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Hey everybody, we are about to go to the show we recorded with Jamie Harrison who's challenging Lindsay Graham, Langston Kerman, returning champion hilarious. And Adam Davidson, who is an excellent reporter who has been covering Trump's taxes and finances for a long time. It was a great conversation. It's a great episode.
It's also an episode we recorded just before the news broke that Trump was diagnosed with covid-19. So I did want to add an update, not because I have any grand, profound thoughts, but I thought it would be confusing if it didn't come up in the episode. So I'll only just say I saw the news break last night. I saw Trump leave on the helicopter to Walter Reed. And what I've been feeling and just seeing it is I am angry and I am sad that our country is in this mess, that we have had a person in the job of president who couldn't do the job of president, who is cavalier and reckless and selfish about all of our lives, including the lives of the people that are around him all the time, that people who work at the White House, the journalists, the people of that debate.
It is a breathtaking example of the kind of a.. Leadership that he has offered and the anti citizenship he's encouraged in his supporters and in all of us by telling people who do the right thing, take it seriously, listen to doctors and experts are fools or weak. And so I hope this wakes people up to how serious this is. I hope it wakes people up to the importance of having leaders who take it seriously. And I hope it reminds all of us that whatever happens on television, whatever happens on the news, we have 30 days until this election.
We have 30 days to win and save the country and nothing else matters. So I hope everybody signs up and vote, save America. And, you know, as to the health and well-being of the worst human being our country has ever produced in the worst president in our history, I suppose I should tell you what I actually felt when I saw it, which is I want him to get better because I don't just want him gone. I want him to fucking loose.
Welcome to love it or leave it homestretch. As I say. That awesome song with an incredible 80s vibe was sent in by Andrew Wiggins, if you want to make a home stretch song, send it to us and leave it at Crooked Dotcom. That's leave it at Crooked Dotcom and maybe we'll use yours. So we only have five shows left, five shows left before all the voting is done and the 2020 election. We are officially in the homestretch. That means each week we will be hyper focused on doing what we need to do to turn out the vote between now and November 3rd and doing our best to keep ourselves upbeat and motivated in the process.
So it's time for home stretch. Home Room is where I give you your weekly assignment of what you need to do to help defeat Donald Trump. First, a ton of states have voter registration deadlines coming up Sunday and Monday of this week. If you're listening, hopefully are registered. But had you vote, Save America dot com to double check and share with any friends and family members who might not be. Also, we are in the middle of a big one month out adoptive state weekend of action.
So if you haven't already check your email and sign up for a shift or go to vote, Save America dot com volunteer to see how you can get involved. Right now, people are already voting in many states, so it has never been more important to have these conversations to help them know how they can vote, encourage them to do it early, go to vote, save America, dotcom volunteer. If you haven't volunteered before, if you haven't made calls before or sent text before, it can be intimidating.
And I'm just reminding you again, this is the moment. Try it. I'm telling you, you will find in an hour of phone calls you'll get a couple people who hang up on you. You'll get a couple of people who tell you to take them off the list. But then you also have some really nice conversations with people who are genuinely trying to figure out who they're going to vote for and actually how to go through the process of voting.
And you can help them do that. And, you know, I'm telling you, it is an incredibly satisfying experience. You will talk to really kind people who are really welcoming of the information and those good conversations make it all worth it. And if you haven't done it before, I know how it feels to do it for the first time. It's intimidating. Give it a shot. You will not regret it. It feels good to do something rather than just read about how bad things are or how bad they could be.
This is the way that you can actually make a difference right now. And it's not just the right thing to do. It genuinely will make you feel good and hopeful to be part of it. Later in the show, we'll be joined by Jamie Harrison to talk about his race against Lindsey Graham. We'll be joined by journalist Adam Davidson to talk about Trump's finances and white collar crime. And we'll talk to some listeners. But first, he's an actor, comedian and the host of the podcast My Mama told me.
Welcome back. Returning champion Langston Kerman. Langston, how's it going?
Yeah, I'm good. I'm excited to be back here. Good to see you. So I read jokes of varying quality levels, you know, and then you can decide if you like them, dislike them, modify them, ignore them, share your thoughts or whatever you'd like to do.
I'm sure they're all great.
And I'm excited to hear each one of maybe give you give us maybe just give it a bit. Give it a B, give it a bit. All right. Let's get into it. What are weak links in with things being pretty tough?
Every week we start off with a terrible joke, the worst joke that our writers have submitted. Are you ready? I'm ready.
Over the weekend, a New York Times investigation revealed that President Trump paid no income taxes in 10 of the last 15 years and paid seven hundred and fifty dollars for the first year he was in the White House. Where does this guy do his taxes and our blockheaded.
I will say why I like that one, because I think that that your writers went down a list of various shitty tax options and they landed on a in our block. It wasn't the first thought that came to their mind, which means that they workshopped their way into a bad joke. I love it.
No two thumbs and play on H in our block. Oh, no, no, no. I get it. I got it. A blockhead like a dummy. But in our block where people get to do taxes, I think that's going to be the difference maker.
I think that's the one that's going to fix them is going to read. That's it. That's it was Turbo Tax.
More like Turbo Tax, slow, slow tax. More like didn't get the turbo option. The biggest news this week was Tuesday's presidential debate held at a university, which is another sign we're not being honest about what's happening. O University. How sophisticated was there? No space in an abandoned amusement park haunted by the children who died when a Helter-Skelter caught fire in the 1920s? Was there no room to have this debate where the tethers live in us and be at a college?
This wasn't a high educational experience.
I rarely tune into the debates on account of them being emotionally exhausting in a way that is hard to control.
I didn't realize that they bring out so many people before the debate to like celebrate the institution and like all the people who are responsible for bringing us here.
And it was like, I man, I don't need to know this lady or this guy or any of these people involved just to bring out the two old guys so they can yell, I don't need this, bring out the old guys.
Let's get this over with. Yet, as we all know, it was a mess.
This is not a right wing problem. This is a lefty. I direct this as a left wing guy. The question is yes. Is the rational left? Will you mention who is on your list? Joe, this is. All right, gentlemen. I think this is a packed record. We are not going to give a list. We have ended the segment. And I'll just back from a comment. Does that mean you're going to be able to take it means you have a fraudulent election.
You said 80 million ballots. Not that they're not equipped if these people aren't equipped to handle it.
So, listen, I think the only way to spend two hundred thousand deaths is for Donald Trump to try to make everyone alive feel jealous.
Short and most people watching the debates said it was the worst they had ever seen.
But that's not entirely fair. There were still some good moments for all of us to focus on, like this one. Good evening.
OK, now, usually after the debates, the monologue is easy to write. We did 13 of these things during the primaries. At least you take a few funny moments. You call John Hickenlooper a dork, put a bow on it. You know, it's done. It's tougher when the president fails to condemn white supremacists so hard that they put what he said on a T-shirt. Like I said, I've definitely had friends or heard of breakup's where the person breaking up with their girlfriend or boyfriend does such a bad job that the person being dumped doesn't realize.
But it's actually like kind of hard to claim you're breaking up with someone and then the person you're claiming you dumped thinks they got engaged.
You know, the person you think you dumped now somehow got a key to your house.
Yeah, like, how did that work? The proud boys think this is moving to the next level. They don't think you just they got dumped. There is also this defining moment.
And speaking of my son, the way you talk about the military, the way you talk about them being losers and being suckers. My son was in Iraq. He spent a year there.
He got the Bronze Star. He got a conspicuous service medal.
He was not a loser. He was a patriot. And the people left behind, there were heroes. And I resent talking like, are you talking to my son, Beau Biden you're talking about? I don't know, Beau. I know you've grown. Hunter got thrown out of the military. He was thrown out, dishonorably discharged. That's not true to cocaine use. And he didn't have a job until you became vice president. Why did you not a vice president?
