Just hours ago, Donald Trump shocked health experts and the nation by claiming that he wants the country “opened up” by Easter. The stunning revelation left many wondering what informed that dangerous statement, and now we know – a secretive phone call with Wall Street executives, including Jeffrey Sprecher, Senator Kelly Loeffler’s husband, and Steve Schwarzman – a maxed-out Trump campaign donor.
Senator Loeffler and her husband Jeffrey Sprecher recently came under fire for potential insider trading after dumping millions of dollars in stock shortly after the Senator received a classified briefing on the dangers of coronavirus – while publicly reassuring her constituents that the situation was under control.
Steve Schwarzman, who donated almost $600,000 to the Trump Victory Fund since 2016, also participated in the call. A Mar-A-Lago regular, Schwarzman has been identified by the Chinese government as a sympathizer and source for corrupt economic backchanneling.
“Donald Trump has botched the coronavirus response every step of the way – failing to prepare our country, heed the advice of medical experts, and secure equipment to keep people safe,” said Kyle Morse, an American Bridge Spokesperson. “Now, he’s kicking doctors and scientists out of the room to let corrupt Wall Street executives, including those accused of insider trading, steer the ship. Reopening our country to appease the rich is a gut punch to public health efforts and could make a dire situation even worse. Donald Trump proves again and again that we cannot trust him with our health, economy, or future”
November 2016 – March 2018: Schwarzman Stayed Close To Trump And Offered Him Advice On China
November 2016: Schwarzman Served As A Bridge From The New Trump Administration To Influential Business Executives In An Arrangement Described As “Mutually Beneficial.” According to The Washington Post, “It was a mutually beneficial arrangement, according to associates of both. Schwarzman called Trump to congratulate him on his victory and offered to help. Trump lacked connections to corporate leaders outside of real estate, and he determined that Schwarzman would be the best person to help him develop relationships with some of the country’s most influential chief executives. He asked Schwarzman to head a White House group of business advisers. The Blackstone chief was ‘the most natural choice’ to assist Trump, said Hamilton James, the company’s executive vice-chairman. ‘The people Trump knew were the people in real estate,’ James said. ‘Even then it wasn’t that big a network, but even then people were hesitant to deal with him. So he had to turn to someone to pull this together.’ About the same time he was selected by Trump for the White House post, Schwarzman contributed $250,000 to Trump’s inaugural committee — beginning a surge in donations that has made him one of the biggest financial supporters of the president and the Republican National Committee.” [Washington Post, 03/12/18]
January 2017: Schwarzman Met With Xi At Davos To Talk About Trump’s China Policy, Later Briefing Trump And Mnuchin On The Conversation. According to The Washington Post, “Former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, who helped open the door to U.S. relations with China under President Richard Nixon and has advised Trump on China, said in an interview that Schwarzman has a unique standing in Beijing. ‘He understands the relationship between the political and the economic world better. . . . I have seen his results, and because he has done so many useful things in China, he has more access to the Chinese.’ That access was evident when, days after Trump’s inauguration, Xi pulled Schwarzman aside at the 2017 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The two had ‘an animated conversation about Trump’s perception of China,’ said former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd, a Schwarzman friend. Schwarzman sought to explain to Xi why Trump believes Americans feel shortchanged by globalism and the China trade deficit, Rudd said. Then Schwarzman returned to the United States and briefed Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin about his talk with the Chinese leader, according to two people briefed on the matter. Mnuchin did not respond to a request for comment.” [Washington Post, 03/12/18]
April 2017: Schwarzman Helped Prepare Trump For His Meeting With Xi, Informally Attending Part Of The Meeting. According to The Washington Post, “Two months later, Trump prepared to meet with Xi at Mar-a-Lago. Schwarzman advised the president how to deal with the Chinese leader. ‘President Xi is a great guy,’ Schwarzman told the president, as Trump later told the Washington Examiner. Trump met with Xi for three hours and avoided contentious issues, as Schwarzman had advised, according to two people familiar with the session. Schwarzman attended part of the meeting informally, the people said. A few weeks later, Schwarzman announced on CNN that ‘I don’t think that there’s going to be issues regarding China as a currency manipulator and some of the other things.’” [Washington Post, 03/12/18]
