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“Extend and Pretend”: Are Deutsche Bank and Trump Playing Chicken Over a $340 Million Loan?

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Welcome to the latest installment of Norms Watch, our series tracking the flouting of democratic norms by the Trump administration and the erosion those norms suffer as a result. This is our collection of the most significant breaks with...
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“Extend and Pretend”: Are Deutsche Bank and Trump Playing Chicken Over a $340 Million Loan?
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Cohen: Trump sought Deutsche Bank loans by inflating assets
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10:55 AM 3/1/2019 - Cohen: Trump sought Deutsche Bank loans by inflating assets - Fox Business
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Possible new US sanctions increase risks for Russia: Sberbank CEO

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“Extend and Pretend”: Are Deutsche Bank and Trump Playing Chicken Over a $340 Million Loan?

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Donald Trump may like to hire Cabinet members from Goldman Sachs, but it’s unlikely that any of them, in their right minds, would have ever conducted business with the guy. For the past two decades, Trump’s lender of choice has largely been Deutsche Bank. In 1998, when Trump was radioactive on Wall Street following a series of corporate bankruptcies, the big German bank agreed to lend the Trump Organization $125 million. According to The New York Times, Deutsche was ultimately involved in loaning Trump more than $2.5 billion. But executives reached the limits of their risk tolerance when Trump asked for another cash infusion in early 2016, in the middle of his presidential campaign. Senior officials were in a bind. They worried that if Trump won the election but defaulted on the loan, they might be forced to decide between seizing the president’s assets or refinancing—which might be seen as a bribe. They turned Trump down.
But, of course, Deutsche already had sizable Trump loans on the books—necessitating another series of awkward conversations. As Bloomberg reported earlier this week, top executives at Deutsche Bank were so concerned that Trump might default on a series of loans, totaling roughly $340 million, while he was in office that they discussed extending the repayment dates on the loans—originally due in 2023 and 2024—until after 2025, when he would have finished a hypothetical second term.
In the end, according to Bloomberg, the bank’s senior executives opted not to restructure the loans or do any new business with the sitting president. If true, this would be a major blow to the Trump Organization, which recently postponed expansion plans, and its ongoing commercial aspirations, because few other Wall Street banks have been willing to do business with Trump. Without Deutsche, it is no longer clear where the Trump Organization will get the money it wants, and needs, to continue to expand and to market the company’s real-estate products. (Eric Trump, who called the Bloomberg story “complete nonsense,” suggested that the company does not need any loans because it is comparatively under-leveraged for the real-estate industry.)
Questions about these particular loans have been circulating around Wall Street for months, but the actual facts about them are frustratingly difficult to unearth. Deutsche Bank isn’t talking, nor is Trump, despite his ongoing entreaties to journalists to call him for comment. (Yeah, right.) But, according to one ex-Deutsche Bank executive with whom I speak occasionally, the bank has been genuinely concerned about whether Trump would default on the loans, and what to do about that default.
Either possibility would be a public-relations nightmare. On the one hand, if Trump defaulted and Deutsche Bank did nothing, that might be viewed as a big gift to a sitting president of the United States. Would Deutsche Bank be seen as trying to influence Trump, or somehow be attempting to get favorable treatment from one of the long arms of the government—such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Justice Department, or even the Federal Reserve—with which it has regular interactions? On the other hand, if Deutsche moved to collect the loan, Trump might have various levers to exact his own retribution. My ex-Deutsche Bank source told me that this is something the bank is particularly afraid of at the moment, given how much regulatory hot water it has been in over the years for a variety of reasons.
Still, even if the bank were to extend the maturity of the loans until after 2025, as the Bloomberg article suggested was being contemplated, that would also benefit Trump. The finance principle here is known as net present value. In short, if you give a borrower a two-year extension on a loan that was due to be repaid in 2023, the new arrangement is worth less to the bank—and more to the borrower—than the original. “In the business, we say that’s ‘extend and pretend,’” my source said about extending the maturity of a loan, and hoping the added time improves the odds that the borrower pays up.
Trump, as he likes to tell us, claims to have graduated at the top of his class from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania (the less prestigious undergraduate program, not the business school). He’s “like, really smart,” he has said. One apparent hole in his intelligence, though, has to do with how loans work. Once, in the lawsuit he brought against author Tim O’Brien for claiming that Trump inflated his net worth, the future president was asked if he understood the meaning of “net present value.” The topic came up during the deposition when attorneys inquired of Trump how he valued his golf courses. After conceding that he was only “modestly” familiar with the idea of “net present value,” he said it had something to do with “the value of the land currently after debt,” which sounds more like a definition of the equity value of an asset.
But, my ex-Deutsche Bank source said, Trump would know that he was getting a benefit if Deutsche Bank were to amend or to extend the loans. “He’s not dumb,” this person said. “He knows what’s a good thing for him, and what’s not a good thing for him and his finances.”
Deutsche Bank isn’t dumb either, although sometimes it seems to do dumb things (like lend Trump money even after he sued them for $3 billion). In the end, according to the Bloomberg article, the bank’s executives decided to do nothing—to neither amend the maturity date of the loans, nor to move to foreclose on them because of a potential default. In essence, they kicked the can down the proverbial road, leaving us once again with more unanswered questions. “What actually happened?” my source wondered. “What’s the end result? Are the loans still on the books? Did the thing get written off? Is it still there?”
All good questions, and ones without answers at the moment. Perhaps Maxine Waters, the new chair of the House Financial Services Committee, will ask these questions when she holds her “many hearings” on Capitol Hill, as she once promised to do.
Correction: This article previous misstated that the arm of Deutsche Bank that issued the loan to Trump. It was not DWS, as previously stated.

