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He’ll give that damn rose to anybody, we guess.

Hello, patriotic Americans, have we all gotten over how President Dumbass made up a lie about Obama doing a “wire tapp” to him, in hopes that will distract everybody from investigating his shady, possibly criminal ties with Russia and other places also too? Good, glad we are over that. Because there’s a NEW story out, about a NEW country where Donald Trump might maybe have his mini-paws dirty in some bad, law-breaking money, and it is Azerbaijan! (Don’t worry, Azerbaijan and Russia touch each other, so we’re not going far from Trump’s real dad Vladimir Putin.) We alluded to this story Monday in our post yelling at creep ass Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, as a suggestion for a thing he should investigate, instead of Trump’s stupid “wire tapp” lie.

Investigative reporter Adam Davidson published an incredible piece in The New Yorker called “Donald Trump’s Worst Deal,” and we will try to summarize it briefly, then tell you to go read your damn self. (Also, if you don’t like #Reading, scroll to the bottom of this post, because Rachel Maddow did a lovely segment on her TV program Monday night about it. She even makes a vagina joke!)

Here is Wonkette’s third grade book report version of the story:

The Trump Organization did a project, with Ivanka at the helm, in Baku, Azerbaijan, which is a foreign place between Russia and Iran. It is a very corrupt place, Azerbaijan! But what started out as a licensing deal for a big weird vagina-shaped luxury hotel tower in Baku turned into something more. According to Davidson, the Trump Organization was very hands-on, dictating design elements, and visiting all the time.

Davidson explains that, on paper, everything about the project looked weird. It was in a screwy neighborhood for a luxury hotel, nowhere near the other fancy schmancy hotels on the Caspian Sea. It was way more expensive than it should have been. And considering the state of things in Azerbaijan, it didn’t even seem like there would be much of a clientele for the hotel. Doy doy doy! Makes no sense, unless, as Rachel Maddow notes below, the point wasn’t actually do do a GOOD DEAL, but just to launder money into some sketchy fat cats’ pockets, some of whom might be RADICAL ‘SLAMIC TERRORISTS. Did we mention Azerbaijan is corrupt?

The Trumps partnered with relatives of a guy named Ziya Mammadov, the Azerbaijani transportation minister who makes $12 grand a year, and is also a billionaire. Totally normal Suze Orman story! As Davidson reports, WikiLeaks has released cables from a U.S. diplomat who called Mammadov “notoriously corrupt even for Azerbaijan,” and Foreign Policy has previously nicknamed the family the “Corleones of the Caspian.” They seem nice! Anyway, the company the Trump Organization contracted with is led by Mammadov’s son, Anar, and Elton Mammadov, Ziya’s brother and a member of parliament, was the one who signed all the documents for the Trump deal. Also too, Davidson reports that pretty much everybody in Azerbaijan knows that Ziya Mammadov is the one who really runs the company.

Now, if these people are “notoriously corrupt” and full of extremely shady money, what does that matter for the Trump Organization? Well!

The sustained back-and-forth between the Trump Organization and the Mammadovs has legal significance. If parties involved in the Trump Tower Baku project participated in any illegal financial conduct, and if the Trump Organization exerted a degree of control over the project, the company could be vulnerable to criminal prosecution. Tom Fox, a Houston lawyer who specializes in anti-corruption compliance, said, “It’s a problem if you’re making a profit off of someone else’s corrupt conduct.”

So, as Davidson explains, companies do risk assessments, in an effort to keep their noses clean, because they very MUCH can be prosecuted if they profit off other people’s bribe-y, laundered money. Alan Garten, chief legal officer for the Trump Organization, told Davidson they did that risk assessment, but wouldn’t give him any other information. But it was all fine, we bet! Davidson wonders, though, whether they REALLY did their due diligence, since the Mammadovs have VERY WEIRD FINANCIAL TIES to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Yes, the same Iranian Revolutionary Guard that’s one of the world’s biggest state sponsors of RADICAL ‘SLAMIC TERRORISM! Remember how Azerbaijan touches two countries, and one of them is Iran?

Anyway, as Maddow explains below, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is heavily sanctioned by the U.S. government, so if the Trumps profited off, in a roundabout way, doing business with them, they could end up in deep shit.

Also too, remember how Elton and Ziya Mammadov are part of the Azerbaijani government?

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, passed in 1977, forbade American companies from participating in a scheme to reward a foreign government official in exchange for material benefit or preferential treatment. The law even made it a crime for an American company to unknowingly benefit from a partner’s corruption if it could have discovered illicit activity but avoided doing so. This closed what was known as the “head in the sand” loophole.

Huh, the plot thickens! Will this make the whole Trump family GO TO JAIL?

Anyway, the building sits empty now. As Davidson explains, a month after Trump was elected, the Trump Organization pulled out of the deal, for reasons we can only wildly speculate at. Maybe the Trumps didn’t want journalists to come knockin’ at this story, especially since “President” Trump decided to keep all his sexxxy assets for himself instead of transferring them to a truly blind trust or divesting.

Anyway, there is much more in Davidson’s story, but that should give you enough info to make you want to watch the Maddow video and read the whole big article (it is very good!), and if it doesn’t, you are FAKE NEWS, goodbye.

Wonkette, which is not FAKE NEWS, is completely reader-supported, so help us out with a few bucks!

[The New Yorker]

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  • kareemachan

    If he kept these assets, does that mean that the Caspian Mafia will come after him?

    One can always hope….

    • suziq

      That would make things easier.

  • ArgieBarfie

    But remember, people voted for Trump because Hillary was “crooked.”

  • Banrion

    Say it ain’t so. “Alan Garten, chief legal officer for the Trump Organization,” Please tell me this is not Ina’s husband.

    • Oblios_Cap

      It’s Kinder’s.

    • Antonin Dvorak

      Ina’s husband is Jeffrey, not Alan.

    • FlownΩver

      Just a Garten-variety shyster.

  • Undocumented Skwerl!

    OOOH Donnie. I own some Lake Superior acreage. We can build a hotel right on top of the Edmond Fitzgerald. Send monies.

    • msanthropesmr

      As big freighters go, she was bigger than most.

      • Oblios_Cap

        But when the winds of November come howling, will anybody want to stay there?

