Deconstructing Russiagate, Part 2: Trump, Cohn, Murdoch and Epstein

As I’ve written elsewhere, by the early 1960s, a relationship existed between the CIA, FBI, and organized crime which served as an extralegal pillar of American imperialism, particularly during the hyperreactionary era of “neoliberal globalization.” This is what the real “deep state” of American capitalism looks like. It may seem a strange place to start, but I must begin this critique by pointing out that the Trump Family’s wealth and power arose not only at the same time as this “deep state”, but as a direct result of working within it. This started, at the earliest, in 1947, when New York City real estate mogul Fred Trump decided to build a new Brooklyn apartment complex named Shorehaven, with help from construction controlled by the Genovese crime family. Fred Trump’s other Mob partners included Willie Tomasello, who helped him construct the Beach Haven complex on Coney Island (this project produced a stream of passive income for Donald Trump and his siblings for decades) and Joe DePaolo, head of the Dic-Underhill concrete firm that built Trump Village.

It should be noted that during this time, Fred’s brother, John G. Trump, made a name for himself as a prominent researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which would become a major recipient of military contracts during the Cold War. In fact, John Trump worked directly with the legendary Robert J. Van Der Graaff to develop one of the first million-volt X-ray generators. Throughout World War 2, John helped the US military develop important technology such as radar. He eventually joined the National Defense Research Committee, which contributed to the creation of the atomic bomb. Two days after the death of Nikola Tesla in 1943, John was chosen to analyze Tesla’s papers on behalf of the FBI. 

Meanwhile, Fred grew close with Abraham Beame, a major force in Brooklyn’s equivalent of the infamous Tammany Hall political machine in Manhattan. Beame, who was also a member of the influential Madison Democratic Club, shared a lawyer with Fred named Abraham “Bunny” Lindenbaum, who had his own deep ties to Brooklyn’s tight knight Democratic circle: “Trump, Lindenbaum, and Beame often saw one another at dinner dances and fund-raisers of the Brooklyn political clubs. It is impossible to overestimate the power of these clubs in the New York of the 1950s; they created Fred Trump and gave him access to his largest acquisition, the seventy-five-acre parcel of city land that would become the 3,800-unit Trump Village.” 

Another man who entered Fred’s orbit at this time was Norman Vincent Peale, a protestant clergyman who practically invented the self-help movement as we know it. Peale was a member of four conservative organizations between 1935 and 1955 which, as Carol VR George notes, provided the “training ground for his own ministry.” These were the publishing tycoon Frank Gannett’s National Committee to Uphold Constitutional Government (NCUCC), Spiritual Mobilization, the Christian Freedom Foundation, and Texas oilman HL Hunt’s Facts Forum. 

At least one member of NCUCC, Amos Pinchot, would become involved in the original America First movement during World War 2. Spiritual Mobilization, started by neo-Calvinist minister James W. Fifield Jr., attracted the attention of Sunoco Oil capitalist J. Howard Pew, whose own organization, the Christian Freedom Foundation, published a journal which espoused an early version of the Prosperity Gospel. Pew’s interest in the Prosperity Gospel was no doubt influenced by his membership in the Mont Pelerin society, the original neoliberal think tank. The kinds of groups which Peale was affiliated with were something of a precursor to the modern New Right network funded by capitalists such as the Koch brothers, and the Coors, DeVos, and Olin families. As Sara Diamond writes in Roads to Dominion: 

“One study of corporate anticommunist education programs traced the trend to the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act which granted employers the right to distribute literature to counter labor union organizing. By 1963, corporations were spending an estimated $25 million per year on anticommunist literature distributed to consumers and to employees at the job site. Sponsoring corporations included major firms such as Goodyear Tire, Minnesota Mining, Boeing Airplane Co., Jones & Laughlin Steel, Texas Power & Light, as well as smaller companies that came to be associated with grassroots groups like the John Birch Society:  Knott’s Berry Farm, Dr. Ross Dog Food, Cherokee Textile Mills, Allen-Bradley Corporation, and others. Some corporations circulated print and audio-visual materials produced by the John Birch Society; other companies produced their own in-house literature. Coast Federal Savings and Loan Association in Los Angeles conducted one of the largest customer education programs, distributing millions of leaflets and booklets at a cost of about $250,000 a year.” 

