The president and his children love to have their hands in all kinds of dealings around the world, but a new report from POLITICO has shed light on some stuff the family tried to do in Ukraine, far before attempting to extort the country.
As it turns out, Ivanka and Junior went to Ukraine in 2006 to talk with the nation’s leaders about building a line of luxury golf courses for the ultra rich. In 2008, Junior went back to further discuss the deal and talk with developers.
This is where is gets fishy. According to POLITICO:
The Trumps were looking to erect luxury resorts across the former Soviet republics, and Ukraine seemed like a promising location. But doing so meant navigating a landscape that had long struggled with corruption. And as part of its overtures, the Trump Organization engaged developers Dmitry Buriak and felon Felix Sater, both of whom have had business interests in Russia.
The irony about this whole deal coming to light is that the president has been ranting and raving about Hunter Biden’s work in Ukraine, making a huge deal out of his political opponent’s work in the “corrupt” country, knowing full-well that he’d already tried and failed to do the same.
The report continues:
The president’s critics say it’s a now-familiar Trumpian contradiction, one that raises further doubts about the president’s claim he merely wanted to root out corruption when he pressured Ukrainian officials to investigate the Bidens — a revelation that sparked a House impeachment inquiry.
Now, no one is saying that Trump trying to build golf resorts in Ukraine over a decade ago has illegal implications, but it certainly is a predicament when that same man with dealings around the world becomes the leader of the free world and starts using his power as president to bully foreign nations into investigating his 2020 opponent.
POLITICO claims that “House and Senate committees appear to be unaware of the Trump Organization’s prior Ukraine connections, according to more than half a dozen lawmakers and staffers. The new details are based on court documents, government emails obtained by the conservative group Judicial Watch and foreign media reports, some of which were translated.”
House Judiciary Democrat Rep. Pramila Jayapal had this to say about the dealings:
“President Trump’s foreign policy decisions call into serious question whether he’s looking out for the American people or his own wallet.”
The Trump Administration, ready with a list of excuses as to why this isn’t a problem, picked reason 56,304 to give to the media. White House spokesman Judd Deere claims that the president has nothing to do with his beloved businesses while serving as president:
“As he announced in January 2017, President Donald Trump is not involved in the day-to-day operations of the Trump Organization, and he does not take any action that benefits him personally. While House Democrats continue to spread false rumors in complete denial that the president was a successful businessman for decades, President Trump continues to keep his promises to the American people.”
According to Trump, he is convinced that Joe Biden used his power as Vice President under Obama, to get his son Hunter out of investigations of his allegedly illegal activities in Ukraine. No word of criminal behavior, or an impending probe has ever been reported, so the president is literally fabricating the excuse to get dirt on a guy that could rip the Oval Office seat out of his arms.
Doesn’t that seem like a much more logical reason?
To think that Trump has suddenly become worried about a possible crime spree from some random guy named Hunter Biden, instead of the obvious, that he wants to get any dirt he can on the Bidens because that’s who he’s facing in 2020, is just simple.
Biden’s campaign, after hearing of Trump’s attempt to open resorts in Ukraine, has released a statement calling for the president to show us financial documents proving the Ukraine deal was legit:
“This revelation is the latest reminder that every single day, Donald Trump is breaking his promise to the American people to release his tax returns and be transparent about for whom he really works.”
POLITICO thinks it’s a little weird too:
Yevhen Chervonenko, then the Ukraine minister of transportation, was quoted in 2005 as saying Trump’s expected financial contribution was estimated to be $500 million.
But other reports indicate the Trump Organization planned to license its name and receive royalties from any Ukraine project instead of owning the properties, a model it follows in many locations around the globe.
A Ukrainian website in 2008 claimed that “Experts say that the interest of people like Donald Trump in the Ukrainian market is a great advantage for our country,” Delo.ua, a Ukrainian business website wrote in a 2008 article exploring the benefits of a Trump development. “This is a kind of official recognition of world financial institutions that Ukrainian real estate deserves serious funding.”
Trump’s dealings in Ukraine weren’t exactly what you’d call squeaky clean, however, and many of the people he did business with were later found guilty of business crimes:
The Trump Organization worked with Buriak, whose company, DeVision, bills itself as one of the largest real estate businesses in Ukraine. Buriak also served as vice president at DeVision’s parent company, Petrochemical Holding, whose managing director was convicted in 2002 of abuse of power related to his work at the Russian government-owned energy giant Gazprom.
Separately, Lithuanian law enforcement investigated whether Buriak and another company partly owned by Petrochemical Holding funneled money from Russian special services to Lithuanian’s ruling Labor Party in the 2000s. And a recent investigation by Lithuania’s legislative body into political and electoral interference suggested Petrochemical Holding and Buriak were both “posing a threat to the interests of Lithuania.”
The Trump organization also worked with Sater, who pleaded guilty in 1998 to helping run a $40 million stock-fraud scheme that involved organized crime associates, according to prosecutors.
Sounds a lot like all of Trump’s other dealings, right?
Sater even mentioned Donald Trump when he was being deposed in the 2008 criminal case, saying:
“I remember we were In Yalta. I remember we were looking at opportunities. I remember speaking to the Trump Organization about that opportunity. I even remember the specific opportunity, and we discussed it with them. … It didn’t get to the finish line.”