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Part 2: A Timeline of Epstein, Trump, Sex Trafficking, and the Intelligence Community

I don't think John DeCamp gets everything right, especially his claims about satanic groups, but in 1988 we learn about the Franklin Coverup, which Wikipedia describes as:
"The Franklin child prostitution ring allegations began in June 1988 in Omaha, Nebraska and attracted significant public and political interest until late 1990, when separate state and federal grand juries concluded that the allegations were unfounded and the ring was a "carefully crafted hoax."[1][2].
From the NYT:
(12/18/88) A Lurid, Mysterious Scandal Begins Taking Shape in Omaha
In the Executive Board's public session Monday, Mr. Chambers said the activities of Lawrence E. King Jr., the credit union's manager for the last 18 years and the central figure in its collapse, were ''just the tip of an iceberg, and he's not in it by himself.'' But Mr. Chambers added nothing that would shed light on his cryptic assertion....Mr. King is a 44-year-old Omaha resident who wholly or partly owns several small businesses here and lives with his wife and school-age son in a large house in one of the city's better neighborhoods. He is a tall, expansive figure well known for his costly style of dressing, lavish celebrations and extensive travel, sometimes in chartered jets and often with an entourage of young men.In 1972 he headed a national political organization, Black Democrats for George McGovern. But he gained greater prominence after he had switched parties a while later, serving for a time as vice chairman of the National Black Republican Council, an official affiliate of the Republican Party, and becoming a familiar figure on the Republican social scene.Mr. King has maintained a $5,000-a-month residence off Embassy Row in Washington and has also entertained generously at Republican National Conventions. At the 1984 gathering, in Dallas, where he sang the national anthem on the convention floor, he rented the ranch where the television series ''Dallas'' is filmed and organized a party there for black Republicans....Mr. King's trouble with the authorities came to the surface early last month when officials of the Government's National Credit Union Administration, acting on information from the F.B.I. and the Internal Revenue Service, arrived at the offices of the Franklin Community Federal Credit Union and shut it down. Then, on Nov. 14, the agency, which oversees the nation's federally chartered credit unions and insures their deposits, filed the Government suit against Mr. King, whose salary as Franklin Community's manager had been less than $17,000 a year.
(1989) Washington Call Boy Scandal
Craig J. Spence (1941 – November 10, 1989) was a Republican) lobbyist who was found dead in a Ritz-Carlton hotel room in 1989.[1][2] ...Spence was implicated in a gay call-boy ring scandal, that arranged after-hours visits to the White House, the Washington Times and other papers reported in June 1989. Afterward, Spence committed suicide in a Boston hotel....Spence's name came to national prominence in the aftermath of a June 28, 1989 article in the Washington Timesidentifying Spence as a customer of a homosexual escort service being investigated by the Secret Service, the District of Columbia Police and the United States Attorney's Office for suspected credit card fraud. The newspaper said he spent as much as $20,000 a month on the service. He had also been linked to a White House guard who has said he accepted an expensive watch from Mr. Spence and allowed him and friends to take late-night White House tours.[4]Spence entered a downward spiral in the wake of the Washington Times exposé, increasingly involving himself with call boys and crack,[5] and culminating in his July 31, 1989 arrest at the Barbizon Hotel on East 63rd St in Manhattan for criminal possession of a firearm and criminal possession of cocaine.[6]Months after the scandal had died down, and a few weeks before Spence was found in a room of the Boston Ritz-Carlton Hotel, he was asked who had given him the "key" to the White House. Michael Hedges and Jerry Seper of The Washington Times reported that "Mr. Spence hinted the tours were arranged by 'top level' persons", including Donald Gregg, national security adviser to Vice President George H. W. Bush at the time the tours were given.[5]When pressed to identify who it was who got him inside the White House, Spence asked "Who was it who got [long-term CIA operative] Félix Rodríguez) in to see Bush?", agreeing that he was alluding to Mr. Gregg.[5]Gregg himself dismissed the allegation as "absolute bull", according to Hedges and Seper. "It disturbs me that he can reach a slimy hand out of the sewer to grab me by the ankle like this," he told the reporters. "The allegations are totally false."[5]
I'll let you decide how credible you find any of this so far. It should be noted that many of the people implicated in these affairs -- Wilson, Singlaub, Moon, Casey, Rodriguez, Bush, Stone, and Gregg -- were also involved to varying degrees in the Iran Contra Affair, which illegally raised money for anti-communist terrorists in Central America through the use of death squads, rape, and drug sales. One does not necessarily equal the other, but sexual blackmail and human trafficking don't seem like much of a stretch.
An article by The Guardian notes:
Czechoslovakia ramped up spying on Trump in late 1980s, seeking US intel:
In summer 1987, Donald and Ivana Trump visited Moscow and Leningrad, following a personal invitation from the Soviet ambassador in Washington, Yuri Dubinin. The trip was arranged by Intourist, a travel agency that was also an undercover KGB outfit. Soon after returning from Moscow, Trump announced he was thinking of running for president. That presidential bid failed to materialise.In October 1988, on the eve of the US election, Ivana Trump visited her parents in Zlín, known at the time as Gottwaldov. According to the files she “confidently” predicted Bush’s victory to her father, who in turn passed the tip to local StB officers.“The outcome of the election confirmed the veracity of this information,” StB field agent Lt Peter Surý wrote, in a document dated 23 January 1989 and marked “secret”.The prediction came “from the highest echelons of power in the US”. Ivana was “not only a well-heeled US citizen” but moved in “very top political circles”, Surý stated....It is unclear when the KGB began a file on the future president. In Prague about 60,000 StB documents were declassified in the mid-1990s, after the collapse of communism. The StB destroyed most records.However, secret memos written by the KGB chief, Vladimir Kryuchkov, in the mid-1980s reveal that he berated his officers for their failure to cultivate top-level Americans. Kryuchkov circulated a confidential personality questionnaire to KGB heads of station abroad, setting out the qualities wanted from a potential asset.According to instructions leaked to British intelligence by the KGB defector Oleg Gordievsky, they included corruption, vanity, narcissism, marital infidelity and poor analytical skills. The KGB should focus on personalities who were upwardly mobile in business and politics, especially Americans, the document said.