As Chris Lehman notes, Spiritual Mobilization, the political group that informed Peale’s conquest:

“…was dedicated to the defeat of ‘pagan stateism’ as practiced by the brain trust in FDR’s Washington, and was closely aligned with ambitious libertarian initiatives such as Leonard Read’s Economic Freedom Forum, which would later oversee the widespread disbursal of libertarian textbooks and teaching curricula in California public schools. Peale also briefly chaired the Christian Freedom Foundation, a sister group founded by Fifield and largely underwritten by the evangelical oil tycoon J. Howard Pew, which published a laissez-faire journal called Christian Economics… From 1942 to 1945, [Peale] chaired the Committee on Constitutional Government, a controversial group that came under frequent congressional investigation thanks to the far-right political sympathies of its lead organizer Edward Rumely, a deputy of the conservative newspaper mogul Frank Gannett and a close political adviser to Henry Ford. Rumely had been convicted in 1918 on charges of using money from an agent of the German government—America’s wartime enemy—to purchase a daily newspaper called the New York Mail. (Calvin Coolidge issued a full pardon for Rumely in 1925, reportedly at Ford’s request.) Rumely had faced similar charges of trading with the Nazis during World War II, but they had resulted in acquittal. During Congress’s investigations into the Constitutional Government Committee’s standing as a nonpartisan tax-deductible nonprofit, Rumely repeatedly refused to disclose the names of the group’s major donors. This resulted in another criminal conviction, this time for contempt, which was remitted on grounds of ill health.”

The Constitutional Government Committee, “spent $10 million to distribute 82 million pieces of literature, including vast numbers of books; advertisements in 536 daily newspapers with a combined circulation topping 20 million readers; 10,000 radio transcriptions; and some 350,000 personal telegrams” by connecting with “politically sympathetic business leaders to buy preselected titles on a mass scale, and distribute them among their employees.” These titles included, “some of the day’s most hard-line reactionary fare, such as John T. Flynn’s red-scare manifesto The Road Ahead, Monsanto CEO Edgar Queeny’s libertarian broadside The Spirit of Enterprise, and former Democratic Congressman Franklin Pettengill’s anti–New Deal jeremiad Jefferson the Forgotten Man.” Peale himself would become so close to the Trump family that he officiated Donald Trump’s first wedding in the 1970s. At the same time, Peale had become the personal spiritual advisor of  President Richard Nixon’s. Nixon, of course, came to prominence as a part of this same ultrareactionary wave:

“In 1947, the same year that the CIA, Mont Pelerin Society, and 2nd Red Scare reared their ugly heads, Richard Nixon ran to represent California’s twelfth congressional district on a firmly anticommunist platform. Once in congress, Nixon joined the House Un-American Activities Committee and sponsored the Taft-Hartley Act. Nixon collaborated with FBI asset Father John Francis Cronin, who authored a pamphlet in 1945 titled The Problem of American Communism. Cronin wrote this pamphlet with help from FBI agent William C. Sullivan. By 1950, Nixon had become California’s Senator and grown close to Senator McCarthy. Three years later, he became Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Vice President at the same time John Foster Dulles was Secretary of State. Nixon would later develop a close personal relationship with Norman Vincent Peale.”

All of this is to say that the connections the Trump family had to both major bourgeois parties and the early “deep state” infrastructure, including early conservative think tanks, were formed long before 2015 and had little to do with Russia’s patronage. Indeed, the Trump family would have a foot in the door of American political and economic “corruption” long before Trump took his first trip to Moscow in 1987.

By 1968, Fred’s son, future president Donald Trump, had gone to work at his father’s Trump Organization. That year, the father and son duo fought to kill a lawsuit which alleged that they had discriminated, “against black persons in the operation of their buildings” and “violated the Fair Housing Act of 1968 by refusing to rent and negotiate rentals with blacks, requiring different rental terms and conditions because of race, and misrepresenting that apartments are not available.” It was in their effort to beat these charges that the Trumps first enlisted Roy Cohn:

Cohn fought the case with signature levels of audacity and bluster; he not only attempted to countersue for $100 million, but spent nearly the entire trial personally insulting and mocking the case and the people who brought it to court. Though the case ultimately ended in the Trumps settling and agreeing to take measures to open Trump projects to black tenants, they managed to add a stipulation that at no point would they have to admit guilt. Both Trump and Cohn publicly touted this as a victory.” 

This was the beginning of a beautiful friendship:

The housing case was the beginning of a long relationship between Trump and Cohn. Cohn would use his connections in government and the mafia to garner massive tax abatements, zoning variances and mob-controlled concrete work, without which Trump’s Grand Hyatt Hotel, Trump Plaza and Trump Tower projects never would have been possible. When Trump became the owner of the New Jersey Generals, a USFL team, Cohn would file a headline-grabbing antitrust suit against the NFL, claiming the league had an illegal monopoly. Cohn would even draw up Trump’s prenup to his first wife, Ivana, which was notoriously stingy in its allotments, and which would prove not to have provided Ivana with sufficient legal counsel—as the lawyer Cohn chose to represent her was a close friend and colleague.”

