The Trump Family and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard: The Baku Connection

We are shocked at the nightmarish news coming out of Syria this week and our hearts go out to the victims of the horrific gassing and murder of civilians at Khan Sheikhoun.

But as the world was watching and demanded real answers, we Americans watched Donald Trump blame former President Obama and his policies—even though Trump had fully endorsed those very policies.

There will be much more to come from Syria, we know, but consider these two undeniable facts: first, the criminal regime of Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad could not remain in power without the support of Russia and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. Second, investigative journalists have uncovered proof that the Trump family (unwittingly) helped finance a key Assad ally, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. We have all seen developments unfold in Russian, but maybe you missed the shocking news about how the Trump family partnered with investors supporting Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.

Adam Davidson of the New Yorker and Kurt Eichenwald of Newsweek have done the best work on this story and what a story! It combines the Trump family, several shady Middle Eastern financiers and a failed Trump Hotel project in Baku, capital of Azerbaijan.

From 2008 to 2014, the whole Trump family, but mostly current White House special assistant Ivanka Trump, relied on a series of shady middle men, primarily Ziya Mammadov. The whole Mammadov family were the most corrupt of the many corrupt oligarchs that ran the Azerbaijan government and were, as one observer put it, the “Corleone Family of the Caspian”—for years, all the Mammadovs but Ziya especially were both financing and profiting from deals with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. This is the same Revolutionary Guard that has both terrorizing the citizens of Iran and supporting Assad’s terror campaign against his own civilians.

Davidson’s account (which you can read here) is by far the more chilling because while it is fair to say the Trump family almost certainly did not know they were indirectly benefiting the Revolutionary Guard, Davidson’s account makes it clear the Trump family was willfully ignoring due diligence that would have revealed their partners were bankrolling terror groups. While spokespeople for the Trump family insisted they followed the rules, Davidson research proves that there was no way an American business would not have known the Mammadov family was supporting Iran and that any deals with them was violating both U.S. law and the U.S. sanctions against Iran.

For now, Davidson’s story has drawn more attention abroad than in America—though Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) has requested the Trump Baku Hotel be included in the long list of investigations now facing the Trump family. Perhaps because there is so much going on with Trump this story has been unjustly overlooked, but that has to change.

One reason the Baku connection needs to be investigated is that it is the clearest evidence yet Trump and his family violated the Logan Act, the 1799 law that makes it illegal for private citizens to undermine U.S. foreign policy or deal with sanctioned nations. Of course, Republicans supporting Trump today claim the Logan Act is a meaningless 18th century relic—actually, it is not only the law of the land, it was that same law that House Republican leaders threatened to use just a few years ago to block a bipartisan Congressional trip to Cuba.

Read the links and we think you’ll agree, it is time to stop making excuses for the Trump family and long past time we investigated their foreign dealings with dictators.

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