[ACOUSTIC GUITAR TWANG COMES IN]
BERNSTEIN: In 1992, the investigative journalist Wayne Barrett did an interview with WNYC about his book, Trump: The Deals and the Downfall. [BEAT COMES IN] It was the first major biography of Donald Trump.
BARRETT: When he's cutting his first deal in the mid seventies [VOICE FADES UNDER] and he’s walking down the street with this Penn Central executive that he's negotiating with …
BERNSTEIN: Barrett tells a story about the deal that made Donald Trump a real estate mogul.
BARRETT: [VOICE COMES BACK IN] … and he sees this headline that says, “Mayor in New Jersey arrested for taking an $800,000 bribe.” And he says, “Who would pay a mayor [LAUGHTER] $800,000? I can get a United States Senator for $200,000!” This is kid Donald. I mean, he was raised at his poppa’s knee.
[MUSIC FADES DOWN]
BERNSTEIN: This interview was recorded 28 years ago. Wayne died in 2017, just hours before Trump was inaugurated President.
[MUSIC TWANGS BACK IN, SOFTLY]
BERNSTEIN: Decades before most people thought Trump was an important person, Wayne Barrett had devoted a good chunk of his life to investigating him. And what struck me is that the Donald Trump that Wayne Barrett talked about is the very same Donald Trump we know today. Not just the bragging, or the outrageousness, but also his use of government — to profit.
BARRETT: Well, his father really lent him not just the money that made the first deals possible, but — much more importantly — the political connections.
BERNSTEIN: Wayne was a friend of mine, and a mentor.
He was a legendary muckraker, working for the weekly The Village Voice.
Wayne had a method. He would work the phones [PHONE RINGS] and answer his own [CURTLY] “Yeah, Barrett.” [DOORBELL RINGS] He would show up on people’s doorsteps to get them to talk. [SOUND OF SHUFFLING PAPER] And he would sink himself into documents. So much so, he forgot to show up for a live radio show on WNYC to promote his own book.
[MUSIC BECOMES QUIETER, MORE BASS-DRIVEN]
BARRETT: Good afternoon. I want to apologize to you and to your audience for missing you last week. I was due here and failed [INTERVIEWER: Mhm.] for no good reason. I was so preoccupied with the mayor's financial plan I lost contact with reality.
BERNSTEIN: There’s a story Wayne dug up. It took place in the 1970s, as New York was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. Trump wanted to buy and renovate the dilapidated Commodore hotel, near Grand Central Terminal. It’s now the Grand Hyatt. Trump met with the executive who controlled the sale.
BARRETT: The day this man meets Donald, Donald is boasting about his relationships with then Mayor Abe Beame and Governor Hugh Carey, and how he can make these deals work.
BERNSTEIN: The executive wants proof from Trump.
BARRETT: … and says to him, “Well, I want to meet with the mayor then.”
BERNSTEIN: And Donald Trump says, “When?” and the executive says, “Well, tomorrow at 2 o’clock.”
BARRETT: And Donald says, my limousine will pick you up at 1:30. Doesn't call city hall or anything. [BARRETT CONTINUES TO TALK UNDER NARRATION]
BERNSTEIN: Trump’s relationship with the mayor is so close, honed by decades of political giving, that he can essentially act as the mayor’s scheduler.
BARRETT: There’s Abe Beame waiting with Fred Trump, Donald's father, and Donald Trump, arm around both of them, and says “Anything they want, they get.”
[MUSIC BECOMES DEEPER, MORE SINISTER]
BERNSTEIN: What they got was then the largest tax giveaway in the history of New York commercial real estate.
I was wondering how much that added up to. So I called the New York City Department of Finance. Here’s what they told me — the tax break started in the 1970s. The hotel still isn’t paying full taxes. And won’t be until this April. [PAUSE] Donald Trump and the hotel’s subsequent owners saved $410,068,399.55.
[THEME MUSIC PLAYS]
Hello, and welcome to Trump, Inc., a podcast from WNYC and ProPublica. I’m Andrea Bernstein.
Today, we're looking at how the Trump family has used government — and politicians — as paths to profit. And how families like them — the super-wealthy — have worked to consolidate their positions and undermine checks on their power and influence.
[MUSIC CUTS OUT, THEN COMES BACK IN IN WAVES]
All this helped usher Donald Trump into the White House, where he’s destroyed those checks even more.