He made a fortune in Ukraine and China in mass separate areas of the plane cruise. He my son watching my son. And he didn't have a son.
Like a lot of people, like a lot of people we know at home, had a drug problem. He's overtaken it. He's fixed it. He's worked on it. And I'm proud of him.
A lot has been said about this moment, but I think it's our job to make sure that this becomes the moment Trump lost. All I thought when I saw this, and I know how you feel, is that I am sick of hating this person. I am sick of hating Donald Trump. I am ready to hate some new things. Yes, I want to move on.
I was truly impressed with his new way of of introducing a way to hate him in that moment. It was like it because Joe had a very.
See, our moment of being like my son fought for this country, and you should be more respectful of that. He was like, oh, your son, you're talking about the one that does cocaine because that's the one I remember. I know your son does cocaine. He got kicked out for all that cocaine. It's like, hey, you're a monster. Really. It's funny.
It's such a monstrous thing.
And there's there's a specific part of it that really will always stick with me.
It's when Joe Biden says, I'm talking about Beau Biden and he says the full name.
He says the full name of his son. I'm talking about a man named Beau Biden. Like I'm talking about the memory of someone I loved.
And then fucking piece of shit whose son, Don Jr. always looks like it's he surprised that the day is happening. Like he's just always looks like he just walked out of a room that he where he thought it was going to be night outside.
And he always and it's not it's daytime. And he's like, oh, my God, it's morning.
Every time he looks like he tried to wake himself up with a water hose that just like somebody sprayed him real quick and he was like, all right, I'm ready.
And went right out.
And I want to be clear. I don't judge Don Jr. for that. I'm not judging the drug use. I'm judging the hypocrisy.
Sure. You know, it's like, oh, Trump, you think the Trump kids don't know their way around cocaine?
Have you seen them? Have you seen them? These are not.
Yeah, it's not like your kids don't do cocaine.
So, like, don't make fun of this guy for having a cool kid to you. All your kids are awesome. Let's just agree.
Everybody's kids are cool kid and move on. It's funny. We got to move on to other issues. We have to litigate this. Ivonka is cool. Don Junior. He's a cool people.
Everybody chill out and he's a fucking party animal. Let's just move on.
There are also a few moments that got less attention. We have this moment where Trump talked apparently about climate change.
You know, in Europe, they live they have forest cities, they call forest cities. They maintain their forests. They manage their affairs.
There's a moon under forest moon. And I talk to these leaders, tiny, furry, they love me. And they clean their forest using rocks, a little makeshift catapults and snares. And these headworks are being recognized more and more.
It genuinely was baffling that, like I because I don't know if forest cleaning is a thing, but the more he said it, the more certain I was like, oh, it can't be that big of a deal. Well, it's not a thing.
There's like kind of concerted efforts to talk about forest management, which is basically like, let us get the trees, let us come down, let us come and let's turn them into.
I don't know, they can burn if they don't exist. Yeah, they can't burn.
They can't burn if they're pulped into cardboard and used to make pizza boxes. I don't know what capitalism makes of these trees these days. All kinds of stuff. Yeah. But the other fact of it is that the majority of forests in California are federally maintained. So even if there are important steps that need to be taken to prevent fires in the future and there is forest mismanagement, like there really are problems, like we have made mistakes over the last fifty years that have made all these fires worse on top of climate change.
But but if you want to address that problem, it's actually a big federal problem, too, which, of course, is denying.
So, yes, it's it's not right that it's a problem. But that's on you, big dog. That's not like a thing you can just keep blaming California for.
And yet I'll try. Biden said this about the president's failures on covid.
Two hundred thousand dead, as you said, over seven million infected in the United States. We, in fact, have four percent of the world's population, 20 percent of the deaths, 40000 people a day are contracting covered. In addition to that, between 750 and a thousand people there died. When he was presented with that number, he said it is what it is. Well, it is what it is because you are who you are. That's why it is.
The president has no plan. He hasn't laid out anything. He knew all the way back in February how serious this crisis was.
It is what it is because you are who you are. And just then Joe Biden shouted, That's my cue, and just clobbered Melania with a folding chair. She just she just took her out. And by the way, this wasn't even a space with folding chairs. This is more of these were theater seats. She brought that chair. This was a planned debate tactic and it worked.
He kept a folding chair.
He he had Treuting from John Cena. Yeah. And he had a ready to go.
It was when when the cue was right, it was the condition on which the rock based his endorsement. He needed to know and he needed to know that they were really committed.
So the Rock said, listen, I'll give you my endorsement. I'll put on a very tight, very tight. Didn't exist in a size for a person might as large as me, but only if you hit a woman with a folding chair at the right time.
And the rug said and just and I know you're curious, Joe, I'll let you know what my size in a sweater. Thanks for asking.
It's waist small, shoulders. Extra, extra, extra large. Only a few stores carry my size. Yeah, it's called Triangle, it's I'm some people are small, medium, large. I'm triangle. So it was a cluster fuck.
Everybody in the media went very dramatic. It's the worst debate in history. Terrible for democracy. But like to me, the debate isn't a shocking tragedy. Why are you surprised? Don't be surprised by Donald Trump like he's terrible. He's a terrible human being. He shouldn't be president. That is obvious. It's been obvious to everyone, including the journalists who pretend to be objective, the operatives who defend him on TV. The president is a tragedy. The debate is a farce.
It's not a mistake. When a toddler sticks a fork in an electric sock.
It's a mistake if you lock a toddler in a room with nothing but forks and electric sockets. That's the mistake. Don't be surprised when he singes his fingers in his hair, you set up the conditions. And why did you keep putting bells on the electric sockets to bring the toddler to the side? Why is your little. He could be distracted. Why did you put little dog ears? Make it look. What did you make all the sockets look like?
Little cute face. You made these sockets adorable. What the fuck do you want him to do?
He loves is the good news is polls show Biden winning the debate handily and he raised ten million dollars during the debate, almost four million dollars in a single hour.
Now he can use those primo performance enhancing drugs, the good stuff, the Bradley Cooper, limitless stuff, the stuff that's very hard to get very excited for that.
Yeah, yeah. Let's get Biden performing enough that he gets one of those rock sweaters. Yeah, I want to see Biden the triangle sweater with nipples. Let's do it.
Let's get that done. Let's get that done. Let's give let's give Biden whatever they give Putin before he gets on a horse, you know.
Sure. Every time Putin is scooping rain out of a river, I want that same energy from Joe Biden just shirtless Putin River Energy.
That's what we're looking for and maybe naming the deficit. Also this week, Trump nominated Amy Barrett to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, reaching out to offer her the job within 72 hours of Ginsburg's passing, which makes this actually one of the slowest times Trump has ever had to replace an important woman in his life with a younger woman that didn't hate his bullshit. Yeah, sure.
There it is.
Because he's had because it's not mine. He's had multiple wives. Not my favorite. Yeah, no, I get it. Yeah, you shouldn't be. I do.
There is a part of me that believes that the only reason he picked her is because she's also a lady with three names. It was like, all right, the math is adding up. They can't get mad at me. If I pick a lady with three names, that's just like the other one. I need the CONI.
He like the word CONI and of Coney Island. That's appealing. He's never he's never been. But he's seen it. He's heard of it. He's never done anything fun. I mean he's never in all of his life. It's the New York he brags about. He's he's a lifelong New Yorker.
I believe the odds that he ever said to like little Don Jr. and Eric and Ivanka, let's go to Coney Island. Zero zero never.
Not one time.
I love how you've imagined that they were ever in the same room together as children, that he ever cared enough to have all of his kids meet at once.
Those kids met as adults, and that is why they're weird and sort of distant in every way, shape or form.
Yeah, I think that's right. I think that's right. They met. They met as adults.