Schwarzman Was A Republican Mega Donor Under Trump, Giving Almost $700,000 To Trump Victory And Tens Of Millions More To Other Republican Organizations Since 2016. [FEC, viewed, 3/24/20]
December 2017: Schwarzman Gave The Trump Victory Fund The Maximum Legal Donation, $344,000. According to The Washington Post, “In December, the man who hadn’t given a penny to Trump during the campaign contributed the maximum $344,400 to Trump Victory, established to jointly fund the president’s reelection campaign and the Republican National Committee, according to Federal Election Commission records.” [Washington Post, 03/12/18]
October 2018: New Broke That The Chinese Government Has Tried To Use Schwarzman To Influence Trump
The Chinese Government Fed Arguments To Individuals In Schwarzman’s Circle In An Effort To Get To Trump. According to The New York Times, “The current and former officials said they have also determined that China is seeking to use what it is learning from the calls — how Mr. Trump thinks, what arguments tend to sway him and to whom he is inclined to listen — to keep a trade war with the United States from escalating further. In what amounts to a marriage of lobbying and espionage, the Chinese have pieced together a list of the people with whom Mr. Trump regularly speaks in hopes of using them to influence the president, the officials said. Among those on the list are Stephen A. Schwarzman, the Blackstone Group chief executive who has endowed a master’s program at Tsinghua University in Beijing, and Steve Wynn, the former Las Vegas casino magnate who used to own a lucrative property in Macau. The Chinese have identified friends of both men and others among the president’s regulars, and are now relying on Chinese businessmen and others with ties to Beijing to feed arguments to the friends of the Trump friends. The strategy is that those people will pass on what they are hearing, and that Beijing’s views will eventually be delivered to the president by trusted voices, the officials said. They added that the Trump friends were most likely unaware of any Chinese effort.” [New York Times, 10/24/18]
The Chinese Government Saw Trump Associates Like Schwarzman As Accessible And Sympathetic. According to The New York Times, “Trump friends like Mr. Schwarzman, who figured prominently in the first meeting between President Xi Jinping of China and Mr. Trump at Mar-a-Lago, the president’s Florida resort, already hold pro-China and pro-trade views, and thus are ideal targets in the eyes of the Chinese, the officials said. Targeting the friends of Mr. Schwarzman and Mr. Wynn can reinforce the views of the two, the officials said. The friends are also most likely to be more accessible.” [New York Times, 10/24/18]
Loeffler’s Husband, Jeffrey Sprecher, Owns NYSE And Sold Millions Of Dollars In Stock “Just Days Before The First Reported Death From The Novel Coronavirus In The U.S.” According to CBS News, “The CEO of the Intercontinental Exchange, which owns the New York Stock Exchange, sold millions of dollars worth of the parent company’s shares in late February just days before the first reported death from the novel coronavirus in the U.S. The transaction also came as financial markets were starting to tumble as the devastating economic impact of the outbreak was becoming clear. Jeffrey Sprecher, who is the husband of Republican U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler of Georgia, on February 26 sold $3.5 million in shares of ICE, as the exchange is called, at an average price of $93.42 each, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Since then, ICE shares have plunged nearly 25% amid a broader downdraft in stocks..” [CBS News, 3/20/20]
Loeffler And Sprecher Sold Millions Of Dollars Worth Of Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) Stock Before Their Price Declined 25% As A Result Of The Coronavirus. According to CBS News, “Jeffrey Sprecher, who is the husband of Republican U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler of Georgia, on February 26 sold $3.5 million in shares of ICE, as the exchange is called, at an average price of $93.42 each, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Since then, ICE shares have plunged nearly 25% amid a broader downdraft in stocks. Sprecher and Loeffler also sold $15.3 million worth of ICE shares on March 11, at an average price of around $87, SEC filings show.” [CBS News, 3/20/20]