This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, November 11, 2016:
Nervous conservatives are looking for signs that the “establishment” – i.e., Goldman Sachs, big banks, the Council on Foreign Relations, George Soros, etc. – having been unable to derail Donald Trump’s march to the presidency, is going instead to infiltrate and insinuate its operatives into the new Trump administration. Many of them remember the successful infiltration and subsequent manipulation of the Reagan administration with the naming of establishment insider James Baker as Reagan’s chief of staff.
At the moment there appear to be four “wild cards” out of the dozens Trump has already invited into his inner circle: Steven Mnuchin, Peter Navarro, John Paulson, and Carter Page.
The first and most obvious one is Steven Mnuchin, the head of Dune Capital Management and former director at Goldman Sachs, where he amassed a personal fortune estimated at more than $40 million as head of the firm’s trading desk. A graduate of Yale, he served on the Yale Development Board while gaining additional experience working for George Soros in his Private Equity division.
The second is Peter Navarro, a professor of economics and public policy at the University of California, Irvine after obtaining his PhD in economics from Harvard University. Navarro brings full-blown Keynesian philosophy to Trump’s advisory table, along with experience as a Democrat running for the 49th Congressional District in California in 1996, but falling short.
The problem with Navarro isn’t his background or his political experience, however. It’s his blind spot when it comes to trade policy. Tim Worstall, a Forbes contributor, took Navarro to task, claiming that “he is simply flat out wrong in his analysis of how trade works and why we do it.” Added Worstall:
Navarro is absolutely certain of a number of things about trade which simply aren’t so. [His views, if adopted by Trump, would] unlikely be the basis of a decent trade policy.
The third question mark among Trump’s present cast of advisors is John Paulson, the founder and president of Paulson & Company, which he founded 20 years ago. A very bright individual, Paulson graduated summa cum laude in finance from New York University’s College of Business and Public Administration. That earned him a free ride on a Goldman Sachs scholarship to the Harvard Business School where he earned his MBA.
Paulson, best known for his ability to see his opportunity ahead of the real estate crash that led to the Great Recession, turned himself into a billionaire as a result. The story was covered by author Gregory Zuckerman in his The Greatest Trade Ever: The Behind-the-Scenes Story of how John Paulson Defied Wall Street and Made Financial History, which was later turned into the film The Big Short. That earned Paulson’s company more than $15 billion, dwarfing George Soros’ currency trade that he made in 1992.
In June 2015, Paulson showed his gratitude for the education he got at his alma mater by donating $400 million to Harvard, the largest gift ever received in the school’s history.
The final potential wild card is suspect only because his background is so opaque: Carter Page. Page is the founder and managing partner of Global Energy Capital, an energy investment, consulting, and advisory firm with clients all over the globe. For three years he worked closely with Russian President Putin’s state-owned Gazprom energy producer, following a stint as a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) where he advised the group on research he did on energy reserves in the Caspian Sea. Other than that, all that this investigator can find is that he holds an MBA from New York University and is a Chartered Financial Analysis (CFA).
None of which is sufficient to damn any of them into outer darkness. But it does serve to alert those watching Trump closely for evidence that his policies – spelled out in his “contract with voters” – will be neutered or, even worse, reversed. Trump has promised to withdraw from NAFTA, either through renegotiation of the deal or terminating it altogether. The TPP is dead, according to Trump, as is the Iran nuclear deal. He has promised to freeze federal hiring and let attrition naturally thin the ranks of bureaucrats. He wants to cut off funding to the United Nations for its hare-brained green programs. And so on.
The big blow to the internationalists, however, is his claim that he will no longer cower before petty tyrants, or bow before buffoons. And that frightens them greatly, fearing (as they have publicly stated) that the march to the New World Order will be slowed, stopped, or even reversed under a Trump administration outside of its control.
As for the others Trump has invited into his kitchen, they appear to have no connection to the insiders nor any evil intentions for the republic. By and large they are successful businessmen, having built sizeable fortunes through the operation of hard work, luck, and some breaks. In other words it appears that most of them got rich the regular way: by providing products and services that people needed, without government interference or pressure.
