Scandal Watch XI

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Scandal Watch XI

ag. 19, 2020, 2:28am

Senate committee made criminal referral of Trump Jr., Bannon, Kushner, two others to federal prosecutors
Ken Dilanian | Aug. 18, 2020

WASHINGTON — The Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee made criminal referrals of Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Steve Bannon, Erik Prince and Sam Clovis to federal prosecutors in 2019, passing along their suspicions that the men may have misled the committee during their testimony, an official familiar with the matter told NBC News.

...A criminal referral to the Justice Department means Congress believes a matter warrants investigation for potential violation of the law...a letter to the U.S. attorney's office in Washington, D.C., in June 2019, the official said.

The Post reported that the letter was divided into two sections. One named those suspected of making false statements, The Post said: Bannon; Clovis, a co-chair of the Trump campaign in 2016; and Prince, a private security contractor.

A second section raised concerns about the testimony of other witnesses, including Trump Jr. and Kushner, whose statements were contradicted by Trump campaign aide Richard Gates, although it did not pointedly make a false-statements allegation, The Post reported.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the committee questioned whether Bannon lied about his interactions and conversations with Prince about a meeting in the Seychelles between Prince and a top Russian official. Prince told special counsel Robert Mueller's prosecutors that he briefed Bannon on the January 2017 meeting, but Bannon said the conversation never happened.

A lawyer for Prince told The Post that if there was such a referral, it did not appear to have resulted in an investigation. There has been no public indication of any investigation...

ag. 19, 2020, 2:29am


Trump says he didn't discuss hacked emails with Roger Stone. A bipartisan Senate report says he did.
Ken Dilanian | Aug. 18, 2020

...The report, which the committee's Republican majority approved, said the committee assessed that the president discussed hacked emails with his longtime associate Roger Stone — even though Trump told special counsel Robert Mueller that he didn't recall having done so.

The report highlighted some never-before-seen evidence about Trump and Russia, including three allegations of potentially compromising material relating to Trump's private trips to Russia that were unconnected to the dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele.

"Separate from Steele's memos, which the Committee did not use for support, the Committee became aware of three general sets of allegations" involving women, the report said, two of which described a tape. No such allegations were confirmed, but the finding lent new credence to at least one claim in the widely discredited Steele dossier.

The committee endorsed the view of Mueller and the Stone prosecution team that the Trump campaign eagerly embraced Russian help in 2016 and considered the hacked emails its "October surprise," even though campaign officials knew the material had been stolen by Russian intelligence.

"While the GRU and WikiLeaks were releasing hacked documents, the Trump Campaign sought to maximize the impact of those materials to aid Trump's electoral prospects," the report said. "To do so, the Trump campaign took actions to obtain advance notice about WikiLeaks releases of Clinton emails; took steps to obtain inside information about the content of releases once WikiLeaks began to publish stolen information; created messaging strategies to promote and share the materials in anticipation of and following their release; and encouraged further theft of information and continued leaks."

The committee said it also developed evidence that Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort may have been connected to the Russian operation to steal and leak Democratic emails. If that had been proven in court, it would have constituted "collusion," by any definition, but no such charge was ever brought. Manafort was convicted of fraud and tax charges unrelated to Russia.

The committee found that the Trump transition team exposed itself to Russian influence.

"Russia and other countries took advantage of the Transition Team's inexperience, transparent opposition to Obama Administration policies, and Trump's desire to deepen ties with Russia, to pursue unofficial channels through which Russia could conduct diplomacy," the report said. "The lack of vetting of foreign interactions by Transition officials left the Transition open to influence and manipulation by foreign intelligence services, government leaders, and co-opted business executives."

It added, "Russian officials, intelligence services, and others acting on the Kremlin's behalf were capable of exploiting the Transition's shortcomings for Russia's advantage. Based on available information it is possible — and even likely — that they did so."

The report portrayed Stone as the campaign's go-between with WikiLeaks, which was receiving the hacked emails from Russian intelligence officers. Trump, in written responses to the special counsel, said he didn't remember having discussed WikiLeaks with Stone, "nor do I recall being aware of Mr. Stone having discussed WikiLeaks with individuals associated with my campaign."

