Will Donald Trump's Relationship With This Man Hurt His Campaign?

Donald Trump's business dealings with a white-collar criminal allegedly tied to organized crime are beginning to percolate up into the 2016 presidential campaign.

The real estate magnate's blunt demeanor, suggesting an executive who ruthlessly gets his way, is part of his appeal to some voters. But his past business dealings are also darkened by ties to a convicted criminal and by the shadow of the Mafia.

Felix Sater, a fraudster with alleged connections to Cosa Nostra, worked closely with Trump on numerous occasions. His ties to the mob have been documented by the New York TimesBBC, and othernews organizations, and largely revolve around his involvement in a money-laundering scheme dating to the 1990s.

Some political insiders think Trump can turn his ties to the mob into better poll numbers, as he has with past controversies. Ford O'Connell, a GOP strategist and veteran of Sen. John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign, said he thinks Trump will try to leverage his mob connections as a reason why he should win the GOP nomination.

"As accusations grow about ties to organized crime, et cetera, it would not shock me if he turned this into a foreign policy credential," O'Connell said. "He literally says 'I've had success in dealing with unsavory people and sometimes you have to deal with these types of people if you want to get things done.' I can literally see him moving his little Tyrannosaurus rex arms saying that."

Read more from Ryan Lovelace at The Washington Examiner

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Analysis & Political Strategy