Why Ivanka Trump should be worried about the Michael Cohen investigation

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Ivanka Trump was derided this week for playing “secretary of state” in Peru, as well as for once again getting out of Washington, D.C., when trouble hits Donald Trump’s White House.

The trouble is potentially big this time, perhaps in a way that could be the beginning of the end of the Trump presidency, New Yorker writer Adam Davidson writes in a story published Saturday.

Attorney Michael Cohen walks down the sidewalk in New York, Wednesday, April 11, 2018. Federal agents who raided the office of President Donald Trump's personal attorney, were looking for information about payments to a former Playboy playmate and a porn actress who claim to have had affairs with Trump, two people familiar with the investigation said. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Michael Cohen in New York City on Wednesday.  (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) Seth Wenig/Associated Press

News came last week that FBI agents raided the office, home and hotel room of Michael Cohen, who is officially known as Donald Trump’s personal attorney. But to Davidson and other journalists who have been covering Trump and his pre-White house business activities, Cohen is better known as Trump’s “fixer.” He also was charged with working on a variety of the Trump family’s business deals, “sketchy” and otherwise, Davidson said.

That means the president may not be the only Trump facing legal jeopardy from the Cohen investigation. Ivanka Trump also could be caught up in whatever the FBI has learned from seizing Cohen’s e-mails, tax documents, and business records, or from whatever Cohen decides to share with investigators. Ivanka was the Trump Organization’s former executive vice president of development until she stepped down to work as a senior advisor in her father’s White House.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka Trump test the teleprompters and microphones on stage before the start of the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Ivanka will introduce her father before he gives his acceptance speech tonight, the final night of the convention. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Donald Trump and his Ivanka Trump test the teleprompters on stage before the start of the fourth day of the Republican National Convention in July 2016. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) 

“Trump might have reason to worry about Cohen cooperating with federal investigators, but (Ivanka and her brother Donald Trump Jr.) likely have even more reason,” Davidson added.

In addition to being tasked with keeping Trump’s alleged affairs with porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal out of the news, Cohen also worked with Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. in the company’s pursuit of Trump brand licensing deals and other business opportunities in the United States and abroad.

NEW YORK - APRIL 09: (L-R) Donald Trump and his children Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. attend the ribbon cutting ceremony for Trump SoHo New York at Trump SoHo on April 9, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Trump SoHo)
Donald Trump and his children Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. attend the ribbon cutting ceremony for Trump SoHo New York in 2010. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Trump SoHo) 

In the years leading up to Trump’s election, his Trump Organization’s global development team was essentially made up of Cohen, Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr., Davidson said. The team pursued multiple opportunities to earn millions by affixing Trump’s name to buildings in Moscow and other projects in the former Soviet republics and in South America, Asia and Canada.

In their pursuit of these international deals, Donald, Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. “did business with corrupt politicians, sanctions violators, and money launderers,” Davidson added in another New Yorker report. 

LEFT - Adult film actress/director Stormy Daniels (Ethan Miller/Getty Images) RIGHT - Former Playboy playmate Karen McDougal (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
Adult film actress and director Stormy Daniels (Ethan Miller/Getty Images) RIGHT – Former Playboy playmate Karen McDougal (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images) 

Michael Avenatti, the attorney for Stormy Daniels, believes that Cohen has plenty of knowledge about what Davidson calls the “high likelihood” of the Trump Organizations’s alleged “rampant criminality.”

“He knows where all the bodies are buried,” Avenatti told reporters Friday.  

Do some of those “bodies” involve projects that Ivanka Trump was involved in?

So far, Ivanka Trump’s name, unlike her husband Jared Kushner’s, hasn’t come up in inquiries related to Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, a situation that has baffled some legal experts, according to CNN.

But that doesn’t mean she’s not being looked at by other entities in connection to her family’s business dealings.

In fact, Donald Trump’s reported favorite child has already faced scrutiny by investigative journalists, local and federal law enforcement and Democratic members of congress for her role in some of the following Trump Organization projects:

Donald Trump’s Russia ambitions 

Miss Universe 2013 Gabriela Isler, from Venezuela, left, and pageant owner Donald Trump, of the United States, point to each other while posing for a photo after the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, Russia, on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
Miss Universe 2013 Gabriela Isler, from Venezuela and pageant owner Donald Trump after the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev) 

In the fall of 2015, a few months after Trump announced he was running for president, Cohen began to pursue Trump’s longtime dream of building a Trump Tower in Moscow, the New York Times reported. For help, he turned to Felix Sater, a Russian-born former Trump Organization associate with mob ties who served time in prison for a bar-room assault.