Another article in the Chicago Tribune notes:
Czechoslovakia secret police file: Trump sure of presidential win — in 1996:
A year before the 1989 collapse of communism in many parts of Europe, details about Ivana Trump's 1988 visit back to her homeland were recorded in a classified police report. The Oct. 22, 1988 report claimed that Trump refused to run for president in 1988 — despite alleged pressure to do so — because he felt, at 42, he was too young. But the secret report said he intended to run in the 1996 U.S. presidential race as an independent, when he would be 50."Even though it looks like a utopia, D. TRUMP is confident he will succeed," the police report said, based on information from an unspecified source who talked to Ivana Trump's father, Milos Zelnicek, about her visit.It was unclear where the alleged "pressure" was coming from. [Note: In "Get Me Roger Stone", Stone claims he was the one who convinced Trump to run.]...Trump's first wife was born Ivana Zelnickova in 1949 in the Czechoslovak city of Gottwaldov, the former city of Zlin that just had been renamed by the Communists, who took over the country in 1948. She married Trump, her second husband, in 1977. As she kept traveling home across the Iron Curtain on a regular basis, Ivana became a tempting target for the powerful, deeply feared Czechoslovak secret police agency known as the StB.
And by at least 1989, Trump himself was in the social circle of both Iran Contra figures and the father of Epstein's alleged "madame", Ghislaine Maxwell:
(This is from a previous post I made, seen here. Some of the links are subscription only, but are provided for accuracy)
NY Daily News - May 5, 1989:
“Everybody, but everybody at the party aboard British media mogul Robert Maxwell’s yacht Wednesday night had to doff their shoes before boarding the plush-carpeted “Lady Ghislaine.” Maxwell insisted, and his guests cooperated, including Donald Trump (minus Ivana), who has a much bigger yacht and was happy to compare notes with Maxwell. [Note: This is in reference to the Kingdom 5KR, originally owned by Adnan Khashoggi, international arms dealer and uncle of slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi.] There were John Tower [Republican Senator in charge of the Tower Commission, which investigated Iran Contra]; ex-Navy secretary John Lehman [Reagan appointee 1981-1987], now with Paine Webber; lawyer Tom Bolan [law partner of Roy Cohn]; literary agent Mort Janklow [clients include both Nancy and Ronald Reagan for their memoirs]; UN envoy Thomas Pickering [currently a board member at the world’s biggest pipe company, OAO TMK, in Moscow and Chairman of the Rostropovich-Vishnevskaya Foundation, “a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC that supports programs to improve the health of children worldwide”]; and Peter Kalikow, owner of the New York Post [awarded the Israel Peace Medal in 1982; created a super PAC for Herman Cain that was later revealed to be entirely financed by his donations]; Maxwell’s daughter, Ghislaine, and his niece, Helene Atkin of Macmillan, the publishing house Maxwell recently took over."[Note: This sentence wasn't in the Daily News article but shows up in a St Louis Dispatch piece a week later]: “Maxwell, who weighs about 300 pounds, went over the guest list personally.""No one could tell who didn’t make the final list, but we do know that Martha Smilgis of Time was disinvited by David Adler, public relations chief at Macmillan. She wrote the profile of Maxwell which he apparently did not like.”
Who was Ghislaine’s father?
Ian Robert Maxwell "MC (10 June 1923 – 5 November 1991), born Ján Ludvík Hyman Binyamin Hoch, was a British media proprietor and Member of Parliament (MP). Originally from Czechoslovakia, Maxwell rose from poverty to build an extensive publishing empire….Maxwell had a flamboyant lifestyle, living in Headington Hill Hall in Oxford, from which he often flew in his helicopter, and sailing in his luxury yacht, the Lady Ghislaine. He was notably litigious and often embroiled in controversy, including about his support for Israel at the time of the 1948 Palestine war. In 1989, he had to sell successful businesses, including Pergamon Press, to cover some of his debts. In 1991, his body was discovered floating in the Atlantic Ocean, having fallen overboard from his yacht. He was buried in Jerusalem. Maxwell's death triggered the collapse of his publishing empire as banks called in loans. His sons briefly attempted to keep the business together, but failed as the news emerged that the elder Maxwell had stolen hundreds of millions of pounds from his own companies' pension funds. The Maxwell companies applied for bankruptcy protection in 1992....Shortly before Maxwell's death, a former employee of Israel's Military Intelligence Directorate, Ari Ben-Menashe, approached a number of news organisations in Britain and the U.S. with the allegation that Maxwell and the Daily Mirror's foreign editor, Nicholas Davies, were both long-time agents for Mossad. Ben-Menashe also claimed that in 1986, Maxwell had told the Israeli Embassy in London that Mordechai Vanunu had given information about Israel's nuclear capability to The Sunday Times, then to the Daily Mirror. Vanunu was subsequently kidnapped by Mossad and smuggled to Israel, convicted of treason and imprisoned for eighteen years.Ben-Menashe's story was ignored at first, but eventually The New Yorker journalist Seymour Hersh repeated some of the allegations during a press conference in London held to publicise The Samson Option, Hersh's book about Israel's nuclear weapons. On 21 October 1991, two MPs, Labour's George Galloway and the Conservative's Rupert Allason (also known as espionage author Nigel West), agreed to raise the issue in the House of Commons under Parliamentary Privilege protection, which in turn allowed British newspapers to report events without fear of libel suits. Maxwell called the claims "ludicrous, a total invention" and sacked Davies.[44] A year later, in Galloway's libel settlement against Mirror Group Newspapers (in which he received "substantial" damages), Galloway's counsel announced that the MP accepted that the group's staff had not been involved in Vanunu's abduction. Galloway himself, however, referred to Maxwell as "one of the worst criminals of the century....The Maxwell companies filed for bankruptcy protection in 1992. Kevin Maxwell was declared bankrupt with debts of £400 million. In 1995, Kevin and Ian and two other former directors went on trial for conspiracy to defraud, but were unanimously acquitted by a twelve-man jury in 1996.”
