Patterico's Pontifications


That BuzzFeed Story on Trump Condos and Money Laundering Is Garbage Partisan Spin

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:00 am

It’s How to Get Clicks 101: write a story that slams Donald Trump and brand it “investigative journalism.” BuzzFeed, the premier “do it to get clicks” Web site, followed the mold this month with a piece designed to suggest that Donald Trump sells condos to money launderers. Except that the piece actually proves something like the opposite of what it purports to show. If anything, the piece shows that Trump doesn’t sell condos to money launderers any more than any other seller of luxury condos.

The piece is from January 12 but is getting some buzz on social media in the last 24 hours, with Amanda Carpenter tweeting:

We haven’t discussed it here yet. So even though the story is two weeks old, it’s still worth picking apart to see what’s under the hood.

The breathless headline of the piece is Secret Money: How Trump Made Millions Selling Condos To Unknown Buyers. The deck headline reads: “A BuzzFeed News review of every sale of a Trump-branded condominium in the United States provides the first comprehensive look at how many went to unidentified buyers who paid cash, an indication of possible money laundering.” The opening is dramatic and sounds meaningful:

More than one-fifth of Donald Trump’s US condominiums have been purchased since the 1980s in secretive, all-cash transactions that enable buyers to avoid legal scrutiny by shielding their finances and identities, a BuzzFeed News investigation has found.

Records show that more than 1,300 Trump condominiums were bought not by people but by shell companies, and that the purchases were made without a mortgage, avoiding inquiries from lenders.

Those two characteristics signal that a buyer may be laundering money, the Treasury Department has said in a series of statements since 2016. Treasury’s financial-crimes unit has, in recent years, launched investigations around the country into all-cash shell-company real-estate purchases amid concerns that some such sales may involve money laundering. The agency is considering requiring real-estate professionals to adopt anti-money-laundering programs.

Wow! Except, not. The very first question that pops into the non-partisan reader’s head is: so how does this stack up against sales by other sellers of luxury homes and condos?

It’s in there somewhere; I know I saw it. Hang on while I scroll.

*Patterico scrolls, mutters to himself, scrolls some more, scrolls past the infographic, keeps scrolling, keeps muttering*

Ah! There it is! Right there in … paragraph 30:

The property records analyzed by BuzzFeed News would not by themselves reveal money laundering – only warning signs. And Trump is not unique in selling condos to cash-paying shell companies. BuzzFeed News examined non-Trump buildings in Manhattan and South Florida and found that roughly the same percentage of units were sold to shell companies in all-cash transactions as in Trump buildings.

Such sales are increasingly common in the expensive real estate markets where Trump has operated such as Manhattan and Florida’s Miami-Dade County.

The bolded language there in the 30th paragraph of the piece basically takes all the news value out of the story. The headline would be more accurate if it read: “Extensive Investigation Shows Trump Condo Sales No More Involved in Money Laundering Than Any Other High-End Real Estate Transactions.”

And yet, somehow, that was not the headline, for some rea$on. (I’m pretty sure I stole that gag from Allahpundit but it’s a good one.)

The rest of the story is more of the same, with alleged “red flags” that turn out to be consistent with normal business:

Corporations registered in Delaware, which FinCEN says provides “the least transparency” with corporate records of any state, bought an additional 75 Trump condos in all-cash sales that totaled $129 million. “If the corporation is set up in places where there’s some level of confidentiality, which includes Delaware, that’s another red flag,” John Madinger, a retired Treasury official and IRS special agent who investigated financial crimes, said, speaking generally about property sales.

So very suspicious! Except, Delaware is universally known to be the most favorable state for corporations — all corporations, not just dirty ones — in the United States. A 2007 publication from the State of Delaware (.pdf) gives the details: “Close to a million business entities have made Delaware their legal home. Furthermore, while the sheer number of corporations organized in Delaware is significant, more significant still is the fact that so many large and important corporations are incorporated in Delaware. Of the corporations that make up the Fortune 500, more than one-half are incorporated in Delaware.” Wow! Look at all the corporations with “red flags”! They must all be money launderers!!!1!

Or maybe they chose Delaware because of the favorable corporate environment — not just on secrecy, but on taxes, the currency and thoroughness of the statutes government corporations, and the Delaware courts, which specialize in corporate law and issues affecting corporations.

