Putin and Trump: the Port Washington Chabad Connection
There are any number of ties. But here is an interesting one that Politico Magazine has this morning:
“The Port Washington Chabad, a Jewish community center on Long Island’s Manhasset Bay, sits in a squat brick edifice across from a Shell Gas station and a strip mall. The Chabad is an unexceptional building on an unexceptional street, save for one thing: Some of the shortest routes between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin run straight through it.”
As a Long Islander that’s not so far from me.
Anyway, a few decades ago, Putin believed himself to have a ‘Jewish problem.’
“Two decades ago, as the Russian president set about consolidating power on one side of the world, he embarked on a project to supplant his country’s existing Jewish civil society and replace it with a parallel structure loyal to him. On the other side of the world, the brash Manhattan developer was working to get a piece of the massive flows of capital that were fleeing the former Soviet Union in search of stable assets in the West, especially real estate, and seeking partners in New York with ties to the region.”
“Their respective ambitions led the two men—along with Trump’s future son-in-law Jared Kushner—to build a set of close, overlapping relationships in a small world that intersects on Chabad, an international Hasidic movement most people have never heard of.”
“Starting in 1999, Putin enlisted two of his closest confidants, the oligarchs Lev Leviev and Roman Abramovich, who would go on to become Chabad’s biggest patrons worldwide, to create the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia under the leadership of Chabad rabbi Berel Lazar, who would come to be known as “Putin’s rabbi.”
“A few years later, Trump would seek out Russian projects and capital by joining forces with a partnership called Bayrock-Sapir, led by Soviet emigres Tevfik Arif, Felix Sater and Tamir Sapir—who maintain close ties to Chabad. The company’s ventures would lead to multiple lawsuits alleging fraud and a criminal investigation of a condo project in Manhattan.”
Speaking of Felix Sater, he was behind the phony peace plan that Michael Cohen hand delivered to Michael Flynn.
Ok, back to Politico:
“With the help of this trans-Atlantic diaspora and some globetrotting real estate moguls, Trump Tower and Moscow’s Red Square can feel at times like part of the same tight-knit neighborhood. Now, with Trump in the Oval Office having proclaimed his desire to reorient the global order around improved U.S. relations with Putin’s government—and as the FBI probes the possibility of improper coordination between Trump associates and the Kremlin—that small world has suddenly taken on outsized importance.”
“It’s not a surprise that Trump-minded people are involved with Chabad,” said Torossian. “Chabad is a place that tough, strong Jews feel comfortable. Chabad is a non-judgmental place where people that are not traditional and not by-the-book feel comfortable.”
Putin for his part:
“Putin’s kind of Jews.”
“The Russian state’s embrace of Chabad happened, like many things in Putin’s Russia, as the result of a factional power struggle.”
“In 1999, soon after he became prime minister, Putin enlisted his two of his closest confidants, Roman Abramovich and Lev Leviev, to create the Federation of Russian Jewish Communities. Its purpose was to undermine the existing umbrella for Russia’s Jewish civil society, the Russian Jewish Congress, led by oligarch Vladimir Gusinsky, a potential threat to Putin and President Boris Yeltsin. A year later, Gusinsky was arrested by Putin’s government and forced into exile.”
“At the time, Russia already had a chief rabbi as recognized by the Russian Jewish Congress, Adolf Shayevich. But Abramovich and Leviev installed Chabad rabbi Berel Lazar at the head of their rival organization. The Kremlin removed Shayevich from its religious affairs council, and ever since it has instead recognized Lazar as Russia’s chief rabbi, leaving the country with two rival claimants to the title.”
“As Putin has consolidated his control of Russia, Lazar has come to be known derisively as “Putin’s rabbi.” He has escorted the Russian leader to Jerusalem’s Western Wall and attended the opening ceremony of the Sochi Olympics, Putin’s pet project, on the Jewish Sabbath. Putin returned that favor by arranging for Lazar to enter the stadium without submitting to security checks that would have broken the rules for observing Shabbat.”
What makes a Rabbi Putin’s Rabbi? Probably saying things like this:
If Lazar has any qualms about his role in all the intra-Chabad drama, he hasn’t let on publicly. “Challenging the government is not the Jewish way,” the rabbi said in 2015.
This connection also links Felix Sater and Trump’s relationship:
“Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, as Trump looked for business and investors in the former Soviet Union during the first years of this century, he struck up an enduring relationship with a firm called Bayrock-Sapir.”
“Bayrock was co-led by Felix Sater, a convicted mob associate whose late father has been named in court documents as working for Russian crime don Semion Moglivech, an ally of Putin’s who until recently was on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list. In the ’90s, when Sater was caught orchestrating a mob-connected pump-and-dump scheme, he was able to avoid jail and have the conviction sealed because of classified services he provided the FBI and CIA as a government cooperator over the course of more than a decade.”
So how does this relate to the Port Washington Chabad?
“Sater and another Bayrock employee, Daniel Ridloff, who like Sater later went on to work directly for the Trump Organization, belong to the Port Washington Chabad. Sater told POLITICO Magazine that in addition to the Port Washington Chabad, he sits on the boards of numerous Chabad entities in the U.S. and abroad, though none in Russia.”
Just a few miles from yours truly here on Long Island.
As for Trump and Sater’s relationship, somebody’s lying-and it’s under oath:
“Under oath, Sater has described a close relationship with the Trumps, while Trump has testified under oath that he barely knew Sater and would not be able to pick his face out of a crowd. Several people who worked closely with Sater during this period and who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity, citing fear of retaliation from both men, scoffed at Trump’s testimony, describing frequent meetings and near-constant phone calls between the two. One person recalled numerous occasions on which Trump and Sater dined together, including at the now-defunct Kiss & Fly in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District.”
I’m going to go with Sater in this one. Because Trump is a pathological liar. He got it from his Dad, Fred Trump who often in the 1950s would go before Congress and perjure himself up and down.
UPDATE: It’s official. Here is the first Trump impeachment book.
Thank you Allan Lichtman.
Here’s the irony-Licthman predicted Trump would win in the first place. One of the very few poll analysts who did. So you have to take him seriously.
P.S. As we saw in my poll out last week, the long awaited poll results are in, and right now I’m just 11 points down vs. Peter King (GOP-NY-District 2). And the voters don’t even know who I am yet.
There is nothing more important in getting answers to Trump-Russia collusion than a Democratic House in 2019. Please donate to help me in my part of the effort to fight for a Dem House.
Thank you. We must have a Dem House. And so, we will