Today on the show, the parallel stories of the rise of the Trumps and the rise of oligarchy in America. This episode is drawn from my new book, American Oligarchs: The Kushners, The Trumps and the Marriage of Money and Power.
Act 1, “When Taxes Were Good.” For today’s episode, I’m going to rely on two guides. Wayne Barrett, and a French-born economist who studies taxes, inequality, and democracy.
[MUSIC BECOMES DRIVING, SEARCHING]
ZUCMAN: I’m Gabriel Zucman. I'm a professor of economics at UC Berkeley and I'm the author of The Triumph of Injustice: How the Rich Dodge Taxes and How to Make Them Pay.
BERNSTEIN: What made you interested in studying taxes?
ZUCMAN: There was a moment, let's say, when I was like, “Okay, I want to study economics to start with.” And that was, during and just after the financial crisis of 2008 to 2009. I was 21 at the time. I realized the dramatic consequences that bad policy-making can have for millions of people.
BERNSTEIN: Zucman studies enormous data sets — about national wealth and income and tax collection — that tell a story about American history.
When he looked at the data, Zucman found huge flows of corporate capital moving through tax havens around the globe.
ZUCMAN: And I wanted to understand, “Okay, what's the story behind this?”
[OLD-TIMEY MUSIC PLAYS]
BERNSTEIN: The Trump story starts in 1885.
The year Donald Trump’s grandfather, Frederick Trump, arrived in America.
Frederick Trump, immigrant, made his riches by following the last North American Gold Rush, and setting up establishments that supplied prospectors with food, and liquor, and sex. He took the money he made to New York, and invested in real estate.
[MUSIC FADES OUT WITH AN ECHO, THEN BECOMES A CURIOUS, VAGUELY DANCE-Y BEAT]
In those days in America, despite wealth inequality, you could change your social class. Frederick Trump did.
ZUCMAN: That's a period of rapid change. That's a period where if you look, for instance, at the share of wealth owned by the top 10% wealthiest Americans, it rises from about 60% before the Civil War — 50%, 60% — to maybe around 80% just before World War I.
BERNSTEIN: An America formed on egalitarian ideals became alarmed. The president of the American Economic Association issued a warning.
ZUCMAN: He says, “Look, the distribution of wealth is becoming a danger for the US democratic institutions.” And this idea that extreme wealth concentration is a danger for democracy, it’s a uniquely — I think — American idea.
BERNSTEIN: When the Framers were writing the Constitution, they treated the power of money in politics, and the corruption that could ensue, as a dangerous threat that could upend the Republic. As serious a threat as war.
[MUSIC ECHOES OUT]
And yet — by the beginning of the last century, as Frederick Trump’s fortune was on the rise, monopolists were clearly controlling politics, and everyone understood this.
But then, muckraking journalists uncovered the social costs.
There were democratic reforms. The biggest U.S. company, Standard Oil, owned by the richest man on the face of the earth, John D. Rockefeller, was broken up in 1911. The federal income tax was ratified in 1913. The 1929 stock market crash, and Depression that ensued, sharply reduced the veneration of the wealthy.
And fewer rich people meant less money could be spent bending politics.
[QUICK INSTRUMENTAL MOMENT]
By the time Fred Trump, Donald Trump’s father, got into business in the 1930s and 1940s, new social norms were at play.
ROOSEVELT: Taxes, after all, are the dues that we pay for the privileged membership in an organized society.
BERNSTEIN: This is President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, quoting Oliver Wendell Holmes.
ROOSEVELT: And as society becomes more civilized, government — national, and state and local — is called on to assume more obligations to its citizens, the privileges of membership in a civilized society are vastly increased in modern times. But I am afraid we still have many who do not recognize their advantages and want to avoid paying their dues.
[QUIET BASSLINE BEGINS]
BERNSTEIN: When the U.S. joins World War II, taxes are more important than ever.
ZUCMAN: In 1942, Franklin Roosevelt goes to Congress and makes a famous speech where he says, “Look, I think that in this period of grave national danger, no American should have an income — after paying taxes — of more than $25,000.
ZUCMAN: Therefore, I propose to introduce a top marginal income tax rate for income above $25,000 of 100%.”
ZUCMAN: 100%! And people in Congress, they hesitate a little bit. They think, “100%, you know, maybe it's a bit too much.” But they settle on 94%. That’s the law. That's what they vote.
BERNSTEIN: The very wealthy paid a tax rate above 90% for years. Those rates remained above 70% until the 1980s.
