(THREAD) This thread summarizes the major-media investigative reporting on the TRUMP-CHINA SCANDAL, a bribery scandal involving Trump's hunt for dirt on Joe Biden in China, his debts to the Chinese government, and his decision to ignore life-saving COVID-19 intel. Please RETWEET.
1/ We begin with the context: Trump's history of viewing his endeavors as entwined and mutually reinforcing. For instance, despite contest-rigging being a felony, Trump has been accused of picking Miss Universe finalists based on where his businesses are. newyorker.com/magazine/2018/…
2/ Just so, the Trump-Russia scandal was at its heart a *bribery* scandal: Trump's pre-election establishment of a pro-Russia foreign policy in conjunction with secretly pursuing the most lucrative deal of his professional life: a Kremlin-blessed deal for a "Trump Tower Moscow."
3/ The Trump-Ukraine scandal was another bribery scandal—Trump receiving illegal foreign donations and false statements on Biden from corrupt Ukrainians in exchange for military aid, a White House visit, and help toppling the anti-Kremlin CEO of Ukraine's state-owned energy firm.
4/ Trump's hasty retreat from Syria—the Trump-Turkey scandal—was likewise underwritten by bribery: Trump's major business interests in Turkey interfering first in the federal prosecution of the Turkish Halkbank and then in his capitulation to an illegal Turkish invasion of Syria.
5/ The Trump-Saudi, Trump-UAE, and Trump-Israel scandals—which all saw Trump receive illegal aid from these nations pre-election in exchange for favorable policy post-election (see PROOF OF CONSPIRACY)—were *likewise* accompanied by Trump pursuing business deals in these nations.
6/ It's important to underscore that Trump has confessed to almost all of this. For instance, he confessed pre-election that if he ever had to set policy with respect to Turkey post-election—which of course he would—he would have a "conflict of interest." time.com/4746348/donald…
7/ Trump has called the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act—which prevents businessmen like him from participating in bribery schemes with foreign nations—a "horrible" and "unfair" law that he wants repealed by Congress. And he's made efforts to orchestrate it: nytimes.com/2020/01/15/bus…
8/ His own officials—even ones loyal to him—talk openly about his conflicts of interest, which see him commingling his business interests and U.S. policy and (with persistence and impunity) acting to advance his interests. Bolton and Barr both agree on it. nytimes.com/2020/01/27/us/…
9/ Trump no longer even pretends to deny that he was seeking a major tower deal in Moscow while running for president—commingling his business interests with foreign policy decisions he'd have to make as POTUS. It's key context for the Trump-China scandal. vox.com/world/2018/11/…
10/ Presented by ABC News with a hypothetical in which he participates in a bribery scheme—a foreign government offering him a personal political benefit even as he is setting U.S. foreign policy with respect to that country—Trump said he would go for it. abcnews.go.com/Politics/id-ex…
11/ In the Ukraine scandal, Trump simply drew *no distinction* between official acts he'd taken to benefit himself personally and the idea that a president must work on the nation's behalf—a novel claim his trial attorney then explicitly and publicly made. newyorker.com/news/letter-fr…
12/ COVID-19 has stopped none of this. During the pandemic, even as Europe—per reporting by the NYT—was the actual source of the new February infections in NYC, Trump issued a European travel "ban" in March that excluded any country he had golf courses in. politico.com/news/2020/03/1…
13/ No one disagrees that—per endless major-media reporting—in Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Israel, other nations like Egypt, his pageants and more, Trump cross-pollinates his operations so that everything works hand-in-glove with everything else to make him money.
14/ Trump told Cohen—per Cohen's congressional testimony, uncontradicted on this—that Trump's POTUS run was intended as an "infomercial" for his "brand" (i.e., domestic/foreign actors would later pay him based on what he included—like policy—in the brand). wsj.com/articles/muell…
15/ The Steele dossier was not the first—or the *twentieth*—document to claim Trump's business dealings in *China* significantly *supersede* in size and scope his many failed dealings in Russia, his many failed dealings in Ukraine in the 2000s, or his Middle Eastern golf courses.
16/ You can read all about Trump's conflicts of interest in China here—mind you, just a *few* of the ones we know about, as most are hidden within Trump's tax returns. The most obvious piece is scores of valuable trademarks timed to Trump policy decisions. americanprogress.org/issues/securit…
17/ That's right: Trump—and Ivanka—get valuable Chinese trademarks in a way that appears timed to coincide with Trump's decisions on issues in which the Chinese government is invested. In this we see the *same trend* as with his pro-Kremlin foreign policy. theguardian.com/us-news/2018/m…
18/ But it's more than just trademarks: Trump *owes the Chinese government hundreds of millions of dollars*. And the Trump-China scandal coincides with some of those debts coming due and some of Trump's income *from* China entering a period of uncertainty. politico.com/news/2020/04/2…
19/ It was in this context—in the middle of a trade war with China *Trump started*—that Trump spoke with Chinese president Xi Jinping in June 2019 and did something a U.S. president never does: discussed *both* U.S. policy and his political rival (Biden). cnn.com/2019/10/03/pol…
20/ Two notes about this CNN report:

