Trump Regime

They All Knew

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Is Trump's top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, as ignorant as he seems or is he just a stone-cold liar?

These aren't mutually exclusive options.

We already know that Trump himself was privately aware of just how bad the coronavirus pandemic could be while he publicly downplayed it. The New York Times now reports that Kudlow, among other Trump regime figures, went a step further and warned donors and investors about the pandemic while he publicly downplayed.

Kudlow told privately told Wall Street that the virus was not contained on literally the same day he went on national television to say it was contained.

Hours after he had boasted on CNBC that the virus was contained in the United States and “it’s pretty close to airtight,” Mr. Kudlow delivered a more ambiguous private message. He asserted that the virus was “contained in the U.S., to date, but now we just don’t know,” according to a document describing the sessions obtained by The New York Times.

The document, written by a hedge fund consultant who attended the three-day gathering of Hoover’s board, was stark. “What struck me,” the consultant wrote, was that nearly every official he heard from raised the virus “as a point of concern, totally unprovoked.”

The market would have crashed in any case as a global pandemic annihilated global consumer demand, but it's evident that private warnings from the Trump White House also precipitated a massive sell-off. They were telling donors and investors to dump their stocks in private while telling the public that everything was fine.

I don't know if the letter of the law is applicable in this case, but this strikes me as one of the biggest instances of insider trading of all time. Hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars may have changed hands because of inside information from the White House.

The next session of Congress will have many things to investigate, but at least one thing they should look at is whether Trump's own family profited off inside information.

It seems unfathomable that they didn't.

The consultant’s assessment quickly spread through parts of the investment world. U.S. stocks were already spiraling because of a warning from a federal public health official that the virus was likely to spread, but traders spotted the immediate significance: The president’s aides appeared to be giving wealthy party donors an early warning of a potentially impactful contagion at a time when Mr. Trump was publicly insisting that the threat was nonexistent.

Interviews with eight people who either received copies of the memo or were briefed on aspects of it as it spread among investors in New York and elsewhere provide a glimpse of how elite traders had access to information from the administration that helped them gain financial advantage during a chaotic three days when global markets were teetering.

The game is rigged.

  • muselet

    The Trump administration didn’t tell the public the truth about a deadly pandemic (Donald Trump said he didn’t want to cause panic), but told something approaching the truth to board members of the Hoover Institution who are also GOP donors (and who are, apparently, not susceptible to panicking). This is not surprising, which I’m getting used to after nearly four years, but it’s also not particularly shocking, which I really shouldn’t be getting used to.

    Whether or not this is insider trading is above my pay grade—for what it’s worth, Steve Benen is currently unconvinced—but it’s not a good look, regardless. The public can absorb a lot of information without going into a blind panic. The administration chose to lie and by doing so, endangered far more people.

    Vote as if your life depends on it (it does).


    • Draxiar

      Are they called the Hoover Institution because they vacuum up all the money of the middle class?

  • David Greenberg

    Isn’t there anyway to hold these assholes responsible for their thievery. Millions of Americans are suffering and struggling, while these reptiles are enriching themselves, aided and abetted by the republican party. And the MAGA fools are amongst those suffering the worst. Why don’t I have any sympathy for them?

    • Scopedog

      Well, in a couple of weeks, we can (and will) kick the GOP motherfuckers out of the Senate and the White House and keep the House. Once we control all three, then we can start asking for the investigations and committees that will result in accountability.

      And yes, the only way to get this is to vote the GOP and vote Democrats in. Sitting at home moaning about “both sides” or declaring about how you’re a)voting Green, b) writing in Bernie, c) voting third party will do nothing.

      • Christopher Foxx

        It will do something. It will ensure exactly what the green/Bernie/third party crowd get exactly what they want: four more years where they can bitch and moan about how terrible things are. Because they made sure they are.

  • Jado

    Sooooo…Indictments on Jan 21st?

    • jimtowndem

      no, i bet that trump will pardon his family on jan 19.

      • Draxiar

        Oh that would be an admission of guilt and hopefully deep six any political ambitions in the future.

        Decisions decisions…