Journalism struggles to make clear narrative sense of thick fog. Fiction, plays and films are better at handling paranoid unease on an immense, nation-state scaleby John Sweeney / August 22, 2017 / Leave a comment
Donald Trump didn’t like my question about his Russian-born financial associate and ex-con Felix Sater one bit: “why didn’t you say to him”—Sater—“you’re connected with the mafia, you’re fired?” To bring home the point I brought down my arm like a gun barrel and pointed my finger at him in trademark Trumpian style. He got up from his chair and offered his hand on his way out. I stayed put, put my palm up and asked him one more: “why did you share a lawyer with Fat Tony Salerno?”
The story I sought to get some traction from the president-to-be reads like a thriller. Fat Tony was a mobster whose company sold Trump the cement for his tower; the lawyer they had in common was Roy Cohn, who had been Chief Counsel to Senator Joe McCarthy and who, from beyond the grave, provides a thread that connects the Red Scare frenzy of the 1950s to the #TrumpRussia scandal today.
Cohn sat at McCarthy’s right hand as he smeared dozens of people for being Communists or homosexuals and therefore open to blackmail, though, of course, the rumours soon began that Cohn was secretly gay himself; Cohn taught Trump to fight tough, to be not afraid of dishing out the dirt; and yet now Cohn’s own apprentice is in grave trouble for apparently being too close to Russia.