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Democrats Are Going After Trump Via His Favorite Bank

Vanity Fair-Feb 25, 2019
For the first two years Donald Trump was in office, Democrats regularly attempted to get Deutsche Bank to turn over information on its financial ...
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The Takeaway

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"It was my experience that Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when it served ... "These documents and others were provided to Deutsche Bank, ...
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US lawmakers probe Trump's ties with Deutsche Bank

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“Extend and Pretend”: Are Deutsche Bank and Trump Playing Chicken ...

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Nov 29, 2018 - Deutsche Bank AG, the sprawling German financial giant, is in trouble again. And, to a certain extent, Deutsche's troubles are going to be President Donald Trump's troubles. German police raided Deutsche's Frankfurt headquarters on Thursday as part of a money-laundering probe ...
Jan 25, 2019 - House Democrats gearing up for fresh investigations into President Donald Trump'sbusinesses and money laundering involving Russia are ...
Feb 20, 2019 - Deutsche Bank officials were worried enough that President Donald Trump might default on loans after he was elected that the institution ...
Feb 21, 2019 - If Trump defaulted and Deutsche Bank did nothing, that might be viewed as a big gift to a sitting president of the United States. On the other ...
Feb 2, 2019 - Donald Trump turned to the German bank, one of the few lenders willing to do business with him, to borrow millions of dollars that would go to ...

2 days ago - The president's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, testified that Donald Trump presented documents to Deutsche Bank that “inflated” the value of ...
Jan 25, 2019 - A pair of US congressional committees now under Democratic control have begun probing Deutsche Bank's business dealings with President ...
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Trump 'inflated his total assets when it served his purposes,' Cohen ...

Washington Post-Feb 27, 2019
“It was my experience that Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes, ... Deutsche Bank also declined to comment. ... “Michael Cohen's testimony opens another line of inquiry — into bank fraud,” said ... hotel projects in Chicago and Las Vegas, both of which carried outstanding loans.
Cohen says Trump inflated his wealth in bid to buy Bills
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DealBook Briefing: Cohen Trashes Trump's Business Image

New York Times-Feb 28, 2019
Yesterday's testimony by Michael Cohen, President Trump's former ... When he asked Deutsche Bankfor financing to buy the Buffalo Bills, ... him whether Mr. Trump inflated the value of assets when insuring them. .... As its economy sags, China is reportedly facing job losses and troubling infrastructure debt.
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Michael Cohen testifies before Congress: Live updates, livestream

Boston 25 News-Feb 27, 2019
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal attorney, ... asks Cohen, “Did the president ever provide inflated assets to a bank” in ... Cohen says some documents were provided to Deutsche Bank to obtain a loan that he ... to jail for lying about his debts to comment on the president's debts.
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How Russian Money Helped Save Trump's Business

Foreign Policy-Dec 21, 2018
Party guests were given sticks with a picture of Trump's face glued to them so they ... in 1999 and was financed by two German lenders, Deutsche Bank and ... and Casino Resorts filed for bankruptcy with $1.8 billion dollars of debt. ... former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen was approached by a Russian who ...
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Ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen investigated for over $20 million of ...