Epstein's own weird history has been spoken of to some degree, and I'm not sure I have much to add at this point, but perhaps it's important in context.
Financier in sex abuse case went from math whiz to titan
He taught calculus and physics at the prestigious Dalton School, a prep school in Manhattan, from 1973 to 1975, despite not having a college degree. Attorney General William Barr's father, Donald Barr, was headmaster at the time...Epstein left Dalton in the mid-1970s for a job at Bear Stearns at the urging of a student's father who arranged a meeting with the chairman of the investment bank, according to published reports. He later began his own money-management business, J. Epstein & Co....Epstein has long obscured the source of his wealth. Even after his arrest, he refused to provide authorities with even basic information about his income and assets. His attorney said Epstein's lawyers intend to provide the information but want to make sure it is correct first.This much is clear: "He is a man of nearly infinite means," federal prosecutor Alex Rossmiller said in court....Epstein also forged a relationship with Leslie Wexner, the retail titan behind Victoria's Secret, The Limited and other store chains. He started managing Wexner's money in the late 1980s and helped straighten out the finances for a real estate development Wexner was backing in a wealthy Columbus, Ohio, suburb.It was through Wexner that [in1996] Epstein acquired his Manhattan mansion, a seven-story, 21,000-square-foot former prep school less than a block from Central Park. It has been valued at about $77 million.
Around the same time, Trump started dating Marla Maples, who was working at his Atlantic City Taj Mahal Casino:
(1988) The Untold Story of Trump Model Management (Part 1):
Donald Trump, for his part, was becoming increasingly restless, and reckless. Despite fathering 3 children and having a devoted wife, by all accounts he didn’t spend much time with any of them, preferring work and play to the routines of domestic life. In the 80’s he made at least two life changing decisions-to step out on his wife publicly, and to expand his negligible empire into Atlantic City casinos. He built Harrah’s at Trump Plaza in 1984, and a partially completed building that became Trump Castle in 1985-a property that would be managed by his first wife, Ivana. He also scooped up the Taj Mahal in 1988, which at a cost of $1.1 billion made it the most expensive casino ever built at the time.
Some weirdness starts to pop up here, at least allegedly. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer:
(10/27/83) GROUND BROKEN FOR RESORTS' 2D N.J. CASINO-HOTEL
Resorts International, which opened the city's first gambling hall 5 1/2 years ago, broke ground yesterday for a second casino-hotel that will cost $250 million to build and will contain 1,000 hotel rooms and the world's second-largest casino.
According to Wikipedia:
Resorts International was a hotel and casino company. From its origins as a paint company, it moved into the resort business in the 1960s with the development of Paradise Island in the Bahamas, and then expanded to Atlantic City, New Jersey with the opening of Resorts Casino Hotel in 1978.
So how did a paint company morph into a multimillion dollar casino company? We're going to have to go to conspiracy theorists again. Make of it what you will:
Goodfellas: The Hidden History of Resorts International:
Resorts International was largely a family affair that grew out of a company called the Mary Carter Paint Company."Mary Carter (she never existed) was pretty much a family affair controlled by Jim Crosby, two of his brothers, and his in-laws. Based in Tampa, Florida, the firm included in its directorate James Crosby, John Crosby (a plastic surgeon in Mobile, Alabama), William Crosby (a Tampa realtor), and the Murphy brothers, Henry and Tom, who'd married the Crosby daughters. Henry owned a funeral home in Trenton, New Jersey, while Tom was board chairman of Capital Cities Communications, a successful broadcasting business founded by explorer Lowell Thomas. The explorer too was an early shareholder in Mary Carter Paint, as was Republican Thomas Dewey." (Spooks, Jim Hougan, pg. 381)Acclaimed researchers Sally Denton and Roger Morris note: "... the Mary Carter Paint Company, which was widely considered to be a CIA front that laundered payments to the Cuban exile army in the early sixties..." (The Money and the Power, pg. 284).This is certainly quite plausible considering Mary Carter was then based out of Tampa, a hub for joint CIA-Syndicate efforts to assassinate Castro. As was noted before here, Tampa don Santo Trafficante, Jr. was one of the gangsters initially tapped by the CIA's notorious Office of Security to arrange for Castro's untimely demise. Trafficante, a close associate of Meyer Lansky (whom we shall return to again), had been deeply involved in Cuba's gambling operations prior to the revolution and would later become even more deeply immersed in the world heroin trade. As was noted before here, he was very close to the emerging Cuban Mafia, which provided ample recruits to the CIA during the early 1960s despite much suspicion that Trafficante was a double agent for Castro.Certainly the Mary Carter Paint Company would have been well positioned to assist Trafficante in these endeavors in Tampa. And such a connection would also explain why the corporation, in the mid-1960s (as CIA Cuban operations were winding down), abruptly sold off its paint business and boldly delved into gambling. By the end of the decade it was managing one of the most profitable casinos in the world on the Bahama's Paradise Island.What it amounts to is that by the late period James Crosby emerged as not only the CEO of Mary CarteResorts International, but as an extremely well connected figure within the GOP and beyond."