Trump and the Mob

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I expect the Democrats to highlight Trump’s well known connections to the Mafia and various independent gangsters and swindlers. Reporter David Cay Johnston outlines what is known about such contacts:

These questions ate at me as I wrote about Atlantic City for The Philadelphia Inquirer, and then went more deeply into the issues in a book, Temples of Chance: How America Inc. Bought Out Murder Inc. to Win Control of the Casino Business. In all, I’ve covered Donald Trump off and on for 27 years, and in that time I’ve encountered multiple threads linking Trump to organized crime. Some of Trump’s unsavory connections have been followed by investigators and substantiated in court; some haven’t. And some of those links have continued until recent years, though when confronted with evidence of such associations, Trump has often claimed a faulty memory. In an April 27 phone call to respond to my questions for this story, Trump told me he did not recall many of the events recounted in this article and they “were a long time ago.” He also said that I had “sometimes been fair, sometimes not” in writing about him, adding “if I don’t like what you write, I’ll sue you.”

I’m not the only one who has picked up signals over the years. Wayne Barrett, author of a 1992 investigative biography of Trump’s real-estate dealings, has tied Trump to mob and mob-connected men.

No other candidate for the White House this year has anything close to Trump’s record of repeated social and business dealings with mobsters, swindlers, and other crooks. Professor Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian, said the closest historical example would be President Warren G. Harding and Teapot Dome, a bribery and bid-rigging scandal in which the interior secretary went to prison. But even that has a key difference: Harding’s associates were corrupt but otherwise legitimate businessmen, not mobsters and drug dealers.

This is part of the Donald Trump story that few know. As Barrett wrote in his book, Trump didn’t just do business with mobbed-up concrete companies: he also probably met personally with Salerno at the townhouse of notorious New York fixer Roy Cohn, in a meeting recounted by a Cohn staffer who told Barrett she was present. This came at a time when other developers in New York were pleading with the FBI to free them of mob control of the concrete business.

From the public record and published accounts like that one, it’s possible to assemble a clear picture of what we do know. The picture shows that Trump’s career has benefited from a decades-long and largely successful effort to limit and deflect law enforcement investigations into his dealings with top mobsters, organized crime associates, labor fixers, corrupt union leaders, con artists and even a one-time drug trafficker whom Trump retained as the head of his personal helicopter service.

Go here to read the rest.  I don’t expect this to be fatal to Trump since Clinton has her own problems with criminal activity, but Trump supporters should not wear blinders on about the type of man they are supporting.


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  1. Good. Maybe they can help him fast track ridding ourselves of the hundreds of billions in public money funneled to corrupt organizations that are fighting hard and dirty to destroy this country.

    As for the helicopter ex-druggie, I’m pretty sure he had to be imminently qualified for the job, after all Mr. Trump and his family’s safety were on the line in such a position.

    One thing I admire about Trump is he can see the good in a person, despite a troubled past. He may even see an overcome troubled past as a yuge positive–proof that someone has courage, guts, and skill.

  2. Trump is not good but his court picks are. Hillary is not good but her court picks would be worse than Hillary. We have no person with gravitas and virtue running for president.
    It sounds like Trump met with bad people because he had to get buildings done. I’ll bet the other developers who pleaded with the FBI, also as they waited, had to work with mafia infiltrated construction crews in this harbor area of mine. So then a writer could write of them that they met with this one or that one to get things moving while the FBI moved methodically and slower than developers. In that same NY/NJ harbor area, if you were shipping goods into North Jersey docks, you had to pay extortion to John DiGilio of the Genovese family who was secretary treasurer of the Longshoremen’s union in Bayonne….if you didn’t, dock workers would do a work slow down at your ship. An exboxer whose non lawyered defense of himself got another Genovese family member convicted and removed from a Longshoremen’s lucrative post, DiGilio, found innocent, was killed by his family after that trial because a Gambino replaced the convicted man in the Longshoremen union post. John DiGilio was found in the Hackensack river in a bag. I met him and his young daughter much prior without knowing he was on Fortune magazine’s list …being 39th most powerful mafia boss. I was with a guy who was paying him rent on an apartment. As we left Di Gilio’s house, I remarked to the renter that DiGilio’s waist was small and his shoulders wide and you could see it through his white dress shirt tucked into dress black pants. My friend the renter said,” John DiGilio…biggest mob loanshark in New Jersey.” I nearly fell over….and had been touched by how DiGilio behaved with his daughter…disciplining her interruption as he and I agreed on military issues of that time. Little did I know that little daughter would lose her dad one day to two shots to the head and be found in a bag in the river.

  3. “As for the helicopter ex-druggie, I’m pretty sure he had to be imminently qualified for the job, after all Mr. Trump and his family’s safety were on the line in such a position. ”
    The article says “the head of his personal helicopter service” which would indicate the ex-druggie was not a pilot, but a manager of some type. Such a position could have still incurred risks for Trump but it would have been limited to demands to cut corners on people (pilots and mechanics) who had legal and practical reasons to resist.

    Indeed, the FAA tries very hard to prevent the existence of druggie pilots; the current regulations – which are enforced by FAA medical examiners – state “A diagnosis or medical history of substance dependence is disqualifying unless there is established clinical evidence, satisfactory to the Federal Air Surgeon, of recovery, including sustained total abstinence from the substance(s) for not less than the preceding 2 years. A history of substance abuse within the preceding 2 years is disqualifying”. If the ex-druggie really was a pilot then he or she would most likely really be an ex-druggie.