Yes. Also this week, the White House defying the CDC wants to let cruise ship sail again starting in November. The CDC wanted to keep those ships docked until at least mid-February. But Trump has all these connections to the cruise industry. And Florida is a swing state, so cruising is back. Langston, are you excited? Get excited.
We're going on a cruise. Four days on a floating sizzler, probably going to get very ill at Carnival Cruises.
Weren't good when they were as safe as they possibly could be. They're there now, like radiated with poison and I guess. All right, bring them back.
Whatever people. It was like a super common news story. It was happening so frequently, like turn on the television. It would say another cruise struck with norovirus, which is a very polite way of saying a thousand people had terrible diarrhea.
Like, how important is the buffet to you that the good version of this, the good version of this? It is very common for everyone to get sick. And now the with with stomach problems now diarrhea so bad they had to categorize it.
It's one because we all have diarrhea all the time, but they had to categorize it. This was diarrhea that was that needed a historical definition to be able to even deal with.
This is the run so bad. It has like books. There's books about it. You to you can turn to the page where this diarrhea appears in the books.
That's. A good scenario. That's the good Zick, that's the sick we dream of that. Hopefully these Carnival cruises will open back up and we have the opportunity to just get diarrhea again.
How did you die? Oh, well, there was a really good deal on a four day cruise during a panda.
Well, the chef was really acting up that day, so I can't pass up a bargain.
You know me now. I'm in heaven. What's your name? Oh, Herman. How'd you die? Similar. It's a little it's a little more complicated. Don't check my tweets.
They don't really recap it as well as you would think.
If I die and someone tweets saying that the thing that killed me isn't a big deal, I'm very mad. I think it's so insulting. Like it mattered to me. The creator of this Twitter account. And it bugged me a little bit.
I'll be honest. I don't know if it's a big deal for all of America, but, yeah, I'm not a fan of it. Let's just go and say that. Can we say that? Yeah. They won't even say he wasn't a fan of coronaviruses. They're almost giving the energy that he liked it, that he was like coronavirus hellyeah dog. Take me out.
Got to tip your cap to it, you know. Yeah. Got to celebrate. LeBron James announced that he has signed up ten thousand poll workers in predominantly black neighborhoods. I then thought this was a great opportunity for a joke about someone almost getting 8000, but nobody caring. But I don't have enough athletes in my brain to know who's the right person for that. So then I asked Travis and he said, well, I guess you could say, like, what if MJ got fifteen thousand?
And then we decided to just tell them meta joke of the joke, the story of not knowing the athletes because it's fun. We're just having fun or just having fun it just working through it.
And some of these are just for you and that's OK. Who would have been do you know, like I'm trying to like, you know what? Who cares who would have been an athlete?
I think there are correct answers that aren't funny. If that makes sense, like Paul George or Kawhi Leonard would be the correct answer because they lost and they were supposed to be the champions. Here's the answer to the question that no one would have laughed at any more than your explanation of the joke that could have been. I like what you did.
Thanks. Thanks. Thanks a lot. That's so nice of you to say. As we head into fall, we're beginning to see covid numbers rising in New York City.
In fact, the numbers are so high you think they're about to speak at the Republican National Convention.
So a callback callback. And again, that's a joke about hypocrisy.
We're not being insulting drug use. We're insulting people who insult other people for drug use. All right.
We're I think if anything, we should be insulting you not being, like, awesome when you're on the drugs. If you're going to do the drugs, be Don Junior, we all know you're on drugs. Be more awesome on your drugs as you are right now. You're you're one of those people who gets really high and ruins the party and no one likes that person. So cut it out.
Cut it out. Hey, Judge Jeanine Pirro, your drug of choice is seven young black. Don't get drunk and then yell about bullshit on television. Keep it together. Rudy Giuliani.
It's very clear that you're half in the bag when you're on Hannity again. You're live your life with your best version of your life. Three fingers a doer's before you head to the old TV studio. Cool, cool. But can't you just be a more like a chill drunk, please?
Is that so hard is chill out, don't get so sweaty. Relax. It doesn't require all that.
This is America is America. Twenty twenty. All right. You get a Social Security disability check because you got injured in the mine.
The next day you get an opiate sampler pack in the mail from the pharmaceutical companies.
Nobody's going to criticize you. All right. Live your dream. Yeah. Have you have a good time? All right.
Just don't criticize people for the taste of small taste. The white rainbow go crazy, but be cool about it. That's because that's the the most important, most important thing is to be cool about it.
covid rates are also rebounding in Florida as they're testing positivity rate climbs up and Governor Ron DeSantis has decided to open all businesses to full capacity and restricting what localities can do to contain the virus. So not only is he saying everybody should open up. He's telling cities that they can't close, that they can't even go below 50 percent capacity.
I don't know why. Because he loves to gamble. I will say criticized Santa is all you'd like, but I will say he's the only person with a real plan to get both restaurants and Morgus back to 100 percent capacity.
And as I like what he's doing, because I feel like what he's doing is really just trying to keep the good name of Florida going.
Do you want I mean, Florida had probably hit a dip where people weren't wrestling alligators in biting the heads off a loofahs. Do you know what I mean? Absolutely. Absolutely. The public back out there so they could do Florida shit in the most Florida way possible.
Yeah, this is Florida. We need to have two fan boats get into an accident that results in a knife fight.
Say, you know, in a swamp, you know, do you need people to be get in an accident? They explode and then people knife fight with the blades of the fan.
That that's exactly right. That's exactly right. That's exactly right. And the winner of that fight killed by an alligator. That's what we need to see. Sure. Why we need somebody. We need somebody who thinks mass don't work to be caught with the kind of pangolin that caused the virus in the first place. We need some exotic animal shit.
Yeah, this is Florida. All right.
I want somebody who who thinks Mass don't work to be strangled to death by their own mask while they're on bath salts. That's Florida. That's why we open back.
Yeah, that's exactly right. If we don't do that, the terrorists win. This is the like like we can't let fear stop us from being who we are. I completely agree. On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said that Supreme Court nominee Amy CONI Barrett is a Rhodes scholar, when in fact she just went to Rhodes College in Tennessee. Twist.
I'm for it. I think take the term. I'm sick of it.
My Ronon, my fiancee is a Rhodes Scholar. Yeah, real Rhodes Scholar. And I find it very, very annoying.
Mm hmm. There was a brief moment where he considered going with the doctor, like saying, doctor.
And I really it was I had to basically say, like, I can't live like this yet. I did not get in.
I did not get into this to have you be a doctor that can't help in an emergency. Right.
And nobody mentions that. And everybody like hell, yeah, that's awesome, dog. It's more of like, all right, this conversation got exhausting. I don't I don't want to be a part of this anymore, so. And I think he appreciated that. I will say so. My view is my view is let's take the turn back. All right. Let's take the turn back. Let's take the power of the term away. Yeah. All right.
That's right. I think Bucket Little Nasacort is a Rhodes scholar, too. He made that old down road song there. So that's exactly true.
Cormac McCarthy, author of The Road Classic Rhodes Scholar.
If there's a road involved, you got. Yeah, you're you're a scholar of it. I love it. We're using it.
And Chris Wallace said on Thursday that he had PTSD from moderating the debate to which Trump responded by taking away his health care.
That's a preexisting condition.
Chris, you're done. You're wrong. It doesn't have it.
And it's like, oh, man, this week's sucks for me. I, I fucked up the most important thing I've ever done.
And Trump took away my health care from the trauma of having fucked it up.
And then he's still like, but I don't know who I'm going to vote for. I have no idea. I'm still undecided in all of this.
And then just when he thought as we couldn't get any worse, his father, Mike Wallace, a ghost, came up, you know, from under the ground while he was sleeping and one of those ghost robes with the ghost hat and and said, I don't believe in you.
I'm disappointed because I actually I wish I never got you that job. You're not as good. Yeah. And I would have wanted you to be. Yeah.