... Crosby was himself uniquely situated in Republican circles: a sometime guest at the White House, he'd donated $100,000 to Nixon's 1968 campaign. He was also a friend of, and frequent host two, Bebe Rebozo (with whom he banked). Moreover, Crosby's private intelligence agency, Intertel, was even then working with White House aides and ITT executives to discredit Jack Anderson's revelations anent ITT and Chile. At the same time, Intertel was the de factocustodian of the demented billionaire Howard Hughes (his own $100,000 donation would later result in two volumes of Senate testimony in the Watergate affair). Indeed, the ties between Paradise Island and Richard Nixon's administration were of the sort that bind: Allan Butler, owner of the failing bank that was his namesake, claims the Nixon was a silent partner of Crosby's in his Bahamian ventures, sharing a healthy chunk of Paradise Island bridge revenues with yet another secret partner, Bebe Rebozo. And by by no means finally, James O. Golden, Resorts' vice-president and one of Intertel's founding spooks, had formerly served as Nixon's Secret Service shield, later taking charge of security for the Nixon forces at the GOP's 1968 convention in Miami Beach. That Paradise Island is a special place, and had a special place in the heart (or what passed for a heart) of the Nixon regime, is abundantly clear... (Spooks, Jim Hougan, pg. 180) ...And that brings us to possibly the most curious aspects of Resorts, namely its ownership of its own vast private intelligence network.It was known as Intertel, short for International Intelligence, Inc. Intertel was incorporated in 1970 as an almost wholly-owned subsidiary of Resorts International and hit the ground running. During its heyday, Intertel had an impressive roster and an international reach. It would turn up in host of intrigues throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Curiously, it had its origins with Robert Kennedy's "Get Hoffa" squad."... Intertel, known especially and remarkably for its composition of former organized crime strike force attorneys from Robert Kennedy's Justice Department... The IRS considered Intertel... 'an organized crime enterprise of some type aimed at the Bahamas,' as one account summed up the agency's view. Roberts Peloquin and William Hundley, Kennedy's top crime fighters, had joined the firm and recruited operatives from the CIA, FBI, IRS, Secret Service, and other intelligence agencies. Staffed exclusively by what one author called 'Get Hoffa agents,' it was likened into a corporate CIA.' (The Money and the Power, Sally Denton & Roger Morris, pg. 284)...Intertel's other ventures include spying of muckraker Jack Anderson) for ITT, investigating the Chicago Tylenol murders and the Bhopal disaster. Even more ominous, however, were its dealings with a shady Belgium-based private detective agency known as Agence de Recherche et d'Information (ARI). As was noted before here, ARI was linked to members of the neo-fascist terror organization known as the Westland New Post, a few of whom had also been implicated in drug trafficking and pedophile rings. Intertel reportedly hired ARI to do some work for them during the 1980s....What is of great interest to us here is Trump's third Atlantic City casino: the Taj Mahal. While now widely associated with Trump, thanks in no small part to it leading to his first bankruptcy, it was not in fact Trump who started the casino. That dubious distinction lies with Resorts International.The company had begun construction on the Taj Mahal in 1983, but had run into persistent difficulties in finishing construction in the following years. Then, in April 1986, James Crosby died suddenly. This left Resorts in turmoil (allegedly) and Trump stepped in. Trump bought a controlling stake in the company in 1987 and was promptly named its chairman of the board.Let that sink in for a moment: Donald J. Trump, the current President of the United States, was briefly the chairman of a corporation long suspected of being a CIA front, that had decades-spanning involvement with the Syndicate, numerous "rogue" financiers, various drug and arms traffickers and which owned a vast private intelligence network...."
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer:
(07/22/87) TRUMP COMPLETES THE DEAL FOR RESORTS INTERNATIONAL
Developer Donald Trump took control of Resorts International Inc. yesterday in a $79 million deal that gives him his third Atlantic City casino, including what will be the largest gaming hall in the city.Trump sealed the deal in New York with those connected to the estate of the late founder of Resorts International, James M. Crosby.Trump paid a cash price of $135 a share for 585,068 shares of Class B stock, which has 100 times the voting power of Class A stock.He is expected to make a formal tender offer for the remaining 167,230 shares of Class B stock within the next several weeks at the same $135-a-share price. Owning all the Class B stock would give him 93 percent of the company's voting power.At a board meeting immediately after the transaction with the Crosby estate, Trump was elected chairman of the board of Resorts International, replacing Henry B. Murphy, Crosby's brother-in-law, who resigned.