Here’s another alleged “red flag” for Trump condo salaes:

Eighty-three percent of the secretive sales occurred in markets that FinCEN is investigating for possible money laundering in real estate sales. In those markets – Manhattan, South Florida, and Honolulu – FinCEN is examining every luxury-home sale to a shell company that paid cash.

So very suspicious! Except, that’s where Trump’s condos are:

Nine of the buildings are in Manhattan, seven are in South Florida, and one each is in Chicago; Honolulu; Las Vegas; Jersey City, New Jersey; Stamford, Connecticut; and White Plains, New York.

If you do the math, you’ll see that 17 of the 23 buildings are in Manhattan, South Florida, or Honolulu. That’s 74% of the buildings. So it’s not shocking that 83% of the “secretive sales” would happen in one of those locations.

Look: it’s practically certain that a sizable percentage of these sales were made to money launderers. As the piece makes clear, that’s normal and expected in luxury real estate. BuzzFeed didn’t make up the criteria used by investigators who pursue money launderers. Many of the transactions do indeed fit the pattern.

Take the Paul Manafort case as an example of how money launderers operate in general. The indictment has allegations of money laundering through purchasing real estate (and luxury goods) paid for by shell companies based in Cyprus. That’s how they do it.

What’s offensive is not gathering the facts. It’s the spin they put on those facts.

But hey. It gets clicks. And in the end, isn’t that what really matters?

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

73 Responses to “That BuzzFeed Story on Trump Condos and Money Laundering Is Garbage Partisan Spin”

  1. In line with their long tradition of pimping the inconsequential.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  2. Just a tidbit til I return.

    In his testimony, Simpson said that his firm closely examined sales of condominiums in Trump properties in New York, Miami, Panama City and Toronto.

    “There were a lot of real estate deals where you couldn’t really tell who was buying the property,” Simpson said. “And sometimes properties would be bought and sold, and they would be bought for one price and sold for a loss shortly thereafter, and it really didn’t make sense to us.”

    “We saw patterns of buying and selling that we thought were suggestive of money-laundering,” he continued.

    Commercial transactions take years but the Fast and Furious method stands apart.

    Good catch on an assumptive piece though it doesn’t change the context of Donald.

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  3. Many corporations incorporate in Delaware because of the liability laws, virtually indemnifying corporate officers

    NeoMany corporations incorporate in Deleware because of the (d1c681)

  4. how about derwick partners, who launders caracas junta monies and defames critics like halvorsen, yes I understand Amanda’s reasons for mucking up said garbage,

    narciso (d1f714)

  5. If anything, the piece shows that Trump doesn’t sell condos to money launderers any more than any other seller of luxury condos.

    Are the other sellers of luxury condos the chief law-enforcement officer of the United States, and do they have a sworn duty to take care that the laws are faithfully executed?

    Dave (5d2705)

  6. Keep fvcking that poultry, ConDave…

    McCabe leaving earlier than expected…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  7. it’s like that ejection seat on the jaguar db 5

    narciso (d1f714)

  8. So very suspicious! Except, Delaware is universally known to be the most favorable state for corporations — all corporations, not just dirty ones — in the United States.

    Say it ain’t so, Joe— or is you just Biden time.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  9. McCabe leaving earlier than expected…

    Deputy Dawg-ed.


    DCSCA (797bc0)

  10. money laundering isn’t even necessarily a bad thing all the time it’s just one of those reliable charges the gestapo FBI can use when it needs a pretext to ass-jack somebody

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  11. Keep fvcking that poultry, ConDave…

    You should really do something about this fowl obsession of yours, Col. Sanders.

    I try to respect others’ lifestyle choices, but frankly your constant fantasies about having sex with animals are disgusting.

    Dave (5d2705)

  12. and yet this is the state, that found Christine too declassee, to follow up solon of Scranton (d paste eater) with the bearded Marxist, btw, how did his gop rival do in 2016?

    narciso (d1f714)

  13. your interest in animal husbandry is none of our concern, dave.

    btw crazy woman Elizabeth beck, (from an earlier trump deposition) wasn’t crazy enough for the cnn panel,

    narciso (d1f714)

  14. This dont help in either Delaware or animal husbandry terms:

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

  15. @9– Dave, did you read the part saying that the records reviewed in the course of this story went back to “the 1980s”? DJT has been POTUS for a year + 9 days. Please try to keep up.