[DEPRESSION-ERA MUSIC PLAYS]
BERNSTEIN: This is the period when Fred Trump, Donald Trump’s father, became a very wealthy man. In New York City, during the Great Depression and World War II, large flows of money were controlled by clubhouse politicians. And Fred Trump saw his angle — political connections would get him government contracts and backing.
So Fred Trump gave massive donations. He hired the party’s pre-selected lawyers and insurance men. And he built modest, middle-class apartments fueled by enormous infusions of federally-backed mortgages.
[PAUSE, MUSIC STOPS]
He also did something that was socially unacceptable at the time. When it came to paying money back to the government as taxes, Fred Trump cheated.
ZUCMAN: You always have people who just hate taxes and are going to do whatever they can to, uh, evade taxes. And — and Fred Trump was certainly one of those.
BERNSTEIN: Zucman studied the data. He found something that might seem counterintuitive. In the post-war period — when taxes were high — fewer people tried to avoid them.
ZUCMAN: The social norms were different. And the pervading ideology was different. Dodging taxes at the time was not considered a good thing to do, or a smart thing to do, a patriotic thing to do.
[MUSIC BEGINS QUIETLY BUT URGENTLY]
BERNSTEIN: As the New York Times found in a 2018 investigation, adjusting for inflation — beginning shortly after Donald Trump was born — Fred Trump routed over a billion dollars to his children, tax-free, over the years, including the equivalent of more than $400 million to Donald Trump.
The Times called some of the Trump family practices “outright fraud.”
[MUSIC CHANGES, BECOMES A PLUCKING SONG]
In 1954, the Senate Banking Committee called Fred Trump to the Capitol. They wanted him to to explain why, when he wanted government mortgages, he valued his properties at top dollar — but when he wanted to avoid taxes, he used different, much lower values.
Fred Trump defended himself as a builder of quality homes.
A federal report found that the inflated estimates that had enriched Fred Trump and other developers were, quote, “outright misrepresentation.”
But there were no legal consequences for Fred Trump.
[MUSIC PLAYS LOUDER FOR A BEAT, THEN ENDS]
Act 2, ”How Donald Trump Helped Make Taxes Bad.” The 1970s and 1980s were when Donald Trump got into the family business. This is Wayne Barrett, from that 1992 interview on WNYC.
[BOUNCY MUSIC BEGINS]
BARRETT: Well, his father really lent him, not just the money that made the first deals possible, but — much more importantly — the political connections.
BERNSTEIN: Wayne said Donald Trump inherited political ties.
BARRETT: Really, the story of Donald Trump, rather than this Horatio Alger figure, is this is a — this is a guy who managed to learn how to turn politics into money.
BERNSTEIN: That deal that Donald Trump made for the Commodore Hotel — near Grand Central, that we talked about at the top of the show? [PAUSE FOR BREATH] When Donald Trump got that deal, he was a 29-year old developer with no track record in Manhattan. What he did have? Political connections to get zoning changes and approvals and, above all, [PAUSE] money from the government.
BARRETT: This guy is a state capitalist. Every single one of his major deals, he was designated to be a millionaire and subsequently a billionaire by the government officials that he co-opted and compromised.
BERNSTEIN: Like his father, Donald Trump cheated. To close his first big deal in Manhattan, he told state officials he had financing — when he did not. He told the bankers he had state approval — when he did not. He sent forms without the bank’s signature over to state officials, but no one noticed. Then he boasted about all of this in his bestselling book, The Art of the Deal.
[MUSIC COMES BACK IN]
Donald Trump was investigated by federal prosecutors for one aspect of this “deal.“ To fend off charges, he invited the FBI agent looking into him down to his father’s offices on Avenue Z in Brooklyn. Trump [PAUSE] didn't bring a lawyer. He did bring his wife, Ivana Trump, and their son, Don Jr., a toddler. No charges were filed.
[MUSIC BECOMES MORE COMPLEX, ADDS A BASSLINE]
As a businessman in New York City, Donald Trump understood the importance of political donations. But Trump took things a step further. He used his money to compromise people.
BARRETT: He hired the governor's son, hired the chairperson of the governor's campaign finance committee, hired the head of the state Democratic Party … [AUDIO FADES UNDER NARRATION]
BERNSTEIN: After he wrote his Trump biography, Wayne Barrett kept reporting on Trump, and the way he turned power into money. Barrett [PAUSE] understood Trump.