1⃣ Trump's call with Xi came not long after his hand-picked AG "exculpated" him of wrongdoing in Russia—meaning he felt free to exchange in such conduct again.
2⃣ Trump's team *hid the transcript of the Trump-Xi call*. vox.com/policy-and-pol…
21/ If you track the calls we know Trump improperly used the NSC ("NICE") archive to hide from even his own administration—calls with Putin, MBS and Xi, plus the call with Zelensky that got him impeached—you can see that Trump *knows* when he's done wrong. cnn.com/2019/09/27/pol…
22/ So in June 2019, Trump had a call with Chinese president Xi Jinping in which he talked about a trade war he (Trump) had started—a war which gave him leverage over China—and Biden's political prospects. And then Trump's team worked feverishly to hide what Trump had said to Xi.
23/ We don't have to *wonder* what the connection is between Trump's trade war and Biden—Trump told us in October 2019. In that month, he discussed—in the same 30 seconds—his *leverage* with China and his request for Biden dirt from China. Watch the video: c-span.org/video/?464931-…
24/ So the question is not whether Trump commingled the trade war and Biden; or whether he wanted to hide that fact; or whether what he wanted from his "leverage" with China was dirt on Biden. All that is clear—and public. The question is: did Trump get the deal that he demanded?
25/ The answer is *yes*.

One of Trump's top men on trade negotiations in China, Michael Pillsbury, said he received *dirt on Biden* from *the Chinese government* the *very same week* Trump tied his "leverage" with the Chinese to his demand for Biden dirt. thedailybeast.com/michael-pillsb…
26/ Pillsbury: "I got quite a bit of background on Hunter Biden from the Chinese." The FINANCIAL TIMES reports "[it] relate[ed] to a $1.5bn payment from the Bank of China"—which "matches the amount Trump last week claimed Hunter Biden received from China." ft.com/content/d4b9b0…
27/ In Trump's public statements, he has said that the money Hunter Biden received in China somehow implicates Joe Biden in corruption involving the Chinese government—an accusation that follows Trump's career-long pattern of accusing others of whatever he himself has been doing.
28/ As the summary of Trump's conflicts of interest by the Center for American Progress details, when Trump made his demand of the Chinese not only did he have "leverage" from the trade war he started to consider—a war which has hurt Americans—but also his rent at NYC properties.
29/ Trump makes tens of millions of dollars renting to the Chinese—and one of his biggest payments was up for renegotiation in October '19, the month he talked about leverage over the Chinese and demanded dirt on his top political rival. But there's some context to consider here.
30/ Remember that Trump and his family had long ago learned from major-media reporting that the Chinese were actively looking for clandestine ways to shift Trump's China policy using the business/personal interests of him and his family.

All D.C. knew it. washingtonpost.com/world/national…
31/ Consider, then, that the $200+ million Trump owes the Chinese government is due "soon," per POLITICO, meaning Trump knows he has China's support for his re-election—as it has leverage over him it wants to keep—*and* that now is his time to cut a deal. politico.com/news/2020/04/2…
32/ It is in this context—(1) Trump owing the Chinese $200+ million; (2) having them as a major renter bringing him tens of millions; (3) he and his family knowing they want to cut a clandestine deal; (4) him having coupled personal and U.S. policy and tried to hide it... {cont.}
33/ ...(5) Pillsbury getting Biden dirt from the Chinese during the same 7-day period Trump demands it; and (6) Trump warning the Chinese that he has "leverage" to get what he wants because of the trade war *he* started—at the moment coronavirus appears in China in November 2019.
34/ In November 2019, just a few weeks after Trump gets the Biden dirt he demanded from China, U.S. intelligence tells Trump that there is a virus emerging in China that could be dangerous.