    Gramps (a079bc)

  16. The bolded language there in the 30th paragraph of the piece

    …is there for libel protection.

    It means that the article, taken as a whole…doesn’t really say anything.

    (Except maybe about the whole practice of selling luxury condos. But the headline is specific to Trump.)

    The lawyers will tell sellers of such condos that, so long as they don’t conspire together with the buyer and plot how to hide the source of the money, the only person who might be doing something illegal is the buyer.)

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  17. McCabe leaving earlier than expected… This might mean somethinbg. he was expected to retire in March, and maybe doing this effective immediately reduces his pension.

    Something must be about to come out. That memo, I suppose.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  18. McCabe is only stepping “aside” as deputy director. He’ll still be on the FBI payroll until his 50th birthday.

    nk (dbc370)

  19. This coming from the same author who claimed Trump failed to sanction an Iran Revoluntary Guard’s owned company because he did business with it, including claims that he was laundering money because there was no other explanation for the money that was passing through the arrangements?

    All solid reporting according to the author — except for the details that Trump’s company didn’t do business with the IRG company, nor was there any evidence of money laundering.

    Down the memory hole??

    shipwreckedcrew (b6fb20)

  20. after that squirrel they seem winded, but not to fear they have no. 23, the larch

    narciso (d1f714)

  21. 6 – McCabe not leaving earlier than expected.

    My guess is that he has 240 hours of accumulated annual leave which is the max that a federal employee can carry over from one year to the next.

    I have seen his birthday reported as being both in mid-March and Mid-May, 1968.

    If it is March, then 6 weeks of annual leave would take him from about 2 weeks from now up to his 50th birthday.

    FBI Special Agent pensions become 100% fully vested on an Agent’s 50th birthday. So on his birthday he can retire with his full pension.

    Because he does not have 25 years service time, he cannot retire earlier than his 50th birthday.

    So my guess is that he’s given his 2 week notice, that he will take 6 weeks accrued but unused annual leave, and his last day in the office will be Feb. 9.

    If, on the other hand, his birthday is in May, then his announcement today is VERY suspicious. IMO it would portend that he knows the outcome of the IG’s investigation, and its very unfavorable towards him. This would make sense because if there was a “rogue” operation being run by the Counter-Intel folks, which reached right up into his office as the guy in charge of all operations, and if that operation was in violation of various Bureau of DOJ policies, its a firing offense. Maybe even a prosecuteable offense.

    shipwreckedcrew (b6fb20)

  22. Trump is your obsession, ConDave. He’s in your head, as you run thru the henhouse.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  23. one can do worse than to live by trashy fbi suckboy andy mccabe’s inviolable motto:

    pension uber alles

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  24. McCabe is taking accumulated leave until he qualifies for a pension in March, so he’s not going to be in the building.

    Fox News is reporting that Christopher Wray saw the Nunes memo yesterday, so the timing is interesting although it could be coincidental.

    Lenny (5ea732)

  25. may 5, 1968, according to the wiki,

    narciso (d1f714)

  26. To be guilty of criminal money laundering, the money must be derived from a “specified unlawful activity.” The laundering act must come later than the criminal act.

    For the party to the laundering activity who was not involved in the underlying activity to be guilty of money laundering, that party must know that the money involved is the result of some kind of criminal conduct, though they need not know precisely what the criminal conduct was.

    The fact that a buyer wishes to close an “all cash” deal doesn’t inform the seller that the money is the proceeds of a crime. Its no different than someone who wants to buy a Mercedes for cash, or someone who uses cash to buy collectible coins or precious metals.

    The “seller” in the transaction is ONLY guilty of money laundering if he knows the money used in the transaction is the result of a crime, AND he intends to help promote that underlying crime or conceal the ownership of the dirty money by conducting the transaction in question.

    This is why I laugh out lound whenever I hear members of the press speculating about “money laundering”. I’d bet $500 that just about every one of them that do so could not define the crime if they were challenged on it.

    BUt that doesn’t slow them down in their jumping to conclusions.

    shipwreckedcrew (b6fb20)

  27. 23… reportedly earlier than expected

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  28. @23 swc –

    If wrongdoing – whether prosecutable or only fireable – is determined after leaving the FBI, would the federal govt claw back his pension?

    Lenny (5ea732)

  29. 26 — it is possible that he has more than 240.

