Scandal fatigue and the Trump ethical swamp

Timothy L. O’Brien writes: Thanks to some fine work by two Bloomberg news reporters, David Kocieniewski and Caleb Melby, we now know that a major Chinese financial services firm may invest $4 billion in a Manhattan skyscraper owned by the family of President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. And that Kushner’s family stands to take home about $500 million for itself from the transaction.

All sorts of goodies are sprinkled around this potential deal, which is being circulated to attract additional investment. It would be the biggest investment — ever — in a single Manhattan building. Some of the Kushner family’s debt on the property would get erased for about a fifth of its value. The Kushners would become equity partners with the Chinese firm, Anbang Insurance Group.

Best of all for the Kushners, the deal would rescue the family company from the consequences of overpaying for the building, 666 Fifth Avenue, which it purchased in 2007 for $1.8 billion. It would also buy out another prominent Trump political backer who invested in the building, Steve Roth of Vornado Realty, for 10 times his original investment.

“It would make business partners of Kushner Cos. and Anbang, whose murky links to the Chinese power structure have raised national security concerns over its U.S. investments,” Kocieniewski and Melby wrote.

That observation is made all the more pungent by the fact that Trump and China’s president, Xi Jinping, have been discussing the terms of a possible diplomatic summit meeting that may take place as early as next month. [Continue reading…]

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Comments

  1. Should we even be using the word ‘ethical’ here? It feels almost quaint, since it doesn’t really connect with the world view of the subjects. We appear to be in the midst of something that feels more like the grandest mob heist in history, by orders of magnitude.

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