The intelligence is urgent and comes from multiple U.S. agencies. abcnews.go.com/Politics/intel…
35/ Trump inexplicably rejects the intelligence. Indeed, his administration has so little interest in hearing the intelligence that *U.S. intelligence agencies* must focus on sharing the intelligence with NATO and the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), instead. timesofisrael.com/us-alerted-isr…
36/ But here's the rub: Trump receives intelligence on the novel coronavirus *as he's in the middle of trade negotiations* with the Chinese. And weeks after Trump learns of the virus, he makes the most stunning decision imaginable with respect to those negotiations—and the virus.
37/ At a time Trump knew of the virus, per the senior White House correspondent at HUFFPOST China inserted in its trade negotiation with him an exceedingly rare trade-deal clause that excused China from compliance in the event of—for instance—a pandemic. huffpost.com/entry/trump-ch…
38/ So at a time the Trump administration had received *and rejected* urgent U.S. intelligence on the coronavirus, it received from *China* a request for an exceptional, entirely unexplained "out" clause that would cover a pandemic. And what did Trump do? Nothing—he permitted it.
39/ But he didn't just permit it—though he knew from the DHHS Crimson Contagion simulation, the NSC pandemic playbook, and papers submitted by White House economists that the virus he'd learned of in November could devastate the US, he sent China our PPEs. washingtonpost.com/world/2020/04/…
40/ WP: "US manufacturers shipped millions of dollars of face masks and other PPEs to China in January and February with encouragement from the federal government—a move that underscores the Trump administration’s failure to recognize and prepare for the growing pandemic threat."
41/ It was *after* that WASHINGTON POST report, of course, that we learned from ABC and THE TIMES OF ISRAEL that in fact Trump's team *did* recognize the growing pandemic threat—in November 2019—it's just that it did nothing about it (nor China's pandemic-oriented trade demands).
42/ But it's more than this: Trump was being told by a cadre of Americans at the World Health Organization in December that there was a virus in China that could come to the U.S. and be devastating—further confirming the intel reports from 2 U.S. agencies. forbes.com/sites/lisettev…
43/ It's with all of this in mind that we must consider the *80-day lapse* from Trump receiving intelligence about the virus in November 2019 from multiple agencies and the February 2 execution of Trump's China travel "ban"—which 40,000 got through no problem after it was issued.
44/ Why did Trump reject—for *80 days*—bad news involving a nation he was involved in clandestine dealings with, despite having been told that the toll for his decision could be millions of US lives? What could've been worth so much to him? The same thing as ever—money and power.
45/ There are so many details I've not included here. For instance, Pillsbury knew his revelation to FT that he secretly received Biden dirt from China was such a screwup, he *lied publicly* and said he'd never told FT *any* such thing.

Then FT revealed they'd kept his emails.
46/ The pattern of conduct here is of course *identical* to every *other* Trump bribery scandal: secret communications; destruction/hiding of evidence; public lies about meetings or exchanges; inexplicable official acts; public and private demands for illegal election assistance.
47/ But there's a difference this time: 52,000 Americans (and counting) are *dead*.

Many of them because Trump's response to the COVID-19 threat began in earnest in *mid-March 2020* rather than *mid-November 2019*. A fact that appears attributable to his deals with the Chinese.
48/ For years, criminal attorneys online and off have been warning America that when the most powerful man in the world can be bribed with money, land deals, and promises of illegal election assistance, the result will be stolen elections, policies that harm America... and *war*.
49/ We already hit Stage 1: as detailed in my books PROOF OF COLLUSION and PROOF OF CONSPIRACY (which combined have 7,500 in-text major-media citations), Russia, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Israel aided Trump in 2016. The Ukraine scandal was—and is—about getting such aid for 2020.
50/ Stage 2 of the threat America was warned about: a bribery scandal that costs us dearly on domestic policy. We're here now: a pandemic Trump didn't fight because he wanted a deal with China. Trump *thanked* Xi on COVID-19 in January/February even as US intel said Xi was lying.
CONCLUSION/ A significant percentage of the U.S. COVID-19 outbreak is attributable to a federal response hobbled by Trump's secret side communications with China. That changed only in March—after it was too late.