BARRETT: This is a very remote, isolated, lonely guy. My image of him, which comes through in the book, is a guy who was sittin’ up at 3 o'clock in the morning in his own bedroom, even through the years that he was married for — to Ivana, calling friends in the middle of the night, stuffing a hamburger down his throat and changing the channel.
BERNSTEIN: Trump reacted to Barrett in ways [PAUSE] that now seem familiar. He said Barrett had “numerous literary failures.” He called his book “boring, non-factual and highly inaccurate.” There was more. Trump learned that Wayne lived in a run-down apartment in Brooklyn. So, as Wayne Barrett tells the story, Trump tried to bribe him.
BARRETT: He said, “You know, Wayne, you don't have to live in Brownsville, I can give you — I can get you an apartment.” And then [BREATH] when that didn't work, he tried to tell me about how he had almost bankrupted a reporter from Chicago who'd written something about him that he thought was libelous.
[MUSIC BECOMES MORE AMBIENT, MORE CHILL]
BERNSTEIN: In the 1970’s, Trump hired Roy Cohn as his lawyer. Cohn was infamous then for his role as chief counsel in the McCarthy hearings. When Donald Trump first brought Cohn on his team, Cohn worked for mobsters and had been in trouble with the law himself.
TRUMP: I just guess it's something inside my nature. First of all, I don't like to lose. I only like to win. That's one of the things, and you really don't win by not being tough.
BERNSTEIN: Cohn had his own interview on WNYC. This one was in 1982.
COHN: Uh, secondly, I have a temper, I have a short fuse. I react quickly to incompetence to rudeness, to stupidity. And, uh, that would brand me as being tough.
BERNSTEIN: Trump wrote in The Art of the Deal, “My lawyer, Roy Cohn, did a brilliant job, arguing before seven justices without so much as a note.” Trump loved Roy Cohn.
INTERVIEWER: Who is the smartest political sage you've encountered in your career?
COHN: Smartest political sage. Okay, I'll have to shoot a few at ya. New York politics, I would talk about Carmine de Sapio —
BERNSTEIN: De Sapio was the boss of Tammany Hall.
COHN: — I would talk about Meade Esposito —
BERNSTEIN: Esposito was the Brooklyn boss, he was convicted of bribery.
COHN: — I have to talk about my law partner, Stanley Friedman, who was a Democratic leader of Bronx County —
BERNSTEIN: Friedman was later sentenced to 20 years in prison after being convicted of corruption — by US attorney Rudy Giuliani.
COHN: — a young guy named Roger Stone, who isn’t 30 years old yet, who managed the Northeast Reagan campaign and Tom Kean’s successful underdog campaign to become governor of New Jersey.
BERNSTEIN: Roger Stone … you know Roger Stone. He was recently convicted of seven counts of lying to Congress and trying to interfere with a witness during the investigation into the Trump campaign’s relationship with Wikileaks during the 2016 campaign.
Roy Cohn, and Trump, built their power by nurturing political connections. And then they used it to get money from the government. Cohn helped Trump get tens of millions of dollars in tax breaks. Trump and Cohn went to court to get $25 million meant for affordable housing for Trump Tower.
This is the case Cohn argued with no notes. They won.
[MUSIC BECOMES MORE DRIVING, MORE STRINGS-BASED]
BERNSTEIN: While Donald Trump was avoiding taxes in New York, a national movement was emerging. An anti-tax movement.
ZUCMAN: You have a new ideology that is gaining ground. A network of conservative foundations, well-funded, that are pushing low-tax, anti-government ideas.
BERNSTEIN: In the 1970s, Californians pushed an anti-tax measure known as Proposition 13, which sharply limited the amount of taxes government could collect, and, as a result, sharply limited government spending.
ZUCMAN: Reagan takes office makes his famous speech on how the government is not the solution to our problem, but the government is the problem.
BERNSTEIN: Reagan turns the pro-tax ideology on its head.
REAGAN: Those who do work are denied a fair return for their labor by a tax system which penalizes successful achievement and keeps us from maintaining full productivity.
BERNSTEIN: When Ronald Reagan became President, a wealthy person could pay over two thirds of their income in taxes. By the end of his two terms, that person would never pay more than a third. Estate taxes tumbled too. These tax cuts? They had bipartisan support. Government revenues tumbled.
ZUCMAN: The revenues that the federal government gets from the estate tax … these revenues have been divided by a factor of five relative to the size of the economy since the 1970s.
[MUSIC FADES OUT]
BERNSTEIN: Even before the tax cuts of the 1980s began to spur widespread tax evasion and avoidance, Donald Trump, like his father before him, was aggressively working to not pay taxes.
