The famous John Donne oeuvre warns “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” Nothing is more true than the investigation into possible collusion between Russia and President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. Special counsel Robert Mueller seems to be inching closer to Ivanka Trump.
As Mueller’s probe inches closer to Trump’s inner circle it also approaches his family. The recent guilty plea from George Papadopoulos indicates that Donald Trump Jr. may be incredibly vulnerable to prosecution.
Monday, CNN’s chief national correspondent, John King, called top Trump aide and Ivanka’s husband Jared Kushner “an octopus, in the sense that his tentacles seem to be everywhere.”
“He was at the so-called June 2016 meeting, he had a meeting with Ambassador Kislyak, there’s this alleged contact with WikiLeaks,” King said. “His tentacles are everywhere, his lawyer says it’s much ado about nothing.”
As Heather Digby Parton wrote, Ivanka Trump might be tweeting about Thanksgiving centerpieces, but Mueller’s investigation could be closing in on the Trump children, including her.
Last week, it was revealed that Ivanka used less than reputable tactics with a Brazilian broker to score a deal in Panama to establish the Trump Ocean Club. It was the first international hotel and the president called the project, Ivanka’s “baby.” The venture scored a success thanks to help from an alleged international fraudster, who has ties to money launderers and criminals from the former Soviet Union.
A 2014 project Ivanka handled was Trump Tower Baku in Azerbaijan. As The New Yorker reported in March, the project was partially funded by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and was a way the country’s government laundered money. Ivanka wasn’t just choosing centerpieces, she and the Trump Organization were heavily involved in every detail down to design and landscaping. Experts explained the deal was noteworthy because the overwhelming personal attention exposed the Trump Organization to legal concerns.
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act prohibits American companies from making money from illegal overseas deals. Trying to pretend that one doesn’t know where the money is coming from isn’t an acceptable excuse. There have been people who’ve done similar things to what the Trump Organization did in Azerbaijan in recent years. They’re in jail now.
“In May, 2012, the month the Baku deal was finalized, the F.C.P.A. was evidently on Donald Trump’s mind,” The New Yorker reported. “In a phone-in appearance on CNBC, he expressed frustration with the law. ‘Every other country goes into these places and they do what they have to do,’ he said. ‘It’s a horrible law and it should be changed.’ If American companies refused to give bribes, he said, ‘you’ll do business nowhere.'”
ThinkProgress noticed that Ivanka removed her humble brag, deleting “all information about the Azerbaijan project from her website, although it remains available via Internet Archive.” The concern over the deal is prompting officials to demand an investigation.
Digby notes, Ivanka Trump’s history in business is a story that seems to “repeat itself over and over again. The company has licensed the Trump name in places known for networks of money launderers.” She cited anti-corruption watchdog Global Witness, who reported “the result is that Trump’s current wealth has depended in part on securing significant infusions of untraceable foreign funds.”