The report said, "Despite Trump's recollection, the committee assesses that Trump did, in fact, speak with Stone about WikiLeaks and with members of his campaign.

ag. 20, 2020, 4:12pm

Judge Rejects Trump's Latest Effort To Keep His Tax Records From Manhattan DA
Barbara Sprunt | August 20, 2020

...Thursday's ruling by U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero came in response to a filing by the president's personal attorneys that sought to prevent Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance from obtaining eight years of his tax records. The president's legal team has argued that the subpoena to Trump's accounting firm, Mazars USA, is "overbroad."

In his ruling, the judge said Trump's legal team failed to show the subpoena was issued in "bad faith." Marrero wrote, "Justice requires an end to this controversy."

The decision follows a ruling from the Supreme Court in July that the president is not immune from a subpoena for his financial records from Vance's office.

Chief Justice John Roberts penned the court's opinion, writing, "In our system, the public has a right to every man's evidence," and "since the founding of the Republic, every man has included the President of the United States."

The court did, however, say Trump could return to the lower courts to raise objections to the subpoena.

Vance is investigating whether Trump or the Trump Organization violated New York state laws in connection with hush-money payments made to the adult film actress Stormy Daniels and other women who have said they had affairs with the president. The president has denied those allegations...

ag. 20, 2020, 4:18pm

Former Top Trump Aide Stephen Bannon And "Build The Wall" Founder Brian Kolfage Have Been Charged With Fraud
Julia Reinstein, Rosie Gray, Salvador Hernandez | August 20, 2020

Stephen Bannon, a former top aide to President Donald Trump, and Brian Kolfage, the leader of the crowdfunded "We Build the Wall" effort, have been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

Bannon, Kolfage, and two other men "received hundreds of thousands of dollars in donor funds from We Build the Wall, which they each used in a manner inconsistent with the organization’s public representations," said Audrey Strauss, the acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Bannon, Kolfage, Andrew Badolato, and Timothy Shea have all been arrested and are expected to appear in court on Thursday...

ag. 20, 2020, 5:01pm

Prosecutors looking to reinstate indictment against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort for mortgage fraud
The case was initially dismissed due to its similarity to the federal charges
Aaron Katersky | August 20, 2020

The Manhattan District Attorney's office fought Thursday to reinstate the indictment against President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, according to court documents filed in the case.

Manafort had been charged in New York for allegedly conducting a yearlong residential mortgage fraud scheme before the case was dismissed in December due to its similarity to earlier federal charges.

The Manhattan DA's office argued, according to court filings, that the state's double jeopardy law contains an exception that would allow the case to proceed.

"The statute permits a successive prosecution where the offenses in the second prosecution contain different elements and the defining statutes were designed to prevent very different kinds of harm or evil than the offenses in the first prosecution," the court document states.

In the case against Manafort, the district attorney's filing said the "defendant overlooks the distinct harms that the federal and state offenses were designed to target."

Manafort, 71, had been sentenced to more than seven years for charges related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation in a federal correctional institution in central Pennsylvania. He was found guilty of tax fraud and conspiracy and was sentenced by a federal judge in March 2019.

He was released from prison in May to serve the remainder of his sentence in home confinement because of concerns over the novel coronavirus...

Manafort was just one of several associates of President Trump's that were charged for crimes as part of the nearly two-year investigation led by Mueller. So far, Manafort was the only one to spend a significant period in jail....

ag. 21, 2020, 8:23am

>5 margd: Bannon, contd.

ACLU @ACLU | 2:22 PM · Aug 20, 2020:
The Department of Homeland Security, at the urging of President Trump, awarded a $400 million contract
to a company affiliated with Steve Bannon’s "We Build the Wall" effort.

We're demanding answers.

Quote Tweet
POLITICO @politico · 19h
President Donald Trump is distancing himself from Steve Bannon's efforts to crowdsource private funds for a border wall,
saying it was "done for showboating reasons" and "inappropriate"

ag. 22, 2020, 9:35am

Court orders Donald Trump to pay legal fees in Stormy Daniels suit
Evan Simko-Bednarski | August 22, 2020

(CNN)A California Superior Court judge has ordered President Donald Trump to pay $44,100 to Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, to reimburse her attorneys' fees in the legal battle surrounding her nondisclosure agreement.