ZUCMAN: How to put it … Maybe he was, you know, ahead of his time, in the sense that the evidence we have which is very limited about, you know, the — the — the way he's managed his businesses for tax purposes.
BERNSTEIN: [LAUGHING] So he was — he was an early adopter tax evader?
ZUCMAN: He was … I think you can — you could say that he was an early adopter.
[BRIEF STRING MUSIC PLAYS IN THE BACKGROUND, THEN FADES OUT]
BERNSTEIN: The year that Ronald Reagan started cutting taxes in earnest on a federal level — 1981 — was the year that Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump were born. If you chart the wealth of the very richest Americans, as Zucman did in a 2014 study, the line shoots upward, like the right-hand half of the letter “U.” Each tax cut meant the top 0.001% could keep more of their money, and invest in ways that outpaced wage growth. The incomes of the 0.001% rose by 636%, while the incomes of the bottom 20% stagnated.
BERNSTEIN: What would it mean to be a wealthy person growing up in this period where the wealthy are getting wealthier and wealthier and wealthier faster?
ZUCMAN: The country is working great for you. It's the best economic system on the planet, just because you see your income and your wealth grow very, very fast. And in particular it's a great period of time for wealth. It’s a great period of time for the owners of capital.
[QUIET MUSIC CUE COMES IN]
IVANKA: Well, you know I, I acknowledge, um, wholeheartedly that, you know, bearing the last name Trump has provided me with, um, multiple advantages and I think it’s — it has been a tremendous asset for me.
BERNSTEIN: Ivanka Trump gave her her own interview on WNYC in 2009.
IVANKA: I think, with that said, I know a lot of people who are the children of privileged or well-known parents who don't really seize on the opportunity to develop their own identity.
BERNSTEIN: From generation to generation, the Trumps passed on on enormous wealth. And each successive generation gave tens of thousands, and then hundreds of thousands of dollars, to politicians, from governor to city council. Donald Trump once confirmed to New York investigators that he mostly gave through shell companies. The public didn’t know who these companies were. Politicians did, though. Trump boasted about taking advantage of this system during his campaign for president.
TRUMP: I will tell you that our system is broken. I gave to many people — before this, before two months ago, I was a businessman. I give to everybody. When they call, I give. And do you know what? When I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them, they are there for me. [TRUMP CONTINUES TALKING AS NARRATION CONTINUES]
BERNSTEIN: Trump also boasted about how good he was at not paying taxes.
COOPER: NYT published three pages of your 1995 tax return. They show you claimed $916 million loss, which means you could have avoided paying personal federal income taxes for years. You’ve said you pay state taxes, employee taxes, real estate taxes, property taxes. You have not answered a simple question. Did you use that loss to avoid paying personal taxes?
TRUMP: Of course I do. Of course I do. And so do … [TRUMP CONTINUES TALKING AS NARRATION CONTINUES]
BERNSTEIN: Then, as now, he kept his taxes returns hidden.
CLINTON: The only years that anybody’s ever seen were a couple of years when he had to turn them over to state authorities when he was trying to get a casino license, and they showed he didn’t pay any federal income tax. So, if he paid zero —
TRUMP: That makes me smart. [CLINTON CONTINUES TALKING AS NARRATION RESUMES]
BERNSTEIN: “That makes me smart,” Trump said.
[PAUSE, SOFT KEYBOARD MUSIC PLAYS]
BERNSTEIN: We’ll be right back.
BERNSTEIN: We’re back.
[INQUISITIVE MUSIC PLAYS]
Act 3, “The Coming Oligarchy.” After Watergate, the Federal Elections Campaign Act set important limits on campaign financing and on laws on disclosure. But the same people and groups that fought for lower taxes fought to chip away at campaign finance laws. The culmination was the 2010 Citizens United case, which allowed corporations to spend unfettered amounts of money on electioneering.
Citizens United meant the burgeoning flow of corporate and dark and foreign money into U.S. politics began a torrent. Wealthy people were getting wealthier and wealthier, faster and faster. And this court decision meant they could spend more and more money on campaigns and on politicians that would allow them to make money even faster.
ZUCMAN: The transformation of wealth into power can be done in different ways sometimes very crudely by funding politicians here and there, and bribes and very unsophisticated ways.
