Donald Trump’s Mafia Connections: Decades Later, Is He Still Linked to the Mob?
Trump’s descent into the gangland may have begun with Roy Cohn, the ruthless lawyer whom Trump hired to help navigate the bare-knuckle New York real estate business. Long notorious for helping Senator Joseph McCarthy unleash the 1950s “red scare” that ruined the careers of scores of Hollywood figures, federal workers and journalists, Cohn in the 1970s represented leaders of the Vito Genovese crime family during a federal racketeering investigation. As it turns out, around the same time Fuller was interviewing Trump in 1976, Cohn was adding a former Connecticut attorney general to his law firm who, on the side, was representing a local mobster by the name of Andrew D’Amato in a bid to buy the Fontainebleau. Looking back on the events years later, Fuller says, “I presume that Miami’s knowledge of D’Amato’s efforts to purchase the Fontainebleau hotel is what led them to Trump.” In 1977, D’Amato was convicted of conspiracy in a financial swindling scheme in Hawaii with other known mobsters. Now in his 90s, D’Amato did not respond to messages left at his home in Connecticut.
Russia’s intelligence services, oligarchs and gangsters are seamlessly connected, according to multiple news accounts through the years. And since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Russian mob has made huge inroads into the American underworld, sometimes forming alliances of convenience with La Cosa Nostra. As a teenager, Trump’s future lawyer Cohen, The Wall Street Journal reported last year, “frequented Brooklyn’s ethnic Russian neighborhoods and married into a Ukrainian family.” At a friend’s wedding, he “bragged to another guest that he belonged to the Russian mob.” The friend didn’t believe it, but when Trump pursued a hotel deal in Moscow, Cohen was dispatched to seal the deal, working through shady characters to offer Putin a top-floor penthouse, according to BuzzFeed News.
The Trump Organization had long been awash in illicit Russian money, author Craig Unger claimed in a 2018 book, House of Trump, House of Putin: The Untold Story of Donald Trump and the Russian Mafia. “It started out as a simple money-laundering operation at Trump Tower in 1984, when a Russian mobster came to Trump Tower with $6 million in cash and bought five condos. This is the template for what begins to unfold. At least 1,300 Trump condos in the United States have been sold similarly. All cash purchases through anonymous sources,” Unger told Newsweek last August.