      • puredog

        Freighter? I don’t even KNOW her!

    • FlownΩver

      Fellas, it’s been good t’know ya.

      • Lord Jim

        The searchers all say they’d have made Whitefish bay if she’d put fifteen more miles behind ‘er.

  • Crystalclear12

    They’re not even good at it. We, the American people’s, deserve better lies. I mean, come on, even a mushroom couldn’t grow in this bullshit. Trump needs to step up his game.

  • Vincent Ricola

    But… but… the Clinton foundation took money to treat AIDS patients in poverty-stricken countries. BOTH SIDES!

  • Inner Venom

    Barack Obama is secretly wiretapping Trump and Hillary Clinton ran a child trafficking ring out of a pizzeria, but somehow climate change is the real hoax?

  • Mpeg

    Too bad it was all a ruse… cause I think it’d be kinda fun to go around sayin “Azerbajillions. We’re gonna make AZERBAJILLION$!1!”

  • Creepoman

    ” . . . a big weird vagina-shaped luxury hotel tower . . .” covered in tiny orange fingerprints.

  • FlownΩver

    Just you wait and see – the length of the indictment alone is gonna choke the Internet.

  • anwisok
    • wide_stance_hubby

      Always lately.

  • Oblios_Cap

    Remember how Azerbaijan touches two countries

    Show us on the map where the bad country touched you…

  • msanthropesmr

    The one person I know from Azerbaijan last name is Mammadov.

    • yyyaz

      Wasn’t that the name of Anjelica Huston’s character in “Lonsom Dov”?

  • dslindc

    BUT EMAILS!!!!

  • Lulu Mac
    • Oblios_Cap

      I gave it up for Lent.

  • memzilla Ω

    What if… Twitler’s breath-taking arrogance is because everyone who’s enabling him has assured him — as they have been doing since he first started getting Russian money after US banks stopped lending to him — that they can bury all the money connections in a pile of shell companies that no one can trace back to him? And that this is why he and his co-grifters have been so comically obvious in their ignorance about how intelligence gathering works?

    • yyyaz

      I love self-answering questions. Leaves me more time to drink beer.

    • schmannity

      I don’t think comically obvious ignorance needs an excuse in Donald Trump world.

      • Stella Thomas

        i agree, but it is also a symptom of narcissism to think you are never going to answer to anybody.

    • dshwa

      Part of it is the certainty that Congress won’t do jack about it. But if the Obamacare replacement plus the courts recent throwing out of gerrymandering leads to a democratic retaking of the House…

  • Asterix

    Nice recap, but yes, read the whole article – it’s excellent.

  • Vincent Ricola

    No snark – Rachel is doing beta-Jesus’s work with her A spots. She’s laying out the facts in a very clear, well-researched, sexxxxy way and I love it.

    She also goes out of her way to credit the print material authors instead of doing the generic “we have reporting” line that others (CNN) use to take all the credit for themselves.

    Good on her.

    • Lulu Mac

      And vajayjay jokes also too

      • Beowoof14

        Loved that Georgia O’keeffe reference.

    • dslindc

      She has always been excellent at dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s.

      • Cousin Itt de La Résistance

        She holds a doctorate degree from Oxford and attended Stanford for her undergrad. So yes, she is freaking smart.

    • Mmm. I’d love to gently caress Rachel’s A-spot, if you know what I mean.

      • Lamashtar

        I am not even lesbian and I find her pleasing to contemplate.

  • Lizzietish81

    I’d suggest his supporters must be feeling pretty stupid but I doubt they’ll notice.

    • Asterix

      I doubt they can read. They get all their info from Fox News, Alex Jones, and Rush Limbaugh.

      • But definitely NOT from their foamy mouthed preacher at their local mega-church.

        I’m sure that’s not happening across the land.

    • Beowoof14

      Well they would be feeling stupid if they weren’t so stupid.

      • Lord Jim

        And that, my friends, is how you explain Dunning-Kruger in words so simple they STILL can’t understand it.

    • Lulu Mac

      “I’d suggest his supporters must be feeling pretty stupid…”

      FIFY

    • DoILookAmused2u? Résistance☨

      I am going to go out on a limb and say that since this is not appearing on Breitbart, Fox and Friends, Rush Limbaugh, etc… they don’t even know about it.

    • Vincent Ricola

      “At least he’ll get things done.” – my stupid Trump supporting coworkers who I’ve grown to hate

      • yyyaz

        Have any of them offered you a definition of “things”?

        • Vincent Ricola

          No. I asked once and got dirty looks and then silence.

          • yyyaz

            lulzzzh!

          • YoBunnyBunny

            They also never clarified what Dampnut’s “Telling It Like It Is” was supposed to mean either…

      • AJ Milne

        No joke, the reaction to this horror of a human being by certain people I thought I kinda knew has been… an eye-opener.

        I guess I can live with a few fewer friends, tho’.

      • Lamashtar

        Youtube bros say the same thing. I’m guessing “failed attempt to ban Muslims from the US” was their vision of accomplishment.

  • ariel_gee_398

    Hey, don’t worry about that extra money being laundered that can go to support terrorism. We have the most fulsome border protection in the world, and Donnie only cares about keeping us safe, so he definitely wouldn’t cut funding for the TSA and Coast Guard (what protects our ports) to fund his war on brown people. Oh, wait…
    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/trump-coast-guard-budget-235750

    • Asterix

      The defunding of the Coast Guard threw me for a loop yesterday. I’m guessing Trump and Company do not understand what the Coast Guard does.

      • yyyaz

        I mean even the name is WTF?

      • Claire

        He thinks they’ve looked for Gilligan long enough.

      • Royal Ugly Dude

        Monitor and mitigate oil spills?

      • ariel_gee_398

        I’m sure that’s true. He has a guess based on the words, but no actual understanding of what it does. Just like the ACA, which he said his employees (who get coverage from the Trump Organization) were complaining about, or DACA, which he seemed to think only covered people who were currently children.

      • Pilotshark

        well he may just think of them as fancy life guards.

        after all if they was real military they would have not put them with homeland security. /s

      • Liberal Fascist Ron

        ‘They’re the ones who put up those ring things at the beach, right? I’m sure we could save money on that.’