The Independent-Aug 20, 2018
Ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen investigated for over $20 million of alleged bank fraud ... The bank loans under scrutiny, the total of which has not been ... Mr Cohen misrepresented the value of his assets to obtain the loans, which exceed ...... more than $60 million into offshore trusts to avoid paying debts.
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Manafort, Cohen cases highlight banks' vulnerability to fraud

American Banker-Dec 12, 2018
The headline-grabbing prosecutions of Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen ... men lied repeatedly and brazenly to banks in connection with loan ... Cohen, who was once Trump's personal lawyer, admitted to making ... During discussions with a second bank about restructuring millions of dollars of debt, he ...
Story image for Michael Cohen on Trump debts, assets, loans Deutsche Bank from Financial Times

Tower of secrets: the Russian money behind a Donald Trump skyscraper

Financial Times-Jul 11, 2018
Consequently, it had no involvement in the financing of the project. ... He was able to borrow sporadically from Deutsche Bank, with whom he had a ... with political connections, spent $100m buying property at seven Trump-branded ..... In May, the BBC reported that Michael CohenTrump'slawyer, received ...
Story image for Michael Cohen on Trump debts, assets, loans Deutsche Bank from Bloomberg

Fed Rate Hikes May Have Already Cost Trump $5 Million a Year

Bloomberg-Dec 14, 2018
President Donald Trump has repeatedly attacked Federal Reserve Chairman ... may have added a cumulative $5.1 million a year to his debt service costs, ... are tied to variable-rate mortgages he took out from Deutsche Bank between ... The loan documents don't specify whether Trump and Deutsche Bank ...
Story image for Michael Cohen on Trump debts, assets, loans Deutsche Bank from New York Times

Trump Discloses Cohen Payment, Raising Questions About Previous ...

New York Times-May 16, 2018
... $100,000 to his personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, in 2017, raising questions ... Mr. Cohen has said he made the payment shortly before the 2016 .... of assets, but that report spanned nearly 16 months so is not directly comparable. ... A large share of that debt stems from Deutsche Bank loans to Trump ...
Story image for Michael Cohen on Trump debts, assets, loans Deutsche Bank from Fox News

All together now: We'll see what happens

Fox News-Nov 29, 2018
Trump waited until after the midterms to respond to Mueller's questions and .... WaPo: “Michael Cohen, a former personal attorney to President Trump, ... NPR: “German police raided Deutsche Bank offices on Thursday, ... Trump and the bank once sued each other after he failed to repay a $300 million loan.
Story image for Michael Cohen on Trump debts, assets, loans Deutsche Bank from New York Magazine

Will Trump Be Meeting With His Counterpart — Or His Handler?

New York Magazine-Jul 10, 2018
In 2010, the private-wealth division of Deutsche Bank also loaned him hundreds of .... France's right-wing party received an $11 million loan from Russia; ... position as Trump's campaign manager for debtforgiveness from Deripaska. ... Michael Cohen and Felix Sater, the two business associates of Trump's ...
Story image for Michael Cohen on Trump debts, assets, loans Deutsche Bank from Commercial Observer

Goldman Sachs Revealed to Have Contributed $275M to 111 Murray ...

Commercial Observer-Sep 28, 2018
The nearly $500 million construction loan on 111 Murray Street has been ... the property, New York City Department of Finance records show. ... Deutsche Bank and Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies was refinanced first in Nov. ... Michael Cohen, the Trump Organization lawyer who pled guilty last ...
Story image for Michael Cohen on Trump debts, assets, loans Deutsche Bank from Washington Monthly

Donald Trump Might Be the Worst Businessman in America

Washington Monthly-Oct 10, 2018
Mr. Trump won the presidency proclaiming himself a self-made ... him a $1 million loan, the president's businesses were funded to the tune of ... company filed for bankruptcy in 2004, facing $1.8 billion in debt. ... Keep in mind that in 2017, Deutsche Bank reached a $630 million ... Michael CohenTestimony ...
Story image for Michael Cohen on Trump debts, assets, loans Deutsche Bank from Second Nexus

WATCH: Donald Trump Says 'I Have No Deals In Russia, I Have No ...

Second Nexus-Nov 29, 2018
“I have no deals that could happen in Russia and I have no loans with Russia. ... several more times, stressing that he had “very low debt” and large assets. ... 2) Trump's main lender, Deutsche Bank, raided for money launderin'. ... 1) Michael Cohen pled guilty related to Trump Org deal and agrees to testify ...
Story image for Michael Cohen on Trump debts, assets, loans Deutsche Bank from The Independent

Michael Cohen sentencing: Trump's former lawyer attacks president's ...