Getting that job in the mailroom to work your way up. Biggest mistake of my life and death. Now I got to go back up. I got back. I got to go play mahjong with Herman Cain. That guy's awesome.
I'm so glad he died. Yeah, I know. You'd be surprised. He's pretty cool.
He didn't see that, but he was pretty cool. He's got a pizza conversations, a lot of thoughts about pizza.
But after that, it's cool.
That guy loves pizza, but man, he's cool. Great to talk to. And finally this week, the Rock announced he would be endorsing Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for president. When Trump was asked what he thought about it, the rock dramatically interrupted and yelled, Doesn't matter what you think.
Very glad it's on the right side of history. It's good to have we don't need to know that. Let's just get things back to normal where the rock gets to keep secrets from us the way it was supposed to be.
Yeah, let the rock have his his little tiny secrets in his heart. That's what we want for him. All right. This tiny, tiny secrets, tiny shirts, very big chests. That's the world we want to be in for a while.
That's the America I've dreamed of my whole life. Langston, Gurman, so good to see you. Thank you so much for being here.
This was a blast. What a pleasure. Yeah. Thanks, man.
When we come back, I talk to Jamie Harrison about his race to replace Lindsey Graham in the Senate from South Carolina. Don't go anywhere.
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That's our pharmacy dotcom slash crooked Hammerback. He is the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in South Carolina challenging Senator Lindsey Graham. Welcome to what I hope is the softest interview you ever do in your fucking life.
Jamie Harrison, thank you so much. It's great being on with you. So, first of all, how is the campaign trail? You know, obviously, look, we're over Zoom. I see members of your team over Zoom. How has it been trying to kind of connect with people when we're still in this sort of unchecked pandemic?
Campaigning in the South is an experience, as you know, it's going to the fish fries and the barbecues and, you know, family reunions and the the church receptions and all. And so not being able to do all of that is just a little difficult.
Now know I've lost a few elbows as a result, but but nonetheless, it's different. I expected this thing to be such a full body experience mentally, spiritually, and also with my stomach. But we're trying to turn our lemons into lemonade. OK, all right.
The amount of consuming of foods at fairs, I mean, just is sort of so unfair. I agree. It's so it's such a cool part of it. But yeah, you get so you lose some weight.
All right. So a lot of people say, you know, I remember we we met at an event in South Carolina and a lot of people at the time said this was a fool's errand, that this was going to be an impossible climb. Now we see polls where it's neck and neck. You have a real chance here. You're really on the verge of being able to defeat Lindsey Graham.
That's an incredible journey. But at the beginning, what was the reason you decided to jump in the race, even when there were a lot of people who said it wasn't going to work?
Well, John, you remember the event I attended with you all was the very first event in which I announced to the world. That's right. I was exploring running for the U.S. Senate. And you saw the part that night. I mean, the audience just went, wow. Well, let me tell you, the energy has only grown from that point forward. And I knew from that moment on that folks in South Carolina were hungry for change. It's because Lindsey Graham cares more about being important in Washington, D.C., instead of doing the important things that are needed here in South Carolina.
The coronaviruses hit South Carolina hard, but even before the coronavirus, people were suffering in the state, hospitals were closing, schools were crumbling. The fact that thirty percent of our rural communities had no access to broadband. Climate change is bearing down on our state. And so in the course of this two year period, Lindsay still has not address those issues. And as a result, the hunger for change, the hunger for real representation is only growing.
And that's why I knew then that we had a shot at this thing and now everybody else is just catching up to what we always knew here in South Carolina.
One of the issues I think that's been really important to the races is obviously health care. Lindsey Graham sponsored a bill call Graham Cassidy. This was one of the many kind of efforts to repeal Obamacare, to replace Obamacare, to gut Obamacare, to gut Medicaid. Can you talk a little bit about the damage that the Graham Cassidy bill would have done if they had if Graham had successfully been able to make it a law?
That bill is so bad that I don't even know if you could call it a health care bill. I mean, the AARP condemned the bill because of the. Aztec's added included on on our seniors, it didn't cover folks with pre-existing condition, do you know where he came up with this idea for Grandma Kathy? It was in a barber shop with Rick Santorum now because he sat down with doctors and nurses and medical professionals or folks who were suffering from healthcare.
It was an idea that came up because he was at a barbershop with Rick Santorum and they were trying to come up with some alternative to health care. It shows you that it's a joke, just like the efforts to gut the Affordable Care Act in the midst of a pandemic. And that's what these guys are dangerous. And we can't allow them to continue to serve states where we have such vulnerable populations like the ones that we have here in South Carolina.
I'm just thinking about how absolutely annoyed and frustrated I would be to realize I was in a barbershop and the two people next to me were Lindsey Graham and Rick Santorum. It would be just like, what a bash.
I really like this. Give me a miserable conversation. So, you know, one of the reasons people called you an underdog from the start is South Carolina is a conservative state. You know, you're running for a Senate seat once held by Strom Thurmond. What is the message that is helping you put the coalition together that you need, that draws the Democrats in the states, some independents and Republicans? What is the message that you have found that resonates across those different groups?
Well, I'm running on values. I am running a values. And you don't normally hear that from folks on the Democratic side. You know, you get so focused on policy, but I'm running on values. I'm told folks from the very start, this is not about Democrats versus Republicans or progressives versus conservatives. It's about what is right versus what is wrong. It is wrong when rural hospitals close. Because I can tell you, John, when you're in one of these communities that lost their hospital because Republicans refuse to expand Medicaid and instead of it taking you 10 minutes to get to the hospital because your grandfather had a heart attack or your wife is having complications with her pregnancy instead of taking 10 minutes, is now taking 40 minutes.
That is a life versus death situation. And you don't care if it was a Democratic solution or Republican solution or a solution from somebody from Mars. When it comes to the life of your loved one, you just want a solution. You want your hospital to be there. You want to make sure your schools aren't crumbling, that the roads don't have huge potholes in. And these things should not have to be partisan issues. But folks like Lindsey Graham have made them partisan.
And the way that I'm talking about them is not talking about it in a policy. Well, my bill is better than your bill. No one is talking to their hearts, talking to their situations. And that's why our campaign is resonating with Democrats, with Republicans and independents. We have even taken, John, some of Lindsey Graham's largest supporters that are now supporters of our keeping the guy who was the chairman of Michigan, the largest company here in South Carolina.
He was on Lindsey Graham's finance committee when he ran for president, is now one of my biggest supporters, Dick Wilkison. And he said, I don't support Lindsey Graham because of the man who he has become, but I support Jamie Harrison for the man who he is. And that was enough for me. And it's going to be enough for so many people across South Carolina. That's why we're sending Lindsey Graham home.
Man, I bet if you had a recording of Lindsey Graham pleading with that guy not to abandon him, you'd win by 15 points.
I mean, that call must have been absolutely pathetic.
Well, you know, the other night that my mom called me, my mom is because of political and I think it was the Obama campaign in 2008 that turned her from somebody who didn't care about politics to now the biggest political pundit on this side of DC. And she said, Jamie, I said, yes, ma'am. She said, I'm disappointed in you.
I thought I taught you better. I said, Mama, I'm thinking to myself, what did I do now, Mama? What are you talking about? She said, Why do you have Lindsey Graham on Fox News crying?
It was all I could do was laugh.
And it was it's really sad to see this guy who's been a senator for twenty five years, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, practically begging for folks to support his campaign.
So let's talk about how this is playing out nationally. You know, we at Crooked Media and Voter America, we were really proud to help raise after this judicial vacancy to raise money for your campaign. We all appreciated seeing Lindsey Graham on Sean Hannity hat in hand, pleading with people to rescue him at the national level right now.