And the next time Trump is bribed, America is likely to go to war.
NOTE/ This thread continues with Tweet #36, here:
ADDITIONAL SOURCES/ As to Tweet #43, here's the NEW YORK TIMES article discussing both the 430,000 visitors from China Trump could've prevented if he'd stopped travel in late December—a month after he knew of the virus—and the *40,000* post-"ban" arrivals. nytimes.com/2020/04/04/us/…
PS/ As those who follow this feed know, I'm a curatorial journalist—meaning my sources are all *existing* major-media investigative reports from the most trusted news sources in the world. I do not have—or seek—special sources, secret sources, or information from non-journalists.
PS2/ What this also means is that for every thread I do, there are not dozens or scores but *hundreds* of articles that I've read and catalogued that are relevant to—and supportive of—the curation presented. That's why my books all have thousands of major-media citations in them.
PS3/ One facet of curatorial journalism discussed in the literature on the subject is that this breed of journalism—sometimes called metajournalism—uses an economy of scale to create an info network *so large* the death of any one node does not affect the fully-sourced narrative.
ADDITIONAL SOURCES/ As to Tweet #15, ex-MI6 Russia chief Chris Steele—paid by GOP and Democratic sources to neutrally investigate Trump—always said 70% of his raw intel would prove correct. So far that's been true.

This China claim has never been refuted: buzzfeednews.com/article/kenben…
UPDATE/ Trump supporters hope to sow confusion over one—of hundreds—of data-points undergirding this curation by noting that POLITICO updated its article on the Bank of China loan with a denial by the bank that it's been connected to the loan since 2012. The Trumpists axed this:
UPDATE2/ Moreover, a key purpose of the thread is to establish the thick web of business connections Trump has with China—which in no way begins or ends with the Bank of China loan (indeed, that was a very late—as in recent—addition to the curation). Those interests remain thick.
UPDATE3/ Most folks with education, common sense, or both understand what "reading" and "argument" mean to Trumpists now—glancingly undermining 1 assertion in a complex narrative and calling it movie-ready conclusive proof the whole of it is false.

Yeah—it doesn't work that way.
UPDATE4/ Metajournalism *always* relies on the best major-media investigative reporting available at the time. As has *always* been the case in journalism, one or two of a particular curation's hundreds of data-points may at some future point be subject to correction or deletion.
UPDATE5/ The evidence of Trump's financial ties to China is *so ubiquitous* the correction/deletion of a data-point on this score has little effect at all on the larger curation (and this does not include what Trump may be *hiding*—unlike any POTUS before him—in his tax returns).
UPDATE6/ The right-wing playbook is obvious: 1) they rely on blogs and anonymous authors with no explanation for why they'd be reliable; 2) they rely on their own opinion, based in nothing; 3) on this basis, they simply baldly claim any journalism they dislike is false... {cont.}
UPDATE7/ ...and 4) having *already* completely *dismissed* any responsible journalism—for no reason whatsoever—they suddenly pay *attention* to the journalism and *act* like they *would* have credited it...the *second* any error is found in the journalism. It's a bait-and-switch.
UPDATE8/ Then there's a final insidious step: 5) if the media outlet the right has already—for no reason—refused to accept reporting from makes an error but does not issue a correction, they attack its integrity. And if the outlet issues a correction... they attack its integrity.
UPDATE9/ It's with this yawn-inducing right-wing parlor trick in mind that I note that POLITICO has now issued a correction as to *one* of the *hundreds* of data-points establishing substantial Trump-China financial ties. This changes *absolutely nothing*. politico.com/news/2020/04/2…
UPDATE10/ As any journalism professor will tell you—including this one—the fact that POLITICO issued a correction *bolsters* its credibility. Just so, the fact that my curation of the Trump-China scandal is *virtually unaffected* by this new correction *bolsters* its credibility.
NOTE/ The mistake far too many in the reality-based community make is in thinking we're in conversation with Trumpists. We're not. They turned their backs on journalism—and they therefore don't get to engage us on the topic of journalism. Ever. They're lost and should be ignored.

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More from @SethAbramson

Feb 20
The #1 book in America on the Russia-Ukraine crisis—a 576-page hardcover—is now just $7.96. Please RETWEET.

✅ "A searing indictment"—NPR
✅ "A strong case"—Kirkus
📶 USA Today / Amazon / Audible / Apple Books bestseller
💟 "⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️"—510 Amazon ratings amazon.com/dp/1250272998?…
1/ The top question Americans will be asking as Europe falls into the most substantial armed conflict since World War II is, "What does this have to do with us?"

