Trump’s Been Throwing Agents Under the Bus for Years
An old FBI memo shows how much he values intelligence
President-elect Donald Trump allegedly has ties to organized crime in America. Which makes sense, the real-estate mogul-turned-politician spent years building casinos in places such as Atlantic City.
Where there’s gambling, there’s the mob — and where there’s the mob, there’s the FBI.
In early 2017, the president-elect went to war with the U.S. intelligence community. The NSA, FBI, CIA and other assorted agencies have tried to meet regularly with The Donald to brief him on the state of the world, but The Donald has resisted. So the spies have apparently leaked bits of their own intel to the media in an effort to shame Trump into listening.
Trump has responded by reminding the world that these are the same agencies that got wrong the whole weapons-of-mass-destruction-in-Iraq thing. Throwing your spies under the bus isn’t exactly a great way to begin a presidency, but it’s standard practice for Trump. He’s been betraying American agents to their enemies for years.
Back in the 1970s and ’80s, labor-leader Daniel Sullivan worked with the Teamsters union … and the mob. At some point, the FBI recruited Sullivan as an informant. The labor leader began feeding the feds info on his organized-crime buddies.
Sullivan did a lot of different jobs for a lot of different people, and as Trump tried to transform from Manhattan-based real-estate developer into Atlantic City casino mogul, he began to deal with Sullivan. For his part, Sullivan introduced Trump to the FBI agents handling Sullivan’s case.
We know this thanks to an FBI memo from Sept. 22, 1981 detailing the agent’s interactions with Trump. After The Washington Post ran a story on Trump’s relationship with Sullivan, Freedom of Information Act wizard Michael Best got the feds to turn over the memo.
The five pages make for a great read. They paint yet another unflattering portrait of the man who will soon be our president. When Trump met the agents, he was just getting started in Atlantic City. And he worried about the mob … but not for the reasons you’d guess.
“Trump advised agents that he had read in the press media and had heard from various acquaintances that organized-crime elements were known to operate in Atlantic City,” the memo explains. “Trump … expressed at this meeting, the reservation that his life and those around him would be subject to microscopic examination … he did not wish to tarnish his family’s name inadvertently.”
The agents told Trump he should consider the problems that come with building in Atlantic City — and make sure his employees were all above-board. Trump told the agents he’d love to cooperate with the FBI if he ended up building his casino. The agents said they’d communicate that to their bosses, but didn’t commit.
In 2006, Trump’s casino company begged New Jersey for leniencymedium.com
Trump pushed the issue in another meeting, telling the agents he wanted to build the casino — without getting tangled up with the mob. He even offered to use “hire” FBI agents disguised as employees. Then he asked the feds if they thought building in Atlantic City was a good idea.
“Writer advised Trump, on a personal level, not as a matter of bureau policy, that he [the writer], thought there were easier ways Trump could invest his money,” the memo recounted. Then Trump asked to talk to the agent’s supervisors about the issue and the agent promised to get back to him.
Here comes the fun part. Trump met with Mickey Brown, New Jersey’s director of gaming enforcement, to discuss all the licenses he needed to run a casino. Brown told Trump it’d probably go pretty fast, but that he was concerned about Sullivan. The man had an arrest record and was a known associate of organized crime, Brown pointed out.
So Trump told Brown that Sullivan was an informant. “Trump advised writer that he told Brown of source’s relationship with the FBI only in the sense that it might ‘nip things in the bud,’ and prevent future problems,” the FBI memo explained. “Trump stated that he talked with Brown about nothing substantive of a substantive nature, particularly involving any proposed undercover activity.”
The bureaucracy is one of the last things standing in Donald Trump’s waymedium.com
After their first few meetings, the FBI had put together a plan to place undercover agents in Trump’s casinos. He seemed a willing participant, but upon learning The Donald was willing to out a source just to secure an easy business deal, the feds dropped the program.
Trump kept pumping the FBI for info about Sullivan.
“Writer and case agent have repeatedly told Trump that they were not references for [Sullivan] and cannot speak for [Sullivan’s] business dealings,” the memo read. “[Sullivan] called Brown at Trump’s request. Before [Sullivan] could elaborate on the matter of his call, Brown told him that he was attempting to talk with the Newark division of the FBI to verify some conversations that Trump had with Brown.”
But Sullivan was calling to discuss other matters, not his relationship with the FB I— and the two dropped the matter.
This is how Trump treats the intelligence community — and frankly everyone else, too. They’re chips to be bargained with. It’s not about what’s best for people, it’s about what gets Trump the best deal. He hadn’t known the FBI very long before he betrayed one of the bureau’s sources on the off chance it would speed up paperwork for his casino.
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