And his relationship with Ivana was falling apart:
(1989) Ex-Wife: Donald Trump Made Me Feel ‘Violated’ During Sex
After a painful scalp reduction surgery to remove a bald spot, Donald Trump confronted his then-wife, who had previously used the same plastic surgeon.“Your fucking doctor has ruined me!” Trump cried.What followed was a “violent assault,” according to Lost Tycoon. Donald held back Ivana’s arms and began to pull out fistfuls of hair from her scalp, as if to mirror the pain he felt from his own operation. He tore off her clothes and unzipped his pants.“Then he jams his penis inside her for the first time in more than sixteen months. Ivana is terrified… It is a violent assault,” Hurt writes. “According to versions she repeats to some of her closest confidantes, ‘he raped me.’”Following the incident, Ivana ran upstairs, hid behind a locked door, and remained there “crying for the rest of night.” When she returned to the master bedroom in the morning, he was there.“As she looks in horror at the ripped-out hair scattered all over the bed, he glares at her and asks with menacing casualness: ‘Does it hurt?’” Hurt writes.
In 1992, Trump would divorce Ivana. It's this same year that we find him arranging a party of 30 for himself, Jeffrey Epstein, and 28 young aspiring calendar girls:
(1992) Trump Was Alone at a 1992 Party with 28 Girls and Accused Sex Trafficker Jeffrey Epstein
Part of a “calendar girl” competition organized at Trump’s request, the party was put together by a businessman named George Houraney, who spoke with the New York Times for a story published Tuesday.Houraney was also one of many to accuse Trump of sexual harassment, this time toward his former girlfriend and business partner, Jill Harth, who described an incident in 1997 as an attempted rape by Trump.“I arranged to have some contestants fly in,” Houraney told the Times. “At the very first party, I said, ‘Who’s coming tonight? I have 28 girls coming.’ It was him and Epstein.”...Before the “calendar girl” event, Houraney warned Trump about Epstein once again.“Look, Donald, I know Jeff really well, I can’t have him going after younger girls,” Houraney recalled telling Trump in the Times interview. “He said: ‘Look I’m putting my name on this. I wouldn’t put my name on it and have a scandal.’”
[EDIT: MSNBC reports on 07/17/2019 on newly discovered footage of Trump and Epstein discussing women at a party in November of 1992.]
The Boston Globe reported:
(1992) The pageant of Donald Trump’s dreams
It was a snowy night in Manhattan, December 1992, and the festive group was embarking on a circuit of exclusive clubs after a sumptuous dinner at the Plaza Hotel’s Oak Room.As the limo wove through the city, Trump discussed his views on dating, according to one of the women riding along. The billionaire casino mogul declared that “all women are bimbos” and said most were “gold diggers” who would be smart to go after men with money. Like him.Rhonda Noggle, the model who relayed the story to the Globe in an interview, said that, at that point, she had had enough. Speaking sharply to Trump, she said, she asked him to stop the limo. The car grew silent.
(1989-1995) The Untold Story of Trump Model Management (Part 1):
1989-1995 just so happens to be the same time period in which Donald Trumps world and empire was falling apart at the seams. In the beginning of the decade he was facing the end of his first marriage and a looming court battle. Despite his purportedly active dating life, by many accounts Trump was being rejected by many, if not most, of the women he pursued-including Carla Bruni and Jill Hearth. Marla Maples, after years of being the secret mistress and repeated rounds of being dumped and publicly humiliated by Trump, was starting to lose her patience. And the big gamble he took in Atlantic City was, by all accounts, failing miserably-a direct result of his jaw droppingly awful business practices and general incompetence. In 1991, his Taj Mahal Casino filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. In 1992, he again filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy again, this time on his Trump Plaza Hotel (also in Atlantic City), at the time owing $550 million dollars. Recall that he would report an almost 1 billion dollar loss on his 1995 tax returns, according to the copies obtained by the New York Times. Indeed, the early 90’s were not a very good era for Donald Trump. In light of this fact, it’s worth noting that the sexual assault allegations against him are all clustered within this very time frame. [Note: This article was written in 2016, prior to more allegations]...By the time “New York Magazine” did a front page profile of him in 1988, Casablancas reputation for bedding young models was established and begrudgingly accepted (a price to pay in exchange for his “genius”) within the New York social scene, but the expose came as a shock to many outside the bubble. John Casablancas would soon find out that he was not as untouchable as he thought he was. In the article-which ran under the title “Girl Crazy”-Casablancas was portrayed as a champagne guzzling pervert, singularly dedicated to the “new look” department of Elite where he spent his days ogling the scantily clad, sometimes naked bodies of teenage girls. In light of Donald Trump’s more alarming comments and decisions around his daughter Ivanka, this quote stands out:"Casablancas talked about his seventeen year old daughter, Cecile. He said Cecile had been solicited by a photographer last summer on a beach in Ibiza. The photographer asked her to pose in a bikini, and Casablancas raced over to try to get a $2,000 fee for the shot. “She’s got a great little body” he told his models."Another quote that brings a chuckle and a nod of recognition in this story is Casablancas’s bizarre pride over never having changed a diaper. Donald Trump would make similar boasts in a Howard Stern interview a few years later. Compelling proof this is not, but I do believe it’s a hint at the kind of Don Juan persona that Don, far from a Juan, actually a dejected, balding husband with a crumbling empire....But the scandal did not end there, nor did it begin. Less than a month earlier 60 minutes aired a prime-time special on the abuses of underage girls in the modeling industry. Investigative reporter Craig Pyes portrayed the modeling industry as infested with agents who were notorious hustlers and playboys. His report revealed that both Claude Haddad- the head of European scouting for Ford- and Ford’s Paris-based agent Jean-Luc Brunel had been accused of horrific sexual misconduct by many models. [Note: Brunel's name appears multiple times on Epstein's flight manifests.] The special aired the interviews of dozens of women who accused both Brunel and Haddad of a litany of crimes, ranging from racist invective towards black models to violent rape. And in fact the hidden camera footage captured in filming the special caught it all- from Xavier lamenting about n**er models, to Haddad chuckling about drugging and raping 13 year old girls. According to Model At a retreat soon after the one-two punch delivered by the coverage, Haddad, Jean Luc Brunel and Casablancas were once again overheard (albeit not taped this time around) laughing about their crimes. Alternatively they were angry when confronted by interim scouting manager Trudi Tapscott - ”I’m a man and I have needs, I will not apologize for that!” Casablancas is said to have declared....Over time Donald Trump would emerge from the ruins of his empire with a new approach to business, and a new source of income-in 1996 he bought the rights to the Miss Universe franchise, and became the central figure in the running of these pageants. And in 1999 he started a modeling agency - T models, later changed to Trump Model Management. The correlation of interests is quite clear-for a man awkward around women but dependent on his public image saying otherwise, a stable of women under his employ was a way to boost his image-and even better, he was able to lock all of these women into non disclosure agreements, ensuring that his behavior with them had little chance of becoming public knowledge. It also appeared to have served as a useful tool regarding his business transactions-which, in the aftermath of his bankruptcy, were increasingly dependent on some less than savory characters. How he did this, and the breadth of this activity, will be explored in the next installment. But for the time being, there is one final aspect of this story that is breathtaking, and speaks more to the character of Donald Trump than anything else.