The Independent-Dec 12, 2018
Michael Cohen has warned that he has more to say about what he called the “dirty deeds” of Donald Trump as the president's former lawyer ...
Story image for Michael Cohen on Trump debts, assets, loans Deutsche Bank from Wall Street Journal

HNA, Under Pressure From Beijing, to Sell Its Overseas Empire

Wall Street Journal-Sep 7, 2018
Michael Cohen Makes History .... A spokeswoman for Deutsche Bank declined to comment. .... to unload assets shows the group remains under pressure to repay debt, ... expired and lenders sold some shares to recoup their loans. ... stake in the building in 2016 before President Donald Trump'selection.
Story image for Michael Cohen on Trump debts, assets, loans Deutsche Bank from Center For American Progress

Following the Money: Trump and Russia-Linked Transactions From ...

Center For American Progress-Dec 17, 2018
In his plea agreement, Cohen admits to suggesting that Trump could travel ... The money launderer may pass the money through multiple bank accounts or ..... of loans he had made to his campaign; that same month, Trump sold his entire ...... Michael Cohen” (December 7, 2018), available at <a href="https://" rel="nofollow">https://</a>assets.
Story image for Michael Cohen on Trump debts, assets, loans Deutsche Bank from Just Security

The Trump-Russia Timeline

Just Security-Dec 19, 2018
Russia defaults on its debt and its stock market collapses. ... the 14 properties came from outside investors or from selling off major Trump Organization assets. ... At Donald Trump's invitation, 40-year-old Michael Cohen joins the Trump Organization. ... Trump Sues Deutsche Bank, But Bank Keeps Lending To Him Anyway.
Story image for Michael Cohen on Trump debts, assets, loans Deutsche Bank from Slate Magazine

Where the Story of Trump's $400 Million Cash Spending Could Go Next

Slate Magazine-May 6, 2018
Our resolution for this year was to understand the debt of the Trump Organization. ... where there is tons of money going in with no loan, that's what made us say: ... Deutsche Bank, as you report, was really the only major lender ... The only one that Michael Cohen was involved in was in this property at 806 ...
Story image for Michael Cohen on Trump debts, assets, loans Deutsche Bank from Slate Magazine

Did the New York Times Just Uncover Why Trump Abruptly Switched ...

Slate Magazine-Oct 3, 2018
Trump's rise in the 1980s was famously debt-fueled, and he even ... which was later quoted when one of his longtime partners, Deutsche Bank, ... just his salaried employee but also his property manager, landlord, banker and consultant. He gave him loan after loan, many never repaid,” the Times reports.
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Michael cohen on Trump debts, assets, loans deutsche bank - Google Search

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2 days ago - Cohen: Trump sought Deutsche Bank loans by inflating assets ... Michael Cohen is a professional liar, says ex-FBI official Kallstrom ... financial statements outlining Trump's assets and liabilities in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
2 days ago - The president's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, testified that Donald Trump ... Deutsche Bank officials viewed some of the values Mr. Trump assigned to ... Mr. Trump's personal assets and liabilities in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
2 days ago - Michael Cohen, right, President Trump's former personal lawyer, walks ... the value of his real estate assets and the amount of his outstanding debts. ... premiums and obtain a Deutsche Bank loan to buy the NFL's Buffalo Bills ...
2 days ago - Trump's former fixer and lawyer Michael Cohen accuses Trump of being a ... of Trump's assets and liabilities and a bottom line declaration of his worth. ... when Trump was trying to secure a loan from Deutsche Bank for an ...
2 days ago - NEW YORK (AP) — Michael Cohen said during his congressional ... before becoming president, including inflating his assets during a. ... gave financial statements to Deutsche Bank in hopes of getting a loan. ... NFL rules require owners to control 30 percent of the team and have a debtlimit of $350 million.
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Cohen: Trump sought Deutsche Bank loans by inflating assets

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deutsche bank - Google Search

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Story image for deutsche bank from WNYC Studios

The Takeaway

WNYC Studios-Feb 28, 2019
"These documents and others were provided to Deutsche Bank, in one occasion when I was with them, to attempt to obtain money so that we ...
Cohen: Trump sought Deutsche Bank loans by inflating assets
International-Fox Business-Feb 27, 2019

Deutsche Bank merger with Commerzbank doesn't make sense - advisor

Reuters-Feb 28, 2019
BERLIN, Feb 28 (Reuters) - A merger between Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank does not make economic sense, an advisor to Germany's ...
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Investor Cerberus open to Deutsche Bank merger with Commerzbank ...

