There are times when a series of events, no matter how on the nose, really is just coincidental. But in a week where the DOJ informed Donald Trump’s attorneys on Monday that he’s being indicted under the Espionage Act, and the Saudis announced on Tuesday that they were selling their Trump-connected LIV golf tour to the PGA in a sudden merger that came out of nowhere, it doesn’t feel like a coincidence. And there’s a specific detail to suggest it may not be.
About a month ago, a major news outlet reported that DOJ Special Counsel Jack Smith had long ago subpoenaed Donald Trump’s financial records in relation to the LIV golf tour. It was also reported that Smith is probing Trump’s international financial ties dating back to 2017 in relation to the actions he took in office. So it’s not difficult to guess that Smith’s investigation into Trump’s LIV finances may in fact be an investigation into how Trump used the presidency to enrich the government of Saudi Arabia and how it turned around and enriched Trump.
And now, a mere month after that news broke, the Saudis are suddenly making LIV go away by merging it with the PGA. The early reporting makes clear that the new combined tournament will not involve LIV branding at all. And of course LIV will cease to exist as its own company.
Sure, it could all be coincidence. Trump did publicly predict last year that LIV would end up merging with the PGA – which suggests that this may have been the goal all along. It wouldn’t be the first time that an upstart competitor launched with the specific business plan of forcing the dominant player in the industry into a merger.
But the timing of this is just… you’re kidding, right? The Saudis found out a month ago that the DOJ has been investigating Trump and LIV. And before that investigation could reach the indictment stage, they just happened to cut a business deal that makes LIV cease to exist as a brand or a company. And then that deal was finalized the day after it became clear that Trump really is getting indicted in this probe. If Trump’s classified documents indictment is coming this week, how much longer before he’s potentially indicted for whatever he was doing with the LIV tour? The LIV brand was possibly about to become non-viable anyway, and now its owners are suddenly cashing in on that brand while it still has value.
Convenient? Absolutely. Coincidence? That’s for Jack Smith to tell us. But for as much as Donald Trump is trying to spin this as a victory for him, the reality looks very different. Trump is getting indicted for espionage this week, as part of a broader probe that’s also investigating his financial involvement with LIV and with foreign investors. And now the foreign investors who control LIV are suddenly cashing out. People with money will continue to exist, and continue to do whatever they do, long after Trump is gone. Part of that is because truly wealthy people know when to cut bait with pawns like Trump once they become a liability. It sure feels like the Saudis are suddenly looking to move on from Trump while they still can.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report