    Whenever you end up in a position where you are going to have what they call “use or lose” annual leave at the end of the year, i.e., your account will have more than 240 accumulated on Dec. 31, you can “schedule” to take the “use or lose” leave before the end of the year, but then not take the vacation.

    To do that you have to schedule it at the appropriate time — you can’t do it on Dec. 31 — and then you must provide written proof that due to the needs of your position, you were not able to take the leave as scheduled. If that is approved, you can have what you “forfeited” restored back into your account, taking you over 240.

    Given everything swirling around McCabe, I’m sure he was able to take advantage of that loophole. I did it once with about 3 weeks of vacation time I would have had to forfeit, but I was in trial for the month of December when I scheduled to take it off. So I got it restored back to my account the following year.

    shipwreckedcrew (b6fb20)

  30. 30. Once earned, its earned. Its not subject to being forfeited, and is protected by ERISA.

    shipwreckedcrew (b6fb20)

  31. what there is no review panel, in these matter?

    narciso (d1f714)

  32. “If, on the other hand, his birthday is in May, then his announcement today is VERY suspicious. IMO it would portend that he knows the outcome of the IG’s investigation, and its very unfavorable towards him. This would make sense because if there was a “rogue” operation being run by the Counter-Intel folks, which reached right up into his office as the guy in charge of all operations, and if that operation was in violation of various Bureau of DOJ policies, its a firing offense. Maybe even a prosecuteable offense.”

    – shipwreckedcrew

    Damned press corps, jumping to conclusions on the basis of pure speculation.

    Leviticus (efada1)

  33. Could this narrative be the new defense:

    Trump is innocent because he’s an incurious ignoramus

    Well I’ve heard ignorance of the Law is no excuse but that usually applies to misdemeanor not felony violations.

    However intent could be invoked because he was too stupid to have deliberately violated the law. It is not unthinkable as a defense. Under the circumstances, along with his 35cent Base he lacks perspective as to social norms and questions no profit motive of his own as to vague notions about propriety and ethics. Profit is simply profit .

    It’s a great defense, this imbecilic sociopathy. It just might work for keeping him out of the Slammer.

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  34. From my link above

    We saw patterns of buying and selling that we thought were suggestive of money-laundering,” he continued.

    Alan Garten, the Trump Organization’s chief counsel, said that the deals Simpson referenced primarily involve properties to which Trump licensed his name, rather than owning, developing or selling them.

    “These accusations are completely reckless and unsubstantiated for a multitude of reasons,” Garten said.

    Was he a Stooge for the laundryman? Did the Milkman impregnate Melania to produce the walking eggplant?

    Is it a crime to be a Cuckold or Doofus even if you made a Profit?

    Gawd forbid.

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  35. Two new facts on McCabe.

    1. Wray went to Capitol Hill yesterday and read the 4 page memo, which names McCabe as a bad actor with lots of details.

    2. Howard Kurtz book dropped, and there is an anecdote in there which very much looks like a McCabe hit-job on Reince Preibus.

    In Feb. 2017, the NYT ran a bombshell story with 4 anonymous sources saying several members of Trump campaign had extensive contacts with Russians. After a security briefing in the WH, McCabe asked to meet privately with Preibus, and told him in the meeting that everything in the story was BS. This is the same story that Comey was asked about in front of Congress, and he said it was almost untirely untrue.

    In the meeting Priebus asks if the FBI will put out a statement consistent with McCabe’s representation that the story is complete BS. McCabe says he’ll get back to him about that.

    Later that day McCabe calls back and says they can’t say anything publicly. This is similar to Comey’s refusal to publicly state what he told Trump privately, about Trump not being under investigation.

    But a week later, there is a CNN story which names Priebus, and says Priebus was putting pressure on the FBI to state that the NYT story was not true, with the spin that this shows a clear violation of the WH of the historical “independence” of DOJ and the FBI from WHY control. The CNN story was sourced to a “US Law Enforcement Official”, who was awfully specific about what was said between Preibus and McCabe, who were the only 2 people in the room.

    And there are mixed reports in the media about how to characterize McCabe’s departure. Everyone seems to agree that he’s going to be allowed to retire, but as of last Friday there were no plans for him to depart effective today. There are reports that say it would be accurate to describe the situation as McCabe being “removed” from his position.