Channel NewsAsia-Feb 27, 2019
Banners of Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank are pictured in front of the German share price index, DAX board, at the stock exchange in ...
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Dollar General downgraded at Deutsche Bank on valuation

Seeking Alpha-Feb 28, 2019
Dollar General (NYSE:DG) -0.8% pre-market as Deutsche Bank downgrades shares to Hold from Buy, citing mostly valuation concerns.
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ALX – Deutsche Bank rates the stock as Buy

ShareCafe-14 hours ago
2018 operating earnings (EBITDA) were ahead of Deutsche Bank's forecasts. Growth continues to be supported by traffic, smaller declines on ...

10:55 AM 3/1/2019 - Cohen: Trump sought Deutsche Bank loans by inflating assets - Fox Business

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Trump Exaggerated His Wealth in Bid for Loan, Michael Cohen Tells Congress - The New York Times
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Lays Groundwork For Going After Trump’s Tax Returns - HuffPost
How Cohen's testimony affects Trump legally - The Canberra Times
AOC lays groundwork for House Dems to go after Trump's tax returns - Axios
A timeline of Cohen's allegations of Trump inflating his net worth - CNN International
DealBook Briefing: Cohen Trashes Trump’s Business Image - The New York Times
Timeline of Cohen's allegations of Trump inflating his net worth - KVIA El Paso
How Deutsche Bank Became Trump's Biggest Lender | The Takeaway - WNYC Studios
Why Cohen’s Revelations Won’t Lead to Trump’s Impeachment - U.S. News & World Report
Rep. Maxine Waters wants to investigate Trump Foundation - POLITICO
Editorial: Congress has good reason to question loans to Trump from a bank with Russian ties - STLtoday.com
‘About Time’: Democrats Ready to Call Ivanka, Donald Trump Jr. to Testify as They Pursue Perjury, President - Newsweek
Michael Cohen’s testimony reminds us that Trump’s investigations are far from over - The Washington Post
Behind Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Masterful Interrogation Of Michael Cohen - HuffPost
Cohen’s testimony may have credibility issues but it has damaged Trump - The Irish Times
Quadriga co-founder served time in U.S. for role in identity-theft ring, documents reveal - The Globe and Mail
Where the investigations related to President Trump stand - Washington Post
Donald Trump Can't Keep Ivanka and Jared 'Off Limits' in New Congress Investigations, Chris Christie Says - Newsweek
Tucker Carlson: Michael Cohen demolishes the Russia collusion conspiracy – Will anyone be fired ...
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Cohen: Trump sought Deutsche Bank loans by inflating assets - Fox Business

Cohen: Trump sought Deutsche Bank loans by inflating assets  Fox BusinessCohen says the inflated numbers are tied to a loan request from the German lender in 2014.
Read: Michael Cohen's opening statement to Congress - wpta21.com

Read: Michael Cohen's opening statement to Congress  <a href="http://wpta21.com" rel="nofollow">wpta21.com</a>Testimony of Michael D. Cohen committee on oversight and reform U.S. House of Representatives.


CNN Analyst Jeffrey Toobin Goes Off on 'Breathtaking Incompetence' of Cohen Questioners - The Daily Beast

CNN Analyst Jeffrey Toobin Goes Off on 'Breathtaking Incompetence' of Cohen Questioners  The Daily BeastAt the same time, Jeffrey Toobin revealed the one new Trump 'crime' Cohen's testimony seems to have exposed.
Analysis: For President Trump, Cohen's allegations were explosive. Will they matter? - USA TODAY

Analysis: For President Trump, Cohen's allegations were explosive. Will they matter?  USA TODAYAnalysis: Trump's former lawyer details a litany of lies and misbehavior by the president. But will it change voters' minds about him?
Cohen urges Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to demand president's IRS returns and subpoena his lawyers - Daily Mail

Cohen urges Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to demand president's IRS returns and subpoena his lawyers  Daily MailDemocratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez line of questioning to Michael Cohen led to Donald Trump's long time personal attorney to urge her to go after the ...
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Editorial: Congress has good reason to question loans to Trump from a bank with Russian ties | Editorial

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Team Trump’s Big Win This Week: Republican Loyalty | The Civic Report

