Donald Trump’s band of not-so-merry men have been up to their necks in various alleged illegal activities. Basically, the White House attitude has not been defensive. It has been an odd “so what?” attitude. However, the era of lawlessness has not gone on without the Senate and House legislators investigating.
Senator Ron Wyden has been investigating the Turkish state-run bank Halkbank. It was charged with “the biggest money-laundering scheme ever charged in U.S. history.” The U.S. Treasury officials told legislators that Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin met with Turkey’s dictator Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for a White House luncheon.
The Treasury officials sent Wyden a four-page letter from Deputy Assistant Secretary Frederick Vaughan. It avoided questions about Mnuchin’s meetings with the Turkish officials. It also refused to respond to whether Trump was involved in the investigation.
Vaughan wrote, according to The Courthouse News:
‘At some of those meetings, Turkish government officials expressed concern about the impact on Halkbank of U.S. economic sanctions on Iran.’
The last page of Vaughan’s letter showed Mnuchin meeting with Erdoğan twice this year, three times with Erdoğan’s son-in-law Berat Albayrak, and two meetings with “Turkish Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek, a member of Erdoğan’s cabinet and ruling Justice Development Party:”
‘These meetings took place while Treasury was supposed to be playing a key role in investigating Halkbank for massive Iranian sanctions violations.’
Albayrak has been described as “Turkey’s Jared Kushner.” He used to be in charge of the country’s energy ministry and now heads his nation’s finance. The U.S. has sanctioned Turkey:
‘[For allegedly] helping to funnel billions of dollars in Iranian oil money in violation of U.S. sanctions.’
‘Albayrak in particular has close ties to Jared Kushner and history of using shady dealings to advance Erdogan’s interests, including reportedly working with former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn in an effort to kidnap exiled Turkish dissident Fethullah Gülen from his home in Pennsylvania.’
Former terrorism finance analyst at the Treasury Jonathan Schanzer moved to be president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Prime Minister Şimşek and Mnuchin had a meeting Schanzer said:
‘Zarrab pled gulty to the greatest Iranian sanctions evasion scheme in U.S. history.’
The economist was Turkey’s last effort to handle the Halkbank issue by an economics-based professional, not one-on-one business relationship:
‘After that, you’re looking at people who were directly involved in the Halkbank problem negotiating or apparently negotiating its conclusion.’
The senator continued:
“Congress needs to know to what extent Donald Trump and his cronies were carrying water for a state-owned Turkish bank and whether they ran the same Ukraine playbook by roping U.S. government officials into their personal scheme.
‘So, Turkey I think understood that it had a particular amount of leverage and successfully see it postponed for what appears to be two years or more.’
Giuliani was involved in the Halkbank scandal. What he did was similar the impeachment inquiry for Senator Wyden. Mnuchin said in court records:
‘…instructed Halkbank to resume the scheme.’
The Mueller Report Adventures: In Bite-Sizes on this Facebook page. These quick, two-minute reads interpret the report in normal English for busy people. Mueller Bite-Sizes uncovers what is essentially a compelling spy mystery. Interestingly enough, Mueller Bite-Sizes can be read in any order.