More in Part 3.
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Washington Post Trump Russia history

Opinions A history of Donald Trump’s business dealings in Russia By David Ignatius Opinion writer November 2
President Trump takes questions from reporters before boarding Marine One (Drew AngereGetty Images)
MOSCOW — An ice-blue 14-story office tower called Ducat Place III is the building that President Trump might have constructed here, with help from a business friend named Howard Lorber who came with him to scout the market in 1996. But like so many other Trump adventures in Russia, this one proved a tantalizing but futile dead end.
Trump is angrily dismissive when questions are raised about his Russian contacts. He calls the investigation by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III a “witch hunt” and media reports about his Russia connections “fake news” and “fabrication.” He tweeted in January, shortly before his inauguration: “I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA — NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!”
As the Mueller investigation accelerated this week with the indictment of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and the plea deal reached with former campaign foreign-policy aide George Papadopoulos, the context of the probe becomes newly important. How did Trump accumulate his network of Russian business contacts in the years before the 2016 campaign? What’s the prehistory of Trump and Russia?
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The Mueller investigation is still in its opening round, and it’s far too early to make any judgments about Trump’s own actions. A member of Trump’s inner circle told me that he advised the president recently, “This is the most innocent you’ve ever been of any allegation.” But to reach a judgment, you first must understand the history of Trump’s fascination, bordering on obsession, with Russian business deals.
The simple truth is that Trump has been hungry for Russia projects for more than three decades. He has repeatedly touted plans for a Moscow mega-development and has courted a steady stream of investors from the former Soviet Union for ventures in New York, South Florida and other locations. Trump has enjoyed playing the “big guy” in Moscow. As he bragged to a New York real-estate publication after a November 2013 dinner with prominent business leaders: “The Russian market is attracted to me.”
Trump’s Russia connections helped sow the seeds of Mueller’s investigation. The best example is the now-famous June 9, 2016, meeting at Trump Tower organized by Donald Trump Jr. with Russians who had links with the Kremlin. Mueller is investigating whether that meeting was part of a conspiracy to influence the 2016 election. But any potential criminal issues aside, the gathering embodied the Trump family’s 30-year involvement with wealthy tycoons from the former Soviet Union.
What follows is an attempt to explain Trump’s encounter with Russia as a narrative. Most of the details have surfaced before, but it has been hard to see the story whole, as a business saga. With Russia, as with so many other aspects of Trump’s business and political life, he has been more pitchman than builder. What’s clear, reviewing the facts, is that Trump’s claim he had “nothing to do with Russia” over the years is nonsense. 3:06 Inside the plan to develop a Trump Tower in Moscow
The Washington Post's Carol Leonnig and Tom Hamburger explain the Trump Organization's efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. (Jenny Starrs, Meg Kelly/The Washington Post)
Trump’s business interest in Russia began in 1986. The flashy young tycoon met Soviet Ambassador Yuri Dubinin at a luncheon and, as he recounted in his 1987 book, “The Art of the Deal,” the two began “talking about building a large luxury hotel across the street from the Kremlin.”
With Dubinin’s encouragement, Trump flew to Moscow in July 1987 with his Czech-born first wife, Ivana, to check out potential sites. Trump wrote in his book: “It was an extraordinary experience. . . . We stayed in Lenin’s suite at the National Hotel, and I was impressed with the ambition of the Soviet officials to make a deal.”
But Trump was preoccupied with other business projects in the late 1980s, including buying an airline and the Plaza Hotel (which he lost after bankruptcies in 1991 and 1992, respectively), and the Russia hotel deal stalled.
Trump explored the Russian market again in 1996, with help from his friend Lorber, who is chief executive of Vector Group, a holding company that back then owned a Russian cigarette company and now owns Douglas Elliman Realty, one of the leading brokerage firms for super-rich Russians seeking property in the United States.
Lorber is a fascinating, little-noted member of Trump’s inner circle. Trump described him last year as one of his two closest friends; they’ve helped each other’s children in business, and Lorber introduced Trump to David Friedman, who is now U.S. ambassador to Israel; Friedman’s former partner, Marc Kasowitz, became Trump’s lawyer. Lorber even made a cameo appearance in a 2005 episode of “The Apprentice.”