...Judge Robert Broadbelt III ruled that Clifford was entitled to legal fees, finding her the "prevailing party" under California law, despite the case having been dismissed.

Broadbelt also rejected an argument by Trump's attorneys that the President was not liable for the fees because he had not signed the NDA.

In his decision, Broadbelt wrote that since Trump had reimbursed Cohen for the $130,000 payment to Clifford, and since the Trump legal team had earlier argued that a defamation suit filed against the President by Clifford should be handled by an arbitrator per the NDA, the President was effectively a party to the agreement.

ag. 22, 2020, 9:44am

S'ha suprimit aquest usuari en ser considerat brossa.

Editat: ag. 28, 2020, 12:16pm

Did Donald Trump have a ‘brief relationship’ with a former Miss Moscow?
Her ‘charms were not overshadowed even by Claudia Schiffer and Tina Turner’
Cockburn | 26 August 2020


Michael Weiss (Daily Beast) @michaeldweiss | 1:57 PM · Aug 25, 2020
THREAD. Welp. I think I've found the former beauty queen Trump is rumored to have gotten to know perhaps a little too well in Moscow in 1996.

The SSCI leaves several clues about the "Miss Moscow" pageant winner, even amidst all the annoying redactions.

set. 11, 2020, 3:36pm

Democrats smell blood with new DHS whistleblower complaint
Olivia Beavers | 09/11/20

...Brian Murphy, a career public servant and former acting under secretary of the agency’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis, said in a whistleblower reprisal complaint made public Wednesday that political appointees sought to modify or suppress vetted intelligence to match or support Trump’s public remarks on various issues.

...The most alarming claim was that (acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf), under the direction of White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien, instructed Murphy earlier this year to stop producing intelligence reports centered on Russian interference efforts and instead focus on the threats posed by China and Iran.

Murphy alleged the administration has peddled a false narrative that puts Russia’s ongoing efforts to subvert the U.S. election on par with Iran and China.

He went on to say that his refusal to alter vetted intelligence sparked talk of terminating his employment. Ultimately, Murphy says he was reassigned to the role of assistant to the deputy under secretary for the DHS management division, a move he described as a retaliatory demotion...

set. 23, 2020, 6:11pm

NY AG James @NewYorkStateAG | 2:51 PM · Sep 23, 2020:

#BREAKING: A judge just ruled that Eric Trump can no longer delay an interview under oath with my office as part of our ongoing investigation into financial dealings of the Trump Organization.

Eric Trump must interview with my office by October 7th, 2020.

set. 25, 2020, 8:46am

New Report: President Trump has 3,400 conflicts of interest (RELEASE)
Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Washington | September 24, 2020
Washington — Averaging more than two conflicts of interest per day, President Trump continues to be the most corrupt president in history, engaging in more than 3,400 conflicts of interest since taking office, according to a new report released today by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). Since CREW issued its last conflicts report in February, President Trump has engaged in an additional 400 conflicts of interest and made millions of dollars for his personal businesses. Today’s report details some of the most glaring examples of presidential corruption and conflicts of interest ever raised by a president, all of which stem from his refusal to divest from his businesses.

Since the beginning of his presidency, CREW has tracked interactions between the president, the Trump Organization, and those trying to influence government decisions and public policies, including members of Congress, industry groups, lobbyists and cabinet officials. These interactions have continued to blur the lines between where President Trump’s public responsibilities end and his private financial interests begin, and between his loyalty to the Trump Organization and his obligations to the American public.

“For nearly four years, President Trump has made it abundantly clear that any claim of separation from his business was a lie. The extraordinary numbers in this report paint a picture of a president who is fixated on the personal financial benefits he might derive from his public service—and a whole ecosystem of officials, special interests and governments that exploit that fixation in order to curry favor and advance their own interests,” said CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder.

“As the president continues to harness the office of the presidency for his own personal gain, Americans can no longer trust that he makes decisions in our interest, rather than his own,” Bookbinder said. “From foreign governments and industries throwing lavish events at his properties to donors and customers buying their way to ambassadorships and top political offices, corruption surrounds this president literally every day.”

Highlights from the report include:

President Trump has made more than 500 visits to the properties he owns and profits from. The president’s frequent travel to and from his properties has cost American taxpayers well over $100 million.

