International Swamp Alert: Chinese bank offered $150,000 tickets to dine with Trump in Dallas

Gage Skidmore / Flickr Donald Trump...
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Let’s imagine a moment where Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton accepted a $500 million loan from the Chinese government and then within days announced the lifting of sanctions and removal of massive fines of a Chinese company under scrutiny for business dealings with Iran and North Korea. The blatant appearance of impropriety or downright links to corruption would cause a white-hot rage from Republicans … and rightfully so! And yet, that is exactly what happened with Donald Trump, the Trump Organization and the Chinese government. From Business Insider:

Within three days of the Chinese government agreeing to provide $500 million in loans to an Indonesian theme park that the Trump Organization has a deal to license President Donald Trump’s name to, the president stunningly ordered sanctions be rescinded against a major Chinese telecom company.

As AFP reported via the South China Morning Post last week, the developer of that project just outside of Jakarta had secured the half billion in funding, in addition to another $500 million from Chinese banks, 72 hours before Trump’s Sunday tweet on the Chinese telecom company ZTE. Trump’s family business has a deal with that developer to include the Trump name on the resort, which also includes hotels and a golf course.

“President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast,” Trump tweeted Sunday. “Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!”

If that doesn’t make your head explode, buckle up for this next item. Bloomberg is reporting a Chinese bank is offering $150,000 tickets to dine with Donald Trump in Dallas, with tickets acquired from a third party (VVISA).

China’s second-largest state-owned bank offered wealthy clients the opportunity to have dinner with the American president for $150,000 a ticket, spurring a complaint from Donald Trump’s re-election campaign to the U.S. Department of Justice.

A branch of China Construction Bank Corp. invited high-net-worth clients willing to pay the ticket price to a May 31 dinner in Dallas, according to an invitation seen by Bloomberg News and confirmed with bank staff. Chinese participants would have the opportunity to communicate with U.S. “tycoons,” take photos with Trump and get his autograph, according to the invitation.

While Trump was expected to host a $50,000-a-head fund-raising dinner with the Republican National Committee in Dallas that night, it’s illegal for U.S. political campaigns to accept donations from foreign nationals or from corporations. That means only the Chinese bank’s customers with U.S. passports would be eligible to attend.

Exactly who was invited to spend $150,000 per ticket to personally meet Donald Trump?

“As Sino-U.S. trade frictions have eased recently, Chinese businessmen including representatives from ZTE were invited to Dallas to attend President Trump’s dinner, and thus discuss cooperation and development with U.S. political and business elites,” the invitation said. The Shenzhen branch later reissued the invitation Thursday to remove references to trade friction and ZTE.

I’m surprised they didn’t throw in a $25,000 per night suite at the Trump hotel in D.C. Is there any doubt these officials will be staying at Trump’s hotel?

An unnamed Trump campaign staffer says the dinner offer has been shut down.

“We do not accept foreign donations of any kind,” a Trump campaign official said in a statement, declining to be identified by name. “Since it has been brought to our attention, we have notified the appropriate authority about this unauthorized flier.”

The flier may be gone, but the dinner is still a “go.”

The Shenzhen branch acquired the tickets from VVISA, according to a person familiar with the matter. Both the bank and the travel agency earn commissions from the sales, said the person, who asked not to be named discussing internal bank business.

Again and again we see that Donald Trump has never taken one single step toward “draining the swamp” as he promised for two years on the campaign trail. No, sir. Instead, he has vastly expanded the swamp to China, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and beyond.

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