One fact stands out far above all the others in its staggering implications: Donald trump is personally responsible for $421 million worth of loans coming due in the next few years. Not his business. Him. Personally. He has no means of repaying them. He already refinanced his few profitable properties and sold off most of his stocks to stay afloat. He appears short on liquidity. And we still don’t know to whom he owes the money.
This fact has frightening implications for public policy and national security. Even minor debts are a frequent reason for the government to deny a security clearance, for the obvious reason that indebted and financially desperate public servants make easy marks for bribery, blackmail and potential treason. The potentially destructive power of that sort of hold on a President of the United States is beyond comprehension. It is the stuff of nightmares, bad spy movie plots and otherwise outlandish conspiracy theory. Imagine if a president owed millions to the mob or to those with close ties to a foreign government, and those individuals both controlled the president’s financial future and knew of corrupt criminal activity. The president might act with otherwise strange deference to said mobsters and those connected to them, and bend public policy on their behalf. If they were tied to fossil fuel interests, the president might set the globe on fire rather than cross them. If his creditors were simply a wealthy set of Wall Street tycoons, he might rig all financial policy on their direct behalf.
What we do know is that beginning in the late 2000s, no one would lend to Donald trump. His history of bankruptcies, combined with whatever horrors were on his personal and organizational financial statements, clearly made every bank run the other direction. Every bank but one, that is: Deutsche Bank. Donald trump’s history with Deutsche Bank has always merited special scrutiny, but never more than now. The head honchos at Deutsche would have known just how desperate trump’s financial position was. But they lent to him anyway. Why? It certainly looks even more ominous that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s son was managing the real estate division at Deutsche that lent to trump, and that Justice Kennedy unexpectedly retired to ensure trump could seat his replacement. And it looks triply suspicious that Deutsche Bank has been fined and sanctioned over multiple money laundering scandals, including $20 billion from Russian kleptocrats.