The relationship went beyond the realm of the professional: Cohn and Trump were close, personal friends. They would lunch at New York’s most expensive restaurants, attend Yankee games in Steinbrenner’s box, and sail on Cohn’s yacht. Cohn would advise Trump in every aspect of his life, business and personal: for years, they would talk on the phone up to five times a day.” 

Cohn even helped his friend build the Trump brand into what it is today, partially through another client and acquaintance of his named Rupert Murdoch. When Murdoch’s father, Sir Keith Murdoch, passed away in 1952, he left control of his NewsCorp publishing house to his family. After Rupert Murdoch inherited the firm, “His early editorial emphasis on crime and scandal coverage drew criticism, but it was entertaining – and entertainment, he found, was good business. Soon his publications had proliferated in number, circulation and reach.” 

After building NewsCorp into a significant force in the Australian and British media, Murdoch set his sights on the United States: “Perhaps more than anything it was his 1976 acquisition of the New York Post, a highly esteemed liberal paper at the time, that brought him into the orbit of Trump. The 30-year-old son of a wealthy real estate developer had recently graduated from Wharton business school and was trying to establish himself in Manhattan – and like Murdoch, he found in the Post the ideal vehicle to do just that.” Shortly after acquiring the Post, Murdoch launched a now-infamous gossip column on Page Six. Cohn, who was, “ the go-between for Trump and the paper’s editorial side”, fed the paper numerous stories of Trump’s v business and social adventures, including a few which were entirely made up.  This, “helped transform Trump from New York realtor to celebrity.” For Murdoch’s trouble, he was offered, “a chance to reach the city’s most influential people.” 

In other words, Murdoch was accepted into the same New York underworld inhabited by Trump and Cohn. This is exemplified in the schools he chose to send his children to. Murdoch’s son, James, attended Horace Mann, whose most notorious alumnus is none other than…Roy Cohn.  Alfred Briggs, a former head of the history department at Horace-Mann who “lectured on the evils of communism and Red China” told Vanity Fair, “We need more Roy Cohns in the world. Roy was my best student of all time.” In 2012, New York Times Magazine published an article by a former student of Horace Mann, who revealed that between the mid 1970s and the 1990s a pedophile ring existed among the faculty. Two weeks later, Horace Mann’s former chaplain admitted to The New York Times that he had molested some of his students. In March 2013, Horace Mann entered neogotiations with more than thirty former students for compensation related to sexual abuse and ultimately the school reached a settlement with about 27 of the 37 students. The school later  issued a formal apology to the community.

On the other hand, one of Murdoch’s daughters, Prudence, attended the more progressive Dalton School, but at a time when Dalton was moving in a more conservative direction under its new headmaster, Donald Barr. Barr, a former OSS agent and, like Cohn, a hardline anticommunis, took the school over in 1964, ruling as “a disciplinarian focused on beefing up the academics of the school, and on enforcing a strict code of conduct.” As TrueHoop recounts:

“Much about the school, from its Manhattan setting to its celebrity parents, was liberal. Barr’s house, on the other hand, had a poster of arch-conservative Barry Goldwater…Barr expressed concern that “black militants” were corrupting children “to take a big share of Whitey’s good life and education.” Barr was furious when Dalton students protested for civil rights or against the Vietnam War against his orders. A theme of his writing is being upset that children control their lives much at all…

Tiny Dalton—with a graduating class of around 100—inspires strong emotions. It’s intimate. Like everything in Manhattan, it’s cramped…it’s on the Upper East Side, home to many of the richest people on earth. Dalton parents run things: multinational corporations, movie studios, nations. LinkedIn data says Goldman Sachs is the most likely employer of a Dalton alum, followed by Google. The most common college major is economics. Secretary of State Antony Blinken went to Dalton, as did Anderson Cooper, Matt Yglesias, and any number of investors, judges, and a few people with intelligence ties.” (Donald M. Blinken, Anthony’s father and Alan Blinken, Anthony’s uncle, both went to Horace Mann)

After ten long years at Dalton, Barr announced in February 1974 that he would be retiring, but not until the end of the year. Jeffrey Epstein, a 21 year old from an upper-middle class family, became a math teacher at the school in September 1974. While Epstein demonstrated a natural talent for mathematics, he had dropped out of the prestigious Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences one year short of a degree. According to a Dalton social studies teacher, this didn’t matter to Barr, who made it a point to hire teachers from unconventional backgrounds, saying that “Barr didn’t care about credentials as long as you were interesting and knew your stuff.”