Sater boasted about how he could get Russian President Vladimir Putin on board with the Trump Tower idea. “Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it,” Sater wrote in an email to Cohen, the New York Times reported.

Sater had also helped Ivanka and Donald Jr. learn the real estate business by working with them on the Trump SoHo tower in Manhattan, according to New York magazine.

In 2006, he squired Ivanka Trump around Moscow at Trump’s request, New York magazine said. He claimed he also arranged for Ivanka to enjoy a tour of Red Square and the Kremlin, which included a stop by Putin’s office.

“I arranged for Ivanka to sit in Putin’s private chair at his desk and office in the Kremlin,” Sater said, according to the Times.

Ivanka Trump acknowledged to the Times that she may have visited Putin’s office and sat in his chair, but she didn’t “recall.” She also said she wasn’t involved in the Moscow Trump Tower deal other than to recommend architects.

Trump SoHo and avoiding indictment

The aforementioned luxury Trump SoHo project first introduced Ivanka Trump to what it’s like to face legal jeopardy. For two years starting in 2010, she and Donald Trump Jr. were under investigation in a felony real estate fraud case involving the hotel and condominium project, the New Yorker, ProPublica and WNYC reported in October 2017. 

PALM BEACH, FL - NOVEMER 12: Donald Trump Jr. pose with his sister Ivanka Trump and brother Eric Trump after the wedding ceremony at the Mar-a-Lago Club November 12, 2005 in Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Carlo Allegri/Getty Images)
Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump after Trump Jr.’s wedding to Vanessa Trump at Mar-a-Lago Club in 2005. (Photo by Carlo Allegri/Getty Images) 

“For two years, prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office had been building a criminal case against them for misleading prospective buyers of units in the Trump SoHo,” the story said.

But then another Trump attorney, Marc Kasowitz, intervened by meeting with Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. Kasowitz had donated generously to Vance’s re-election campaign. Three months after the meeting with Kasowitz, Vance overruled his prosecutors and told his office to drop the investigation.

Ivanka Trump’s role in her father’s “worst deal”

Ivanka Trump boasted about overseeing a 33-story luxury hotel project in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. However, the hotel never opened, according to Davidson’s March 2017 report in the New Yorker. For this project, Ivanka Trump and her father  partnered with oligarchs who allegedly sought to use the project to enable money-laundering and other illegal activities undertaken by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Davidson reported.

Ivanka Trump reveled in her key role in moving the project along from “its inception,” as she posted on her website and on social media.

 

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump (R) kisses daughter Ivanka Trump during the town hall debate at Washington University on October 9, 2016 in St Louis, Missouri. This is the second of three presidential debates scheduled prior to the November 8th election. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump kisses daughter Ivanka Trump during one of the presidential debates in 2016. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images) 

Democratic Senators Dianne Feinstein, Sherrod Brown and Ben Cardin wrote to then-FBI Director James Comey, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, calling for an investigation into whether Ivanka Trump or other family members violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other infractions, writer Hannah Seligson reported in the Columbia Journalism Review.

The FCPA forbids American companies from benefitting from the corrupt practices of a foreign partner, Davidson reported. Under the law, the onus is on American companies to do their due diligence in making sure the people they work with aren’t engaged in illicit activity.

Ivanka Trump’s Vancouver deal 

The FBI is looking into the financing and negotiations surrounding Ivanka Trump’s involvement with the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Vancouver, the home to one of her Ivanka Trump-branded spas, CNN reported in March. 

It’s not clear why the FBI is interested in this partnership, but CNN said the Trumps worked with one of Malaysia’s wealthiest families, whose patriarch admitted to financial fraud, CNN said. Ivanka Trump played a key role in getting the deal off the ground in 2013.

After an agreement was reached, Ivanka Trump recalled how she worked closely with the patriarch’s son, the lead developer of the project. “We were working on a lot on the design elements and really forming the vision,” she said, according to CNN.

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