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President Trump is seen on the South Lawn of the White House. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post/Getty Images)
It's been a particularly rough week for President Donald Trump, even for a chief executive whose entire presidency has been full of daily conflicts with courts, current and former staffers and Capitol Hill. The House voted to nullify his declaration of an emergency at the border. His former fixer, Michael Cohen, delivered damaging testimony about Trump in a House hearing – including the revelation of an ongoing investigation by prosecutors in New York. His efforts to forge a denuclearization deal with North Korea failed, and economic growth numbers came in lower than the administration had predicted.
But those setbacks also reveal a significant win for Trump, who fiercely prizes fealty to himself and to his brand: He has managed to turn national debates into tests of loyalty to him. Whether it's Russia, executive power or even the allegation that he broke the law by paying hush money to an adult film actress, Trump has reframed the debate in very simple and simplistic terms, analysts say – you're either on Team Trump, or you're not. And few sitting GOP members of Congress appear willing to bench themselves.
"This is where we are with [political] polarization. You would not see this voluntarily blind following in a less polarized environment," says Javier Corrales, a political science professor at Amherst College and an expert on democracy, authoritarian regimes and executive power. "The Republican Party has turned into a Leninist party in terms of discipline and support for their leader. It almost feels like this is not a [small-d] democratic party anymore," Corrales says.
The devotion to Trump – a man many in the party openly rebuked and rebuffed when he was running in the 2016 election – was evident this week, as GOP lawmakers defended Trump's emergency declaration, even though many warned that it undermines the authority of the legislative branch to raise and spend money as it sees fit. And they made it personal to the president.
"This is where we are with polarization. You would not see this voluntarily blind following in a less polarized environment."
"This is about defeating Trump," Rep. Mark Meadows, Republican of North Carolina, complained during floor debate as Democrats moved to nullify the president's emergency declaration. Similar remarks were made by GOP senators about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi when the California Democrat said her caucus would not give Trump the money he wanted for a border wall. Pelosi, Republicans said, simply didn't like Trump.
In Wednesday's House Oversight Committee hearing with Cohen, GOP lawmakers largely avoided asking questions on the allegations the convicted perjurer hurled at his former client. Instead, they made the debate about choosing between two personalities: the president, whose business is under investigation, and Cohen, who is headed to prison for his crimes. Republicans on the panel didn't defend Trump but also made no effort to assess the veracity of Cohen's allegations.
Cohen, for his part, cast himself as a sort of recovering addict in the midst of a 12-step program to free himself from the spell of a man he described as a client and friend for a decade.
"I did the same thing that you're doing now for 10 years. I protected Mr. Trump for 10 years," Cohen told the committee Republicans. "Look what's happened to me. … The more people that suffer Donald Trump, as I did blindly, are going to suffer the same consequences that I did."

Photos: Trump and His Supporters

That message is not resonating with Republicans, especially those currently serving in office and subject to primaries and the potential damage of being publicly dressed down by the president.
At the Conservative Political Action Conference this week, speakers lavished praise on Trump as a historic figure.
"I see the greatest president in history. Of course he is, he was chosen by God," conservative speaker Mike Lindell of My Pillow fame told the conferees, telling the crowd that "God answered our prayers" with the "miracle" of Trump's 2016 election.
Republican members of Congress have made a huge turnaround since Trump was a candidate. Many who had openly criticized Trump during the campaign now defend him – or at least refuse to challenge him. Republican Sen. Marco Rubio – himself the target of name-calling and insults by Trump during the 2016 primaries – called Trump a "con man," a "liar" and a "lunatic" then. The Florida senior senator has since been a reliable vote for Trump's agenda on the Hill and does not tend to call him out on behavior or rhetoric.
Instead, lawmakers have moved closer to Trump's us-or-them view of politics, including demonizing the press for questioning or criticizing the chief executive. In a 2017 tweet, Rubio summed up the Trump dichotomy.
"Many Republicans won't criticize Trump even when they don't agree with him b/c it means siding with a media that nevers [sic] cuts him a break, turns even little things he does into an act of evil, are also unfair to them & in the end will still attack you anyway," the Florida lawmaker wrote.
On other issues, too, GOP lawmakers and voters have abandoned or modified their views to accommodate Trump's worldview. Republicans have historically been very skeptical of the Russian government, but with Trump's praise of Russian president Vladimir Putin, that has changed. Few Republicans on Capitol Hill challenge Trump's Russia policy, or his close relationship with strongman Putin. A recent Gallup poll shows that while 46 percent of Democrats consider Russia the United States' greatest enemy, just 14 percent of Republicans agree.
Trump also drew little GOP rebuke for remarks the president made Thursday defending North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Trump said he took Kim at his word that the North Korean leader had nothing to do with the death of American college student Otto Warmbier, who was imprisoned in North Korea and was freed – comatose – in 2017. Warmbier died shortly afterward, and a court ordered the North Korean government to pay $501 million in damages.
The remarks – coming after Trump also said he believed Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman had nothing to do with the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a columnist with The Washington Post – drew horrified criticism from Democrats and some Republicans, such as former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. But sitting GOP members of Congress kept mum.
Elaine Kamarck, director of the Center for Effective Public Management at the Brookings Institution, says Capitol Hill lawmakers are reluctant to criticize Trump publicly because they fear being targeted by him. Also, Kamarck says, lawmakers are "playing a very weird game," trying to manipulate Trump by appealing to his vanity, then hoping they can stop him before actual policies go into effect.
"They now understand this president knows nothing about detail and only cares about their adoration," Kamarck says. "And then they try to get their own way when he's not looking. They think they can play this double game." The game, for now, is being played by Team Trump.
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Why Cohen’s Revelations Likely Won’t Lead to Trump’s Impeachment | Politics