President Trump has made more than 300 visits to the golf courses he owns and profits from, despite saying repeatedly during his presidential campaign in 2016 he would not have time for golf. His insistence on spending time at his properties has resulted in at least a million dollars in taxpayer money being spent at his properties.

141 members of Congress have patronized Trump properties. These visits often coincide with events held by special interests or wealthy political donors that rake in millions of dollars for his properties.

Special interest groups, many of which have business before the Trump administration, have hosted or sponsored 130 events at Trump properties since he took office. Political groups have held another 88 events at Trump properties.

Foreign government-tied entities have held 13 events at Trump properties, and at least 145 foreign officials have visited one of Trump’s properties. Foreign governments have granted President Trump’s businesses 67 trademarks, and have awarded additional trademarks to his daughter’s business, all potentially in an effort to secure favorable treatment from the Trump administration.

“President Trump has repeatedly used his office to promote his businesses and grant wealthy paying customers personal access to him, his staff, and those who have his ear,” Bookbinder said. “It is a gross abuse of public trust, and with each conflict, he becomes more complicit in the destruction of the ethical norms that form the cornerstone of a working democracy.”

Click here to view the report...

Editat: set. 25, 2020, 9:19am

“One of the Most Significant Potential Conflicts of Interest in American History”:
How Everyone From Foreign Governments to Federal Contractors Is Quietly Lining Trump’s Pockets
Dan Alexander | September 17, 2020

It sure seems like the Qatari government is using a dummy office to pay the president. Countless other foreign and American companies are also handing Trump money—sometimes without even knowing it—creating the most tangled web of ethical pitfalls the White House has ever seen...


Dan Alexander (Forbes) @DanAlexander21 · Sep 19

1/ I was stunned to realize that the Qatar Investment Authority was renting an empty office in Trump’s most valuable building. But I was even more surprised to see how U.S. policy changed around the time that the lease began. Here’s the timeline.

2/ Sometime between October 2016 and March 2017: Saudi Arabia spends $270,000 at the Trump International Hotel.

3/ May 20, 2017: Trump makes first overseas trip as president, to Saudi Arabia.

Quote Tweet
Department of State @StateDept US government account · May 20, 2017
President Trump Participates in Signing Ceremony Supporting Saudi Arabia's Defense Needs #POTUSAbroad

4/ June 9, 2017: Back home from his trip, Trump echoes the Saudi position in a regional dispute between Qatar and other U.S. allies. “The nation of Qatar, unfortunately, has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level.”

5/ Sometime after February 2018: Qatar outfits a new office space on the 43rd floor of 555 California Street, Trump’s most valuable holding.

6/ April 10, 2018: Trump welcomes Qatari ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to the Oval Office. Trump's message about Qatar has done a 180:
“Tamim and I have been working for a number of years now—actually, even before the fact—on terrorism."

7/ July 8, 2019: Al-Thani and other Qatari officials return to DC. Trump rolls out the red carpet.
Several board members of the Qatar Investment Authority, which is now renting space inside Trump’s most valuable building, attend dinner with US leaders.

Quote Tweet
Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump · Jul 9, 2019
After a wonderful dinner at the @USTreasury last night with the Amir of Qatar, @TamimBinHamad,
it was my great honor to welcome him to the WhiteHouse this afternoon!

8/ July 8, 2019: Steven Roth, Trump’s business partner in building the where Qatar now has office space, is on the guest list.
The venue for the party is, of all places, the Cash Room in the Treasury Department, which once held America’s gold, silver and dollar bills.

9/ July 8, 2019: Trump stands up to give a message to the Qataris at the party.
“I have to say that the investments that you make in the United States,” he says, “are very much appreciated.”

10/ You can read more about this—and other leases involving foreign governments—in White House Inc., which comes out on Tuesday.
White House, Inc.: How Donald Trump Turned the Presidency into a Business
By Dan Alexander
An in-depth investigation into Donald Trump’s business—and how he used America’s top job to service it...


Nancy Reese @NancyReese1 · Sep 19
My question is...if this is a serious as it seems, why hasn't it been exposed before? Why are Dems not all over this?