Epstein was booted from Dalton in 1976 after hitting on his underage students and spending time with them after school in inappropriate ways, such as attending a party hosted at a student’s home. While still teaching at Dalton, Epstein managed to get on the good side of investment banker Ace Greenberg, who gave him a position at his firm. One account claims that this happened when Epstein “wowed” Greenberg’s daughter during a parent-teacher conference. However, in James Patterson’s book about Epstein (problematic in its own right considering Patterson’s friendship with Bill Clinton) the story is a little bit different. Here, Epstein was tutoring Greenberg’s son and the two ended up meeting face to face, with Epstein charming Greenberg into giving him a job in high finance: “Greenberg didn’t care about MBAs or Ivy League diplomas. What he cared about was raw talent and drive. Greenberg cultivated risk takers, unconventional thinkers, and he looked high (and especially low) for his PSDs: men who, in his estimation, were poor, smart, and, above all, determined.” 

From here, Epstein went on to help Edgar Bronfman Sr. (a member of the Bronfman family, which had parlayed its organized crime syndicate into a legit bourgeois wealth dynasty) manage his financial portfolio. “It was the start of the age of corporate raiders, and with Ace Greenberg looking out for him, Epstein had no reservations when it came to throwing his weight around,” Patterson notes. “The golden boy’s gift for working the numbers earned him a place in the special-products division, where he worked on extremely complex tax-related problems for a select group of Bear Stearns’s wealthiest clientsWhen Bronfman formed the Mega Group in 1990, he had help from his brother, Charles, hedge-fund manager Michael Steinhardt, and fashion mogul Leslie “Lex” Wexner, who was so close to Epstein by this time that he gave the young banker his power of attorney:

“Mr. Wexner employed Mr. Epstein as a personal adviser for years, handing him sweeping powers over his finances, philanthropy & private life…Epstein was empowered to borrow money on behalf of Mr. Wexner & sign Mr. Wexner’s tax returns, as well as hire people and make acquisitions. Over the years, ‘Epstein obtained a mansion in Manhattan, a luxury estate in Ohio and a private plane — possessions worth roughly $100 million today — that had previously been owned by Mr. Wexner or his companies.’ Wexner’s friends, ‘were mystified as to why a renowned businessman in the prime of his career would place such trust in an outsider with a thin résumé and scant financial experience.’ 

By the early 1980s, Trump and Epstein were both firmly planted within the ranks of the typical American bourgeoisie. On Trump’s end, this came not only through his familial relations and his relationship with Roy Cohn, but through his involvement in the saga of Resorts International. This saga begins in 1958, when, one year before the Cuban Revolution displaced American-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista, a mysterious company known as the Mary Carter Paint Company was restructured and given the name Resorts International. The matriarch of this firm-”Mary Carter”- never existed According to Roger Morris and Sally Denton, Mary Carter “…was widely considered to be a CIA front that laundered payments to the Cuban exile army in the early sixties…” Moreover, the founder of Resorts, James Crosby, was a Wall Street investment banker described by Jim Hougan as, “uniquely situated in Republican circles: a sometime guest at the White House, he’d donated $100,000 to Nixon’s 1968 campaign.” As Hougan explains::

Crosby’s private intelligence agency, Intertel…. was the de facto custodian of the demented billionaire Howard Hughes (his own $100,000 donation would later result in two volumes of Senate testimony in the Watergate affair). Indeed, the ties between Paradise Island and Richard Nixon’s administration were of the sort that bind: Allan Butler, owner of the failing bank that was his namesake, claims the Nixon was a silent partner of Crosby’s in his Bahamian ventures, sharing a healthy chunk of Paradise Island bridge revenues with yet another secret partner, Bebe Rebozo. And by no means finally, James O. Golden, Resorts’ vice-president and one of Intertel’s founding spooks, had formerly served as Nixon’s Secret Service shield, later taking charge of security for the Nixon forces at the GOP’s 1968 convention in Miami Beach.

