It ought to be a permanent feature of our outrage that a poor, single, African American mother can go to prison for stealing $20 to feed her kids, but that a rich, bloated CEO of a world bank can tank the entire economy and get away with a slightly reduced bonus and a government bailout. While many American and European banks helped themselves to fat profits that resulted as a direct consequence of what inevitably became the subprime lending crisis of 2007, those of us with no debt, ordinary mortgages and honest savings were left holding the bag. I always reminisce about the people who should have gone to prison and didn’t, every time my bank manager tries to sell me a “product.” The vertiginous lack of humility on the part of these banks is staggering.
So I’m not the least surprised to learn that a brave woman called Tammy McFadden was shown the door by her hand-rubbing overlords at Deutsche Bank, when she noticed certain fishy transactions between Jared Kushner’s companies and certain persons of Russian extraction. Ms McFadden was fired for doing her job and raising the appropriate alarm. There’s nothing quite like firing someone to shut them up. When big, big money is at stake, half measures simply will not do, particularly when you desperately require a fourth yacht, not to mention those new sun-hats for your race horses.
Of course, this recent revelation has a suspicious and betraying provenance. Democrats in the US House of Representatives have been endeavouring to drill down into the illicit goings on between the Trump Organization and Deutsche Bank for some time now. In April two separate committees – financial services and intelligence – issued subpoenas for documents from Deutsche Bank. Donald Trump counter-attacked by launching a lawsuit against Deutsche Bank in an attempt to stop it from complying with the subpoenas. In classic Trump logic – a man who insists he has nothing to hide – the lawsuit claimed the demand for documents amounted to harassment of the president and his family. That it might also exonerate him – if he’s innocent, of course – seems to have slipped his mind.
If this all sounds like big-shot wheeler-dealers merely moving money around in the arcane pursuit of ordinary profit, permit me to remind you that international money laundering, particularly when the Russians are involved, is the beneficiary of crimes such as extortion, drug and arms dealing, slavery and murder. And remember the name Tammy McFadden next time you wonder who’s in charge, who profits and what the ultimate penalty is for doing the right thing. Welcome to another glimpse into the sordid world of Donald John Trump.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.