  4. Paul Zummo,
    Simple question. Which would you rather have….Hillary’s court picks or Trumps which really were the Heritage Foundation’s and the Federalist Society’s picks….even if they don’t ” save the judiciary” as per your link.? Which would you rather see placed in the Court?

  5. Bill,

    Spare me. The “he might be a buffoonish, left-wing clown, but his judicial picks might be marginally better than Hillary’s” argument is not going to play with me. The judiciary needs fundamental reform, and Trump is absolutely not the man to set those needed reforms in motion.

    Rationalize all you want in uniting behind this con man, but at least realize the reasons for doing so don’t actually have any merit.

  6. Paul,
    So the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation did useless work in this matter? Or maybe they agree with you that the fundamental reform is needed but that that is a long term issue and in life, there are also short and medium term goals. In 1976, the death penalty was reinstated by the Court thank God after a four year hiatus. Things like that won’t happen with an all liberal SCOTUS.

  7. How can we expect Trump to keep the promise he made regarding SCOTUS picks?

    “The judiciary needs fundamental reform, and Trump is absolutely not the man to set those needed reforms in motion.”

    But, Paul, I don’t think any president at this point can do that. It isn’t just about who is appointed as much as it is perhaps, for one, a restructuring of the judiciary itself. The only federal court mandated. by the Constitution is the Spreme Court. Does not Congress have the power to do away with lower courts? Congressional restructuring along those lines could be part of that transformation. Another, it seems to me, is for individual states to push back against federal judicial usurpation of states rights via the Tenth Amendment. What’s to stop multiple conservative governors in red states to refuse acquiescence to unconstitutional judicial.overreach? In fact, didn’t Ted Cruz encourage just that with regards to the same sex marriage SCOTUS decision?

  8. Greg,
    We can expect Trump to adhere to this list because the area is not one he is passionate about and he is lazy as to research and knows it is an area outside his knowledge. He loved delegating this to two conservative think tanks. Ronald Reagan by the way picked Anthony Kennedy in 1987 who sided with the liberals against DOMA …Defense of Marriage Act and sided with them later on a related issue again in favor of gay rights.. That could be another reason Presidents generally should consult think tanks on Justices.

  9. There are a few things that GOP establishment guys are good at (coincidentally they are in lockstep with the media, Pelosi, Reid, Hilary, et al). One is attacking Trump. Since 2008, what a bunch of loozzzers! Imagine my loudest Trump impersonation.

  10. Bill:

    Trump’s leftist sister is a federal judge who he had floated as a possible SCOTUS nominee during the debates. Even if he didn’t nominate her, she will be sure to have his ear when he considers SCOTUS picks. And Trump is not above reneging on promises. I think Reagan can be blamed for O’Connor. But not Kennedy. Kennedy was a dark horse pick after the savage senate destruction of the Bork nomination and the One Toke Over the Line Sweet Dougie Ginberg nomination went down in flames.

  11. Greg,
    We differ. Trump didn’t float his sister’s name. I think Trump as ultimately a deal maker…wants to have something with which to please conservatives whom he needs to get things passed. Justices are his leverage with them mostly after the election and prior for fund raising purposes.

  12. ps….he did float his sister’s name but later pulled back and said he didn’t know her judicial views. She was a Reagan appointee too then was raised by Clinton to the appelate level.

  13. Why would a presidential candidate float a name of a possible SCOTUS pick and not know their judicial views? He got caught and walked it back. He also alternately walks back and reiterates his tough talk on illegal immigration. There is something to said about him being the lesser of two evils against a Hillary Clinton, but he is not trustworthy.

  14. . Trump has been married thrice so for sure, he’s not trustworthy but such people still have sectors in which they can do the good. Clinton was an adulterer yet did good against prodigal welfare programs.
    Kennedy was an adulterer…but was good in a showdown with Russia. Obama is immoral on life issues but he increased drone hits on terrorists like no body’s business. Why are we seeing Trump as the suddenly new immoralist. Bush was moral but thought he could make Afghanistan a nice place. It’s a bottomless pit with its biggest crop of poppies happening this year. I pity Trump and the size of his promises though …but maybe he intends Congress to sink them. Deporting 11 million people and letting 10 million back in….well….it’s odd but a lot of overtime for ? border patrol…cops…army? See if he floats army or national guard. No overtime.

  15. Bill:
    Where do I connect Trump’s lack of trustworthiness to his being married three times?

  16. Greg,
    No …I did. I think such things are connected. I think he’ll get out of the Wall promise like he got out of two marriages. But I think he’ll keep his Judge list for leverage. I live in NJ where there never was a death penalty and two people I know were murderered near my boyhood house in two different years. One murderer served five years because young. The other wasn’t caught. No one in NJ can get a concealed carry license. I strongly prefer Trump’s judges though I think he had little to do with picking them…ten minutes on the high side guess. And I think he’ll avoid large interventions but use special ops against ISIS with gusto. Wherever we or the people (Syria) have toppled or tried to topple a dictator, ISIS has produced chaos….Iraq, Libya, Syria….Afghanistan ate billions of dollars that could have been spent on veteran medical waiting lines and on US mentally ill.

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