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It's Been an Interesting Year for Deutsche Bank
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Who Was Behind the Plan to Give Saudi Arabia Nuclear Power, and What Was Their Agenda?
For a year, â€œTrump, Inc.â€ has been digging into the 2017 inauguration. That reporting led us to look closely at the man Donald Trump picked to run the event, Tom Barrack, a wealthy businessman whoâ€™s been friends with Trump for decades. As we were finishing our Barrack episode â€” just out this week â€” the House Oversight Committee released a report detailing how the Trump administration pursued a plan to export nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia. The plan had been championed by then-national security adviser Michael Flynn, who could have profited from it. The efforts continued despite warnings from ethics officials and staff at the National Security Council. And who was in talks to lead the initiative? Tom Barrack. Â The House investigation confirmed some reporting by one of our ProPublica colleagues, Isaac Arnsdorf, that goes back to late 2017. So we decided to bring Isaac in for this podcast extra to help us understand who was behind the plan and what they wanted. Barrack has declined our requests for an interview, and Flynnâ€™s lawyer and the White House have not responded.
Aired 6 months ago 33:20
Six Tips for Preparing for the Mueller Report, Which May or May Not Be Coming
Being investigative journalists means weâ€™re constantly asking questions. But these days, it also means people are asking us questions. One we hear a lot nowadays: â€œWhen is the Mueller report coming â€” and what will it say?â€ Our answer: We donâ€™t know. But weâ€™ve realized that perhaps we can be more helpful than that. We donâ€™t have insider information on special counsel Robert Muellerâ€™s office. (Sorry!) But we have spent lots of time investigating the president and his businesses. And we thought weâ€™d share some of the perspectives weâ€™ve gained. Here are six things to keep in mind.Â Donâ€™t predict. We donâ€™t know what Mueller will report, when he will report it or even whether weâ€™ll be able to read it. Thatâ€™s because Congress changed the law after special prosecutor Kenneth Starrâ€™s salacious tell-all on President Bill Clinton. When Mueller is done, he has to give a report to Attorney General William Barr. But Barr can choose to keep the report confidential. Barr only has to give a summary to Congress. If Barr doesnâ€™t make Muellerâ€™s actual report public, Democrats will almost surely subpoena it. Then get ready for a fight. Stop focusing on â€œcollusion.â€ â€œCollusionâ€ has come to be a kind of shorthand for ... basically doing something bad with Russia. But the term is both too vague and too narrow. For one thing, â€œcollusionâ€ is not itself a clearly defined crime. It is a crime to commit a conspiracy against the United States â€” for which there is a high bar: proving an intent to undermine the government. Remember: We already know a lot. We already know Trump had a hidden conflict of interest involving Russia during the campaign. Despite publicly denying it, Trump was negotiating to develop a tower in Moscow while he was running for president. That means Trump had interests involving Russia â€” which voters didnâ€™t know about â€” that could have been influencing his policy positions. Thatâ€™s all problematic on its own. Â We also know that Russian government interests hacked the emails of the Democratic National Committee, handed them to Wikileaks, and that at least one Trump ally, Roger Stone, was in touch with Wikileaks. Donâ€™t expect answers to everything, or even most things. Thatâ€™s not Muellerâ€™s job. He is a prosecutor. His job is first and foremost to look for crimes. And while he can, and has, looked beyond Russian interference in the election, heâ€™s unlikely to dig into everything. And, of course, there are lots of areas worthy of scrutiny beyond Russia: Trumpâ€™s businesses, his inauguration, his hush money payments and more. Mueller is not alone. There are lots of active investigations looking into all these issues. A partial rundown of just the ones we know about: Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating the inauguration and other matters, the New York attorney general is investigating the Trump Foundation, and the District of Columbiaâ€™s attorney general and the state of Virginia are suing Trump over emoluments. There are also a whole host of coming congressional investigations. The final judgments on Trumpâ€™s actions will be political, not legal. (Caveats apply.) Â Whatever Mueller ultimately files, he is very unlikely to charge the president with a crime. Since Watergate, the Department of Justice has had a policy that a sitting president should not be indicted. And Mueller is a stickler for the rules. Having said that, Trump does face significant legal jeopardy. For example, former presidents can be indicted. So can Trumpâ€™s own company. So: Stay tuned. Stay patient. And while you wait for the report, check out our conversation with On The Media â€“ theyâ€™ve created a handy â€œBreaking News Consumersâ€™ Handbook Mueller Edition.â€
Aired 5 months ago 36:47
Trump, Inc. Goes Beyond Collusion
In this Trump, Inc. podcast extra, we talk about what we know, what we donâ€™t know and what we still want to know after Attorney General William Barr gave his summary of special counsel Robert Muellerâ€™s report. Collusion was never the only thing. For the last year and a half, we have been looking at the conflicts of interest that pervade President Donald Trumpâ€™s administration. That trail has led us from Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, to Panama, India and, yes, Russia, where we reported on how Trumpâ€™s associates appealed to the Kremlin for help at the same time the Kremlin was preparing an attack on the 2016 elections.