    IMO, it sounds a lot like a subordinate commander being “relieved” by his superior. Given that the previous WH Chief of Staff was targeted by McCabe, it might just be that the current WH Chief of Staff, with the backing of POTUS, called over to Wray and said “In the Army, when there was insuborination by an officer in the chain of command, Superior Officers didn’t wait for him to retire before relieving him of his duties.”

    shipwreckedcrew (b6fb20)

  36. I imagine the point of the story much like Buzzfeed’s Steele story is just to establish the next angle of attack. Nevermind that the 30th paragraph discredits the viral headline the fact that the story was written is sufficient to call for further investigation and demands for financial documents and tax records. Count on it.

    crazy (d99a88)

  37. I think his lawyers have convinced Trump that he is not guilty of anything and probably has nothing to fear from a non-malicious investigation. They probably questioned him closely.

    On the collusion, there simply wasn’t any pre-planning or co-ordination with Russia, regardless of what Russia might or miight not have tried to do. It would be highly improbable in the first place for Putin to have consukleted anyone connected with Trump on any of that. Trump stating publicly something about his wish for Russia to find Hillary’a deleted emails does not constitute a crime.
    Especially since Russia never reciprocated.

    On the issue of obstruction of justice, while, for most people, any kind of interference with an investigation could constitute a crime, whether or not there was any underlying crime, they would argue this does not apply to a person in a legitimate supervisory position over the people conducting the investigation, at least not unless there was, in fact, an underlying crime to cover up.

    And asking FBI Director Comey if he could see his way to not prosecuting Mike Flynn over his possible lying to the FBI because he is “a good guy” would not be a crime. It’s not even putting any pressure on him. (although Comey succumbed to that almost immediately)

    But they still don’t want him to go under oath or give a free for all interview if they can help it. Donald Trump is not careful with the truth, and there are things, like his thoughts or intentions, he might be loath to admit.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  38. Maybe McCabe caught himself mishandling classified info, which we know he has zero tolerance for.

    random viking (6a54c2)

  39. Kurtz is a lot like gollum in this story

    he was a useless wapo worm for so long

    and the cnn years, they weren’t much to his credit either

    but now, just as the corruption of the gestapo fbi threatens to consume middle erf

    here comes Howard on a noble steed, his broadsword of truth held high

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  40. 37. shipwreckedcrew (b6fb20) — 1/29/2018 @ 11:56 am

    In Feb. 2017, the NYT ran a bombshell story with 4 anonymous sources saying several members of Trump campaign had extensive contacts with Russians. After a security briefing in the WH, McCabe asked to meet privately with Preibus, and told him in the meeting that everything in the story was BS. This is the same story that Comey was asked about in front of Congress, and he said it was almost untirely untrue.

    This story:

    That was the same day that Trump asked to speak privaterly with Comey.

    On February 14, I went to the Oval Office for a scheduled counterterrorism
    briefing of the President….

    The President then made a long series of comments about the problem with
    leaks of classified information – a concern I shared and still share. After he had
    spoken for a few minutes about leaks, Reince Priebus leaned in through the door
    by the grandfather clock and I could see a group of people waiting behind him.
    The President waved at him to close the door, saying he would be done shortly.

    The door closed….

    The President returned briefly to the problem of leaks. I then got up and
    left out the door by the grandfather clock, making my way through the large group
    of people waiting there, including Mr. Priebus and the Vice President.

    Comey pretended that the main subject of the conversation was Mike Flynn, but it was probably the leaks, and particularly that New York Times story that had appeared that day. Trump probably actually did maybe mention Mike Flynn, but probably did not devote a lot of time to it, and Trump may have mentioned Mike Flynn as a way of easing into the conversation.

    In his prepared testimony, Comey has to allude to the matter of the leaks because Priebus may have overheard a bit of the conversation. Comey no doubt told Trump the same thing he told the Senate committee, that the story was a lie, and parts of it no doubt were, and Comey disclaimed any kind of responsibility for that leak and said it was probably people who didn’t know what they talking about,

    (He also told that privately to some senators or before the committee in closed session and some senators had to extract it from him in public testimony on June 8, 2017)

    RISCH: OK.

    So — so, again, so the American people can understand this, that report by the New York Times was not true. Is that a fair statement?

    COMEY: In — in the main, it was not true. And, again, all of you know this, maybe the American people don’t. The challenge — and I’m not picking on reporters about writing stories about classified information, is that people talking about it often don’t really know what’s going on.