Dan Alexander @DanAlexander21 · Sep 20
There are so many ports of entry for people to pay President Trump -- and so little disclosure of his finances -- that we are discovering new things about his business all the time. No one knew about this until three days ago.

set. 26, 2020, 8:12am

‘It’s like every red flag’: Trump-ordered HHS ad blitz raises alarms
DAN DIAMOND | 09/25/2020

...The health department is moving quickly on a highly unusual advertising campaign to "defeat despair" about the coronavirus, a $300 million-plus effort that was shaped by a political appointee close to President Donald Trump and executed in part by close allies of the official, using taxpayer funds.

The ad blitz, described in some budget documents as the "Covid-19 immediate surge public advertising and awareness campaign," is expected to lean heavily on video interviews between administration officials and celebrities, who will discuss aspects of the coronavirus outbreak and address the Trump administration's response to the crisis, according to six individuals with knowledge of the campaign...

Senior administration officials have already recorded interviews with celebrities like actor Dennis Quaid and singer CeCe Winans, and the Health and Human Services Department also has pursued television host Dr. Mehmet Oz and musician Garth Brooks for roles in the campaign.

The public awareness campaign, which HHS is seeking to start airing before Election Day on Nov. 3, was largely conceived and organized by Michael Caputo, the health department's top spokesperson who took medical leave last week and announced on Thursday that he had been diagnosed with cancer. Caputo, who has no medical or scientific background, claimed in a Facebook video on Sept. 13 that the campaign was "demanded of me by the president of the United States. Personally."

..funded — by pulling money out of health agencies like the Centers for Disease Control that are in the midst of fighting the pandemic..."CDC hasn’t yet done an awareness campaign about Covid guidelines — but they are going to pay for a campaign about how to get rid of our despair? Run by political appointees in the press shop? Right before an election?" said Josh Peck, a former HHS official who oversaw the Obama administration's advertising campaign for

set. 29, 2020, 11:49am

Ten Quick Takeaways from the New York Times’ Bombshell Article on Trump’s Tax Returns
Daniel Shaviro | September 28, 2020

1) Tax is the least of it. The article offers direct evidence of Trump’s impending financial liability to unknown lenders, and of pervasive conflicts of interest as president, that are of grave national security concern.

2) Trump appears to be an absolutely terrible businessman...

3) As a matter of net worth, Trump appears not to be rich (despite his having inherited a large fortune)...

4) There is nothing wrong in principle with using true economic losses to offset the tax that would otherwise be due on gains – but it also isn’t clever tax planning....

5) The ongoing IRS audit dispute regarding a $72.5 million loss deduction looks very bad for Trump...

6) The consulting fees that Trump’s various foreign businesses paid to Ivanka Trump and others look potentially fraudulent...

7) Other improper deductions that may have been claimed fraudulently...(hair stylists, family compound, campaign legal fees)

8) Trump appears to have used substantial foreign losses to offset tax that would otherwise have been due on domestic source income...

9) The 2013 Miss Universe Pageant in Moscow raises troubling issues (albeit not tax-related) about the potential funneling of cash from a Putin associate to Trump...

10) There is an old saying that one can never detect tax fraud purely on the face of a tax return – but this comes closer than usual...the Times article makes a powerful initial case, clearly meriting investigation, that substantial tax fraud may have occurred.

Editat: set. 29, 2020, 4:55pm

Much as it pains me to use the citation, the story is (as far as I can tell) true. Hospitalized Brad Parscale 'is under investigation for stealing up to $40M from Trump's campaign and $10M from the RNC', as he spirals out of control over 'gravy train' ending and mounting debt from his lavish lifestyle.
Brad Parscale is under investigation for 'stealing' between $25-$40 million from Trump's 2020 presidential campaign
The 44-year-old is also being investigated for 'pocketing' another $10 million from the Republican National Committee
He was involuntarily committed to a hospital by Fort Lauderdale police on Sunday afternoon following a concerning episode at his $2.4M Florida home
. . .his wife Candice was fleeing the home in just her bikini, telling a passerby: 'I think my husband just killed himself'
She told police Parscale had been 'stressed out for the past two weeks and has made suicidal comments throughout the week to shoot himself'
A Trump insider explained to Parscale went into a tailspin after he was demoted in July and replaced by his former number two, Bill Stepien
Trump later ordered an audit of the spending of the RNC
Campaign records show Parscale was making $15,000 a month as Trump's electioneering guru
. . .(Parscale) owns $300k in cars and $5M in condos
CAVEAT: The first two points in the above list are "as told to the publication by 'inside sources,'" as per the publication itself.

Editat: oct. 1, 2020, 5:17am

No one can assert that Trump is not trying to grow the GOP's
base. The QAnons and the Proud Boys followers have been
welcomed into the fold this year by the president.

oct. 7, 2020, 10:30am

A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that President Donald Trump cannot block the (NY) state grand jury subpoena for his tax returns.

The court: “We have considered all of the President’s remaining contentions on appeal and have found in them no basis for reversal.”

- Shimon Prokupecz (CNN) @ShimonPro | 9:58 AM · Oct 7, 2020


Eric Trump deposed by New York attorney general's office about Trump Organization
Aaron Katersky | October 5, 2020

...Eric Trump, the president's son, was deposed Monday about the Trump Organization, for which he serves as an executive.

Investigators with the New York attorney general's office deposed Trump as part of an investigation into whether President Donald Trump's namesake company improperly inflated the value of certain assets to get tax benefits, according to a source familiar with the probe.

Eric Trump was ordered to appear for a deposition by Oct. 7 after a Manhattan judge rejected his attempt to delay testimony until after Election Day...

oct. 7, 2020, 5:28pm

Exclusive: Taxpayers pick up tab for billionaire US ambassador's stay at Donald Trump’s Scottish resort
Martyn Mclaughlin | 7th October 2020

The billionaire US ambassador to the UK ran up a bill to US taxpayers totalling more than £1,000 in a single day while staying at Donald Trump’s flagship Scottish hotel and golf resort.

US federal government receipts show that Woody Johnson enjoyed a £426 dinner with his wife during a visit to the US president’s Turnberry property, and spent several hundred pounds on its golf offerings.

One leading ethics watchdog said it was “simply embarrassing” that the “multi-billionaire” diplomat, who is from one of the wealthiest families in America, would play golf at Mr Trump’s course and leave the US public to pay for the privilege.

The revelation will also reignite the controversy over how the president's privately held businesses are able to generate revenue via his public office at the expense of ordinary US citizens....

Editat: oct. 10, 2020, 11:07am

Trump Engineered a Sudden Windfall in 2016 as Campaign Funds Dwindled
Susanne Craig, Mike McIntire and Russ Buettner | Oct. 9, 2020

Tax records expose more than $21 million in highly unusual payments from the Las Vegas hotel Donald Trump owns with Phil Ruffin, routed through other Trump companies and paid out in cash.

...Experts in tax and campaign-finance law consulted by The Times said that while more information was needed to assess the legitimacy of the payments, they could be legally problematic.

“Why all of a sudden does this company have more than $20 million in fees that haven’t been there before?” said Daniel Shaviro, a professor of taxation at the New York University School of Law. “And all of this money is going to a man who just happens to be running for president and might not have a lot of cash on hand?”

Unless the payments were for actual business expenses, he said, claiming a tax deduction for them would be illegal. If they were not legitimate and were also used to fund Mr. Trump’s presidential run, they could be considered illegal campaign contributions.

...And after the inauguration, Mr. Ruffin would ask for a favor. Would the president help revive a dormant project of great importance to a lot of powerful people in Las Vegas — a bullet train that would whisk gamblers from Southern California to The Strip in less than 90 minutes?

Four years earlier, Barack Obama’s administration had considered, but ultimately decided against, a $5.5 billion loan for the train. Mr. Trump loved the idea, Mr. Ruffin told Forbes in a 2017 interview...

Richard Stengel (MSNBC) stengel | 8:27 AM · Oct 10, 2020:

The payments went to a shell company called Trump Las Vegas Sales & Marketing. No employees, no payroll, very little revenue.
Then Trump (illegally) wrote off at least $21 million of it and
then (illegally) donated it to his own campaign.
#VOTE—then prosecute.