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Although a president is not expressly immune from prosecution, the powers of the office are so immense that they effectively prohibit indicting a sitting president.(Tuan Mark/Getty Images)
When Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's erstwhile lawyer, confidant and "fixer," on Wednesday testified to a congressional panel in a blockbuster hearing, he described a pair of alleged misdeeds by the president that prosecutors say are clearly indictable offenses – and neither, notably, relates to Russia.
Cohen, through nearly eight hours of testimony, discussed and submitted documents purporting to show that Trump while in office forked over $130,000 in hush-money to Stormy Daniels, an adult film star that Trump had allegedly slept with; and in years prior to entering politics had artificially inflated and deflated his networth in a bid to, respectively, get a bank loan to buy the Buffalo Bills and avoid property taxes.
The two alleged acts, if true, would appear to amount to a violation of campaign finance law and bank fraud, respectively, allegations that Cohen supported by presenting checks allegedly signed by Trump reimbursing Cohen for the payments, and financial statements allegedly given to Deutsche Bank showing a $4 billion swing in Trump's purported net-worth.
Cohen further testified Wednesday that he at one point secretly recorded Trump, and that the payments were carried out at Trump's behest.
"That's all a crime," says Nick Akerman. On the hush-money payment in particular, he continues, "you've got witnesses ... you've got documents, you've got Trump's signature all over this stuff, you've got tape. They got him solid."
For anyone other than a sitting president, "give me that case and I could convict him in a couple days on that. It's a very prosecutable case," Akerman says.
Sitting presidents, though, face little risk of prosecution. Justice Department memos have concluded that that although a president is not expressly immune from prosecution, the powers of the office are so immense that they effectively prohibit indicting a sitting president, except in extraordinary circumstances.
That exception has sparked no shortage of legal speculation as special counsel Robert Mueller has investigated, in part, whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government. However, there's little doubt that a violation of campaign finance law – relatively common in modern politics – and bank fraud committed before Trump was in office do not meet such a high standard.
Similarly, there's general agreement that the alleged conduct – although apparent federal crimes – do not amount to the "high crimes and misdemeanors" justifying impeachment and conviction under Article 2 of the Constitution, a process that requires not only the House to vote for impeachment but two-thirds of the Senate, where Republicans hold the majority, to then vote for conviction.
"In the public understanding of the framers, it is pretty clear that it is limited to conduct while in office," says David Rivkin, a conservative constitutional law scholar who served in the administrations of President George W. Bush and President Ronald Reagan. "So whatever Donald J. Trump did or did not do in 2011 or 2013 or all the way through Jan. 20, 2017, is utterly irrelevant to the scope of impeachable offenses. In fact, the whole goal of impeachment is limited to your offenses as a public person – breach of public trust."
Louis Michael Seidman, a constitutional law professor at the Georgetown University Law Center, offers a similar view: An impeachable offense "is a serious misuse of power that disqualifies the person from being president," he says, and therefore ultimately a political question.
"Thinking about this as a matter of constitutional law leads to asking the wrong sort of questions," Seidman says. "It ought to be thought about as a matter of politics, but of high politics – statesmanship, if you will – rather than narrow politics. Among the relevant considerations: Is there a national consensus that the president should go? Would impeachment seriously destabilize the country? Has the president shown himself unfit to serve? How much longer does he have to serve?"
Paying hush-money to cover-up a pair of affairs, even if those payments were made while in office, almost certainly won't rise to such a level in the eyes of the American public, let alone the president's allies in Congress.
"You start getting into the Stormy Daniels thing, it starts to feel like the Clinton situation with him lying about Monica Lewinsky – this is [Trump] lying, covering up with these two women," Akerman says. "On the other hand, it relates directly to the election. But I don't see them impeaching him on that."
But even if Trump isn't impeached on these alleged offenses, they could be waiting for him once he leaves office:
"They could wind up sealing those indictments, and after his successor is sworn in, he could be handcuffed and walked across the street and arraigned," Akerman says.
"Could Trump face charges after he is no longer in office? Absolutely," Seidman, of Georgetown Law, says. "As a practical matter, Trump will not be indicted while he is in office, but may well be indicted afterwards."
Alan Neuhauser, Staff Writer
Alan Neuhauser covers law enforcement and criminal justice for U.S. News & World Report. He als...  Read moreAlan Neuhauser covers law enforcement and criminal justice for U.S. News & World Report. He also contributes to STEM and Healthcare of Tomorrow, and previously reported on energy and the environment. You can follow him on Twitter or reach him at <a href="mailto:aneuhauser@usnews.com">aneuhauser@usnews.com</a>.
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9:44 AM 3/1/2019 - How Deutsche Bank Became Trump's Biggest Lender | Why Cohen’s Revelations Won’t Lead to Trump’s Impeachment