      • Good_Gawd_Yall

        It’s easier just to list the things they DO understand:
        1. Corruption
        2.

        • calliecallie

          2. Profit!

      • Jamoche

        One of the things they do is keep Russian ships out of oil-rich Arctic waters – gosh, why would he object to that?

    • Mr. Blobfish

      The Coast Guard will be reduced to guarding Mar-a-Derpo.

    • georgiaburning

      DT must believe the Coast Guard is like mall cops who stand around the beach.

      • Celtic_Gnome

        Evidently the Coast Guard doesn’t get all the cool new toys that make all the defense contractors erect and tingly.

        • georgiaburning

          Actually this cut will probably cause one new ship under construction to be scrapped and others to be postponed again.

    • YoBunnyBunny

      Loy and others argue that hiring more border agents and building a wall are likely to increase the need for guarding ports and coastlines.

      GET OUT!!!!!!!!

      This would be funny if it weren’t so fucked up.

  • schmannity

    LOCK HIM UP! LOCK HIM UP! Also, RELEASE YOUR FOREIGN INVESTMENTS TAX RETURNS!

  • FlownΩver

    “It’s a problem if you’re making a profit off of someone else’s corrupt conduct.”

    But it’s a great problem. The greatest. Everybody says no one else has such great problems. Our problems will be so great and beautiful. You’re going to get tired of our great big beautiful problems.

  • DoILookAmused2u? Résistance☨

    Trump’s money-laundering business model involves way more than two countries.

    It’s just that Russians are one of his biggest revenue sources.

    https://twitter.com/mattyglesias/status/839129772345212931

  • Mr. Blobfish

    Whenever I say Radical Islamic Terror, I hold my hand up and make the OK sign.

    • Wild Cat

      Dude, when Radical Islamic terrorism talks, people listen.

  • schmannity

    I am going to withhold judgment until the Trump Organization’s Slavic Investments spokesman, Borat Sagdiyev, has spoken.

  • Me not sure

    Baku? Do I smell oil money?
    ” Tillerson, get in here!”

  • Beowoof14

    Don in with Russian mobsters who need to launder money is not really a big surprise. What is interesting is Don’s connection, to scamming with people who fund the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. That’s some serious treason right there. And as an added benefit he has violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

    • DoILookAmused2u? Résistance☨

      Trump has said he intends to revise the FCPA.

      • yyyaz

        Something, something “no ex post facto laws” something.

        • Beowoof14

          Well changing the rules after the crime is done will still require the help of congress. Which hopefully he won’t get.

      • Liberal Fascist Ron

        ‘Revise’ = either ‘remove’ or ‘change it so it doesn’t apply to me specifically.’

  • Wild Cat

    It was even worse when the neo-nazi was meeting with a local religious official and said, “Look at the great Azerbaijan that woman!”

  • elviouslyqueer

    Dear Mango Mussolini,

    Show me on the Ivanka where Azerbaijan touched you.

    Oh, wait. EW.

  • Chadwells

    The reaction of the new 2020 president when they walk into the White House. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f3b5ca59b7a04ee405acd0e5185922d8b8754d5ba329e4b1767db6c066da2ed0.gif

  • Me not sure

    Baku?… Do I smell oil money?
    “Tillerson, get in here!”

  • Jeffocaster in the desert
  • DoILookAmused2u? Résistance☨

    Are embeds broken for you, or is it this browser?

  • Michael R
    • Carpe Vagenda

      April 2, you slimy little fucker, and one of your state sponsors goes away. Looking forward to taking your chances with the other one?

    • yyyaz

      Goddamn those fucks! This is aiding and abetting treason by forcing the IC to fight this fire instead of the one in the fucking WH. Assholes. This absolutely reeks of BamBam’s “burn it down” horseshit.

    • MynameisBlarney

      More importantly…which side is Ryan, McConnel and the rest of the GOP gonna stand with?

      If they stand with turmp and teh rooshans….there will be NO denying they’re traitors.

    • ariel_gee_398

      Does Putin have a kompromat file on Assange, or is his interest strictly mercenary?

      • BearDeLaOursistance

        I bet he’s got EVIDENS about the RAPPE. Hopefully, the judges will hurry up, wash the meatball residue off their hands and get to assembling the KORT.

    • Ghenghis McCann

      Great move Julian, handing out details of how to hack smartphones etc to any scammer who can read (if the information is true.)

    • Lord Jim

      I’m ready for that guy to win the election who wants to kick Orange Julian’s ass out in the street.

  • TJ Barke

    I await the mental gymnastics the trumpers will demonstrate on how this is acceptable with tremendous anticipation.

  • Resistance Fighter Astraea
    • Bill D. Burger
    • Bill D. Burger

      BTW: Terrible thing the old lady did to Martinez’ “Behold the Man” fresco, but laugh-out-loud funny story of the 88 year old lady who thought she could save her town money and sneaked in to restore the work herself.

      Her “restoration” ruined it, but brought tourists from all over the world to see
      “Chia Christ: The Monkey Messiah”

  • Mr. Blobfish
  • memzilla Ω

    “[Jason] Greenblatt was in charge of the Trump Organization’s due diligence and
    contracting work. He is now employed at the White House, as the President’s special representative for international negotiations.”

    That’s a helluva swamp drain, that Drain-22.

    • yyyaz

      How “convenient.”

    • Bub the Hoohah! loving Zombie

      Why is the damn swamp draining back into the basement? That’s not how it’s supposed to work! That’s not how it’s supposed to work at ALL!!

      • Jamoche

        “Flood-prevention infrastructure is hard” – all of California.

    • Lord Jim

      In Trumpspeak, “draining” means “filling”.

      • TakingAmes

        Ignorance is strength, and we’ve always been at war with Eastasia.

  • Carpe Vagenda

    jhc, you’re not kidding. That building has a recessed clitoris.

    • Marion in Savannah

      Yesterday someone referred to the style of architecture as “neo buttplug.”

    • Thaumaturgist

      Things you learn on Wonkette! Me? I never would have noticed if you hadn’t pointed it out.

      • Carpe Vagenda

        I’m always interested in seeing things which are not genitals which people perceive as genital-like to see if I agree.

