Deeper and deeper into the swamp we go as the revelations about the questionable business dealings of President Trump’s personal attorney and fixer Michael Cohen come to light.
The latest news comes courtesy of The Wall Street Journal, the newspaper controlled by Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch, more known for suppressing negative stories concerning their owner’s personal friend President Trump than breaking them.
The Journal published an article today detailing the work Michael Cohen did in funneling business from a firm tied to the Kushner Cos., the real estate empire of presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner and his family, to Squire Patton Boggs, a legal and lobbying firm that had hired Cohen last year as a “rainmaker” to generate new business.
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Under a 2017 contract with Cohen, Squire Patton Boggs paid Trump’s attorney half a million dollars a year, plus a percentage of any fees generated by the clients he procured. Included in the five clients Cohen delivered under the agreement was U.S. Immigration Fund LLC and its chief executive Nicholas Mastroianni II.
The company organized a trip to China last year for Jared Kushner’s sister Nicole Meyer, and multiple other Kushner Cos. officials to pitch investors for commercial-and-residential towers in Jersey City, New Jersey.
That trip garnered attention from the media when it was discovered that Jared Kushner’s sister was dangling EB-5 visas that provide U.S. immigration green cards to potential investors who ponied up at least $500,000 to invest in U.S. ventures that meet the right criteria, including the offer that the Kushner Cos. were marketing.
U.S. Immigration Fund partnered with a Chinese company to organize the presentation to the investors for the Kushners, but when word of the visa sales leaked out, the Kushner Cos. came under the scrutiny of the Brooklyn U.S. attorney’s office and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over their use of the visas.
No charges have yet to be filed in the investigations, but U.S. Immigration Fund severed its ties with the Kushner Cos. in the wake of the negative press attention around the deal.
The Journal reports that Mastroianni met Cohen in his offices last year, and Cohen put him in touch with a top lobbyist at Squire Patton Boggs. U.S. Immigration Fund subsequently gave $370,000 to Squire Patton Boggs to lobby government officials on reforming the EB-5 visa system.
In addition, Mastroianni donated $150,000 last year to Trump’s re-election campaign fund, according to Federal Election Commission records. Other members of Mastroianni’s family also gave $100,000 to Mr. Trump’s inauguration fund.
These latest disclosures come on top of the news leaked yesterday by Stormy Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti regarding payments made to Cohen by AT&T, pharmaceutical giant Novartis, Korea Aerospace Industries, and Columbus Nova, a firm owned by Viktor Vekselberg, a Russian oligarch with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
With Cohen’s business and financial records now in the hands of federal prosecutors, more shady business dealings may soon come to light. The big question remains how, or more likely, how badly, the information about Cohen’s financial flow will affect President Trump.
Lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas, as they say.
Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.