    And those of us who actually know what’s going on are not talking about it. And we don’t call the press to say, hey, you got that thing wrong about this sensitive topic. We just have to leave it there. ..

    …COTTON: On February 14th, the New York Times published a story, the headline of which was, “Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence.”

    You were asked earlier if that was an inaccurate story, and you said, in the main. Would it be fair to characterize that story as almost entirely wrong?

    COMEY: Yes.

    COTTON: Did you have, at the time that story was published, any indication of any contact between Trump people and Russians, intelligence officers, other government officials or close associates of the Russian government?

    COMEY: This one, I can’t answer, sitting here.

    COTTON: We can discuss that in a classified setting, then

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  41. Fisa memo = pig fart

    TRex = FBI directors


    papertiger (c8116c)

  42. I left this out from what I quoted from the transcript of Comey’s June 8 testimony:

    RISCH: ,,,

    I — I think, secondly, I gather from all this that you’re willing to say now that, while you were director, the president of the United States was not under investigation. Is that a fair statement?

    COMEY: That’s correct.

    RISCH: All right. So that’s a fact that we can rely at this…

    COMEY: Yes, sir.

    RISCH: … OK.

    On — I remember, you — you talked with us shortly after February 14th, when the New York Times wrote an article that suggested that the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians. You remember reading that article when it first came out?

    COMEY: I do. It was about allegedly extensive electronic surveillance…

    RISCH: Correct.


    COMEY: … communications. Yes, sir.

    RISCH: And — and that upset you to the point where you actually went out and surveyed the intelligence community to see whether — whether you were missing something in that. Is that correct?

    COMEY: That’s correct. I want to be careful in open setting. But…

    RISCH: I — I’m — I’m not going to any further than that with it.

    COMEY: OK.

    RISCH: So thank you.

    In addition to that, after that, you sought out both Republican and Democrat senators to tell them that, hey, I don’t know where this is coming from, but this is not the — this is not factual. Do you recall that?

    COMEY: Yes.

    Comey did not volunteeer that to the public. It had to be extracted from him by some Senators.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  43. That business about asking other agencies was probably just for show. Comey knew it had not happened, and he also knew that some people close to him had implied that it had. Taht ism, taht people close to Trump had been the targets of electronic eavesdropping, and suspicious things had been found.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  44. FBI DIRECTOR FIRST LOOK AT FISA MEMO cresting the horizon. [YouTube]

    papertiger (c8116c)

  45. McCabe is cashing out his vacation pay for a south Florida condo getaway.

    Pinandpuller (b5dd63)

  46. A lot of people probably buy property with cash through corporations like sleazy entertainers and sleazy ex officials like the late Janet Reno. OK maybe buzzfeed has a point.

    Pinandpuller (b5dd63)

  47. COMEY: I mean, this is the president of the United States, with me alone, saying, “I hope” this. I took it as, this is what he wants me to do.


    COMEY: Now I — I didn’t obey that, but that’s the way I took it.

    But he did. He did. He did.

    At that time, the FBI immediately leaked to CNN that they cleared Mike Flynn.

    At 6:25 am February 15, Zero Hedge has this: (that’s Feb 15 in spite of the URL saying Feb 14)

    But by 10 pm Zero Hedge reports:

    You can find CNN stories and tweets too.

    The main cause of that change seems to be Comey’s meeting with Donald Trump in the Oval Office on February 14. Comey went back to the office, discussed with his colleagues and by the next day they decided to announce leak the non-prosecution of Mike Flynn (even if that had truly been decided before)

    It was a bone they could throw to Trump to make him happy.

    (Flynn hs since pleaded guilty to that precise crime, but that is because he was facing other charges in connection with being a foreign agent, AND pleading guilty effectively gave him immunity.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  48. They don’t really buy condos with cash, in the form of $100 or $20 bills.

    By cash they mean no loan was taken out, which means the transaction has a lot less documentation of who is buying it and how much money they have and where they got the money than it otherwise would.

    But it was paid for by a check. Except that the entity that issued the check is a shell corporation.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  49. I’m hoping George Zimmerman and the sleazy Bushes are smart enough to go on Legalzoom and form some LLC’s to at least establish a tiny “Buffah ” twixt they and their detractors.