      • LucindathePook

        It’s the first thing I thought of when I saw the pic last night. Which says a lot about me, I guess.

    • Biel_ze_Bubba

      It’s a little-known fact that Georgia O’Keeffe moonlighted as an architect.

  • MynameisBlarney

    If turmp was any moar crookeder, he’d have a hunchback.

    • Bub the Hoohah! loving Zombie

      To steal a line from Hunter Thompson, he’s so crooked he needs a valet to help him screw his pants on every morning.

    • TJ Barke

      He could swallow nails and spit out corkscrews.

    • Mr. Blobfish

      When he dies, they won’t bury him. They’ll just screw him into the ground.

    • marxalot

      He can walk through a corkscrew without touching the sides.

    • Lord Jim

      His surface area is of fractal dimension.

  • exinkwretch

    The Trump Doctrine: Radical Islamic Terrorism is A-OK if it puts cash in my pocket!

  • Me not sure

    Who wouldn’t want to vacation in beautiful crude oil drenched Baku. Beautiful oily mosque, is it not?
    Seriously, ISIS has had eyes on operating in Azerbaijan because of the oil. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7d0b845aac740a31c72da50a956b3f1a09e160d78bf7004828b80ced5d236411.jpg

    • Royal Ugly Dude

      That’s Bibi Heybat. It’s a recently-rebuilt replica of a larger mosque torn down by Stalin.

      • Me not sure

        Location, location, location. You can’t beat the view from those minarets.

        • Boscoe

          Can they see Sarah Palin’s house?

    • Lord Jim

      So Donnie needed a hotel to house all the people he was gonna send to take the oil.

      Hey, I’m dancing as fast as I can here.

  • Cousin Itt de La Résistance

    “But when I applied, I was told that it was the dormitory tower for Trump University-Baku students.”

  • Proud Liberal

    Rachel and the investigative reporters will bring down Trump. The man is corrupt!

    • Lord Jim

      Here’s hoping…

  • Royal Ugly Dude

    Here’s a close-up view from the street. The locals say it was going to be all luxury condos, but no one bought any and the project went bankrupt. Now it’s conspicuously dark at night.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9b76fbc391dde8dfc7d64b9be49aec9dde5eaf3729eb962beb7818ae73eec138.jpg

    • Doug Langley

      And it’s fallen over on its side, too! Tragic. Sad.

      • Liberal Fascist Ron

        We coulda fixed that before it became too big a problem, know what we’re sayin’?
        – Pisans

      • TakingAmes

        Because the Obama/Clinton regime undermined it.

        • Boscoe

          Some people (Alex Jones?) are saying Obama was actually there with a pick, chipping away at the foundations personally.

          …right before hopping back here to personally drive protestors to Vancouver in his stationwagon.

      • Royal Ugly Dude

        Disqus did that. I’m certain I was standing perpendicular to the ground when I took the pic.

  • Blackest Noobs

    ha ha ha ha sadly we were right..Donald Trump is one corrupt vagina-grabbing fucking asshole.

    Stupid White America thinking they found a savior from that oppressive black man who tried to get them affordable ( but due to the inaction of Republicans not affordable) health insurance.

    Will White America ever learn?

    Probably not with DeVos as the Secretary of Education.

    • Boscoe

      Not to defend DeVos, but Republicans have been slashing education budgets for decades. The mouthbreathers are several generations deep at this point.

  • Lizzietish81

    So I asked on reddit how Trump would feel if they found out he had done business with people associated wtih the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

    The answer?

    “Clinton Supporters, how would you feel if it turned out Hillary killed 17 puppies while embezzling funds meant for child refugees from the Syrian War? These questions are on here every day and they’re getting ridiculous. Change Trump supporters minds by offering a better alternative. You don’t have to get very many of them to win the election, just a few.”

    • Lulu Mac
      • Ghenghis McCann

        What he said.

    • Michael Smith

      So.. they would be fine with it? Is that the correct interpretation of that “response”?

    • Bub the Hoohah! loving Zombie
    • TJ Barke

      A better alternative is basically, literally, anything else.

    • Vincent Ricola

      The way redditors take a valid question and give a garbly “pseudo-intellectual and both sides” wordsalad answer is kind of amazing sometimes.

    • Lord Jim

      But since Clinton didn’t actually do any such thing, what’s their fucking point? HC could have raised Ronald Reagan from the dead and the Duck Dynasty crowd would have only discovered that he was too liberal for them. Trump ACTUALLY filched money from his “charitable foundation” and never put any in himself, whil the Clinton foundation is one of the most efficient charities in existence, does tremendous good in impoverished nations, does not benefit the Clintons personally and into which they pour their own money…but we need to offer a better alternative?! Did you ask them what the weather was like in Bizarro World?!

    • Hairstrike Alpha

      The answer back would be, “I’m sorry, that’s irrelevant” ala John Cleese in the parrot sketch.

  • Hairstrike Alpha

    I’d be surprised if we didn’t find out that Fred Trump profited from the Holocaust or if Donnie had somehow scored a hotel deal from Robert Mugabe. These people are fucking scum, aren’t they?

    • Carpe Vagenda

      Fred actually did overcharge for sub-standard base housing with crooked contracts.

      • Ghenghis McCann

        Colour me surprised.

        • Lord Jim

          I’ll use the colour that just drained out of my shocked face.

      • Biel_ze_Bubba

        He didn’t overcharge – there just happened to be a premium on all-white buildings.

      • Querolous

        And Fred’s dad ran a whore house in the Yukon.

    • Robbertjan Brandenburg

      Well in Trump’s defence many now well respected corporations and institutions profited from the holocaust. every day you touch a computer or take medicines or watch a satelite being launched into orbit, you benefit from horrible things that happened during the holocaust.

      • Good_Gawd_Yall

        Oh, don’t spoil our fun. Dolt 45’s father was obviously a horrid person, because look at the abomination that he reared. As for his mother, I’ve seen kindlier expressions on the faces of pit vipers.

        • TakingAmes

          But her hair we’ve only seen in one other place.

      • Hairstrike Alpha

        Oh FFS, theres a difference between benefitting from technology created from a terrible event and benefitting from the event itself which is what my joke was about. If you wear cotton clothing or smoke cigarettes you benefited from slavery.

