Grifters Gotta Grift, Part Infinity
“Amid President Trump’s headaches confirming cabinet secretaries, from neophyte Rex Tillerson to conflict-prone Scott Pruitt to unprepared Betsy DeVos, all of whom squeezed through, Wilbur Ross was a tonic. With his blue power suit and decades of dealmaking, he had the look and the résumé of a commerce secretary. And unlike his boss, Ross promised to divest from almost all his holdings upon entering government, drawing bipartisan praise en route to an easy confirmation. “You have really made a very personal sacrifice,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut. “Your service has resulted in your divesting yourself of literally hundreds of millions of dollars.” In November 2017, Ross confirmed in writing to the federal Office of Government Ethics that he had divested everything he promised.”
Wait for it…
“But that was not true.”
And then Forbes goes into details both broad and arcane of how the Living Unisom has both lied and grifted his way in The Fourth Reich. And because he lied to Forbes about his wealth (for decades!), Forbes rightly has been on him like white on
Sessions, er, rice.
But as you might have guessed, Ol’ Wilbur has a Russian connection too, as do all the cool kid in Comrade Trump’s crime wave:
- For most of last year, Ross served as secretary of commerce while maintaining stakes in companies co-owned by the Chinese government, a shipping firm tied to Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, a Cypriot bank reportedly caught up in the Robert Mueller investigation and a huge player in an industry Ross is now investigating. It’s hard to imagine a more radioactive portfolio for a cabinet member.
- To this day, Ross’ family apparently continues to have an interest in these toxic holdings. Rather than dump them all, the commerce secretary sold some of his interests to Goldman Sachs—and, according to Ross himself, put others in a trust for his family members. He continued to deal with China, Russia and others while evidently knowing that his family’s interests were tied to those countries.
- In addition, five days before reports surfaced last fall that Ross was connected to cronies of Vladimir Putin through a shipping firm called Navigator Holdings, the secretary of commerce, who likely knew about the reporting, shorted stock in the Kremlin-linked company, positioning himself to make money on the investment when share prices dropped.
He shorted Putin? Oh, boy, Wilburrrrr’s gonna take a cup of tea and a (dirt) nap! Of course, how will anyone tell the difference?