What is helpful to you? What is not helpful to you? Do you want the debate at the national level to be about the Affordable Care Act? When you see a debate like that where the president acts like a heckler and really lowers into bases the office against Joe Biden? Is that a conversation that's useful to you? Like where do you think it is most helpful for the national debate to be as. You're kind of in the closing days of this race.
The folks here in South Carolina see all of that is just noise because we are knee deep in dealing with the coronavirus here in South Carolina. Three thousand people have died because of coronavirus, including my great aunt, Aunt Gladys, who passed away in July, and she passed away in a nursing home. And I can tell you, man, so many families right now are going through that right now here in South Carolina over well over a hundred thousand people in the state that have gotten the coronavirus.
Seven hundred and fifty thousand people have been unemployed because of it. A number of our stores and restaurants and shops are closed permanently. And so it's ravaging this state. And what we want is just a senator who's going to fight for us. You know, it was our senator who said over our dead bodies, will we allow an extension of the unemployment benefit? John, the most that people can get on unemployment here in South Carolina is three hundred and twenty dollars a week.
That's the most think about if you have a family of two or three and now you lost your job and including losing your job, you have lost your health insurance as a result. And so you've got to pay the COBRA now out of your own pocket. How do you do that with just three hundred and twenty seven dollars a week when you still have to put food on the table, pay your rent, pay your car payment and all of the other things and educate your kids, how do you do it?
But our center is so out of touch because you can go and get fancy dinners and go to wine and cheese parties and fly around on jets and all that stuff is so out of touch with the pain that people are going through right now here in South Carolina, that he can say something like over our dead bodies will allow an extension of unemployment benefits. And it's sad. And so I'm telling the folks I'm going to fight for them. I'm not in a fight against them like Lindsey Graham.
I'm going to fight for them.
Well, you've graciously agreed to play a game. I want to ask one last question before we get to the game, which is talk to me about barbecue for a second.
South Carolina sauce wise, what do I need to know?
Well, it is a battle here in South Carolina between mustard based barbecue and vinegar based barbecue. Now, North Carolina is mostly vintage country. They are, but South Carolina is a house divided almost like clips and versus Carolina. Right. That is how we are on our barbecue. I grew up in Orangeburg where mustard is king is tangy, but a little sweet, and it is the absolute best.
Not that I don't like vinegar base, but give me my mustard base any time of the day.
OK, look, a lesser politician might not choose a side, might try to have it both ways. I'm glad you you. While embracing both, you've chosen a favorite. I appreciate that.
Jamie Harrison, thank you so much for talking to us. When we come back, we're going to play a game with Jamie Harrison and some voters from South Carolina. Thank you.
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And we're back. I'm here with Jamie Harrison, who is running for the Senate from South Carolina to defeat Lindsey Graham, and he's agreed to play a game with South Carolina. It's the Carolina without all the baggage that comes with Duke. But South Carolina is also home to a senator who has put politics and party and just grasping at power above all else, above being honest, above the people of a state. And that's Lindsey Graham. Now, we are not fans of Senator Lindsey Graham here in the crooked media cinematic universe.
And that is because he makes it impossible to know where he stands, because he'll say just about anything he needs to say to get through the day. So we thought we'd highlight some of his widely shifting positions and statements in a game we call I can't do a Southern accent, but if I could, I would try one here by saying something like, I do declare Lindsey Graham is kind of a sniveling little dork who doesn't seem to have any real goal other than just being a senator, because being a politician is his whole identity and source of self-worth, which is not enough of a reason.
Here's how it works.
Jamie is going to read the questions. I will read through multiple choice answers. We have a listener in the waiting room ready to play the game.
Hi. Hi, Meghan. Hi, John. Oh, my gosh. I can't believe this is happening.
You're on with me and you've got Jamie Harrison, who's running for the Senate in South Carolina, because I know you've been working hard to get out the vote and to help. Megan, how are you doing?
I'm good. And how are you? I imagine. Oh, my gosh. I'm freaking out.
Megan, so good to see you. You're here with Jamie Harrison. Here's how it works. Jamie is going to read a question. I'm going to read you multiple choice answers. All right. And your job will be to suss out the truth when the truth can be hard to find when you're Senator Lindsey Graham, because he says so many different and contradictory things just to get through the day. Are you ready, Meghan?
I am ready. You're ready? I'm ready. Question number one, Jamie Harrison. Take us away. Thank you.
Question number one, during this campaign, Lindsey Graham has promised South Carolina that he will protect health care. However, when he wrote the health care bill in twenty seventeen, what did that bill do? Is it a change?
Preexisting condition rules to include diseases that cause someone to become sickeningly loyal to a president who mocks a dead war hero who was also your best friend?
Is it B created a public option so anyone who needed health care could purchase it at a low price from the government so long as they got the government mandate a tattoo of a red rose with a line through it? Or is it C allowed insurers to charge sick people higher premiums than healthy people, allowed insurers to opt out of covering expensive prescription drugs and allowed insurers to charge people more just for being older is real.
They're all real. That C is real, right? You got it. You got it. You're crushing it. You know, we were actually just talking about the fact that is the Graham Cassidy bill. It was a bill that would have gutted health care. Yes. Gutted Medicaid. Glad it didn't pass. Jamie, would you mind? We're up to question number two.
Question number two in twenty nineteen, Lindsey Graham said we need to cut funding to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid because, quote, we're not in debt because we're defending the nation. We're in debt because we made promises we can't keep to Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid. That's why we're in debt. Graham cares about lowering the debt so much. He did what two years earlier is today.
Lindsey Graham donated all the money from his swear jar to pay down the debt. And it was a fair amount of change because every night before Graham goes to bed, he holds up a beautiful antique hand mirror and just screams bloody obscenities at himself until the Ambien kicks in.
Is it be? Lindsey Graham voted for the twenty seventeen Republican corporate tax bill that added one point nine dollars trillion dollars to the debt while lowering taxes on millionaires and billionaires and raising taxes for 53 percent of people.
Or is it C? Remember when Lindsey Graham ran for president and Trump Dock's them?
It's B, it is.
It's B, B and finally, question three.
Question number three, which of the following is a real flip flop by Lindsey Graham since Donald Trump became president?
Is it a in 2020? Graham called for a Judiciary Committee investigation into the baseless accusations against Joe Biden in Ukraine while also saying in 2016, quote, Joe Biden is as good a man as God ever created. If you can't admire Joe Biden as a person, you need to do some self-evaluation. I will also point out that in that clip, he actually tears up.
He feels so strongly it seems genuinely remarkable. Is it? B, it seems so genuine. Is it B? In a tweet last week, Lindsey Graham said, I will support President Trump in any effort to move forward regarding the recent vacancy created by the passing of Justice Ginsberg while in 2016, saying, I want you to use my words against me. If there is a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said, let the next president, whoever it may be, make the nomination.
And you could use my words against me and you'd be absolutely right, really seeing them said.
Side as intense or is it C in 2015, he called Donald Trump a race baiting, xenophobic bigot, a jackass, a kook, and said I'd rather lose without Trump, then win with him. Then in 2018, Lindsey Graham said What President Trump has done is historic. He deserves the Nobel Peace Prize and then some. This has to be all the above.
Megan, this time it is. It's all of the above. You've won the game. I'm very proud that you have been able to expose Lindsey Graham's many, many horrible misstatements and evasions. Thank you so much for being here.
Thank you. Thank you for having me. And thank you, Jamie. This is amazing. I'm so excited to be working on your behalf.
Oh, thank you, Megan. Thank you for your support and all your hard work. Thank you. Hey, John Lee, telephone. And I said I love him. Of course.
Of course. Of course. I'll tell Ronan that you said you love him. He doesn't he doesn't need more people down in that. But I can tell that. Jamie Harrison, thank you so much for taking the time to be here today. Thank you so much for what you're doing. Thank you. But before I let you go, last question.