The Trump-Lorber foray in Moscow began with Lorber’s business partner (and close Trump friend) Bennett LeBow, who had acquired the Liggett tobacco company in 1986. One subsidiary, called Liggett-Ducat, marketed the company’s cigarettes in Russia. And Liggett-Ducat had a 98-year lease on a prime development site in central Moscow.
With his usual panache, Trump announced plans for a $250 million investment that would include a “Trump International” complex on the Liggett-Ducat site at a November 1996 news conference in Moscow. “We have an understanding we will be doing it,” he said.
Trump bragged about his plans in January 1997, when he and Lorber met visiting Russian politician Aleksandr Lebed in New York. A 1997 New Yorker profile of Trump captured their exchange and showed the breadth of Trump’s hopes for Moscow investment and business connections.
“We are actually looking at something in Moscow right now, and it would be skyscrapers and hotels, not casinos. Only quality stuff. . . . And we’re working with the local government, the mayor of Moscow, and the mayor’s people. So far, they’ve been very responsive. . . . I always go into the center.”
The Moscow mayor Trump cultivated was Yuri Luzhkov. John Beyrle, then U.S. ambassador to Russia, offered this blunt summary of Luzhkov’s approach in a 2010 cable to Washington: “Corruption in Moscow remains pervasive with Mayor Luzhkov at the top of the pyramid. Luzhkov oversees a system in which it appears that almost everyone at every level is involved in some form of corruption or criminal behavior.” Beyrle’s cable was published by WikiLeaks.
Whatever inside track Trump thought he had with Luzhkov in 1996, the deal petered out. Trump’s business troubles were mounting at home, and financing may not have been available. Handsome towers were built at sites called Ducat Place II and III, but not by Trump.
The Trump International Beach Resort in Sunny Isles. (Angel Valentin/for The Washington Post)
The Russian moneymaker for Trump in the 2000s turned out, instead, to be investment in U.S. properties bearing his name. Russians were eager to move their capital into fancy condo apartments in New York and Florida. Here, again, his friend Lorber was well connected.
Lorber’s real-estate firm Douglas Elliman, hoping to profit from the Russian market, hired a string of Russian-speaking agents who could help rich clients find high-end properties.
“If you didn’t target the Russian billionaires, then you shouldn’t be in the business,” said Dolly Lenz, a former Douglas Elliman broker, in a 2008 article in the New York Observer. Lenz told USA Today last year that she had sold about 65 apartments in Manhattan’s Trump World Tower to Russian buyers. “They all wanted to meet Donald,” she said.
One magnet for Russian money was a private resort called Fisher Island in Biscayne Bay, just off Miami. Lorber has been a director of the Oceanside at Fisher Island Condominium Association since 2000 and is currently a director of the Fisher Island Club.
Among Fisher Island’s many Soviet-born property owners have been Aras Agalarov, a Russian-Azerbaijani magnate who sponsored Trump’s Miss Universe 2013 pageant and whose pop-singer son Emin organized the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower; and Felix Sater, a Russian-born former adviser to Trump who worked with the Bayrock Group that helped develop the Trump SoHo project in New York.
(Lorber declined to comment through Vector’s public-affairs consultant, Emily Claffey of Sard Verbinnen & Co.)
Trump’s business deals in South Florida illustrated his blend of panache and caution, his hunger for Russian cash and his ability to skirt disaster. He sold his name to condo projects in an area called Sunny Isles Beach, helped pump up the market there and walked away unscathed when it crashed.
“The city has earned the nickname ‘Little Russia’ for its high percentage of Russian-speaking residents,” notes the Douglas Elliman website, pitching high-rises there to prospective buyers. The Miami Herald reported that according to U.S. Census data, nine percent of Sunny Isles Beach households have Russian origins, the largest percentage of Russians in Miami-Dade County.
Sunny Isles is a case study in how Trump does business. It was once a decidedly un-chic beachfront north of Miami, “a place where your uncle who lives on Social Security would go on vacation,” says Peter Zalewski, a Florida real-estate consultant. But after it incorporated as a separate jurisdiction within Miami-Dade County, with business-friendly local managers, it became a magnet for investment — and was rebranded as “Florida’s Riviera.”
Trump’s name graces a string of sleek buildings along this strip of coast. First was the Trump International Beach Resort, a complex completed in 2004. Then came Trump Palace in 2006; Trump Towers I, II and III, built in 2007, 2008 and 2009; and Trump Royale in 2008. But Trump’s developer friends plunged into Sunny Isles at the wrong time. According to a 2010 article at SouthFloridaCondos.blogspot.com, unit prices at the three Trump Towers buildings dropped nearly 40 percent from the 2005 pre sales period. As the market crashed, the construction loan for Trump Towers had to be restructured. Trump Hollywood, another glitzy project further north, was driven into foreclosure in 2010.
Trump deftly distanced himself from the developers’ troubles, telling the Sun-Sentinel that he questioned their “timing.” But the condo market gradually improved, thanks in part to Russian buyers. A Reuters investigation found that 63 people with Russian addresses or passports have purchased $98.4 million of property in Trump-branded condos in South Florida.
Trump also had a personal infusion of Russian cash in the liquidity-starved 2008 market. That year he sold for a handsome $95 million a Palm Beach waterfront mansion he bought at auction in 2004 for just $41.35 million — more than doubling his money at a time when much of the South Florida market was underwater. The buyer was Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev.
Dezer Development, the real-estate company that helped attach Trump’s name to six projects in Sunny Isles Beach, saw Trump’s presidential campaign as a promotion opportunity. “It’s a free press release,” Gil Dezer told Bloomberg News in August 2016.