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Trump Lied About Not Ordering Jared Kushner's Top Security Clearance: Report

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The president previously said he had no role in securing the top-secret clearance for his son-in-law.

Congress To Continue Michael Cohen Testimony On Russia Behind Closed Doors

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In his third and final Capitol Hill session this week, Cohen will testify to the House Intelligence Committee.

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Ex-U.S. Attorney: Trump Now Under Investigation By An Office That Can Indict Him

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David Kelley says Justice Department policy against indicting a president "can be bent" when the case calls for it.

5:43 AM 3/1/2019 - "Trump Russian ties" - Google News: Cohen, Russian-Born Sater to Return to Hill to Testify - VOA News | Из альбома к материалу: Расширенное заседание коллегии Министерства внутренних дел 28 февраля 2019 года

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6:08 AM 3/1/2019 - Get your popcorn: Donald Trump's favorite Russian mafia money launderer Felix Sater is testifying in public | House Democrats seek interviews with Trump's children and close allies | US news

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Image result for Russian SBERBANK: unnamed foreign government-owned company?

Get your popcorn: Donald Trump's favorite Russian mafia money launderer Felix Sater is testifying in public | House Democrats seek interviews with Trump's children and close allies | 9:00 PM 2/28/2019 - Mr. President, Methinks humbly that you ought to resign. It will be better for you and for the country in these circumstances.


Get your popcorn: Donald Trump's favorite Russian mafia money launderer Felix Sater is testifying in public

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Of all the strange aspects of Donald Trump’s life of crime, one of the most curious is his relationship with convicted Russian mafia money launderer Felix Sater. The Trump Organization and Sater partnered on the notoriously shady Trump Soho real estate project, with widespread media reports that Trump’s kids took the lead on the deal. Somewhere in there, Sater became a government informant.

Felix Sater’s name has come up quite a bit in the Trump-Russia scandal, but we still don’t know precisely what his role was in facilitating criminal activity between Donald Trump and the Russians. It looks like that’s about to change. House Intel Committee Chairman Adam Schiff just announced that Felix Sater will publicly testify before the committee on March 14th. This is notable for a few reasons.
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Get your popcorn: Donald Trump's favorite Russian mafia money launderer Felix Sater is testifying in public

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Of all the strange aspects of Donald Trump’s life of crime, one of the most curious is his relationship with convicted Russian mafia money launderer Felix Sater. The Trump Organization and Sater partnered on the notoriously shady Trump Soho real estate project, with widespread media reports that Trump’s kids took the lead on the deal. Somewhere in there, Sater became a government informant.

Felix Sater’s name has come up quite a bit in the Trump-Russia scandal, but we still don’t know precisely what his role was in facilitating criminal activity between Donald Trump and the Russians. It looks like that’s about to change. House Intel Committee Chairman Adam Schiff just announced that Felix Sater will publicly testify before the committee on March 14th. This is notable for a few reasons.

First, this is going to be out in the open. This will offer a fascinating look into the Trump family’s relationship with money launderers like Felix Sater in particular, and with Russian organized crime in general. Second, based on his history as a federal informant, you have to figure Sater will be at least partly cooperative during his testimony, with no real desire to protect Trump at the risk of harming himself. Trump has long been pretending he doesn’t know who Sater is, which means Sater isn’t under any delusions about being magically pardoned; his one way out will be to sell Trump out.

But the real upshot is that this is happening a mere two weeks from now. Everything is now happening in increasingly rapid succession. Felix Sater will be far from the only Donald Trump associate to be swiftly hauled in to testify. And as House Democrats choose to put more witnesses on public display, it becomes clear that secrecy is becoming less important, which means prosecutors are closer than ever to busting the Trump-Russia scandal wide open.

Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report

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