        This is why I hate the concept of blood guilt, do we recognize the horrible evils that created these events and continue to this day? Fuck yes we need to. We also need to continue to recognize and cast sunlight upon the continuation of those views in modern times to isolate them so they are never acceptable again.

        • Robbertjan Brandenburg

          Calm down, HA, I was just being cynical.

    • Latverian Diplomat

      I wouldn’t be surprised if Fred got a nice insurance settlement from that Reichstag fire thingie. :-)

  • Robbertjan Brandenburg

    2251. A tour on the Trump yolocaust memorial.

    “On the left you can see Trump’s Watergate scandal while on the right you can see Trump’s version of the Iran Contra deal.”

    • Boscoe

      Clearly there are no original ideas left.

      • Robbertjan Brandenburg

        Oh yes there are. We could make it a theme park.

        • Erala Contratista

          Reminds me of trying to go to Dollywood. After about 5 miles of theme restaurants and mini golf places (no two alike!) we tuned around and continued down the highway.This or these things are beginning to get hilariously boring.

          • Robbertjan Brandenburg

            There is a thing called Dollywood?

          • Amy!

            In Sevierville, Tennessee, which was Dolly Parton’s hometown, more or less. It was severely economically depressed when she left for Nashville and became a big star. She used her money and influence to build a tourist attraction (the economy of East Tennessee has been based on tourism since the establishment of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the thirties), in order to help her neighbors and friends and family.

            Everything is good about it except that it’s such a fucking pit of consumerism that I never could bear to stop and look at anything there (I grew up in ET). For me, the tourism ought to be about the mountains (and rivers, and lakes), which are beautiful and don’t need “theme parks”, just preservation, like the National Park (which is the most-visited NP in the US, or that’s the line that east tennesseeans will give you at pretty much any opportunity).

          • Robbertjan Brandenburg

            Oh I need to see both. Dollywood well yeah just because and the national park because that’s something I would definitely enjoy.

          • Robbertjan Brandenburg

            or we could this instead

            https://youtu.be/RtRtCw1nUOA

          • Amy!

            Cool music. I couldn’t do a cruise ship, though. Those things just seem creepy, to me (I’m sufficiently introverted that the idea of being trapped on a vessel with hundreds (thousands?) of other people and no place to go to get away from them is closer to my definition of “punishment” than “reward”).

          • Robbertjan Brandenburg

            Come to Amsterdam in that case: http://kwakufestival.nl/

          • Amy!

            Ha! I’d love to, in fact. I’ve got a (Canadian) astronomer friend who’s at astron.nl now. And maybe I could track down folks I knew from studying in Moscow in the nineties, who were amazingly wonderful people.

            But … US passport, you know? And also belonging to at least one class of people Most Likely to Be Hassled by the American Stasi at the Border. Kinda hunkering down and working for local change, for now.

          • Erala Contratista

            It is in Pigeon Forge Tennessee. Beautiful green mountains. Except for a massive fire last summer. Dollywood untouched.

  • Thaumaturgist

    Today Wonkette and her enablers have gone too far. You’ve just accused Trump, Inc. of being the worlds premier money laundry.

    • Cousin Itt de La Résistance

      How would you like your gold bars pressed?

      • Robbertjan Brandenburg

        With an eagle and a swastika please.

      • MynameisBlarney

        Latinum?

        • Cousin Itt de La Résistance

          BINGO!

      • Doug Langley

        No starch.

      • Querolous

        Use an irony.

    • Biel_ze_Bubba

      NYC luxury apartments are the premier money laundering vehicle. Some shadowy LLC plunks down $30MM cash, you don’t ask questions about whose money it is or where it came from, and next thing you know Bananastan’s billionaire transport minster has a place to retire to, free and clear.

  • Hairstrike Alpha

    But Donnie said the magic words radical Islamic terrorism! It’s all over don’t ya see?

  • Michael Smith

    A lot of gangsters amassed incredible wealth buying up pieces of the old USSR after 1991, when basically anyone with some money and influence gobbled up the dead state’s assets like pinata candy. I wonder if Trump’s ties to the region go back that far?

    • Alexander Stallwitz

      like Russian Mobsters? or the Mafia. I want to know more about this

      • Latverian Diplomat

        I think the Russian Mob really took off in the 90s. Among other things, there were a lot of ex KGB looking for work/investment opportunities.

    • Latverian Diplomat

      It also helped that they could get a good price by threatening the lives and families of legitimate owners.

      • Michael Smith

        That’s always helpful in a free market!

    • Edith Prickly

      Seems like a reasonable assumption.

    • Red Bird Ω

      When did he meet his third wife?

    • Amy!

      Prolly good instinct, but unlikely because that’s when he was going broke running casinos in Atlantic City. I think he ended up mobbed up with Russians a little later, as he was trying to find financing after having become too toxic for banks to touch. All of those Russian new millionaires wanted to invest, preferably in places or with people who didn’t ask too many questions. Failure okay, as long as they could wash their own money clean as part of the deal.

  • Michael Smith

    I think this “Donald Trump” character must be based on Warren Zevon’s Mr. Bad Example.

  • Liberal Fascist Ron

    Christ on a bloody CRUTCH…

    I wish I could believe that this will affect Donnie in any way, but I swear, the man-baby seems to be Teflon-coated. But maybe it can be added to the pile.

    • Boscoe

      I think there is definitely a breaking point where the fallout for NOT investigating him will be too toxic for the GOP to swallow. And I think we’re getting *really* close…

      • UncleTravelingMatt

        After just 6 weeks.

      • mailman27

        I went to bed thinking the same thing, only to wake up to the squirrel that Ryan released about a health “plan” that has zero chance of becoming law.

  • Cousin Itt de La Résistance

    The Trump Organization sounds like it has taken on increasingly iffy deals as time has passed. And that would appear to be characteristic of a business organization that needs cash flow to avoid collapse. Now that Trump is president and as the winds of scandal rage, his entire operation is going to be severely stressed and stretched thin of resources of all kinds. If I were him, I’d resign and say that he has to save his business for his family.

    • Liberal Fascist Ron

      If you were him you wouldn’t be contemplating such a reasonable course of action.

