Kushner’s Business Got Loans From Companies After White House Meetings

Apollo, the private equity firm, and Citigroup made
large loans last year to the family real estate business
of Jared Kushner, President Trump’s senior adviser.

.. Even by the standards of Apollo, one of the world’s largest private equity firms, the previously unreported transaction with the Kushners was a big deal: It was triple the size of the average property loan made by Apollo’s real estate lending arm, securities filings show.
.. It was one of the largest loans Kushner Companies received last year. An even larger loan came from Citigroup
.. There is little precedent for a top White House official meeting with executives of companies as they contemplate sizable loans to his business, say government ethics experts.
.. “This is exactly why senior government officials, for as long back as I have any experience, don’t maintain any active outside business interests,”
.. Mr. Kushner steers American policy in the Middle East, for example, but his family company continues to do deals with Israeli investors.
.. Mr. Kushner’s firm has sought investments from the Chinese insurer Anbang and from the former prime minister of Qatar.
.. “Why does Jared have to take the meeting?” he asked. “Is there not somebody else who doesn’t have these financial entanglements who can brainstorm freely with these folks?”
.. All of the executives who met with Mr. Kushner have lots to gain or lose in Washington.
Apollo has sought ways to benefit from the White House’s possible infrastructure plan. And its executives, including Mr. Harris, had tens of millions of dollars personally at stake in the tax overhaul that was making its way through Washington last year.

Citigroup, one of the country’s largest banks, is heavily regulated by federal agencies and, like other financial companies, is trying to get the government to relax its oversight of the industry.

.. he is not required to disclose the lifeblood of any real estate firm’s business: its lenders and outside investors.

.. Mr. Harris, a co-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Devils

.. Early last year, the White House enlisted Mr. Harris and other executives to advise the administration on infrastructure policy.

.. One of the largest investors in Apollo’s real estate trust is the Qatari government’s investment fund, the Qatar Investment Authority.

.. Mr. Kushner’s firm previously sought a $500 million investment from the former head of that Qatari fund for its headquarters at 666 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

.. Shortly after Kushner Companies received the loan from Apollo, the private equity firm emerged as a beneficiary of the tax cut package that the White House championed. Mr. Trump backed down from his earlier pledge to close a loophole that permits private equity managers to pay taxes on the bulk of their income at rates that are roughly half of ordinary income tax rates. The tax law left the loophole largely intact.

The stench of Trump’s self-dealing

The political system is rigged for the richest insiders in America.

When we talk about the insider, who are we talking about? It’s the comfortable politician only looking out for his own interest. It is the lobbyist who knows how to put that perfect loophole in every single bill to get richer and richer and richer at your expense.

The richest Americans are paying nothing, and it is ridiculous. These guys shift paper around, and they get lucky. These hedge-fund guys are getting away with murder, when you have one who is making $200 million a year and paying very low taxes. It’s not fair. And it tells people a lot. The middle class is getting absolutely destroyed. This country won’t have a middle class soon. It’s got to end.

.. What fools Trump made of those Midwestern voters who wanted the reality star to go after Washington and New York elites. As “Too Big to Fail” author Andrew Ross Sorkin reported this week, “If you’re a billionaire with your own company and are happy to use your private jet so you can ‘commute’ from a low-tax state, the plan is a godsend. . . .
.. Those rich insiders whom Trump walloped on his way to the White House will get more than 80 percent of this tax plan’s benefits at the end of a decade.
.. such a massive giveaway to the very hedge-fund managers and real estate executives he promised as a candidate to confront only adds to the stench of self-dealing that engulfs all things Trump. Like autocrats across the world, the 45th American president has perfected the art of the self-deal... There will be no justification for having thrown on an additional $1.5 trillion to our existing $20 trillion debt — at a time when unemployment was low, consumer confidence was high and Wall Street was setting records by the day.

.. It should be painfully obvious to a first-year economics student that there is no rational reason to pass massive tax breaks for billionaires when the economy is humming along. The only justification can be political.

.. Trump was right to say then that the political system is rigged for the richest of Americans. Unfortunately, it is now Trump’s working-class supporters who will pay the highest price for believing any promise that tumbled out of the mouth of the phony plutocratic populist.

 

The Myth Of Trump’s Economic Populism, As Proved By The Tax Bill

“Trumpian populism remains a tantalizing promise for people who are interested in it.”

Olsen expected the tax plan to include some of Trump’s populist campaign promises — that the rich would pay more, the forgotten working class would pay less, and special interest loopholes like the carried-interest provision for hedge-fund managers would be gone.

But the tax bill ended up instead being traditionally Republican in its focus on cutting taxes for the well-to-do but barely touching the working class and not helping the middle class to a significant degree.

.. “That’s not what Trump promised,” Olsen said. “And it’s not what Trump’s voters thought they were getting.”

Whatever happened to Ivanka Trump’s child care tax credit?

One of the biggest disappointments for conservatives who believed that Trump could have offered a new, more reform-minded populist economics was the failure of the expanded child care tax credit offered by Republican Sens. Mike Lee and Marco Rubio.

It was an actual populist idea, geared to the working class, because it was refundable against payroll taxes. But not only did Republican leaders oppose it, they made sure it failed by requiring it to get 60 votes, unlike other amendments.

.. The tax bill might not be the kind of populist piece of legislation Trump promised during the campaign, but it does have a lot in it to make conservatives happy. Obamacare is unraveled; there are more tax breaks for people who home-school their kids or send them to religious schools; 

.. Maybe the most important thing Trump offers his supporters isn’t economic policy or any policy at all — it’s his racially charged Twitter feed and the cultural grievances it directs at immigrants, Muslims and millionaire black athletes.

Sure, Trump’s followers like the idea of having fewer tax brackets, said conservative Ben Domenech, publisher of TheFederalist.com, but, “What gets them riled up and active is the embrace of the culture-war issues — that Trump has shown himself perfectly happy to fight in a way that Republicans in a lot of other positions have been unwilling to traditionally.”

His tax bill is much more tilted to the wealthy than the tax bills of Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush. And his white-identity politics is much more raw and more central to his persona.

It’s as if the Chamber of Commerce, Wall Street and the wealthy get the policy, while Trump’s blue-collar base gets the Twitter feed.

 

 

Who Is Anthony Scaramucci?

The Wall Street financier and former Obama donor once called then-candidate Trump “a hack politician,” a big-mouthed “bully,” and “an inherited money dude from Queens County” and backed two other Republican presidential contenders, Scott Walker and Jeb Bush, before embracing Trump as the party’s nominee.

.. Nearly two years later, Scaramucci, 52, is one of Trump’s most aggressive television surrogates

.. After a 90-minute meeting with the candidate at Trump Tower in June 2016, Scaramucci was fully onboard and soon praised Trump as “a results-oriented entrepreneur capable of delivering bipartisan solutions to common-sense problems.”

..  over the years he’s ably displayed his ability to communicate on television—a skill that Trump holds in high regard. The other attitudes the president values most are loyalty and a willingness to fight

.. the president was particularly impressed with Scaramucci’s success in winning a retraction from CNN after the network reported he was under Senate investigation for links to a Russian bank.

.. the president was particularly impressed with Scaramucci’s success in winning a retraction from CNN after the network reported he was under Senate investigation for links to a Russian bank.

  • the business-first ethos of the Wall Street veterans in the White House while clashing with
  • GOP stalwarts like Priebus and Sean Spicer

.. he was a fan of Hillary Clinton before she ran for president last year.

.. Scaramucci was angry that Trump had called for a tax increase on hedge fund managers. “He’s a hack politician,” Scaramucci began. He continued: