[THE SOUNDS OF AN ARGUMENT IN JAPANESE, THEN FADE UNDER NARRATION]
ILYA MARRITZ: In June, a brawl broke out in Japan’s legislature. Unlike our Congress, physical flights do happen there sometimes. I’ve watched the video and it looks pretty bad.
[THE ARGUMENT FADES BACK UP FOR A MOMENT, JUST AS INTENSE]
MARRITZ: First, it’s just a few parliamentarians shouting at the Speaker. Pretty soon, more than a dozen of them are rushing the dais. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone got hurt.
[THE ARGUMENT FADES BACK UP AGAIN, STILL JUST AS INTENSE]
MARRITZ: The winner of this fight was arguably not anyone in the room. It was the casino industry, including an 85 year-old American casino magnate, Sheldon Adelson.
[PERSISTENT GUITAR MUSIC PLAYS]
MARRITZ: His company is called Las Vegas Sands.
INTERVIEWER: You like things big?
SHELDON ADELSON: Yeah. It matches my belt size.
INTERVIEWER: [LAUGHS] And your checkbook?
SHELDON ADELSON: [AGREEING] And my checkbook.
MARRITZ: Adelson has been pursuing a casino in Japan for more than a decade. And, that day in June, a parliamentary committee was voting on casino regulations — including a provision that would help Adelson to build a casino resort the way he wants to: big.
[SOUNDS OF LOUD CHEERING IN THE JAPANESE PARLIAMENT]
MARRITZ: The bill passed. [A BEAT] Now, if you know the name Sheldon Adelson, it’s probably nothing to do with Japan. Maybe it’s his generous bankrolling of Republican political candidates, like Donald Trump. In the 2016 election cycle, Adelson gave Republicans at least $83 million.
MARRITZ: Or maybe it’s his support of Israel. One month before the tussle in Tokyo, Adelson was in Jerusalem for the opening of the U.S. Embassy there. The President’s daughter, Ivanka, played host. She unveiled a plaque with her father’s name on it.
IVANKA TRUMP: On behalf of the 45th President of the United States on America, we welcome you, officially and for the first time, to the Embassy of the United States here in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. Thank you. [APPLAUSE]
MARRITZ: The seating chart at this party was a who’s-who of prominent Israelis and American Jews: Alan Dershowitz and Joe Lieberman close to the front, and in the very first row, near Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, were Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam.
MORT KLEIN: This was of great importance to Sheldon Adelson, having that Embassy moved.
MARRITZ: This is Mort Klein of the Zionist Organization of America. He was there too. The Adelsons are major donors to the ZOA, and Klein counts Adelson as a personal friend.
KLEIN: My wife and I have had dinner at his house dozens of times. Has beautiful home. He has quite a nice house [CHUCKLES] in Las Vegas.
MARRITZ: For years, Klein and Adelson pushed American politicians to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and, for years, they got words of encouragement, but no action. Palestinians also claimed Jerusalem as theirs, and previous presidents saw moving the embassy as risky. Not Donald Trump.
[THE SOUND OF PALESTINIAN PROTESTS]
[PLUCKING STRINGS PLAY]
MARRITZ: The day the embassy opened, there were huge Palestinian protests. On Gaza’s border with Israel, Israeli military units opened fire, injuring thousands and killing dozens. In the secure confines of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, Sheldon Adelson was witnessing the realization of a dream.
KLEIN: So this was important to him, and I know that he made that clear to President Trump, that he wanted the embassy moved. And he was very excited when President Trump promised him that the embassy would be moved in his first term. So this was something that Sheldon Adelson cared about very deeply. No — no question about it.
MARRITZ: Right. A promise fulfilled?
KLEIN: A promise fulfilled.
[THEME MUSIC PLAYS UP]
MARRITZ: Hello and welcome to Trump, Inc., from ProPublica and WNYC. I’m Ilya Marritz. Trump, Inc. is an open investigation into the business relationships behind the Trump administration. This season, we’re examining the ways the people around Trump are leveraging their proximity to power for personal gain — and how the President may be helping them.
MARRITZ: There is one Trump supporter who arguably has gained more than anyone else: Sheldon Adelson. There’s the Jerusalem embassy — that’s big. Less well-known are the benefits to Adelson’s own bottom line.
The Republican tax overhaul that passed last year cut taxes for all wealthy people. It also contained provisions that are particularly favorable to companies like Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands. The company estimated a benefit of $1.2 billion from the new tax law.
[ELECTRONIC MUSIC PLAYS]
MARRITZ: Did I mention that he’s rich?
INTERVIEWER: What’s your extravagance?
SHELDON ADELSON: Airplanes. Let’s put it this way: between me and the company, we have 14 aircraft.
SHELDON ADELSON: We’re probably the largest private fleet in the world.
MARRITZ: Forbes estimates his fortune at $35.5 billion that makes him the 15th-richest American.
[A MOMENT OF MUSIC]
MARRITZ: Today, we bring you the incredible, never-before-heard story of what could become Adelson’s biggest win. It is his long-standing, little-known dream to establish a gigantic magnet for money: a casino resort in one of the last pristine, casino-free places in the world. And since Trump became president, that dream looks very close to becoming reality.
MARRITZ: Alright. Uh, so, uh — you know the drill. We’ve been through this a few times.
JUSTIN ELLIOTT: No. Tell it — tell it to me again, actually.
MARRITZ: Who are you again?
ELLIOTT: I’m Justin Elliot. I’m a reporter at ProPublica.
MARRITZ: How did you get started, Justin, researching Sheldon Adelson and casinos in Japan?
ELLIOTT: Actually, it goes back to season one of Trump, Inc., uh, when — as some listeners may remember — we did a story on a casino in Vietnam, looking at how access to the Trump administration was potentially helping this casino owner —
MARRITZ: — who wanted changes to local laws in Vietnam.
ELLIOTT: In the course of reporting that story, I was talking to a lot of people in the casino industry — what they like to call the “gaming industry” — and somebody mentioned to me that I should be looking at Japan and Sheldon Adelson and the Trump administration.
MARRITZ: Well, what’d — what did they say? Like, what caught your interest?
ELLIOTT: The person I was talking to mentioned rumors about Sheldon Adelson, who’s a big donor to President Trump, being assisted by the administration in Japan. Uh, there weren’t a lot of details attached to it. So I started looking into it and then we decided Sheldon —
MARRITZ: Wait — sorry. Did you say the phrase “assisted by the President”?
ELLIOTT: Assisted by the administration.
MARRITZ: [LAUGHS] Like — like, the most powerful man in the world is doing an assist for a really rich guy.
ELLIOTT: That was the tip.
[PLUNKY MUSIC PLAYS]
MARRITZ: Japan is the world’s third-largest economy, and there is some gambling. You can bet on horses or on this popular pinball style game called Pachinko. [PACHINKO SOUNDS PLAY, LIKE AN ARCADE GAME]
ELLIOTT: It’s just this one game. You can’t play craps over here, blackjack over there, slot machine over here. It’s this one game. There’s not like quarters spitting out of this machine.
MARRITZ: You don’t win money directly. You win prizes that can be exchanged later for cash.
[MORE PACHINKO SOUNDS]
MARRITZ: Over the years, there have been proposals to legalize casino gambling in Japan. Sheldon Adelson made visits there, but lawmakers were not persuaded.
ELLIOTT: Polls in Japan have consistently showed that the majority of the public is against legalizing Vegas-style casino resorts.
MARRITZ: And so the Land of the Rising Sun sat there, perpetually beckoning to casino developers, and continually disappointing them.
ELLIOTT: So in the gambling industry, Japan is seen as an extremely important untapped market. It’s a wealthy population. It’s a lot of people. It’s densely populated. Sheldon Adelson himself has actually called it the Holy Grail.
MARRITZ: If Sheldon Adelson’s quest for a casino in Japan were a video game, he was stuck at level one. [VIDEO GAME LOSS SOUND] Then he got a power-up [VIDEO GAME POWER-UP SOUND] in the form of Donald Trump.
[THE SOUNDS OF LOUD CHEERING]
MARRITZ: And things started to move.
ELLIOTT: Trump wins the election. And one of the next things that happens in terms of U.S-Japan relations is Abe flies here to New York, and he actually becomes the first foreign head of state to meet President-elect Trump.
MARRITZ: Abe is Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan. Kellyanne Conway briefed reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower.
KELLYANNE CONWAY: He’s just loving this role in transition. Um, you know, he’s a transactional guy. I think that you’ll have access to a still photograph that both teams agree upon and — and maybe some statement from both of them. But we need to be respectful to President Obama and to price — Prime Minister Abe.
MARRITZ: Abe did not come empty handed.
ELLIOTT: He came with a $3,800 golf driver that was sort of gold — that was gilded, essentially. And that was his present to the president-elect. And we still don’t know what was discussed at that meeting. The State Department, which normally coordinates these meetings between the president-elect and foreign heads of state, was totally excluded from this, according to people I’ve talked to.
[BASS MUSICAL FLOURISH]
ELLIOTT: So Abe goes back to Japan, and then, just several weeks later, the casino-legalization bill passes through the Japanese legislature. This is something that had been under consideration for years. And I spoke to several people in the industry who said, when it passed, it was totally unexpected. This was done with the limited debate in the legislature, and it was pushed through really in the 11th hour of a session.
MARRITZ: So casinos now are legal in Japan?
ELLIOTT: This new law opened the door for these casinos to ultimately be built, with sort of specific regulations to be ironed out later.
[VIDEO GAMES MUSIC PLAYS]
MARRITZ: With the passage of this law, Adelson has finally reached level two of his quest. There are more chasms now to jump over [JUMPING SOUND], more coins to collect [COIN-COLLECTING SOUND], before he reaches his goal.
So watch what happens next — Prime Minister Abe makes another visit to the United States. It’s February 2017. And now Donald Trump is president. Hours before Abe’s plane touches down at Andrews Air Force Base, Sheldon Adelson’s plane lands near Washington.
ELLIOTT: Essentially, they arrived together.
[PLUNKY MUSIC PLAYS]
MARRITZ: It’s uncanny. Over the next few days, these three men — the President, the Prime Minister, and the billionaire — they keep running into each other. Though, as far as we can tell, all three are never together in a room.
ELLIOTT: So the first thing that happens is that Adelson dines at the White House with President Trump, and, reportedly, Jared Kushner, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. We don’t really know what they talked about.
Then, the next morning, Abe and Adelson are together at a Chamber of Commerce event with a small group of business leaders, where the casino issue is discussed.
Then Abe goes to meet Trump for the first time at the White House.
TRANSLATOR: [OVER PRIME MINISTER SHINZO ABE’S SPEECH IN JAPANESE] Donald, President, you are excellent businessmen. But you have never been in the Congress or being a governor.
MARRITZ: They look comfortable together.
TRANSLATOR: [CONTINUING] But you have, uh, fought the uphill struggle and fight for more than a year in the election campaign to become a new president. And this is the dynamism of democracy.
ELLIOTT: And the two of them have their first meeting, and then they actually fly down to Mar-a-Lago together.
NEWS ANNOUNCER: The President will host Mr. Abe at his estate. It’s expected they’ll play golf and dine together.
ELLIOTT: So Abe and Trump spend the weekend at Mar-a-Lago. They go golfing. [GOLFING SOUNDS] They have a private dinner with Bob Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots. And this is the weekend where Trump raises Las Vegas Sands and the casino issue in Japan.
MARRITZ: I’m sorry, excuse me. What?
[MUSIC CHANGES TONE]
ELLIOTT: So, I spoke to two people who were briefed on this meeting between Trump and Prime Minister Abe at Mar-a-Lago, who said that Trump raised Sheldon Adelson’s company, Las Vegas Sands, and its bid to build a casino in Japan with Prime Minister Abe.
According to one of the people, the Japanese side was surprised because Trump and Abe hadn’t been talking about this. Trump, according to this person, brought it up out of the blue in a way that they saw as very brazen, and didn’t really know how to respond.
MARRITZ: A Japanese newspaper got wind of this. It reported that Trump had raised both Sands and another American company, MGM. That, in response, Abe told one of his aides to write down those names. Reports differ. Justin’s source said it was Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts. In any case, Abe was later asked about this in parliament.
ELLIOTT: And he said that, in his meeting with President Trump at Mar-a-Lago, Trump had not passed on requests from casino companies. But Abe did not actually deny that this issue had come up at all.
MARRITZ: The Japanese Embassy in Washington and the White House both declined to comment.
ELLIOTT: And, in fact, at one point, the White House spokesman asked me if I had contacted the Trump Organization. And I responded that I hadn’t because my questions were about Donald Trump as president, and not Donald Trump as a private businessman.
I asked Sheldon Adelson spokesman whether Mr. Adelson has ever raised this Japan casino issue with President Trump, and they declined to answer that question.
MARRITZ: Sheldon Adelson declined to be interviewed for this story. Justin sent a long list of questions to Las Vegas Sands. Here’s their full response.
Quote, “The gaming industry has long sought the opportunity to enter the Japan market. Gaming companies have spent significant resources there on that effort. And Las Vegas Sands is no exception. If our company has any advantage, it would be because of our significant Asian operating experience, and our unique convention-based business model. Any suggestion that we are favored for some other reason is not based on the reality of the process in Japan, or the integrity of the officials involved in it.”
[PIANO MUSIC PLAYS]
MARRITZ: It’s hard to know what to make of what happened at Mar-a-Lago. A charitable interpretation might be, in a casual setting, the President told a world leader that his friend wants to invest in that leader’s country. But consider the context. While Abe and Trump were at Mar-a-Lago, North Korea tested a missile over the sea of Japan.
It was a surprise. Members of the White House National Security Team arrived on the terrace overlooking the Atlantic Ocean to brief the two leaders. It was dinnertime. A member of Mar-a-Lago who is hanging out nearby started posting pictures to Facebook. “Holy moly,” he wrote. We don’t know whether it was before or after the missile test briefing that Trump brought up casinos.
ELLIOTT: This is Trump apparently raising the interests of a major donor to a foreign head of state. And I spoke to people who specialize in foreign policy and U.S.-Japan relations asking, you know, “Is this something that presidents normally do?” And the answer is, “No, it’s not something that presidents normally do.”
Normally, when the President of the United States is talking to the Prime Minister of Japan, it’s about China, security in the Asia Pacific, maybe trade, but this is —
MARRITZ: North Korea.
ELLIOTT: Yeah. North Korea nuclear issues. To raise the business interests of a private citizen and your — your major financial supporter is not normal.
[MUSIC PLAYS UP]
MARRITZ: We’ll be right back.
MARRITZ: We’re back. And I’m talking with ProPublica reporter Justin Elliott about a Trump ally who has scored a bunch of big wins during the Trump administration: Sheldon Adelson, a gambling billionaire whose dream for many years has been to open a casino in Japan.
[INTRIGUE MUSIC PLAYS]
MARRITZ: Over the past few decades, casinos have popped up in most of American states. They’ve spread around the world. And, if you’re a casino developer, Japan is pretty much the biggest remaining prize. A market worth an estimated $25 billion a year is opening up right now.
ELLIOTT: This is a gold rush.
MARRITZ: One of the things that makes Adelson’s pursuit of a casino in Japan — and Trump’s role here — so intriguing is the fact that Trump and Adelson both have owned casinos. Trump had the Taj Mahal and the Plaza and the Castle in Atlantic City at the same time Adelson was getting started in Las Vegas.
Around the turn of the millennium, the two men were competitors to get a casino license in Macau, a territory controlled by China. Adelson won.
ELLIOTT: I was told by somebody that used to work with Adelson that he didn’t think much of Trump as a businessman. And he was actually quoted in the late ‘90s sort of dismissively saying that Trump had a huge ego, but the world didn’t really care about him.
MARRITZ: Two decades later, when Trump ran for president, the Adelsons did not put their money on him — not at first.
ELLIOTT: And in fact, if people remember, one of Trump’s big lines was that he was so rich that he was able to self-fund. He wasn’t going to be in the pockets of these billionaires. There was a point at which the perception was that the Adelsons were going to back Marco Rubio —
DONALD TRUMP: I would worry about it, little Marco. I wouldn’t.
ELLIOTT: — who was very hard line on Israel, and Iran, and Palestinians.
TRUMP: Don’t worry about it, little Marco.
EMCEE: Gentlemen. Gentlemen!
[TRUMP CONTINUES CROSSTALKING]
ELLIOTT: And back in 2015, Trump actually tweeted — I love this, there’s always a tweet — “Sheldon Adelson is looking to give big dollars to Rubio because he feels he can mold him into his perfect little puppet. I agree!” Exclamation point.
MARRITZ: Adelson waited until Trump had pretty much locked up the nomination before deciding to endorse him. With his mind made up, Adelson pushed his chips to one side of the table.
ELLIOTT: He and Miriam ultimately give the Trump super PAC $20 million. Part of over $80 million they gave to the Republicans that cycle. So he became incredibly important donor to then-candidate Donald Trump. And he’s been rewarded with this remarkable level of access, even though they really don’t see eye-to-eye on all issues, but, in terms of what he cares about, which is Israel, and apparently his own business, Trump has delivered.
MARRITZ: Well, almost. [BEAT] So how close is Sheldon Adelson to realizing his dream of a casino in Japan right now?
ELLIOTT: So one of the things about how Japan is legalizing casinos is, it’s not just going to be a free-for-all, where anyone can build a casino. There’s going to be three licenses, initially issued, to build casinos.
And there’s an incredibly fierce competition among, essentially, every major casino company in the world to acquire one of these licenses, which, again, are worth billions of dollars.
MARRITZ: We’re still at level two of Adelson’s quest. It takes him to the city of Osaka, where he meets local politicians and checks the place out.
[THE SOUNDS OF APPLAUSE AND ELECTRONIC-Y POP MUSIC]
MARRITZ: Then, in an attempt to charm the Japanese, Las Vegas Sands flies in David Beckham and Joe Walsh of the Eagles. Here’s Becks:
DAVID BECKHAM: It’s about what you can do for the community. And one of the things that really interested me about Rob — about Sheldon — is what they want to do for the community.
MARRITZ: He’s on a first-name basis with Sheldon Adelson, and also Rob Goldstein, the Sands executive.
CONFERENCE CALL HOST: At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the Las Vegas Sands first quarter 2018 earnings conference call.
MARRITZ: In the meantime, on earnings calls, Adelson is preparing his Las Vegas Sands investors for a big new venture.
ELLIOTT: And if you listen to what he says, he’s clearly very optimistic that Sands is going to get to build one of these casinos in the country.
MARRITZ: July 2017.
SHELDON ADELSON: Bob keeps going to Japan because he found a great pizza parlor.
BOB GOLDSTEIN: Right. [LAUGHTER] It’s true. It’s true! If you want a great pizza place in Tokyo, email me.
MARRITZ: April 2018.
SHELDON ADELSON: We’re still assessing that the Yokohama location is right downtown and the Osaka location is … [FADES OUT]
MARRITZ: July 2018.
SHELDON ADELSON: What I’d like to point out is that we have … Everybody says — local Japanese businesspeople, banks — everybody says we have the leading position in Japan because of my background.
MARRITZ: When he was in Japan last year, Adelson criticized a proposed regulation that would limit the floor space devoted to gambling in these new casino resorts.
[ARGUING IN JAPANESE, LIKE THE BEGINNING OF THE EPISODE]
MARRITZ: Remember that legislative dogpile at the beginning of our story? This is part of what they were fighting over.
ELLIOTT: When the Japanese legislature passed another bill ironing out some of the regulations, this cap on the floor space of casinos had disappeared from the bill. And that was a win for Adelson and the whole industry.
MARRITZ: [A MAGICAL PORTAL NOISE] Presto. Adelson has passed through a portal, into stage three. [LEVEL UP NOISE] The casino he wants to build — the license he needs to build it and complete his quest — are just one level up.
[INTRIGUE MUSIC PLAYS]
ELLIOTT: I came across something else that was interesting, which is, President Trump’s new ambassador to Japan hired, as his top aide, a guy named Joseph Schmelzeis. This is not somebody who was a diplomat, not somebody who was known in a U.S.-Japan policy making circles.
MARRITZ: His skillset is different. It’s the gambling industry, and government relations.
ELLIOTT: He came from working on the casino issue for a Japanese company, Sega Sammy, that’s in the casino industry.
MARRITZ: Um, what is he doing in the U.S. Embassy?
ELLIOTT: So I asked the State Department about this, and they told me that Schmelzeis is not participating in any matter related to integrated resorts-casinos, or Las Vegas Sands.
The State Department also told me that officials in the U.S. Embassy have actually spoken to Las Vegas Sands executives, but they said that that was just part of routine meetings that the embassy has with American business.
MARRITZ: When it comes to Adelson’s quest, you might ask, “Why would a man of his wealth and age spend so much time on this? Why not just sit back and enjoy his accomplishments?” Justin spoke with an old friend of Adelson’s, a wealthy businessman and philanthropist —
ELLIOTT:— who said that Adelson is keenly sensitive to his own net worth. He can rattle it off based in part on the Las Vegas Sands’ stock price.
It’s interesting. Adelson actually told an interviewer a few years ago that he has no interest in building a dynasty. But if you look at what he’s been doing for the last few years, you see him flying to Japan, flying to Brazil, flying to China, trying to expand his business and build new casinos. This is a person that’s in his 80s, but he’s really still hustling.
MARRITZ: So let’s meet the Adelsons.
[PLUNKY MUSIC PLAYS]
SHELDON ADELSON: When we first started courting, she lived in Israel. I lived in Boston.
MARRITZ: Sheldon Adelson, and his second wife, Miriam Adelson, who’s from Israel, often travel together on business. They do appearances at charity benefits.
SHELDON ADELSON: And that was the beginning of — of [LAUGHS] the rest of our lives.
MARRITZ: Sheldon has a folksy, grandfatherly demeanor. He often gets around on a scooter because he suffers from neuropathy. Miriam, who’s a medical doctor, has shoulder-length blonde hair, and a strong fashion sense.
ELLIOTT: I think she sort of has a Barbara Streisand look.
MARRITZ: I’d go with Diane Keaton.
ELLIOTT: Their marriage seems, uh, very happy. Everyone says that she and he are equal partners when it comes to their political engagement.
SHELDON ADELSON: This goes with the territory of being a Jewish husband. [LAUGHTER]
MIRIAM ADELSON: No, but what I want to say —
SHELDON ADELSON: The ideas — the good ideas — are always the wive’s.
MIRIAM ADELSON: No, I gave him a few other ideas and he wouldn’t listen. He would refuse to do them.
ELLIOTT: People in politics expect that Miriam, who’s significantly younger than him, is going to carry the torch on, and they have two college-age children. And so I think even after Sheldon Adelson is gone, I think this family is going to be a powerful force in American politics and business for a long time.
[MUSIC PLAYS UP FOR A MOMENT]
MARRITZ: So let’s review. Sometime soon, Japan will award three extremely valuable licenses to develop casinos. Sheldon Adelson believes his Las Vegas Sands corporation is in a good position to get one. Being friends with the President of the United States probably hasn’t hurt his chances.
Adelson’s global interests go beyond Jerusalem and Japan. He’s spoken of opening a casino in Korea. He already has resorts in Singapore and Macau, which is controlled by China.
ELLIOTT: One of the big unanswered questions about Adelson and Trump is how much, if at all, has Adelson gotten involved with China policy?
MARRITZ: More than half of Las Vegas Sands revenue — and the Adelsons are the majority shareholders — comes from casinos in Macau. And, you may have heard, the U.S. is in an escalating trade war with China.
ELLIOTT: A lot of people have pointed out that — because we import more Chinese goods than they import U.S. goods — there’s a point at which they’re not going to be able to do retaliatory tariffs, because they’re just going to run out of things to put tariffs on. And then the question becomes what else can they do to retaliate?
ELLIOTT: And people — including people that used to work for Adelson — have said his casinos in Macau are very vulnerable. Adelson’s company has a license to operate in Macau that’s actually expiring in a few years. And, even easier than taking away the license, the Chinese government could just throttle the flow of people and money from mainland China to Macau. And that’s going to be a direct financial hit to Adelson.
MARRITZ: It hasn’t happened yet, but it could.
ELLIOTT: There’s been a lot of speculation about what role — if any — Sheldon Adelson is playing, talking to Donald Trump about U.S.-China policy. And I asked the company about this and they declined to comment, but it’s an interesting area.
MARRITZ: According to the New York Times, Trump and Adelson talk on the phone about once a month. Adelson has visited Trump or the White House six times since Trump was elected.
ELLIOTT: So this is somebody that has an extraordinary amount of access to the president, for a private citizen.
[CREDITS MUSIC PLAYS]
MARRITZ: As we were completing this story, Justin learned one more thing about Adelson’s potential role in the Trump administration’s trade war with China.
ELLIOTT: According to a person who’s spoken to Adelson, Adelson has said privately that — that if he can be helpful in any way, he would volunteer himself to do whatever is asked for either side of the equation: the U.S. or China.
MARRITZ: Justin Elliot is a reporter at ProPublica. You can read his full story on Adelson, Abe, and Trump at TrumpIncPodcast.org. Maybe you know something about Sheldon Adelson and the Trump administration? Well, we are always looking for your tips about the business relationships behind Trump’s presidency. Go to the Trump, Inc. website to find out how to share information.
Coming up on Trump, Inc.:
[VAN HALEN’S SONG “PANAMA” PLAYS, REPEATING THE SONG TITLE OVER AND OVER, THEN PLAYS OUT]
Trump, Inc. is produced by Meg Cramer. The associate producer is Alice Wilder. Bill Moss is the technical director. Additional engineering from Wayne Schulmeister and Jared Paul. Charlie Herman and Eric Umansky are the editors. Robin Fields is ProPublica’s Managing Editor. Jim Schachter is the Vice President for News at WNYC, and Steve Engelberg is the Editor-in-Chief at ProPublica. And we had help this episode from Kantaro Suzuki and Robert Hegwood. Original music composed by Hannis Brown.
New York Public Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline, often by contractors. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of New York Public Radio’s programming is the audio record.