People listening home, they want to help you. They want to do anything they can to help you when they've donated. What is the most useful thing for people listening to a big progressive audience? Some people in South Carolina, all across the country, what's the most useful thing they can do? Donating beyond donating? What do you think? Yep.
Well, you can go to Jenny Harrison dot com to sign up to volunteer phone banking, text banking, all of the above. All of that you can to right with our volunteer capacity. Just go to Jenny Harrison, dot com. And if you got relatives or friends who live in South Carolina that aren't registered to vote, we still have a few days for voter registration. But just make sure that your friends and family have a plan to go and vote.
And if they can vote early, that's even better. So go to Jamie Harrison, dot com, sign up to help volunteer or just make sure your friends and family vote.
Jamie Harrison, let's go close this thing. Let's get this done. Thank you so much for being here. Thank you, man. I appreciate it. Thank you for the support. Of course.
Thank you so much to Jamie Harrison for joining us. When we come back, I talked to Adam Davidson, a journalist who has been covering Trump's finances for years, to talk about the New York Times tax report and the larger implications for white collar crime and why it's important.
Don't go anywhere. There's more of love it or leave it coming up.
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And we're back. He's the co-founder of NPR's Planet Money and he's written about Trump's finances for The Times and The New Yorker. He's the author of the book The Passion Economy.
Please welcome Adam Davidson. Adam, thanks for being here. Thrilled to be here, John.
Really glad to have the chance to talk to you, because I've appreciated how you've been looking at Trump's finances over the past few years. We just have this big tax story. What was the biggest surprise? What did you find most remarkable in what The Times published earlier this week?
I'd say for the kind of Trump obsessive finance reporters, I wouldn't say it was fundamentally different from what we expected, but the level of detail and the confirmation was just stunning. I mean, this is obviously virtuosic reporting. But, yeah, there's a very crystal clear story about this guy.
He was born to such lucky circumstances.
He received a level of wealth that is really astounding, hundreds of millions of dollars from his father.
There's a few business deals over the years, really very few, maybe Trump Tower, maybe one or two others that he actually it seemed to be his idea that have been profitable. But for the most part, this is a guy who got incredible wealth from his father, made a series of colossally terrible business decisions and really lucked into, as Patrick Keefe at The New Yorker so beautifully described, lucked into this apprentice deal that brought in hundreds of millions more.
And it really teaches us how awesome it is to be an incompetent, rich white guy in America. Like it's really, really, really good because our tax system is set up to benefit you. Our bankruptcy courts are set up to benefit you. Our banking system is set up to benefit you. It is so stunning. Like if he had just taken the money from his dad, taken the money that he got on The Apprentice, put it in any stock fund, even put it in a low interest bearing account, he would be much richer than he is right now.
But he's had this just flood of support. That has made his life far better than I think his merit deserves. The big thing is the questions this raises, the questions it doesn't answer in my mind, really points to the Fred Trump money is really, you know, 1973 to 2001, three or four, something like that. It's pouring in from his dad, 2005. He's getting this money from The Apprentice, but his biggest spending starts in 2011.
Right. And we basically know nothing about where that money came from and who that money was with. So the Times and this is my one quibble with their reporting, goes to great lengths to give the most generous possible interpretation. He could have saved his apprentice money. If you look at his finances just right, there maybe was enough money for him to do this massive spending. And maybe that's true. It's possible. That is true. But it is striking that 2011 is also when he started real business relationships with oligarchs in the former Soviet Union and other parts of the world who were also simultaneously laundering money through golf courses and other things.
So to me, at a minimum, we need to understand where this money flowed from. And I don't know that we need to give the most generous interpretation and then say there's nothing more to look out there.
That was sort of my experience in reading it, too, which is that there's no way to make sense of what we're looking at without assuming there's something very big happening just out of frame that there's some other information. So to catch us up. Previously on Trump's Finances. So he has this money from his father. He makes a series of very risky and bad decisions. Then at his lowest moment, he's basically rescued by creditors because he owes so much money to so many people.
You know, the old adage, if you owe the bank a hundred dollars, you have a problem. If you owe one hundred million dollars, the bank has a problem. So he escapes because basically he is given generous terms because they want to get some kind of recompense for the amount of money he's borrowed.
Then years later, The Apprentice saves him. All of a sudden, in the years before he runs for president, he's borrowing obscene amounts of money while registering huge losses. Do you have any idea where that money is going? Like where is the money going?
Huge amounts are coming in. He's registering huge losses.
Is there any explanation other than some kind of fraud or some kind of money laundering to explain why all of a sudden beyond 2010? Right. He takes this massive seventy million dollar deduction, writing off a bunch of old losses, and he starts borrowing money at an incredible clip just taking on huge, huge amounts of debt. Where did that money go? Where has it gone?
And there's to question where did it come from and where did it get it right? You ask the question, where did it come from? You have questions about foreign interest, oligarchs, what have you where did it go?
We're right. So a lot of it went into golf courses. I mean, the Trump Organization is essentially a Scottish golf development company. That is what it is now. And that makes zero sense. I went to Scotland, I went to the courses. I talked to so many Scottish experts.
Golf happens to be growing like crazy in Asia, even in Africa, Latin America, you can imagine newly middle class, newly rich.
They're like, what do you do if you're rich? Oh, I guess you play golf. So you can imagine there's golf courses, Russia, former Soviet Union. There's places in the world where golf is really growing. Scotland happens to be the one place on earth that is the most oversaturated with golf courses. It's increasingly an older person's game. Right. When I saw there's an annual the death of the golf industry conference in Scotland. Yeah.
So he's pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into golf, two courses in Scotland, of course, in Ireland, the Durao, all of which are losing millions of dollars a year. Now, there is one reading, which is the Times doesn't say it's for sure, but they say it could be this is all his money and he's just loves golf. He's just crazy. He loves golf.
And yes, these make no money, but he doesn't care. He's going to invest in these golf courses. And that may be true. It is possible that that is true. It is noteworthy in my mind that golf is known to be a major tool of not just in general money laundering, but precisely the people he is partnering with, the Aguilar's, the Mammadov Harry Tennis, Saijo, Indonesia. And if you want, we can get into why golf courses are such a particularly great money laundering tool.
You know, I'm a business reporter.
You don't normally see business people who do hotels and they do residential than they do casinos and they do airlines and they do to entertainment than they do golf.
These are different industries with different requirements. And he keeps the same basic staff. It's the same team. You know, people like Michael Cohen float in and out, but it's the same basic finance team, legal team throughout.
And so I asked the question, what are they good at? Like, they're clearly sticking around. They clearly have accumulated knowledge. And what becomes very clear is what they seem to be good at. Good, in quotes, is having an enormous risk tolerance for doing wildly ostentatious things like buying a casino in New Jersey, having the biggest fine ever for failing to have proper anti money laundering controls, all the things we know about his business practices.
So the thing we don't know is what's happening from 2011 on, why these projects, etc.. To me, the story he tells, maybe it's true.
It seems just so unlikely given the evidence we have to be honest, like I don't know what value this has in the election at this point, but there is something I think ultimately important about really unpacking the fact that the current president of the United States has a massive international business that may exist simply for the purposes of laundering money and defrauding investors and taxpayers around the world, basically. And we don't know.
We have no we don't know enough about it. So he's laundering money through these businesses, let's say, potentially, which means he's basically saying that these businesses cost obscene amounts of money to run their huge losers money. Oh, my God. To run this golf course in Scotland. You have no idea my expenses, like the golf balls, the raking, the traps. It's extraordinary how much money this is taking.
That doesn't necessarily explain why all of a sudden he would start taking on huge amounts of debt in the years before he runs for president. Why all of a sudden he's taking out loans against properties already paid off in full to your have you seen anything that helps you understand why all of a sudden in this decade, in the last 10 years, he goes on this borrowing binge and kind of leverages against so much so much of what he had previously owned outright.