Nancy @ntsbfh | 9:07 AM · Oct 10, 2020:

Ruffin and his wife* are big contributors to Trump. His wife, according to Google, is Ukrainian.
Has she become. U.S. citizen? How? If not, how can she be a campaign contributor?
Image ( )


oct. 10, 2020, 4:00pm

The Swamp That Trump Built
Nicholas Confessore, Karen Yourish, Steve Eder, Ben Protess, Maggie Haberman, Grace Ashford, Michael LaForgia, Kenneth P. Vogel, Michael Rothfeld and Larry Buchanan (Graphics and production by Rumsey Taylor, Derek Watkins and Bill Marsh 0
Oct. 10, 2020

A businessman-president transplanted favor-seeking in Washington to his family’s hotels and resorts — and earned millions as a gatekeeper to his own administration.

...once Mr. Trump was in the White House, his family business discovered a lucrative new revenue stream: people who wanted something from the president. An investigation by The Times found over 200 companies, special-interest groups and foreign governments that patronized Mr. Trump’s properties while reaping benefits from him and his administration. Nearly a quarter of those patrons have not been previously reported.

The tax records — along with membership rosters for Mar-a-Lago and the president’s golf club in Bedminster, N.J., as well as other sources — reveal how much money this new line of business was worth.

‘Are We Full on the Outside Patio?’
Business on the Fairway
‘People Like to Be Where Presidents Are’
The President and the Cardboard King
Mar-a-Lago as a Silent Partner
A Donor Seizes the Moment
Five-Star Bargains
The Chosen Hotel
Statecraft and Money Making
A Birthday Bash

oct. 21, 2020, 9:06am

Trump's cash woes mount as Biden laps him

The president started October with $63 million to spend compared to Joe Biden's $177 million.

...Eighty percent of Trump’s campaign spending in September — more than $100 million, out of a total of $125 million — was channeled through American Made Media Consultants LLC, a company that FEC filings describe as responsible for making and placing TV and digital ads for the campaign.

But FEC filings do not shed any more light on how that money was spent, as AMMC is not required to disclose its subcontractors. That means few public details on how Trump’s spending habits have changed in recent months. Trump’s filings in August also showed three-quarters of the cash he spent going through AMMC.

The group is the subject of a finance complaint for allegedly acting as a “pass-through” entity to obscure campaign disbursements, filed by the Campaign Legal Center. But Trump’s campaign has insisted that it is in full compliance with campaign finance law...

oct. 26, 2020, 8:05am

The mystery of President Trump’s consulting fee income
Meredith Lerner | October 21, 2020

...The mere fact that a president might be engaged in for-profit consulting on the side is cause for concern. The presidency is arguably the most demanding job in the world and requires anyone who holds it to have a single-minded focus on what’s in the best interests of the American people, not their personal financial interests. Beyond that, however, the fees raise new questions specific to Trump about how involved he is with his businesses and — in light of the recent New York Times reports about his tax returns — to what extent the payments might demonstrate his continued attempts to use questionable means to lower the Trump Organization’s tax burden.

Last year, Trump disclosed $61,045 in “consulting fees” that are apparently related to Trump Organization projects that never materialized in his financial disclosure report covering 2018. The payments are unusual because they are the only one of their kind that Trump has reported since becoming president. And unlike his more passive forms of profit from his businesses, the use of the term “consulting” seems to imply actual services rendered by the president...

oct. 28, 2020, 9:03am

How Trump Maneuvered His Way Out of Trouble in Chicago
David Enrich, Russ Buettner, Mike McIntire and Susanne Craig | Oct. 27, 2020

When his skyscraper proved a disappointment, Donald Trump defaulted on his loans, sued his bank, got much of the debt forgiven — and largely avoided paying taxes on it.

The financial crisis was in full swing...the (Chicago) skyscraper became another disappointment in a portfolio filled with them. Construction lagged. Condos proved hard to sell. Retail space sat vacant.

Yet for Mr. Trump and his company, the Chicago experience also turned out to be something else: the latest example of his ability to strong-arm major financial institutions and exploit the tax code to cushion the blow of his repeated business failures.

The president’s federal income tax records, obtained by The New York Times, show for the first time that, since 2010, his lenders have forgiven about $287 million in debt that he failed to repay. The vast majority was related to the Chicago project...

oct. 29, 2020, 10:09am

Turkish Bank Case Showed Erdogan’s Influence With Trump
Eric Lipton and Benjamin Weiser | Oct. 29, 2020

New details of the Justice Department’s handling of the accusations against Halkbank reveal how Turkey’s leader pressured the president, prompting concern from top White House aides.

