“Trump promised to end endless wars, but this action puts us on the path to another one.”
— Sen. Bernie Sanders quote regarding Trump’s decision to assassinate Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasam Soleimani
“I could have been very popular, I think, if I had launched a military attack on Iran…Ultimately, my goal was to preserve the integrity of my country, although I lost the election maybe partially because of that. Every hostage did come home, safe & free.”
— Former President Jimmy Carter 2006.
“Pentagon officials were stunned.” But a legion of psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health experts aren’t. It’s the kind of thing they’ve been predicting all along.”
— George Conway, lawyer, Never-Trump, spouse of White House adviser Kellyanne Conway tweet.
By Dan Peak
The Commoner Call (1/6/20)
A heads up, there is new damning Impeachment news in the second half of this column. You really should read this: Trump, Deutsche Bank loans, a whistleblower and Russian co-signers – jump there if you so choose.
By now anyone paying attention knows that Trump ordered the assassination of Soleimani by airstrike after his arrival at the Baghdad airport. The New York Times reported that Trump was presented with a number of options to respond to a December 31 attack on the US embassy in Baghdad, as well as other Iranian-led violence in Iraq. Trump rejected the option of assassinating Soleimani but after watching the embassy attack on TV Trump changed his mind – opting now for the most extreme option presented by his administration. The Times reported, “Top Pentagon officials were stunned”.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi advised his parliament that Trump had requested his help in mediating a step back in Iranian-led violence adding that Soleimani’s arrival in Baghdad was to deliver a “response to Saudi initiative to defuse tension when he was hit”.
Iraqi parliament has already voted to demand the removal of all US troops from Iraq and Iran has announced the suspension of “all commitments to the 2015 nuclear deal”.
Former Republican strategist and Never-Trumper Rick Wilson is not alone in predicting a rash of new nuclear weapons programs across the Middle East starting with Saudi Arabia.
So which of these two acts would make for a more dangerous future?
A) Honoring the Iranian accord – Trump withdrew US support.
B) Assassinating Suleimani – as Trump has now done.
Trumpsters, mostly in the form of Sec. State Mike Pompeo, assure us that Trump’s extreme response to purported ‘imminent threats’ has made us ‘safer’, even presuming the assassination will bring Iran to the ‘negotiating table’. VP Pence, reminiscent of his Iraq War build-up declaration that Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction had been found, tweeted a completely nonsensical attempt to link Soleimani to 9-11.
Meanwhile, the universal opinion is Iranian retaliation. Maybe not coordinated but certainly not unrelated, “Al-Shabab extremists overran a key military base used by U.S. counterterror forces in Kenya before dawn Sunday, killing three American Department of Defense personnel and destroying several U.S. aircraft.”
Sadly we know there are many drinking the Trump Kool-Aid and will now demand we without question support our ‘war president’. Shades of the W. Bush era of bad decisions previously criticized by Trump. Of course in 2015 Trump confused US-allied Kurds, who he has betrayed, with Soleimani’s Quds (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Quds Forces), before also offering that “the Kurds have been poorly treated by us.” The interview was with pundit Hugh Hewitt who is handing out the Trump Kool-Aid, assuring us that Trump’s action “had to be done to protect American lives”.
As a transition, Trump never misses an opportunity to demonstrate his political dickishness; Trump selectively informed GOP Trumpsters ahead of the attack but commented after that he did not tell Dems like Sen. Minority Leader, Gang of 8 member, Sen. Chuck Schumer for fear of leaks. Though Trump did tell his pals at a Mar-A-Lago gathering to expect “big” Iran actions “soon”. Let’s see how many attendees bought defense stocks on the heels of this – remember Trump supporter Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) was convicted of insider trading for just such a thing.
Steady flow of bad news for Trump
Meanwhile, on the Impeachment front, there is a constant stream of confirmation that Trump ‘did it’; that Trump personally directed the Trump-Ukraine extortion to personally benefit his reelection effort.
Freedom of Information Act requests have resulted in the release of four sets of emails. The latest is a set released to Just Security: “Exclusive: Unredacted Ukraine Documents Reveal Extent of Pentagon’s Legal Concerns”.
Maybe the single more damning comment is, “Clear direction from POTUS to continue to hold” (Ukraine military aid funds). Trump is directly implicated in an un-redacted email from OMB associate director of national security programs Michael Duffy. The article is full of damning specifics but a fantastic Cliff Notes version is here from MSNBC host Chris Hayes.