    Pinandpuller (b5dd63)

  50. B of A qualifies as “shell corporation” at Buzzfeed if and when it is deemed convenient to the tone of the tale they are spinning.

    papertiger (c8116c)

  51. 50.”They don’t really buy condos with cash, in the form of $100 or $20 bills”.

    So it’s not as sleazy as Obama’s secret method for sending $$$ to the Mullahs?

    harkin (8256c3)

  52. What Mr nk cites is the next logical step up from taking winning and losing cattle futures trades and arranging them favorably in two different folders. It’s like what The Magic Castle is to Three Card Monte.

    Pinandpuller (b5dd63)

  53. Obama Era FBI holdovers gather for a private early viewing of the Nunez memo. [YouTube]

    papertiger (c8116c)

  54. Ken Starr, the Sage of Santa Barbara. The longest anyone went to jail was Susan’s McDougal. Because she was paranoid about being murdered. You know who’s laughing now? Not Seth Rich.

    Pinandpuller (b5dd63)

  55. Director McCabe on the day his retirement kicks in.


    papertiger (c8116c)

  56. @53 harkin

    There were anonymous campaign contributions coming in from overseas. Thru PayPal, right?

    Pinandpuller (b5dd63)

  57. Say what you want about messianic presidents and cults. Donald Trump took a dumb man (W) and restored his speech. And the scribes applauded.

    Pinandpuller (b5dd63)

  58. There is a new post up about McCabe stepping down.

    Dana (023079)

  59. I saw a mention of Cyprus. If I recall correctly, they have elevators there which operate oddly.

    Richard Aubrey (10ef71)

  60. Dave, did you read the part saying that the records reviewed in the course of this story went back to “the 1980s”? DJT has been POTUS for a year + 9 days



    Dave (5d2705)

  61. yeah… more like shrugs and reaches for another chicken 🐓

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  62. Cyprus is one of the venues where prokhorovs renaissance capital did business.

    narciso (d1f714)

  63. I know what you’re saying about messy pants Presidents, pin.

    Bacteria pockets in lower GI.

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  64. I guess he’ll be harassing the homeless:

    narciso (d1f714)

  65. This is a ridiculous story, deftly and aptly deflated by our host.

    There are lots and lots and lots of absolutely genuine, honest, and entirely legal business purposes that can be served through having corporations or LLCs own real property. And paying “in cash” means “without a mortgage or other debt financing” in this context; it’s a synonym for “buying outright,” which, again, is entirely normal, especially in something like the market for luxury condos.

    There are a TON of such transactions in Houston in which the buyers, for their various and diverse (but entirely lawful) reasons, want to have a pied-à-terre in proximity to our world-class energy and medical industries. (Plus the World Champion Houston Astros!) Their owners, corporate or personal, pay their taxes, obey the laws — and deserve their privacy.

    I’ll bet the authors of this hit job included some self-declared thespians and philatelists, and we should expose them for that.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  66. ^^^ “Paying in cash” does not, in this context, typically mean “using suitcases full of used, non-consecutively numbered $50 and $100 bills.” Which is how they’re trying to make it sound.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  67. Mind you, at least some of those Miami purchasers are Bolivaran revolutionaries looking for a good investment opportunity not denominated in bolivars.

    To be fair, 10-15 years ago there were plenty of “money launderers” who were Venezuelans trying to keep their money safe from Bolivaran revolutionaries.

    Kishnevi (78c1a3)

  68. Yes I pointed up an example on no 7, an investigation by one of the local Latin cable channels revealed that a lot of property was owned by Chavez regime officials and hangers on. It also revealed the mayor of doral had done a lot of bysunesz with south America, through his computer company

    narciso (d1f714)

  69. harkin @53. Obama sent cash because they said they coudn’t wire the money. (but cash is actually very useful to Iran and it was to ISIS)

    The article is not really being clear to readers (although if you study it nd think you can understand) that cash here does not mean actual cash – used, non-consecutively numbered $50 and $100 bills. Like Beldar says, it means “buying outright” without a mortgage or debt financing.

    They really should write articles more clearly.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  70. For decades, South and Central Americans have been buying condos in South Florida as a hedge against the distinct possibility of a Chavez nationalizing private property and confiscating their money. I always figured that they used intermediaries to protect their identities. I know at least a dozen who’ve done so; they’re not drug dealers, but lawyers, doctors and businesspeople, the first ones scapegoated after a socialist takeover.

    Darwin Akbar (a44d70)

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