Eddie Cellini, the brother of Meyer Lansky henchman Dino Cellini, was close to the Mob managed casino industry in pre-revolutionary Cuba. To quote Peter Dale Scott notes in Deep Politics and the Death of JFK:

“… In pre-Castro Cuba, Nesline had been employed at the Havana Tropicana, where Lansky’s man Dino Cellini was manager and where McWillie had also worked, before shifting jobs to work for Tourine at the Capri. When Ruby and McWillie went out to Cuba’s Trescornia Prison in 1959, both Tourine and Cellini were there…”

As Recluse explains in his series about Resorts International:

The Ruby the great Peter Dale Scott mentions above is none other than Jack Ruby, the infamous Dallas nightclub owner who murdered alleged JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. Ruby has long been suspected of Syndicate ties and had worked the Cuba casino scene prior to the revolution. Afterwards he became deeply involved in the anti-Castro Cuban underground. And here’s Eddie’s brother Dino, a close Lansky associate, in the same Cuban prison for a time with Ruby.

Dino’s ties to Washington D.C. Mafioso Joe Nesline is also of interest. As regular readers of this blog may remember, Nesline was the initial pimp of Heidi Rikan (noted before here), the D.C.-based madam they played such a crucial (and little remarked upon) role in the Watergate scandal.

Thus, Dino can be said to have lingered in the background of both the JFK assassination and Watergate, arguably the two most pivotal American deep state events of the twentieth century. Dino, with his close links to Meyer Lansky, was a major figure in the Underworld and the presence of his brother Eddie running the casino on Paradise Island indicates that Resorts International had strong Syndicate ties from the very beginning.” 

This was only one front in a much larger organized crime-intelligence community joint operation to destroy revolutionary Cuba. As Thomas Maier notes, in the early sixties “a top-secret killing plan centered on the CIA’s recruitment of gangsters Sam Giancana and Johnny Roselli to murder Cuba’s young communist leader, Fidel Castro.”  Giancana and Roselli had gotten their start in Al Capone’s gang and eventually developed “a multi-million-dollar Mafia empire unprecedented in the annals of American crime—arguably bigger than the five families of New York’s La Cosa Nostra combined.” A blow was dealt to this empire when Fidel Castro shuddered Cuba’s mob-owned casinos. Giancana, Roselli, and “Spanish-speaking Mafia boss” Santos Trafficante (who the FBI hoped would secure “the gambling, prostitution and dope monopolies in the event Castro was overthrown”) thought they could revive their San Souci resort. 

However, Resorts International and its Intertel security company were not only aiding in the anti-Cuban effort during the 60s and 70s. Through heir to the Mellon wealth dynasty, Richard Mellon-Hitchcock, they were also assisting in the dissemination of LSD throughout the country. As Recluse details:

In 1963, Hitchcock would open up his estate at Millbrook to Timothy Leary and his entourage. While Leary and his crew occupied the main estate, Hitchcock lived out of the guest house and cynically partook in the acid-fried hi jinks. He evicted Leary by ’67, but was not finished with the acid scene by a long shot. It was around this time that he became the de facto banker for the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, the so-called “hippie mafia” that was at one point the largest supplier of LSD in the world. It was in this capacity that Hitchcock became involved with Resorts.” 

Martin A. Lee and Bruce Shlain explain in their legendary Acid Dreams:

In the spring of 1968 Hitchcock and acid chemist Nick Sand journeyed to the Bahamas, where they stayed at the spacious mansion of Sam Clapp, chairman of the local Fiduciary Trust Company. Clapp was a college chum of Hitchcock’s and they have been doing business together for years. They arranged for Sand to open an account under a false name at Clapp’s bank. Hitchcock and Sand also looked into the feasibility of setting up an offshore LSD laboratory on one of Bahamas secluded cays – which led some to wonder whether Mr. Billy was ‘on a Dr. No Trip.’ …

“Hitchcock took full advantage of his unlimited borrowing privileges at Fiduciary. At Clapp’s urging he poured over $5,000,000 into unregistered ‘letter stocks’ (the kind that aren’t traded publicly but tend to show dramatic gains on paper) associated with the Mary Carter Paint Company, later known as Resorts International. It was the single largest chunk of money raised by Resorts, an organization suspected of having ties to organized crime. Resorts International proceeded to build a casino on an exclusive piece of Bahamian real estate called Paradise Island…”

Richard Mellon Hitchcock’s shares in Resorts were managed by Castle and Trust, a bank established by Paul Helliwell, a career fed who served in high level positions in both the OSS and CIA. Helliwell had also led a CIA effort to help Walt Disney build a technocratic ethnostate in Florida by the name of EPCOT (While this name lives on Disney’s vision for the project originally went much further) This project seems to track with the larger anti-Castro projects Helliwell managed of Florida at the time, which were fund by Castle and Trust. To quote Recluse yet again:

a big part of Resorts early funding came from LSD financier William Mellon Hitchcock, who brought the infamous CIA-sponsored Castle Bank into the fold. This should leave little doubt that Resorts was founded at least in part as some type of CIA front, at first geared towards Cuban operations, but later (during the Resorts era) as something more nefarious.” 