It was the question America asked in 1939 and it is the question that—sadly—will again be asked by many millions now.
2/ The simple fact is this: America’s *up to its eyeballs* in the Russia-Ukraine crisis. That’s not mere speculation—that’s the *current* reality. Russia is in an ongoing cyberwar against the United States. Trump was impeached for trying to use Ukraine to steal the 2020 election.
Read 32 tweets
Feb 19
(BOOK UPDATE) PROOF OF CORRUPTION is blowing up—it’s now in Amazon’s Top 20 Elections books. And despite being a 576-pg. hardcover, a critically acclaimed national bestseller, and having a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ average reader rating over 510 reviews, it’s just $8.26. amazon.com/Proof-Corrupti…
PS/ Two days ago it was ranked #285,000 overall and #408 in Elections. I am so glad folks are finding out en masse that Macmillan published a book in late 2020 that gives all the background one needs to the imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine. Many library copies out there, too!
PS2/ 250 or so copies are available in libraries across the country. Go to WorldCat and enter your zip code to get a listing of the library holdings of PROOF OF CORRUPTION near you. Link: worldcat.org
Read 9 tweets
Feb 19
For those who think Trump will face some punishment for removing classified intel from the White House and taking it home to Florida, remember that his whole presidency was a national security scandal and *began* with him revealing Israeli intel to the Kremlin in the Oval Office
My point is, I want to get excited about the breaking news today but unfortunately I wrote three books about Trump’s national security violations and learned that not only does no one care when a POTUS is a national security threat but basically everyone agrees it must be ignored
Trump is the man who had a duty to warn U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi of a plot to kidnap him and instead did nothing—until he helped the man who had Khashoggi strangled, chopped up, and burned in a furnace escape responsibility for ordering the assassination of a Post journalist
Read 13 tweets
Feb 17
If you want to be fully briefed on the background of the Russia-Ukraine crisis—and how it ties in *directly* to the ongoing domestic turmoil in the United States—can I suggest a national bestseller on that very topic?

500+ reviews with a 5-star average. amazon.com/Proof-Corrupti…
In view of the news that Russia will invade Ukraine, I hope folks find a way to read the national bestseller PROOF OF CORRUPTION—which gives the background of the conflict and how it ties into US politics. Borrow it at a library or get it for ~$8 at Amazon (hardcover, 576 pages).
I still remember when I pitched the book way back in 2019; I was certain that the Russia-Ukraine crisis would be historic *and* that its ties to Donald Trump and the Republican Party had to be explained. I got a lot of, "A book on *Ukraine*? Really?" And now...here we are, sadly.
Read 5 tweets
Feb 16
BREAKING NEWS: Mark Finchem Subpoenaed By Congress

Finchem is an Oath Keeper, Ali Alexander mentor, and originated of Stop the Steal in Arizona. He was on—as far as we know—the January 2, 2021 call in which Trump outlined the Green Bay Sweep. This is big. cnn.com/2022/02/15/pol…
PS/ It really underscores how little CNN knows about January 6 that it didn't lead with the Finchem news. But then, that sort of lack of preparation is why Chris Cuomo sought my help backchannel. As they did on Trump-Ukraine, as to January 6 indie journalists are leading the way.
PS2/ I hope Wendy Rogers is the next insurrectionist GOP legislator in Arizona subpoenaed. She knows a *ton*.
Read 4 tweets
Feb 15
(🔐) MAJOR BREAKING NEWS: Eyewitness Says He Was Present As Coup Plotter Patrick Byrne Privately Confessed to Federal Crimes on January 6—and Insists There’s Video of Him Doing It

The evidence that’s just come out is stunning. I hope you’ll RETWEET this. sethabramson.substack.com/p/major-breaki…
1/ I think the most important thing to say here—right off the bat—is that these two men need to be subpoenaed by Congress immediately, and the FBI and DOJ need to subpoena the B-roll of Byrne's film if they haven't done so already (and if they haven't, it's a *massive* failure).
2/ I’ve long said that most of the coup plotters are unsophisticated and arrogant (candidly, like many criminals I encountered in my former professional work); they routinely confess their crimes in ill-considered, little-seen videos; and investigators *must* track these videos.
Read 12 tweets

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