Donald Trump Jr. arrives at Trump Tower in New York City. (Stephanie Keith/Reuters)
Helping build the Trump-Russia pipeline in the fragile 2008 market was Donald Trump Jr. He was a keynote speaker at the June 2008 Russian Real Estate Summit in Moscow, where he touted the Trump Organization’s plans to build condos and hotels in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Sochi. At a New York real-estate conference in September 2008, Trump Jr. was frank about the tide of Russian money supporting the family business.
“In terms of high-end product influx into the U.S., Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. . . . We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia,” said the young Trump, according to a Sept. 15, 2008, article about the conference. He said he had made a half-dozen trips to Russia during the previous 18 months.
A project that had significant financing from former Soviet Union investors was Trump SoHo, a 46-story condo-hotel project in Lower Manhattan that opened in September 2007. One development partner was the Sapir Organization, founded by Tamir Sapir from Georgia. Another partner was Bayrock, founded by Tevfik Arif, a Kazakh-born businessman who brought in Sater. As has been widely reported, Sater went to prison in 1993 after stabbing a man, and later became an FBI informant.
For the elder Trump, these ex-Soviet investors were important assets for the future. He said in a deposition in a Trump SoHo lawsuit: “Bayrock knew the people, knew the investors. . . . And this was going to be Trump International Hotel and Tower Moscow, Kiev, Istanbul, etc., Poland, Warsaw.”
Trump Jr. continued traveling to Russia and Eastern Europe, prospecting for business. He was interviewed in May 2012 before giving a speech to a real-estate conference in Riga, Latvia. His comments, captured on YouTube, explain why the Trump Organization saw the former Eastern Bloc as crucial: “It’s a part of the world that now you’re starting to see some amazing architecture, some incredible real estate, you’re seeing a real big boom in wealth. . . . We have something that’s very relevant in that sector.”
Russian businessman Aras Agalarov, Miss Universe 2013 Gabriela Isler and Donald Trumpat the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, Russia. (Irina BujoAP)
The apex of Trump’s personal fascination with Russia may have been 2013, when he brought the Miss Universe pageant to Moscow and talked, yet again, of building a “Trump Tower” there. His business partner in the pageant was Aras Agalarov, president of Crocus Group, a shopping-mall developer. Forbes magazine notes that he has been called “the Trump of Russia” because of his glitzy personal marketing.
Trump and Agalarov formed an ebullient partnership over a dinner in Las Vegas on June 15, 2013, captured on the Internet. As Trump began hyping the pageant, he even tried to draw in Russia’s president himself, tweeting on June 18, 2013: “Do you think Putin will be going to The Miss Universe Pageant in November in Moscow — if so, will he become my new best friend?”
The Miss Universe red carpet was rolled out Nov. 9, 2013. Emin Agalarov sang a song, and Miss Venezuela was crowned the winner. A story published that day by RT touted Trump’s latest business plans for Russia, quoting him: “I have plans for the establishment of business in Russia. Now, I am in talks with several Russian companies to establish this skyscraper.” Aras Agalarov was quoted saying he was participating in talks to be Trump’s partner in the project.
Agalarov hosted a dinner for Trump at the Moscow branch of Nobu, which he owned. The co-host was Herman Gref, the chief executive of Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank, and a close adviser of President Vladimir Putin. An ebullient Trump saluted Agalarov in a Nov. 11 tweet: “I had a great weekend with you and your family. You have done a FANTASTIC job. TRUMP TOWER-MOSCOW is next.”
The Trump-Agalarov contacts continued. Trump’s daughter Ivanka visited Moscow in February 2014 and toured Crocus City Hall. Emin Agalarov performed at a golf tournament the next month at the Trump National Doral, near the family property at Fisher Island. Like so many seemingly imminent Trump-Moscow deals over the years, the skyscraper plan stalled. 4:17 What we know about the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting
Here's what we know so far about Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Russian lawyer during his father's presidential campaign in June 2016. (Video: Elyse Samuels, Jenny Starrs/Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
And then, finally, came an event that Mueller is said to have examined carefully — the meeting in June 2016 where Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya met with Trump’s inner circle. It helps to recall the long history of Trump’s business dealings with Russia when you read this June 3, 2016, email to Trump Jr. from Rob Goldstone, the publicist for Emin Agalarov:
“Emin just called me to contact you with something very interesting. The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father. This is obviously very high-level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Trump — helped along by Aras and Emin.”
To which Trump Jr. answered: “I love it.” The meeting took place on June 9 with, among others, Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Manafort and Veselnitskaya, a lawyer with links to the Kremlin. Veselnitskaya says her real goal was to lobby the Trump team to oppose the Magnitsky Act, which she described in a May 31, 2016, memo as “the beginning of a new round of the Cold War,” echoing Putin’s line.
As the new president was taking office, the Trump brand sparkled brighter than ever for Russians. The Miami Herald reported on Jan. 30 that in November 2016, Russians topped the list of foreigners looking for homes in the Miami area.
Oren Alexander, one of the top brokers at Douglas Elliman, explained the post-election trend to the Herald: “There’s no doubt that Russian buyers think America is a good place to be again.” Among the places that attracted Russian purchasers, he said, were Sunny Isles Beach and Fisher Island.
Mueller’s investigation might tell us whether any of these Trump-Russian business connections improperly melded into the 2016 campaign. But at the core of Trump’s interaction with his Russian friends is an insight they have shared ever since Soviet days: Politics may be transitory, but real estate is forever.
Twitter: @IgnatiusPost
Read more from David Ignatius’s archive, follow him on Twitter or subscribe to his updates on Facebook.
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