As if this wasn’t enough to establish Resorts’ existence as a CIA front, another good friend of Hitchcock’s was a man named Thomas Corbally. As Anthony Summers and Stephen Dorril write, Corbally allowed Hitchcock to stay at his London flat, which had become known as a space for “sex orgies”:

“Sharing Corbally’s London apartment was another American, William ‘Billy’ Hitchcock IV, grandson of the founder of Gulf Oil and a nephew of the immensely wealthy Mellon family. His monthly income was estimated at $100,000, an extraordinary sum in those days. Some of that money went to financing drug guru Timothy Leary’s project to spread LSD use worldwide.”

Thomas Corbally isn’t just some swinger who happened to get in good with the kingpin of the “hippie mafia.” His father was a “private investigator” in New York City named Harry Corbally, who the FBI believed to have, “put up money to finance some of the biggest illegal liquor stills in the area during Prohibition.” As Eamon Javers writes, Harry was into just about every sketchy business in town. He was “associated with race horses and numbers racketeers in Newark,” acted as the alleged ‘fixer’ for anyone who became involved with the police department.” 

His son continued the family business. During Operation Underworld, Corbally worked with the burgeoning CIA in a front organization called the War Department Detachment. Corbally was also among the first to receive information regarding the Profumo Affair, a scandal in 1960s English politics where Britains Secretary of State for War, Thomas Profumo, was exposed as having a sexual relationship with 19 year old model named Christine Keeler. Keeler was also sleeping with Captain Yevgeny Ivanov, a naval attache at the Soviet Embassy in London. As Javers explains:

“All of this was of intense interest to Tom Corbally. The private eye was close friends with Dr. Stephen Ward, the middle-aged osteopath who had set up Profumo and Keeler at the party. Ward liked to tell people he had been a back-channel intermediary between the Soviets and the British government during the Cuban missile crisis…Corbally was one of the first people to sound the alarm within both the British and American governments.…When the scandal went public in March 1963, Profumo initially denied the relationship with Keeler before Parliament. But his lie was soon exposed, and he was forced to resign. The scandal also set off furious activity in Washington, as officials at the highest levels of the US government scrambled to gather information and expressed dread at where the revelations might lead.

On June 19, Corbally — who had fled to New York to avoid arrest in England on charges of procuring (a genteel description for facilitating or hiring a prostitute) — walked into FBI offices there to brief agents on what he knew…He told the agents that rumors about Profumo and various young women had been circulating in high circles for at least two years…He told the FBI agents his lawyer advised him not to return to England as long as there was a possibility he could be arrested. He also told them his lawyer was threatening the New York Daily News with a $6 million lawsuit for mentioning Corbally’s name in connection with the scandal. His lawyer — Corbally made sure to tell the agents several times — was Roy Cohn.” 

As Recluse writes, Trump became friendly with numerous members of the Resorts International board of directors during their bid to legalize gambling in Atlantic City. Trump even became CEO of the company in 1986 and almost immediately sold it to Merv Griffin. This deal led to the creation of the Trump Taj Mahal, previously owned by Resorts. Obviously, this series of events was underlined by Trump’s pre-existing Mafia ties:

“…Donald Trump boasted that when he wanted to build a casino in Atlantic City, he persuaded the state attorney general to limit the investigation of his background to six months. Most potential owners were scrutinized for more than a year. Trump argued that he was ‘clean as a whistle’—young enough that he hadn’t had time to get into any sort of trouble. He got the sped-up background check, and eventually got the casino license….Beginning three years earlier, he’d hired mobbed-up firms to erect Trump Tower and his Trump Plaza apartment building in Manhattan, including buying ostensibly overpriced concrete from a company controlled by mafia chieftains Anthony ‘Fat Tony’ Salerno and Paul Castellano…

…Salerno, Castellano and other organized crime figures controlled the ready-mix business in New York, and everyone in construction at the time knew it…Trump ended up not only using ready-mix concrete, but also paying what a federal indictment of Salerno later concluded were inflated prices for it – repeatedly – to S & A Concrete, a firm Salerno and Castellano owned through fronts, and possibly to other mob-controlled firmsTrump put himself ‘at the mercy of a legion of concrete racketeers’…But with Cohn as his lawyer, Trump apparently had no reason to personally fear Salerno or Castellano—at least, not once he agreed to pay inflated concrete prices. What Trump appeared to receive in return was union peace. That meant the project would never face costly construction or delivery delays.”

