’s vast legal and technical expertise, countless people like these are poring through Trump’s personal and business records, as well as overlooked 2016 campaign clues. …
(Commoner Call cartoon, 2017. Open source and free to use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )
Follow Trump’s Money Trail: Citizen Sleuths Investigate
Center for Investigtive Reporting (8/26/17)
How much is President Donald Trump worth? And is he or anyone in his administration profiting from their positions? Reveal is teaming up with the Center for Public Integrity to investigate those questions.
We’ve created a database listing all the assets that members of his administration have disclosed. Now we’re digging through those documents to see whether there are any conflicts of interest. We’ve posted the information online, and we’re asking the public to take part in our investigation. Citizen sleuths already have uncovered some leads. By crowdsourcing this project, we will be able to monitor whether any policy changes end up benefiting members of the president’s team.
- Help: Investigate the Trump administration’s business connections
- Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.