Multiple Trump stories dropped Monday, and it can quickly get overwhelming trying to keep up. Here they are all in one place.
First, Trump is accused of using a legally dubious method to avoid paying income taxes. Back in the early nineties when he wrote off a huge chunk of money as a business loss, it is alleged that he really did not have the right to do that. More than likely, that was not his money, but rather that money belonged to investors. However, he would have used a quasi-barely-kinda-legal loophole in the law to “exchange that loss for stock on paper” and use it as a net operating loss to carry forward over the years to offset future income. The IRS most likely should not have allowed this write off to stand, but rather should have challenged it and disallowed it. Done correctly, that monetary loss would be reported as forgiven debt or income, for which he would have to pay taxes.
Next, a group of computer wizards discovered a computer server that was set up to do nothing but communicate between Trump Tower and a Russian Bank called Alfa. They came across this server while looking for malware and other potential problems after the big DNC hack. This outlier was pinging between Trump Tower and a Russian Bank, so it drew the attention of a member of the group. They quickly dismissed it as a malware attack, but realized it was configured in a very unique way, to handle an unusually small load of traffic.
Further research and analysis showed that “the conversation between the Trump and Alfa servers appeared to follow the contours of political happenings in the United States. ‘At election-related moments, the traffic peaked,’ according to Camp. There were considerably more DNS lookups, for instance, during the two conventions.” Just after the New York Times began asking questions, the traffic on the servers stopped completely.
The FBI also announced they had been conducting a preliminary investigation into Paul Manafort’s foreign business connections, despite Manafort’s insistence to the contrary. At this time it has not developed into a full-scale criminal investigation.
Another issue is the Trump campaign reported it is disputing a $767k charge to veteran pollster Tony Fabrizio. He was brought in by Manafort, and he has an excellent reputation in the GOP elite. However, given Trump’s history of not paying vendors for even the smallest of perceived infractions, this could end badly.
Finally, David Corn reported that a veteran spy gave the FBI information that alleges a Russian operative is cultivating Donald Trump. A former high-level spy hired to do opposition research on Trump found links to the Kremlin. The information he discovered was alarming enough to share with the FBI.
Mother Jones has reviewed that report and other memos this former spy wrote. The first memo, based on the former intelligence officer’s conversations with Russian sources, noted, “Russian regime has been cultivating, supporting and assisting TRUMP for at least 5 years. Aim, endorsed by PUTIN, has been to encourage splits and divisions in western alliance.” It maintained that Trump “and his inner circle have accepted a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin, including on his Democratic and other political rivals.” It claimed that Russian intelligence had “compromised” Trump during his visits to Moscow and could “blackmail him.” It also reported that Russian intelligence had compiled a dossier on Hillary Clinton based on “bugged conversations she had on various visits to Russia and intercepted phone calls.”
The former intelligence officer says the response from the FBI was “shock and horror.” The FBI, after receiving the first memo, did not immediately request additional material, according to the former intelligence officer and his American associates. Yet in August, they say, the FBI asked him for all information in his possession and for him to explain how the material had been gathered and to identify his sources. The former spy forwarded to the bureau several memos—some of which referred to members of Trump’s inner circle. After that point, he continued to share information with the FBI. “It’s quite clear there was or is a pretty substantial inquiry going on,” he says.
“This is something of huge significance, way above party politics,” the former intelligence officer comments. “I think [Trump’s] own party should be aware of this stuff as well.”
Although there is no smoking gun, it certainly seems there is a lot of questionable activity between the Trump inner circle and the Russian government. Hopefully we will find out more before it is too late.