By this time, Cohn had reinforced his own connections within the far-right networks orbiting the Reagan/Bush administration. Cohn joined the Western Goals Foundation, an organization founded by congressman Larry P. McDonald. McDonald, “a leader of the New Right” and “militant cold warrior”  spent the 1960s as a dedicated leader of the John Birch Society. “For his efforts, Birchers nationwide repaid McDonald with financial support in his campaigns. In 1982, while a sitting congressman, McDonald was named the John Birch Society’s national chairman. He zipped around Washington in a black Mercedes Benz with JBS1 vanity plates—John Birch Society 1.” To bolster his congressional influence, McDonald hired former House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) diehards to work in his office. “One of these hires, Louise Rees, was also a former undercover FBI and police informant who had reported on the activities of leftists up and down the East Coast…Another of McDonald’s researchers, a former military intelligence officer, bragged…about FBI agents and police officers visiting to pick up the staffers’ latest research into left-wing groups.” 

The Western Goals Foundation became a key part of Oliver North’s Iran-Contra endeavors. In addition to Roy Cohn, the board consisted of textile industrialist Roger Milliken, British John Birch Society activist and FBI informant John Rees, and US Army General John K. Singlaub, a founding member of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and a highly decorated member of its parent organization the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Two years after co-founding Western Goals, Singlaub created the United States Council for World Freedom, the American division of the World Anti-Communist League (WACL). Singlaub was also heavily involved with the American Security Council (ASC). 

As Russ Bellant writes in Old Nazis, the New Right, and the Republican Party: “The ASC began in Chicago in 1955, staffed primarily by former FBI agents. In its first year it was called the Mid-American Research Library. Corporations joined to take advantage of what former FBI agent William Turner described…as ‘a dossier system modeled after the FBI’s, which was intended to weed out employees and prospective employees deemed disloyal to the free enterprise concept.’” At the same time its members were founding organizations like Western Goals in the late 1970s, the ASC was recruiting open neofascists like Roger Pearson. 

According to Bellant, Pearson got his political start in 1958 as the “the London- based organizer of the Northern League, a white supremacist European organization that included former Nazi SS officials.” In 1965 Pearson moved to the United States and started a magazine with American neofascist Willis Carto. “The magazine had over two dozen racialists and anti-Semites on its masthead, including Austin App and C. M. Goethe, honorary president of the American Coalition of Patriotic Societies.” Ten years later, Pearson made his way to Washington D.C. and within a year his Council on American Affairs “was sponsoring seminars and publishing monographs with persons such as Edwin Fuelner, president of the Heritage Foundation; Ray Cline, former CIA. deputy director; and others who would later become high officials of the Reagan Administration.” From here, the ASC made Pearson editor of its Journal of International Relations, where he worked with James Jesus Angleton, former CIA deputy director for counterintelligence, and Robert C. Richardson Ill, “the retired Air Force general who worked in the Air Force’s Politico-Military covert operations branch.” 

As Sara Diamond writes in Roads to Dominion, : 

…in 1979 the American Security Council (ASC) formed a Congressional Task Force for the purpose of lobbying on behalf of anticommunist governments in Central America. The task force blamed Jimmy Carter for Nicaragua’s overthrow of dictator Anastasio Somoza, and the Congress-members on board ASC’s Task Force pledged to back remaining anticommunist forces in Central America. Two advisers to the Reagan presidential campaign, former Defense Intelligence Agency director Daniel Graham and Major General John Singlaub (USA-Ret.), led a December 1979 delegation of ASC activists to Guatemala. There they assured leaders of military death squads that ‘Mr. Reagan recognizes that a good deal of dirty work has to be done.’ In 1980, the Reagan campaign accepted millions of dollars in contributions from Guatemalan businessmen and US businessmen living in Guatemala. In turn, Guatemalan death squad leader Mario Sandoval Alarcon was invited to dance at Reagan’s 1981 inaugural ball.” 

In 1983, the Reagan administration, functioning as the executive extension of the American Security Council, World Anti-Communist League, Heritage Foundation, various Christian Right institutions, and similar organizations, needed a propaganda bureaucracy to supplement its foreign policy objectives. Trump’s good friend Rupert Murdoch was tapped by CIA Director William Casey, who “dispatched one of the CIA’s top covert action specialists, Walter Raymond Jr., to the National Security Council to oversee the project.” Murdoch and Reagan met at least twice face-to-face, with the first meeting on January 18, 1983 also featuring Roy Cohn. In a memo to Casey, Raymond wrote that, “we recommended funding via Freedom House or some other structure that has credibility in the political center. (Charles) Wick, via Murdoch, may be able to draw down added funds for this effort.” While the Murdoch meetings took place in 1983, the general public relations blitz started even earlier. Diamond notes that:  “… Beginning in early 1981, ASC spent a small fortune airing Attack on the Americas, a film that juxtaposed frightening footage of Central American violence and calm interviews with foreign policy experts like Jeane Kirkpatrick and Henry Kissinger… ASC combined media activities with lobbying and fundraising for Central American paramilitary forces.” 

