Donald Trump begins cultivating FBI agents in New York

The Trump Timeline

Sources linked at end of page.


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Around 1973, Donald Trump begins offering support and millions of dollars to FBI agents, establishing a friendship with the organization that will someday have to investigate him.

James Kallstrom, a junior agent at the bureau, is organizing a parade for Vietnam veterans in New York when Donald Trump introduces himself–and his wallet. Trump ends up paying for most of the event, and Kallstrom becomes a lifelong friend.

We just got to be friends… I went to a few dinners with him, we talked quite often. He was very, very supportive of the bureau. We lose an agent or somebody gets shot up, he was always there to pay for the food or whatever it took… We stay in touch even today.

James Kallstrom, An American Affair: Donald Trump and the FBI (2020)

That friendship comes in handy and extends to others as time goes on. In the ’80s, Kallstrom works closely on the Cosa Nostra case with Rudy Giuliani, then-U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. By the mid-1990s, Kallstrom is running the FBI’s New York office and overseeing investigations into both the Italian mafia and Russian mafia. In 1995, he establishes the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation. Donald Trump donates $1.3 million.

Kallstrom isn’t the only agent that Trump befriends, according to investigative reporters like Jeff Stein.

He cultivated FBI people, and that’s well-known behavior by people who swim in dangerous waters. They want to have a get-out-of-jail card, and that get-out-of-jail is having friendships or being a good source for the FBI.

Jeff Stein, An American Affair: Donald Trump and the FBI (2020)

As far as we know, Donald Trump never becomes an official informant for the FBI. Instead, he becomes a “hip pocket” source — someone who agents would rely on as a “friend” but who was never listed as an official source in FBI files. The Soviet Union’s KGB has a title for people in positions like Trump’s: a “trusted contact.”

As Trump’s business booms and Russian mafia members use his properties as hideouts and for money laundering, Trump himself is never targeted by the FBI, and the bureau lets some of his transnational criminal partners off the hook. Some are wrongfully written off as having no ties to organized crime. Others are recruited as official informants.

Knowing all we know about Trump’s early ties to the FBI, one has to wonder: where was this information in the Mueller report, and why did James Comey help the Trump campaign?

External Sources

Craig Unger, American Kompromat, p.55-58

An American Affair: Donald Trump and the FBI (2020), documentary

The New York Times (Archived)

New York Post (Archived)

The New York Times, 2 (Archived)

Photo 1: Marija Zaric

Photo 2: Public Domain

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