So I do feel like the journalistic requirement to give like the best case scenario, which to me is not the least likely case. But so the best case scenario is truly he got obsessed with golf courses. He wanted great golf courses. He loves playing golf. He loves owning golf courses. That is what his people keep saying. That's what he says. And these weren't making money, but he just decided to keep pouring money into them. And that, I suppose, is possible.
Again, it is out of keeping with everything he's ever done. It requires a kind of patience for the math to work. He'd have had to have saved a lot of the money in twenty four or five and six from The Apprentice, held on to it, then spent it, then borrowed more. He'd have had to have made investment decisions in 2005 that would only really pay off in 2020.
To me, it just doesn't feel like the guy we're getting out of control by now. It doesn't sound like the Donald Trump by now.
There is another explanation, which is these are generating revenue, but they're just generating a different kind of revenue, that they are platforms for handling payments for other people.
And he doesn't really own them. The debt and the income or the losses are fictions on on a spreadsheet to mask the real business that is going on. Some things that are really worth mentioning. We know for a fact because the Trump organization has admitted it, that they were part of money laundering operations. Now their claim is they had no idea, even though these had carmac, you know, so the Azerbaijan, the Trump Tower, Baku is the one I know the best because I reported it.
But it was essentially as clear a money laundering. It was the Mammadov family. I'm guessing you might not know everything about the operation on the oligarch class, but they are the most corrupt.
As much as I said. Yes, exactly. They are the most corrupt.
I mean, there's some great in the wiki cables, the WikiLeaks cable gate. We read American officials thinking it's secret talking about them and they say they are wildly corrupt for Azerbaijan, which is saying a lot because Azerbaijan is one of the most widely corrupt countries in the world and they are partners with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard at the same time that they're doing business with Trump.
And it seems very likely that they're laundering money for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard of Iran. So that is one deal, the Georgia deal with looking up the Toronto deal, the Vancouver deal, the budget deal, the Panama deal, the Dominican Republic deal, the Uruguay deal, Indonesia deal, Filipino deals. These all have wild hallmarks of money laundering with people who are known to be laundering money at the same time with the same kind of business practices. They haven't been proven because we allow white collar crime to go on uninvestigated for the most part in this country and around the world.
So we know he's making money from money laundering. The question is, is he also saying, yes, OK, but I don't want that to touch my golf business because I just love golf so much. I don't want that to have anything to do with the biggest business I'm doing where I need the most ready cash as quickly as possible, because I'm just have this internal desperation for golf.
So to me, the overall story just it's hard to add up as a legitimate story.
I want to get to the implications which you just raised about white collar crime, about his presidency. But I want to ask one more question about this, because there's another another area I think you've. Touched on a fair amount, which is all right, so we have the running concerns, the going concerns that may be tools for moving money and other forms of fraud, they're also all of these sort of kind of slapdash failed projects.
Do you think some of the failed American projects where they kind of put their names on a building, tell investors, hey, this place is almost sold out, get a bunch of money in and then basically walk away from the project? There's tax fraud, which we've talked about. Very clear to me that Ivonka and the family should have been prosecuted for New York, which is defrauding investors. Do you think some of these failed projects in the U.S. have also been money laundering machines?
What do you think? It's not that I think so. I know so. I mean, it's no the Trump Tower, Soho. I've talked to people who worked on the project.
It was set up in such a way as to foster money laundering. Almost every luxury project in Manhattan, Miami, L.A., London is built in some part on money laundering. So that that and The Times did some great reporting on this a while ago.
And just so people understand what that means. Right. Like it basically you buy a piece of property in the name of a fake corporation, which is using illicit money. Then when they sell the property, it's listed as a real estate profit and all of a sudden the money is now suddenly aboveboard. That's something that's a simplified version of. That's basically the gist. That's a simplified version.
You are a corrupt businessman in Moscow or Azerbaijan or wherever. You have millions and millions of dollars. You're worried that one day Putin or whoever is going to take all your money away. So you want to have money in America, but you can't just transfer it to like a Citibank account because post 9/11, et cetera, it will be flagged like, oh, you're clearly a corrupt guy.
We can't just open a bank account with ten million dollars because we don't know where that came from. Right. But you can very easily create a shell corporation, buy some luxury properties, then eventually sell them. And then that money is now clean, happens all the time. Nobody checked where the money came from when you bought the property, when you sell it and you say, say to the U.S. government, where this money come from, they, oh, came from the sale of this property that had already owned.
Exactly. It's a huge problem. It's a huge problem, a known problem. Trump is actually a minor player compared to some other players, but all those giant new luxury towers in Manhattan that are mostly open and are owned by oligarchs, it's open, explicit. Nobody's wondering about it. Everybody knows what's going on. And Trump, no question, was part of that. But then you also look at the ownership structure of the whole project. So, you know, so you have this shadowy figure to arrive from Kazakhstan, you, Felix Sader, who's working on another Kazakh money laundering scheme at the same time, I think legally it's one thing to just, hey, look, I sell apartments.
I don't do all the due diligence to make sure the guy is not corrupt. But it's a whole other thing to set up the system so that it can facilitate money laundering.
Now, the next step would be I'm going to set up a whole shell company where I'm going to say I own it. That's an even safer thing. If I'm the corrupt oligarch and I open a bunch of cases, that happens to be one of the things the Mammadov family did. They open a bunch of cases and around London.
But I say it's John Lovett's cases. As far as the world's concerned, it's yours. But you and I have a secret contract where I'm providing, you know, marketing advice or something for twenty million dollars a year or whatever it is. So we know for sure he's laundering money.
We know who he's laundering money with. These are people who have a lot more money to launder than the money they've put through the known Trump Avenues.
The question is, is it a small side business where he's making a few million a year or is it central to his core business? And the truth is, I do not know nobody outside of Trump and Alan Weisberg. And we hope maybe, you know, the New York attorney general or something knows for sure.
But you always hear with money laundering, it has all the hallmarks. It raised red flags. And the reason for that is at base the way money laundering works. Is there a private transactions that we cannot see unless we have subpoena power? There is no way, unless someone really screws up for a journalist to definitively prove that money went to this person. At this time, I would say Trump is the cleanest, easiest to prove of anyone I've ever looked at because he's so sloppy.
He's it's so blatant. The real sophisticated stuff like Putin's real cronies, they're working with, like top banks, top law firms. They're really doing it in the sophisticated way. Trump's working with, you know, as one person said, thick neck guys and cheap Turkish suits.
That's his crowd, you know, as Michael Cohen has said, which I I think is true. Trump is in some kind of financial distress in the run up to the presidential election. He runs for president largely to create an infomercial. It goes better than expected for him.
He's now president. It's clear from the Times reporting and other reporting that he has a bunch of debt coming due. He's in the middle of this re-election. Obviously, being re-elected protects him from prosecution, which is clearly on his mind.
But it seems to me that becoming president has brought a lot of attention. On his unsophisticated money laundering operations and in the next few years, a tremendous amount of debt is coming due. What is the tension there? What happens with all this debt as it begins coming due in the next year or two years? Three years, four years? I mean, this is hundreds of millions of dollars. Some people have said. I think I think you've even estimated that it goes well beyond the, you know, roughly 500 million that the Times has uncovered, that it may be closer to a billion dollars.
Trump, of course, decided to go to Twitter and then say, I'm even in the debate, I'm under leverage. Right. Which I feel like is less for his fans than more for his creditors. Right. Because, you know, the election is one thing, but they're coming for his money. What the fuck happens when you have a president who is suddenly responsible for half a billion dollars in debt and has no capacity to pay it? What happens?
And the big question is, who does he owe it to? Yeah! Whoo! Yes. I'm worried about two other things, even more than that, because Trump does have the capacity to, you know, just walk away.