While the ASC blamed Jimmy Carter for failing to conquer Latin America, they did win a foreign policy victory on Carter’s way out in 1979. As I detailed here, the CIA and Zbigniew Brzenzski succeeded in giving the USSR “its own Vietnam War.” The disparate groups of Afghani warlords and reactionary, Wahabist religious zealots that went to war against the Soviet-backed, secular government in Kabul were organized and armed by the CIA, Pakistan’s ISI, and the Saudi Royal Family and would be supplemented throughout the Reagan era by recruits from all over the Middle East. That same year, a gathering dubbed the “Jerusalem Conference on International Terrorism” (JCIT) was organized in Israel by a young Benjamin Netanyahu. The conference aimed to “to focus public attention on the grave threat that international terrorism poses to all democratic societies, to study the real nature of today’s terrorism, and to propose measures for combating and defeating the international terror movements.” Three years earlier, when George H.W. Bush was still director of the CIA, he authorized an Agency “research team” which found “ties” between the Soviet Union and “international terrorism” and also promoted the idea that the USSR was committed to an all out nuclear war with the USA, believing it could win the conflict. 

This CIA “research team”, dubbed Team B, included Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, President Ford’s Chief of Staff Dick Cheney, and “The Soviet Union has been busy,” Rumsfeld explained in 1976. “They’ve been busy in terms of their level of effort; they’ve been busy in terms of the actual weapons they ’ve been producing; they’ve been busy in terms of expanding production rates; they’ve been busy in terms of expanding their institutional capability to produce additional weapons at additional rates; they’ve been busy in terms of expanding their capability to increasingly improve the sophistication of those weapons. Year after year after year, they’ve been demonstrating that they have steadiness of purpose. They’re purposeful about what they’re doing.” Team B also included Paul Wolfowitz, and Richard Perle, who served together in the congressional office of hardcore anti-detente Democrat Henry “Scoop” Jackson. “Rumsfeld won that very intense, intense political battle that was waged in Washington in 1975 and 1976,” as Melvin Goodman, head of the CIA’s Office of Soviet Affairs, stated. “…their mission was to create a much more severe view of the Soviet Union, Soviet intentions, Soviet views about fighting and winning a nuclear war.” 

When the JCIT met in 1979, the year that the CIA launched its project to crystalize “Islamic” terrorism in the Middle East in the name of combatting Soviet “expansion” in Afghanistan, they applied the Team B approach of inventing a fictionalized history that is made “real” after the fact. This tactic would be employed repeatedly by the American “New Right” during its rise to power in the 1980s. As I demonstrated earlier, Trump was not only adjacent to this aggressively anticommunist “New Right” for years before he traveled to Moscow in 1987, but was planted firmly at its very center beside his good friends Rupert Murdoch and Roy Cohn.

Around this time Roger Stone, Trump first became a “longtime friend” of Roger Stone, who got his start as a self-described political huckster as part of the 1973 Nixon campaign. By 1975, Stone co-founded the National Conservative Political Action Committee (NCPAC), which pioneered the use of independent expenditures to get around campaign finance restrictions. A year later, Stone became national youth director for Reagan’s first, failed run for the Republican nomination. When Reagan ran for a second time in 1980, Stone was given the chore of swinging voters in blue districts in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. This was a difficult task, but Stone found a reliable mentor to help him. As Stone tells it; “I was invited to a party by a socialite named Sheila Mosler, and Roy Cohn  was there.” 

According to Stone, “Roy was a Democrat, but he was an anti-Communist and a master of public relations, and he wanted to help me with Reagan. He told me to come see him at his town house. When I got there…He started telling me how he was going to help me set up the Reagan campaign—everything from union endorsements to office space.” It should be mentioned that part of Cohn’s strategy was to use his friend Murdoch’s new American paper, acting as, “an important source for Page Six’s Mulcahy…When Mulcahy had to cover Ronald Reagan’s first inaugural on 24 hours’ notice, Cohn got her security clearance and into all the evening’s exclusive parties at the drop of the hat.” When Reagan won in ‘81, Nancy Reagan is personally telephoned Cohn to thank him for his help. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s