    • Thaumaturgist

      Now you know why the IRS is running a Trotskyite permanent audit on Trump, Inc. that forever protects disclosure.

      • Shanzgood

        Hasn’t the IRS already said that conducting an audit doesn’t mean no disclosure?

        • georgiaburning

          Yes

        • Rags

          And Nixon ( that paragon of virtue) released his while under audit.

    • georgiaburning

      But he’s made his brand more valuable in parts of the world run by precisely the sort of creeps who use those money laundering services. His past behavior shows he will yell louder and press his bets. Being sensible is out of the question

      • Celtic_Gnome

        Well, compulsive gamblers only lose control of their gambling habits when they’re winning really big or losing really big.

    • TundraGrifter

      If you were him you’d be in a world of hurt.

      Just sayin’.

    • Ducksworthy

      He can’t. He has made certain promises, in return for certain favors, to people you do not want to disappoint.

    • Latverian Diplomat

      “We remain hopeful about a big pay out from our portfolio of Lottery tickets.”
      — Trump Organization Annual Report (unreleased)

  • fawkedifiknow

    Unless this scam is reduced down to 3 scummy sounding words, or less, this particular scandal is going nowhere. I read the article yesterday, and it sure is sleazy – but, god is it complicated. Just like health care, but who knew that???

    • Cousin Itt de La Résistance

      Donald is increasingly being Baku’d into a corner?

    • Ducksworthy

      It’s going to take 3 dozen lawyers 6 months to figure out his tax returns. But there’s a RICO conviction in there.

      • BearDeLaOursistance

        Rico? Sounds Messican. And not the good ones. BUILD THAT WALL!1!

    • AJ Milne

      I’m _assuming_ this is a money laundering thing? Pretty hard to figure how it could be otherwise. Thing looks like a pretty huge, expensive white elephant unless the whole point was to have an excuse to move large quantities of money…

      … which would make it something like ‘Trump organization licensed name to and assisted in the development of a money laundering front for a corrupt Azerbaijani oligarch’, if all this holds together. Sure, more than three words, but still fits on a postcard.

      Still wondering a bit why they built it _there_, apart from the fact they _could_, I guess, this being land controlled by the transport ministry. Kick out the proles, presto, you’ve a site, on the cheap.

      The fact that it never even opened, tho’… it’s kinda funny to me how ill-gotten gains so frequently seem so horribly invested. Like it’s some kinda weird financial karma thing. Or just people good at stealing aren’t usually real good at running businesses? Or, I guess, if it’s just about moving money, probably piling it up into subcontractors you’ve interest in anyway, and who can now cover for where it first came from, the longer-term business plan otherwise actually making any sense would just be gravy. Just not a detail they’re going to sweat much.

      • Royal Ugly Dude

        Although it’s not in walking distance from the other big hotels, it’s still a good location for a high-rise, with great views of the city and the Caspian Sea. It’s not a bad area, but the streets around it are mostly auto dealers, retail and home-improvement stores. So it’s kind of a sleepy neighborhood at night.

        • mailman27

          According to Rachel’s piece, there aren’t any what you call “roads” leading to it.

          • Royal Ugly Dude

            There’s a major boulevard on one side of it, and the rail yard is on the other. The New Yorker writer said his taxi driver didn’t know how to find the entrance, which is totally believable because no one ever asks to go there.

      • Jamoche

        I can get it to six wingnut-friendly words – “Trump hotel funds radical Islamic terrorism” – but then, that applies to so many of them.

        • AJ Milne

          Considering Trump is, no exaggeration, a _huge_ asset to ISIS’ (and similar organizations’) recruiting activities now, you’d figure they’d have a picture of him on their walls by now…

          … the irony with his accusing _Hillary_, of all people, of ‘founding’ them hopefully not lost on anyone.

    • LifelongLurker
  • Proud Liberal

    “Alan Garten, the Trump Organization lawyer, did not deny that there was corruption involved in the project. “I’m not going to sit here and defend the Mammadovs,” he said. But, from a legal standpoint, he argued, the Trump Organization was blameless. In his opinion, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act doesn’t apply to the Baku deal, even if corruption occurred. “We didn’t own it,” he said of the hotel. “We had no equity. We didn’t control the project. The flow of funds is in the wrong direction.” He added, “We did not pay any money to anyone. Therefore, it could not be a violation of the F.C.P.A.”

    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/03/13/donald-trumps-worst-deal

    Me thinks this is a violation of F.C.P.A.

    • Boscoe

      The denial was the dead giveaway.

    • Biel_ze_Bubba

      WTF is he talking about? It’s the dirty money flowing INTO your pockets that the FCPA is concerned about. TrumpO pocketed about $7MM, and every last dime was dirty.

  • DahBoner
  • goonemeritus

    I refuse to believe the business titian behind Trump Steaks, Trump Airline and Trump Casinos would not have doted every “i” and crossed every “t”. if anyone knows where a luxury hotel should be built in Hotdogastand it’s Trump.

    • mancityRed6

      tRump vodka libels!

    • Biel_ze_Bubba

      Nobody much cared where it was. The government picked a spot where they could evict all the poor schlubs living on the land, then handed it over for private development by the Mammadov mafia.
      Connecticut works the same way, should you ever want to build a shopping mall.

    • JustDon’tSayDieInJail

      Titian was a painter, IIRC.

    • Persistent Tennessee Rain

      Didn’t he also too have a mortgage company at one time?

      • goonemeritus

        Yes that one went bankrupt before the paperwork for incorporation was complete.

        • Celtic_Gnome

          Opening a mortgage company in 2007. It’s true, what they say. The most important factor in comedy is timing.

  • marxalot

    That was a long drive to get there, Rache, but at least it wasn’t over “Galloping Gertie.”

    • Biel_ze_Bubba

      That has got to be the most round-about intro to a story that she’s ever done – and that’s saying a lot.
      SEATAC -> Tacoma -> Tacoma Narrows Bridge -> engineering -> Bechtel -> Azerbaijan highways -> hinky contracts -> corrupt politicians -> Trump!!!

      • OrdinaryJoe

        Don’t forget Iran Republican Guard -> funding of terrorists ->

        • Celtic_Gnome

          Eat your heart out, Kevin Bacon.

