It’s a fortunate thing for Donald Trump that the Democrats, and much of the media, spent the past two years focused on the narrow question of whether his 2016 campaign actively colluded with Russian agents to hack his opponents’ emails. Were it not for this singular obsession, we might have come to appreciate the full scope of graft, influence peddling and petty theft that has made this the most crooked administration in US history.
One doesn’t have to go to Moscow to see it; pick almost any country in the world. Take my former home, Panama, famous for its canal and secret banks. Towering over the Panama City skyline is a 70 story hotel-casino shaped like a sailboat formerly known as the Trump Ocean Club. Trump had gifted it to his daughter Ivanka as her first real estate deal, which court records show earned Trump between $30m and $50m. Ivanka Trump put in charge of its sales a Brazilian financier, whom a Reuters investigation identified as an admitted money launderer with ties to Russian organized crime, who would later be arrested for fraud and forgery.
A Global Witness report turned up evidence the hotel project was being used to launder “proceeds from Colombian cartels’ narcotics trafficking”. When the hotel’s owners decided the Trump name was bad, even for business this shady, and ended their contract with his organization, Trump’s lawyers asked Panamanian president Juan Carlos Varela to intervene on Trump’s behalf.