There’s Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions – the only politician in Trump’s kitchen cabinet, at least so far – whom the Washington Times called “a tea partyer before the tea party was cool.” Walid Phares is Trump’s advisor on Islamic terror, having earned his stripes when the terrorist group CAIR called him “an associate to war crimes” and a “conspiracy theorist” when Phares was named to Mitt Romney’s campaign staff in 2012.
Next among Trump’s advisors is Joseph Schmitz, a lawyer and former inspector general of the U.S. Department of Defense. He is also the son of John G. Schmitz, a former California State Senator, member of the House of Representatives, and U.S. presidential candidate in 1972. Joseph was a special assistant to Attorney General Edwin Meese and authored Sharia: The Threat to America.
Trump has also selected General Joseph “Keith” Kellogg to his advisory staff. Currently the Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at Cubic Corporation, a supplier of communications technical support to the US military, Kellogg served as Commander of the 82nd Airborne Division and worked for the Joint Chiefs of Staff as Director for all computing and communications for U.S. forces.
Trump apparently was so impressed with Ben Carson’s campaign advisor, George Papadopoulos, that he invited him on board to advise him on energy policy. Likewise with Stephen Moore, the chief economist at the Heritage Foundation and founder of the Club for Growth.
Trump picked up David Malpass, who served under Reagan and currently sits on the board at the Manhattan Institute. Malpass is the one who wants to cut government spending by putting in place an “operational” budget ceiling that, if violated, will automatically reduce the pay of the politicians that were responsible for it. He wants, he says, “to make it very public that they are paid to control spending” and not to increase it.
There’s Howard Lorber, the CEO of Vector Group, the largest residential real estate brokerage in New York City. There’s Harold Hamm, best known for pioneering the development of fracking the shale resources in the Bakken Formation in North Dakota and Montana. There’s Steve Feinberg, the co-founder and CEO of Cerberus Capital Management with more than $30 billion in assets under management.
There’s Dan DiMicco, the CEO of Nucor Corporation, the country’s largest steel producer and author of Steeling America’s Future in which he outlines strategies to rebuild and strengthen America’s manufacturing sector. There’s Stephen Calk, who founded Federal Savings Bank in 2000 specifically to assist returning veterans with financing and other needs. In addition to running his bank, Calk also counsels and mentors returning veterans personally, bringing that intimate perspective into Trump’s advisory camp.
There’s Andrew Beal, who has a personal view of governmental interference in the private market. In 1997 Beal invested significant personal funds and effort into building an aerospace company to build rockets to place communications satellites in orbit. At one point he had 200 employees working for him, but was forced to close down the operation in October 2000 when he couldn’t compete with the government-funded NASA doing the same thing. That perspective no doubt will be helpful as the Trump administration addresses taxpayer subsidies.
There’s Thomas Barrack, who served as Deputy Undersecretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior under James Watt during the Reagan Administration and now runs $25 billion of assets including hotels in Asia and on Sardinia, the island in the western Mediterranean.
It’s too early to tell if the four “wild cards” will spoil Trump’s deck, and his administration’s agenda. What is clear is this: this writer explored DiscoverTheNetworks for any revolutionary, Marxist, totalitarian connections any of them might have that the mainstream media is conveniently keeping hidden, and he could find none. What he did find, however, is that that same website’s listing of communist thugs and their connections in the Obama administration takes up 99 pages!
The Wall Street Journal: Donald Trump’s Financial Advisory Team Stocked With Wall Streeters
The New York Times: Top Experts Confounded by Advisers to Donald Trump
Theepochtimes.com: Who Are Trump’s Foreign Policy Advisers
Money.com: Donald Trump reveals his economic advisers
Amazon.com: The Greatest Trade Ever: The Behind-the-Scenes Story of How John Paulson Defied Wall Street and Made Financial History
More on Steven Mnuchin’s background
Amazon.com: Steeling America’s Future by Dan DiMicco
Forbes: Critique of Navarro on trade policy
Background on Moore’s Club for Growth
Background on General Joseph Kellogg
Background on Cubic Corporation
Transcript of Trump meeting with Washington Post over his foreign policy advisors in March 2016