  • marxalot

    Fun fact: I am actually tracking the many, many tales of corruption and financial chicanery connected to Twitler as research for my writing.
    I’m sick of murder mysteries, so I’m going hard into twisty swindles and vanishing act crime stories.

    • John Resistant Tovarich Smith

      You will need a large staff for research.

  • mancityRed6

    The Bulgarian I know is in Azerbaijan now. She’s designing the heating and cooling systems for a building that will destroy chemical weapons. Ours, I think since she works for an American company.
    The women can’t smoke in public, so they smoke in the bathroom.

    • Tio_Doidinho

      Kinky. Are smoking women just assumed to be prostitutes (the standard assumption in parts of SE Asia)?

      • Royal Ugly Dude

        Yes.

      • mancityRed6

        it’s not completely Muslim, but it’s still kinda repressed in a lot of ways.

    • Finnabar87

      Smokin’ ladies in the loo!

      • BigBoppa ~ Résistent

        I walked up to a beautiful woman at the bar and asked, “Were you smokin’ in the ladies room?”
        She replied, “Honey. I’m smokin’ no matter where I go.”

        • Celtic_Gnome

          Ba-dum tish! (Cause I’m too lazy to go look for the Pony rimshot.)

  • Randy Riddle

    Of course, the GOP’s top man would be money laundering for terrorists. Allegedly.

    But, really, didn’t you really expect this all along?

  • Finnabar87

    Azerbaijan is oil country.

    And like nearly all oil countries, it is corrupt as fuck.

    • Ducksworthy

      Also Texas and Nort Dakota.

      • ND oddly is the last state for taking Fed money- but its people are the #1 recipient of Fed money.
        Weird how that works
        Texas is better for peeps but like 29th for state.

  • BoziSpicer

    If tRump owes Russian oligarchs big money, and he receives big money from shady deals, can we assume he uses these proceeds to pay his foreign debts? Like as in laundering money for them?

    • Zippy W Pinhead

      ya think?

    • MeerkatsRMammals

      That is an excellent speculation! I’m right there with you. If they would follow the money, I don’t think they’d like where it leads…

    • OrdinaryJoe

      His money is clean. Laundered spic and span.

      • Chris

        It’s Trump. I’m sure he uses Gain.

    • CatCafe #ShePurrsisted

      More like handing over the United States and NATO to them

    • tkingt

      My cousin worked for Trump Inc. in New York for 8 years. He was amazed at the level of corruption in that organization. Several Russian oligarchs were siphoning untraceable funds to Donnie on a monthly basis. The sums are staggering. They also purchased apartments at inflated rates. This was usually done through a third party. It’s obvious they were parking this money with Donnie for future use. These guys are really close to Putin. Childhood friends. Donnie is fascinated with Putin’s wealth and his unchallenged power.

  • calliecallie

    New Yorker? Not Teen Vogue? I haz a disappoint.

  • Amy!

    “Саид, ты как сюда попал?”

    “Стреляли.”

    • The Wanderer

      That’s easy for you to say.

  • Swampay

    “Donald Trump’s Worst Deal,”? Wow, that’s gotta be really bad. He’s made some really shitty deals over time. (Air Trump anyone?)

  • Virginia O’Possum
    • John Resistant Tovarich Smith

      Looks like something you’d se on a big girl at Walmart!

    • Celtic_Gnome

      Pants? We don’t need no stinking pants.

  • azeyote

    he’s like a fucking virus

  • AJ Milne

    I think they kinda hinted at it, at least, in the closing paragraphs, but I wonder if this doesn’t shed some light on _some_ of what the Putinistas might have on Trump. (Beyond #peehookers, of course.) And if he’s up to his neck in something like this, is it even uncharacteristic?

    Said it previously: I always figured it would be about money, Trump being who and how he is, and these people being who they are. Tho’ I figured it would be more about loans held by unsavoury types, not messy stuff like this he mighta got a little close to in licensing deals.

    • Keith Taylor

      Indeed he mighta. And the NEW YORKER article mentions (but it’s New York, so this must be a malicious lie about him) that Donald Trump is on record as having said of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, “It’s a horrible law and it should be changed”. Hmmmmm …

    • Celtic_Gnome

      The big question is how the Trumpanzees will react if this story gains any ground. Thirty-eight years of Iran hatin’ ain’t gonna go away in the blink of an eye.

      In politics, never get caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy.

      In Republican politics, never get caught in bed with Iran.

      • Mike Steele

        As the Trumpanzees neither read, research nor watch Rachel/PBS, they will take it however it is spun by Fox/Breitbart, where they will mysteriously exonerate the Iranians and blame it all on Hillary/Obama. As always.

      • ez

        Reagan supplied Iran with a truck load of TOW missiles and was declared a Saint by the GOP. The load Master of that truck, a certain Colonel North, is a valued ‘commentator’ for a variety of conservative media shit holes.

  • gene108

    If Trump released his tax returns, all this speculation could be put to rest. It’s like he has something hide…

  • MedusaX

    Mammadov = SOCAR (State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic)
    = Partners in multiple Rosneft deals

    http://www.democraticunderground.com/10028760150

  • John Resistant Tovarich Smith

    When Trump made it legal for oil companies to bribe foreign officials, did he make it retroactive?

    • Royal Ugly Dude

      The disclosure rule never even went into effect. It was one of the few parts of Dodd-Frank that could be repealed with a simple majority vote under the Congressional Review Act.

  • OrdinaryJoe

    The Corleone’s of the Caspian and the Trump Crime Family hijacked Vito’s dream.

    https://youtu.be/fuWkcKbBQkg

    • mfp

      ennh…anyway, i’m drinkin more wine

    • mfp

      nah, i’m no pezzonovante, pop

    • Chris

      As the Corleone family sues for defamation.

  • Royal Ugly Dude

    Dear Revolutionary Guard,
    The Mammadovs and the Trumps have been unreliable business partners, to say the least. Next time, consider investing in laser tag.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ccc0c5b3dbb203298bca84bb24f84e002eaa9d1c88bd5b15be7962cf5fa189a2.jpg

  • therblig

    all this cheap oil must be great news for the coal industry.

