Showing posts with label Ted Cruz. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ted Cruz. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Steve Bannon Group Promoted Document Alleging @RealDonaldTrump Had Mafia Connections

Before Donald Trump and Steve Bannon were enemies, they were allies. And not long before that, Bannon was part of an effort to sink Trump's presidential hopes -- even if Trump didn't know it.

A conservative watchdog group led by Bannon tried to discredit Trump in the early stages of the 2016 Republican presidential primary by shopping a document alleging that Trump had ties to mobsters, according to conservative sources and a copy of the document reviewed by CNN.

The anti-Trump opposition research was the work of author Peter Schweizer for the Government Accountability Institute, which he cofounded with Bannon in 2012. It described years of alleged business connections between Trump companies and organized crime figures, allegations that have circulated among Trump detractors for years.

The New York Times reported on the document on Friday.

The GAI is backed by the Mercer family, one of the largest benefactors for Trump's campaign. Rebekah Mercer, the daughter of hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, is listed as the group's chairwoman on its website. But in 2015, when the document was produced, the Mercers were backing the campaign of one of Trump's rivals, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, and Bannon had not yet joined the Trump campaign.

In early 2016, at the height of the Republican primary fight, Cruz cited possible mob ties as one reason for Trump to release his taxes. Cruz and his campaign cited published news accounts at the time as the basis for making the charge.

The document offers a glimpse at behind-the-scenes efforts by conservatives to derail Trump's presidential bid. The document is similar to opposition research produced for both Republicans and Democrats targeting Trump. The best known of those is one produced by the Washington firm Fusion GPS alleging ties between Trump and Russians, which now has helped spawn a broad investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

"We research political figures from all political parties and our basic premise is follow the money. That's what guides our research approach," Schweizer told CNN.

A source familiar with GAI's work said the group conducted research on all Republican and Democratic candidates running in the 2016 election. Bannon and the Mercers were not involved in the "day to day machinations of the research," but the source said they were aware of the effort to drill down on candidates and share some of that research with news organizations.

A GOP operative provided CNN a copy of the anti-Trump document. Two sources confirmed that GAI shopped copies of the document to donors for Trump rivals during the GOP primary.

"We did not and would not share that with any candidates," the source familiar with GAI's work said. "There would be no sharing with candidates, with political operatives or anybody of that category."

Bannon declined to comment.

Bannon, Schweizer and the Mercers went on to curry favor with Trump when he became the GOP nominee and, later, the President.

Trump brought on Bannon as CEO of his presidential campaign in August 2016. But Bannon's subsequent West Wing tenure as Trump's chief political strategist was brief. He was fired in August 2017, but remained in contact with the President. Their friendship hit rocky times last week with the publication of comments by Bannon in Michael Wolff's book disparaging Trump and his family.

The President issued a blistering statement against his former political guru, saying Bannon has "lost his mind," and later slapped him with the nickname "Sloppy Steve" via Twitter.

Bannon said Sunday he regretted not responding sooner to comments attributed to him in Wolff's book that were critical of Donald Trump Jr.

It's not clear whether Trump knew of Bannon's and the Mercers' ties to the document aimed at discrediting him when they became his allies in 2016. However, the Mercers' prior support for Cruz was widely known.

Trump regularly cited some of Schweizer's other work on the campaign trail, notably that on Hillary Clinton and alleging corruption. He touted Schweizer's 2015 anti-Clinton book "Clinton Cash", which made use of research by GAI, and urged an investigation of allegations of corruption involving the Clinton Foundation.

The book's allegations formed at least part of the basis for some FBI field offices to open preliminary inquiries into the Clinton Foundation. Those investigations stalled in 2016 amid the election. But CNN reported Friday that the inquiries have been given new life and are now led by the FBI office in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Thanks to Sara Murray, Evan Perez and Jeremy Diamond.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Mafia Ties on Taxes of @realDonaldTrump is Speculated by @SenTedCruz

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz speculated Donald Trump doesn't want to disclose his tax filings because he may have business ties to the mafia and donated to left-leaning organizations like Planned Parenthood. "There have been multiple media reports about Donald's business dealings with the mob, with the mafia," Cruz said Sunday on ABC's "This Week." "Maybe his tax returns show that those business dealings are a lot more extensive than reported. We don't know."

Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio released summary pages of their recent tax filings Saturday. Trump has said he will release the filings once the IRS finishes auditing his returns.

Cruz pointed to S&A Concrete, which built Trump Tower, and other media reports linking the billionaire businessman to the mafia. "You guys have reported that he's done deals with S&A Concrete, which was owned by two of the big crime families in New York and that he's had involvement in Atlantic City," Cruz said. "Maybe that's what his tax returns show. We don't know."

The Trump campaign has not yet responded to a request for comment.

An ABC News investigation found Trump claimed to not know Felix Sater, a twice-convicted Russian émigré who served prison time and had documented mafia connections, while testifying in video deposition for a civil lawsuit two years ago. Sater had played a role in a number of high-profile Trump-branded projects across the country.

Cruz added conservatives should unite behind him if they don't want Hillary Clinton in the White House. "In the general election, Hillary Clinton is going to shine a light on all of this and Republican primary voters deserve to know,” Cruz said.

Thanks to Andrea Gonzales.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

The Wilderness: Deep Inside the Republican Party's Combative, Contentious, Chaotic Quest to Take Back the White House

The explosive story of the Republican Party's intensely dramatic and fractious efforts to find its way back to unity and national dominance.

After the 2012 election, the GOP was in the wilderness. Lost and in disarray. And doggedly determined to do whatever it took to get back to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

McKay Coppins has had unparalleled access to Republican presidential candidates, power brokers, lawmakers, and Tea Party leaders. Based on more than 300 interviews, The Wilderness: Deep Inside the Republican Party's Combative, Contentious, Chaotic Quest to Take Back the White House, is the book that opens up the party like never before: the deep passions, larger-than-life personalities, and dagger-sharp power plays behind the scenes.

In wildly colorful scenes, this exclusive look into the Republican Party at a pivotal moment in its history follows a cast of its rising stars, establishment figures, and loudmouthed insurgents--Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Bobby Jindal, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Donald Trump, Scott Walker, and dozens of others--as they battle over the future of the party and its path to the presidency.


Crime Family Index