Kate Brannen for Just Security adds, “What is clear is that it all came down to the president and what he wanted. No one else appears to have supported his position.”
Schumer includes Duffey, along with Trump chief of staff Mulvaney, his adviser Robert Blair and former Trump national security adviser John Bolton as necessary witnesses, along with requested documents, for a Senate trial. Requested documents include another set of administration 20 emails, 40 pages, between Blair, Mulvaney and Duffey. Washington Post does a good job of summarizing the sets of released and requested emails here. The New York Times does and equally good job of providing the latest on court battles to force testimony from former White House Counsel Don McGahn and grand jury testimony from the Department of Justice which appear to be related to special counsel Mueller’s investigation of Trump obstruction of justice re: Trump-Russia, a possible added avenue for impeachment. An Appeals Court is debating the request while considering House actions short of using the courts; Justice Department attorney Mark Freeman allowed for a possible “hypothetical gun battle with the attorney general’s security detail”.
BUT, FOR THE BIGGEST NEW DAMNING TRUMP NEWS?
MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell announced a bombshell exclusive report a few months ago that Trump’s Deutsche Bank loans had been co-signed by Russian oligarchs close to Putin.
O’Donnell retracted his ‘single source’ story saying he violated NBC rigor. He did not say the story was untrue.
Now the story is back in the Daily Kos: “Explosive report indicates that Donald Trump’s loans from Deutsche Bank were backed by Russia”.
“…According to , Trump’s loans from Deutsche Bank were underwritten by a Russian state-owned bank. That news reportedly comes from a whistleblower with access to documents from both Deutsche Bank and Russia’s state-owned VTB Bank. VTB Bank was also the proposed lender on the never-completed Trump Tower Moscow project.”
The gist of the DailyKos story is a reminder that Trump’s business failures made him toxic for any additional loans but Deutsche Bank contrived work-arounds to continue to lend him money – including recruiting Russian co-signers to back the loans.
There is a very sad angle to this. The whistleblower, Val Broeksmit, is the adopted step-son of a former Deutsche Bank executive William Broeksmit who committed suicide after failing to detect Deutsche Bank fraud for another unrelated case that was eventually found out and resulting in regulatory fines against the bank. After William’s death, Val was able to access William’s huge trove of internal bank documents.
“…Val found thousands of emails between his father, Chief Risk Optimization Officer of Deutsche Bank, and other executives, along with attachments containing sensitive documents about Deutsche Bank’s financial operations.”
“The Russian state bank VTB underwrote loans to Donald Trump via Deutsche Bank. Over the course of Trump’s relationship with DB, an inordinate amount of questionable, mismanaged & risky loans approved by Deutsche Bank to
“Trump required his Personal Guarantee which, over time, also lost its value.
“Trump’s team at DB sought out creative ways to circumvent the varied protections DB’s compliance team institutionally implemented, & whether by happenstance or by design Trump’s loans became underwritten by Russia’s own VTB.
“I informed the FBI of this in 2019.”
Val is the whistleblower.
“He went on to leak documents to a Senate investigator, a former prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorney’s office, and many reporters. It’s likely that documents leaked by Broeksmit led to from the New York Fed for violations in an American unit, which Enrich reports was overseen by Bill Broeksmit.”
Val may or may not have directly caused this fine of Deutsche Bank, but he did help bring about the closure of the oldest bank in existence and the convictions of former executives, “Monte dei Paschi di Siena’s Former Executive Sentenced to 3.5 Years in Prison”.
The story of Val is like a movie script, which is one of his pursuits. A lengthy review of Val is provided by David Enrich for the New York Times, “Me and My Whistle-Blower”. Enrich also has a Deutsche bank expose, “Dark Towers”, due out in 2020.
For now, the Forensic News assures:
“Val’s documents remain in the hands of federal investigators. Their contents have bolstered cases resulting in millions of dollars in fines and prison sentences for some Deutsche Bank executives overseas.
“American law enforcement investigations into Deutsche Bank continue, while Val continues to search for answers about Deutsche Bank and his father’s passing.”
MSNBC’s O’Donnell may have rushed the story, but he looks to have been right – Trump Deutsche Bank loans co-signed by Russian.
Impeach and Remove.