  • House0fTheBlueLights

    tax returns, plz

    • Perkniticky

      Bigly.

    • Persistent Tennessee Rain

      Why? Is there a line item for Money Laundering on the EZ Form?

  • Daru Titor

    I wait with bated breath too see if any of them don’t pass GO, don’t collect $200.

  • motmelere

    A difficult to approach steel vagina in the middle of the nation’s capitol is a must when you want to show the people how hard you’re fucking them.

    • Sister the Resister

      Steel Vagina is my new punk-dobro fusion band….

  • Mavenmaven

    Who cares what happens in Uzbekibekistanstan anyway, right?

    • Sister the Resister

      What happens in Uzbekibekistanstan, stays in Uzbek–
      … oh, wait…

    • smusherface

      Because it’s a possible violation of the laws under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. This PBS Newshour article from June 2016 goes into much further detail and includes quotes from Trump, his lawyer and explains why this is a YUGE deal. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/trump-okd-business-partner-with-alleged-iran-laundering-ties/

      • Keith Taylor

        How about that? And by some weird chance, Trump is on record as having said of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, “It’s a horrible law and it should be changed.” Just as he said of some nice lady’s house across the street from one of his hotel-casinos, as he wanted to have it bulldozed under Eminent Domain to make a car park, or some such, for his hotel-casino, that it was “horrible”. Pretty well known by now that “horrible” and “worst ever” are his infantile baby terms for “something I haven’t liked or found inconvenient in the past five minutes.”

    • Keith Taylor

      All those crummy Central Asian states were once under the rule of the Tsars and should still be Russian. They will be again once they’re conquered even more brutally than the were the first time. Just ask Putin. And when it happens, if he’s still President of the United States then, Trump will get some sweet hotel and oil share deals. That’s how the completely free market works. Now don’t tell me any of you libtards find that objectionable?

  • mailman27

    “The name’s Mammadov. Joe Mammadov..”

  • cmd resistor

    So the Dossier Guy Christopher Steele has surface, apparently alive. http://www.nbcnews.com/card/ex-spy-who-wrote-trump-dossier-speaks-n730106

  • ANNG14

    Anonymous To Trump: ‘You Are Going To Regret The Next 4 Years’
    The hacktivists vow to expose ties to Russian criminals.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/anonymous-trump-regret_us_58818bf3e4b096b4a230ff08

    • Rickyphoo

      I’m sorry if I come off as impatient but come on, Anonymous, it’s been 8 weeks!

      Spill the dirt, already!

      • ANNG14

        The dirt has been coming out. Flynn gone, Sessions recused. Money laundering through Russian banks, dirty dealings with Russian corps exposed. It’s happening a lot more quickly than I had thought,

  • guppy06

    Azerbaijan and Russia touch each other

    Go on…

    • Chris

      But only in a good way…

      • Celtic_Gnome

        Show me on the map where Russia touched you.

  • Iron Monkey

    The strangest thing about the story is that a member of the Mammadov family is named Elton.

  • Msgr_MΩment
  • Keith Taylor

    I’ve read it! And am about to read it again more slowly to take in anything I missed or skimmed the first time. But one thing I noticed … Alan Garten, chief legal officer for the Trump organization, has told reporters, “Trump played a passive role in the development of the property: he was ‘merely a licensor’ who allowed his famous name to be used … ”
    Doesn’t he do that pretty often? Allow his famous name to be used for a sizzling price and then say, when the project goes belly-up in the water with bankruptcy declared and he walks away richer, that he wasn’t directly involved, the project just had his name on it?

    • BrendaKay

      You are correct. I don’t know the law, but I would hope it doesn’t matter if you took and active or passive role, what matters is the flow of money.

    • smusherface

      This was NOT a licensing deal. PBS did an story on it in June 2016 during the election. It was around the time Trump was talking “extreme vetting,” so it seemed relevant considering he and his lawyers hadn’t done proper vetting of this business partner, especially considering the laws under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Trump’s company was directly involved, Ivanka herself was involved, and there’s a video she shot of her visit to Baku, Azerbaijan to work on the deal. It was on the Trump website until it came out in the press (on a low key level). Trump was quoted as saying: “We heard good things about him from a couple of different people. That’s true with the president of the United States. You get references and sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s not so good,” about this business partner who had family ties to Iranian money laundering. “Trump said he considered word-of-mouth inquiries to be adequate.” Trump’s attorney, Alan Garten said “the Trump Organization had performed meticulous due diligence on the company’s partners,” and “told the AP that Trump’s company uses a third-party investigative firm, which he did not identify, that specializes in background intelligence gathering and searches global watch lists, warrant lists and sanctions lists maintained by the United Nations, Interpol and others.” ECXEPT, this information was common knowledge in diplomatic circles, had been covered in the press and had been part of a Wikileaks dump of diplomatic dispatches, and “experts on Azerbaijan were mystified that Trump or anyone else could reach that conclusion.” http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/trump-okd-business-partner-with-alleged-iran-laundering-ties/

  • xbutter

    Maybe that wiretapping that Trump just KNOWS exists, really exists. Except that it doesn’t have anything to do with Obama or the election, and everything to do with an investigation into this.

  • Scrofula

    “Companies do risk assessments, in an effort to keep their noses clean, because they very MUCH can be prosecuted if they profit off other people’s bribe-y, laundered money.”
    Unless they’re banks, apparently.

  • SayItWithOtters

    Surely this will lead to a breakthrough in relations with Iran, and the US will commence signing the Best Deals with them.

    • Celtic_Gnome

      I bet the Iranians would kill for one of them vagina-shaped buildings.

  • Querolous

    Vagina shaped Hotel? What’s next on Hair Twitler’s vagenda?

  • Celtic_Gnome

    If NBC’s computer filters are anything like what we sported at my state agency, vagina-shaped buildings are probably the best Rachel’s going to get.

  • SullivanSt

    Donald Trump is corrupt AF!

  • themidniteskulker

    That hotel in Baku? It’s actually shaped more like a suppository. Just sayin’, as you people are always saying.

  • SCAMMEDbook

    Before using Orman as a positive example, you may want to see this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZJh25-sO98

    and this: http://www.suzescamsthearmy.com

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