“Secrecy World” enters the White House: What kind of person does business with Trump?

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Excerpted from “SECRECY WORLD: Inside the Panama Papers Investigation of Illicit Money Networks and the Global Elite,” by Jake Bernstein, published by HENRY HOLT AND COMPANY. Copyright © 2017 by Journo Productions, LLC. All rights reserved.

The workday was just beginning in Turkey when Mehmet Ali Yalçındağ reached the nation’s president by phone. Yalçındağ was calling from Trump Tower in Midtown Manhattan, where it was past midnight—the end of a long Election Night in November 2016. Yalçındağ had come to the hulking black skyscraper with the oversize gold letters above the entrance to show support for his business partner Donald J. Trump—on a night few but the true believers expected the brash real estate tycoon to emerge as the next president of the United States.

Despite a majority of the electorate viewing him unfavorably, the stars aligned for Trump: Mainstream Republicans, Democrats, and the media stumbled on how to handle an unconventional candidate. Trump faced a flawed and unpopular opponent in Hillary Clinton, who misread the electorate and ran a poor campaign. FBI director James Comey broke with precedent and inserted himself into the election, parceling out negative judgments and suggestive details on what turned out to be a fruitless Clinton email investigation. And Russian president Vladimir Putin launched a massive cyber-attack on the United States in an attempt to influence the outcome.

The Kremlin-backed attack included hacking the email server of the Democratic National Committee, flooding social media with fake news, and attempts to compromise individual state election databases. According to a declassified intelligence assessment, Putin targeted Democrats and the U.S. electoral system in part because he was furious over the Russian revelations contained in the Panama Papers. The details about the illicit cash flows swirling around the Russian leader had filled newspapers and news broadcasts worldwide. Putin blamed the damaging data leak on the Obama administration.

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