Trump’s media company is a 'black bag job' that will function 'more like a laundromat': analyst
President Donald Trump (AFP / Mandel NGAN)

Former president Donald Trump's new social media company is nothing but a scam — and the hiring of Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) as its CEO proves it, according to MSNBC analyst John Heilemann, executive editor of the Recount.

"I have a fairly high degree of confidence that there will never be a media company of any kind that will get formed in this way, and that this is all some kind of a black bag job to get money — that Trump can somehow siphon some money away from people who are trying to curry favor with him," Heilemann told The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on Tuesday night.

Heilemann added that the "giveaway" is Nunes' decision to leave Congress to become CEO of the company, even though he was poised to become chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee — arguably the most powerful committee in Washington — if Republicans recapture the majority.

"He's leaving that why? He's leaving that for money, and that's what I think this is all about, is money," Heilemann said.

"If this company ever exists, it will be more like a laundromat than it will be like a social media company," he added. "This is a laundromat. This is about how does the money that gets put into this firm allow Trump to either raise more money, raise further debt, service debt, (and) somehow profiteer from this."

Tim O'Brien, a senior columnist for Bloomberg and the author of Trump Nation, agreed, saying Trump's media company it "has all the earmarks of a classic pump-and-dump scam." O'Brien added that he thinks it's "rather amazing" that the SEC is already investigating the company before the platform's launch.

"The whole logic here is that Donald's Trunp's political and digital mojo is so potent that a number of hedge funds, and a perhaps larger number of undisclosed investors, have put a bunch of money into this, on the idea that they will ultimately separate a bunch of suckers from their wallets," O'Brien said.

He added that while the apparent goal is to compete with Facebook and Twitter, Trump's company doesn't have a business plan or financial projections, and Nunes, whose family runs a dairy farm, has no relevant experience.

"But it already has a valuation of over a billion dollars, and Donald Trump is deeply indebted," O'Brien said. "He has over a billion dollars in debt hanging over his current real estate and resort holdings. Some of that comes due fairly soon. He's personally guaranteed it. He's feeling the squeeze. He's selling off other assets, and then lo and behold he gins up this little charade to convince people to plop money on his desk, and they have, and he will probably make out from that OK, but anyone else who thinks they're going to stick around this project for anything longer than 15 minutes and make money should have their heads examined, I think."

O'Brien added that "beyond the financial chicanery involved," the company poses a "real national security threat," pointing to a recent announcement that it raised $1 billion from anonymous investors. O'Brien noted that Trump's former treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, has been raising money from the Saudis, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has also been trying to do so.

"Is there Saudi money behind this Trump venture? Possibly," O'Brien said. "What does that mean? It means he's going to owe them if he gets back into the White House, and everybody knows that. He can be touched. He can be manipulated."

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