He has, you know, just say, I'm not paying you, screw you. And, you know, the most delightful, ridiculous, you know, ostentatious example of how great it is to be a rich schmuck like you were saying.
It's it's the bank's problem is when the bankers, when he was fully bankrupt, not only agreed to restructure his loans, but agreed to an allowance so that he could continue the theater of being a rich person because they saw it in their interest that he continued to live in a fancy houses and flying a private jet because they were on the hook for the brand, because they were on the hook for the brand.
Exactly. The brand was how the hotels could make money. Yeah.
And if he was living in like a four story walkup in Queens and couldn't afford hair dye, like, you know, they'd lose more money.
It's good to be rich in America. Really is. Or to have been rich anyway.
So here's the things I'm concerned about. So international financial fraud requires international police coordination. And I know I talked to the former head of money laundering investigations in the U.K. who's been and there's a bunch of people in Scotland who have in the government who have been calling for investigations. And it has been, as I understand it, a decision. We're not investigating the sitting U.S. president. Like, what are we going to get out of that? That's a crazy thing to do.
Obviously, we don't expect a lot from Azerbaijani law enforcement, Indonesian law enforcement, Russian law enforcement, et cetera. But, you know, the way this works is there's corrupt money in one country or illegal money in one country. It flows often through one or two other countries and then ends up in the United States. So you need the partnership of several law enforcement. And this exists there is an international system set up to manage these relationships. Doesn't work perfectly, but it exists.
It has been completely shut off. Obviously, the U.S. is not investigating him in this way. It seems like the New York A.G., the Manhattan D.A., maybe the New Jersey A.G. are doing it, but they can't force another country to do it or the U.S. government to do it. So I think he's got to be very worried about that. I think it has got to be Don Junior has got to be they were the face of this international operation, not just a face.
I mean, I think actively involved in these deals.
Famously, there's emails from Don Jr. that are like, as long as nobody gets these emails, we're in the clear. Nobody could know how we're lying about the investors. I mean, there's like a docu that's there's a incredibly stupid email chain that implicates them, at least in Trump Soho, for example.
Exactly. Literally saying as long as people don't know that we're lying consciously, then they can't prove it's crime. It's a dumb email to write. Don't write that amount. So that's one thing. The other thing, though, here's what I'm more worried about than the dead is what's the story he's telling himself or others are telling him about the future of his life. So we know The New Yorker did some great reporting on this, that there are operations, intelligence operations in Israel and India and China and Saudi Arabia and the Emirates and presumably lots of other countries to figure out how to present lucrative business opportunities to people around Trump and presumably Trump himself in exchange for serving the interests of those states.
You know, we have strong reason to think Jared Kushner was maybe an unwitting, but certainly a recipient of this. Michael Flynn almost certainly was lots of other Trump cronies. The people are calling Trump every day and he's talking to and making decisions with are doing it now. I think if I were doing that with Trump, I wouldn't be so naked as to say, hey, I'll give you a billion dollars if you do this.
But I'd flatter him and I tell him, hey, boy, you know, you could really clean up with this business or that business, but we really need this to happen.
That's the thing I'm actually the most worried about. Like we know what the downside is, criminal prosecution, bankruptcy. But what's the upside and what does he think he gets to offer in the next four years that really maybe does make him feel like he's truly a billionaire?
Yeah, the opportunity to make money in transactions around the world with special access and terms because you're the president of the United States. I mean, that's extraordinary.
You think about Baby Doc in Haiti or Mobutu Sese Seko in Zaire. We worked out these. Deals were like, hey, you get to live in the south of France, will give you like a great mansion, you just get to be a rich guy for the rest of your life.
You just have to leave your country and not have any power. And there are times where I'm like, can we just do that? Like, just give him his buddies. The Arabs have this massive luxury golf estate outside of Moscow.
Just say, you know, you get to go there, you can tweet all day long.
You know, any time you want to give a speech will film it, but you just have to, like, go there.
Maybe maybe we use the old U.S. approach to, you know what? No deal. No deal. No fucking deal. Adam, thank you so much. I want to ask you one last question, because hearing all of this right, there's just the implications for national security are obvious. The implications for having a president with these sort of urgent financial needs is the implications are, I think, so terrible. The news is focused on seven hundred fifty dollars.
He's paying seven hundred fifty dollars in taxes because it's easy to understand. It's it's unfair. It's wrong. It seems to me that what we're watching is what happens when a country doesn't take white collar crime seriously for decades, that all of these people were able to evade accountability to the point where whether it's Manafort or Trump or Michael Cohen or many of the other collaborators with Trump over the years, that all of these people should have been punished and taken off the field a long time ago.
But they haven't. What do you see as the hope for getting white collar crime to be part of the national conversation in a way that gets people to actually understand that? Hey, hold on a second. We're auditing poor people in Mississippi for the earned income tax credit while we're we are literally having the federal government write Donald Trump a check for 72 million dollars and then then opening up an investigation into whether or not he earned it. How do we make that understandable to people given the stakes?
That to me is both the biggest issue. This is what happens when you have an economic system, a legal system, a tax system that rewards congealed wealth, past wealth. What you want in a capitalist country is that you are incentivizing everybody to take forward looking risks, to come up with ideas, to do business, to take a job that is going to generate more revenue in the future. And one of the ways we used to differentiate the U.S. from developing economies is developing economies.
Capital stays in the small group of people who already have it.
So you have the idiot nephews of Chinese party leaders or Asian generals or Saddam Hussein's brother in law or whatever, getting money and smart people, not being able to fund their ideas. Big, thoughtful economists like not just Bernie Sanders are deeply concerned that in the various laws that started under Jimmy Carter, obviously took off under Reagan, but have continued have really shifted dramatically the way that wealth is rewarded simply for being wealthy, not for generating new ideas, etc..
I think this is the issue of our time. I think we have known in theory that this leads to anti-democratic authoritarianism, but we are seeing it with our own eyes as clearly as possible.
I think what you just said is so important. Trump is a known symptom of a deep rot in a economic system. It is the economic system, though, that ultimately is to blame. And I see this as the fight of our lifetime. If Trump changes his medication and tomorrow he's like, boy, I really screwed up, I'm dropping out. I'm just going to be a decent citizen for the rest of my life.
We still have that problem. There are days when I think maybe the one thing we got from Trump is it's just now open. There's no pretending like the Republican Party is in favor of the congealed wealth of white men being maintained and does not really all its economic theories are just window dressing. It's not true. This is the fight of our lifetime.
This is why it's not over in November. It's not over in January. It's not even over in 2024 28. When you look throughout history, this is when economies collapse. It's what happened in Rome. It's what happened in Italy and Venice. Iraq was a functioning country. Haiti was a functioning country. This happens. Countries turn to self dealing for rich people, powerful people, and then that leads to autocracy and it's just textbook.
I'm still interested from the inside. I feel as though we have a stake in it. So I don't know. We have a huge stake.
It's like those great things when people say, what if America was reported on the way we report on developing countries, like if we take away our American exceptionalism for a minute and tell the story of Haiti from nineteen fifty seven to nineteen seventy seven, say, or Iraq from 1958 to 1998, this is a thing that happens.
Yeah, they were problematic countries, but they were functioning economies. They were functioning political systems that were. Hijacked by a small band of interests, I mean, Hitler is a great example that thought they could put forward a thuggish idiot to protect their interests, and that thuggish idiot ended up polluting the very nature and punishing both the old wealth, but really punishing the institutions and the democracy. It's a very standard story. And Trump is just a part of it.
He's not the end of it. And that's why this election is our last chance to tell a different kind of story. Adam Davidson, thank you so much for your time. So good talking to you. Really appreciate it.
This was a joy. Thanks so much. I had a lot of fun.
Thank you to Adam Davidson for joining us. When we come back, we'll end on a high note. Don't go anywhere. Love it or leave it. And there's more on the way.
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