The Trump family is not shy on transforming their wealth into power in a very crude and brutal way. But that's the nature of extreme wealth. When you're extremely wealthy, what do you do? You spend your wealth and your time trying to defend your established position, trying to fight the IRS, trying to fight new entrants on your market. You know — buy newspapers, funding again, foundations, research centers. That's what all rich people always and everywhere do. Trying to influence lawmakers, trying to defend their monopolies.
BERNSTEIN: At the end of his first year in office, Trump passed his only major piece of legislation, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. It slashed taxes again.
The federal government is expected to lose hundreds of billions of dollars as a result. This year, it faces a trillion dollar deficit.
The law also became another way for Trump to turn politics into money. His own businesses received particular favor under the new law. When the New York Times listed the winners of the bill, it put “President Trump and his family” at the top.
While the rich have been keeping more and more of their money, they’ve been giving more and more to Trump and his causes. Since the tax law was enacted, disclosures show, the Trump campaign and related political committees have been vacuuming up record amounts of money.
ZUCMAN: I think the US is in this [PAUSE] spiral or in this drift where wealth inequality rises, the power of the wealthy rises, because wealth is power. And yes, that dynamic is clearly there. But it is possible to stop this spiral.
[DRIVING MUSIC PLAYS]
BERNSTEIN: In the summer of 2018, I got a premonition of what happens if you don’t stop the spiral. It was during the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. He was being tried for bank fraud and tax fraud in the Eastern District of Virginia.
[PROTESTORS CHANT “LOCK HIM UP” IN THE BACKGROUND FOR A MOMENT]
For the trial, Manafort entered the court house through a side door, changing from his green prison jumpsuit to an elegant black suit and tasseled loafers. I could see from the front row of the courtroom, he wore them with no socks.
During the course of his trial, we learned just how much he spent on his clothes — hundreds of thousand of dollars. Millions more went to luxury cars, rugs, multiple homes. We also learned where the money came from.
“During this trial,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Uzo Asonye told the jurors, “You will learn that for his political work in Ukraine, Manafort was paid by Ukrainian oligarchs, some of the country's most powerful and wealthy men. Men who, as oligarchs, controlled entire industries with the aid and comfort of the Ukraine government.”
The prosecution put its first witness on the stand, a political consultant, Tad Devine, who had worked with Manafort in Ukraine (He also worked for Bernie Sanders in 2016). Did Devine know who was paying him? “Yes,” he said. Rinat Akhmetov.
“And who is Rinat Akmetov?” the prosecutor asked.
“He’s a wealthy Ukrainian,” Devine answered. “They call him an oligarch. Someone who is, you know, a wealthy person.” According to the Organized Crime and Corruption Report Project, Akhmetov is the richest person in Ukraine. He got that way by controlling resources: energy, steel mills … and the politicians who controlled access to the riches.
Maybe it shouldn’t have, but all of this kind of shocked me. In Ukraine, the oligarchs didn’t have to contribute to campaign committees or super-PACs or anything like that. They just directly paid to get the consultants to get the politicians who would enable them to keep making money.
I’ve been asking myself whether that’s what we should expect in America, too.
[MUSIC OUT, THEN PIANO MUSIC PLAYS]
BERNSTEIN: Coming up on Trump Inc., making campaign donations will take you places — just ask Lev Parnas.
PARNAS: I went from being a top donor, from being at all the events where we would just socialize, to becoming a close friend of Rudy Giuliani’s, to eventually becoming his ally and his asset on the ground in Ukraine.
BERNSTEIN: This episode was drawn from my book American Oligarchs: The Kushners, the Trumps, and the Marriage of Money and Power. You can find it wherever books are sold. By the way, I read my own audiobook.
Also! I’ll be in Boston, Washington, DC, San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Manhattan, and Brooklyn — check out AndreaBernsteinBook.com for locations.
[MUSIC OUT, REPLACED WITH REMIXED OLD-TIMEY CREDITS MUSIC]
Very, very special thanks this episode to WNYC’s Archivist, Andy Lanset.
Thanks also to Tom Mayer of W.W. Norton.
This episode was produced by Alice Wilder, Katherine Sullivan, and Meg Cramer. Matt Collette is the Executive Producer of Trump, Inc. This episode was edited by Eric Umansky, Jesse Eisinger, and Nick Varchaver. The sound designer is Jared Paul. Emily Botein is the Vice President for Original Programming at WNYC and Stephen Engelberg is the Editor-in-Chief of ProPublica.
The original music is by Jared Paul and Hannis Brown.
New York Public Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline, often by contractors. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of New York Public Radio’s programming is the audio record.