The Justice Department eventually charged Halkbank, a state-owned Turkish bank, with money laundering, fraud and conspiracy to violate sanctions against Iran.

...The president was discussing an active criminal case with the authoritarian leader of a nation in which Mr. Trump does business; he reported receiving at least $2.6 million in net income from operations in Turkey from 2015 through 2018, according to tax records obtained by The New York Times.

And Mr. Trump’s sympathetic response to Mr. Erdogan was especially jarring because it involved accusations that the bank had undercut Mr. Trump’s policy of economically isolating Iran, a centerpiece of his Middle East plan.

Former White House officials said they came to fear that the president was open to swaying the criminal justice system to advance a transactional and ill-defined agenda of his own.

“He would interfere in the regular government process to do something for a foreign leader,” John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, said in a recent interview. “In anticipation of what? In anticipation of another favor from that person down the road.”

In the case of Halkbank, it was only after an intense foreign policy clash between Mr. Trump and Mr. Erdogan over Syria last fall that the United States would proceed to lodge charges against the bank, though not against any additional individuals. Yet the administration’s bitterness over Mr. Berman’s unwillingness to go along with Mr. Barr’s proposal would linger, and ultimately contribute to Mr. Berman’s dismissal...


Matthew Miller @matthewamiller 8:28 AM · Oct 29, 2020:
This story is one huge five alarm Trump corruption scandal with individual acts of corruption by Barr, Whitaker, and Mnuchin.

Barr demanding that SDNY ignore DOJ rules and let a corporate settlement absolve executives of personal liability is unreal. A US company that asked for this would get shouted out of the room, but when a foreign dictator who can help Trump's bottom line demands it, Barr jumps.

David Frum @davidfrum | 8:34 AM · Oct 29, 2020
With special guest appearances by Rudy Giuliani and Michael Flynn

The NYT story on Halkbank cites Trump disclosures of at least $2.6 million from Turkey between 2015 and 2018.

The total Trump take from Turkey however is much higher, between $5 mn and $10 mn.
Behind Trump’s Dealings With Turkey: Sons-in-Law Married to Power
Informal relationships between family members help explain the course of diplomacy between the White House and Turkey’s leader.
David D. Kirkpatrick and Eric Lipton | Nov. 12, 2019

oct. 29, 2020, 1:43pm

UPDATE: UPS told The Daily Beast Thursday that they have located the missing documents sent to Tucker Carlson after an “extensive search.”

“After an extensive search, we have found the contents of the package and are arranging for its return,” the UPS spokesman told the news outlet. “UPS will always focus first on our customers, and will never stop working to solve issues and make things right.”

Original post:

UPS confirmed Thursday that the contents of a package sent to Fox News host Tucker Carlson have gone missing.

“UPS is conducting an urgent investigation into this matter and regrets that the package was damaged,” the company told The Daily Beast, noting that the package was “reported with missing contents as it moved within” their network.

The package in question, Carlson told viewers Wednesday night, contained confidential documents “damning” to the Biden family.

oct. 29, 2020, 5:21pm

Pompeo's wife and son made personal requests of State Dept staff.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s wife and son reportedly sent personal requests to department officials, according to hundreds of pages of emails obtained by NBC News.

The emails come as both Congress and the Office of Special Counsel oversee investigations into allegations of misuse of government resources by the secretary and his wife.

(The citations that follows are gleaned from both sources linked above.)
Susan Pompeo routinely gives instructions to State Department officials from her personal email address about everything from travel plans and restaurant reservations to the elite Madison Dinners that NBC News reported on in May.

(She) asked top State Department staffers to work the week of Christmas in order to finish their personal holiday cards.

. . .(additional) requests, such as seeking assistance with planning a multiday visit for an elite group of young executives from Kansas, appear to be less directly connected to advancing the State Department's core mission.

The emails from her account also reportedly included maintenance requests for the house the family rents on a military base just outside Washington. . .Emails show special agents from the service's Secretary of State Protective Division updating Susan Pompeo about repairs to the HVAC system in 2018 and to the porch and stairs in 2019.

"The dryer isn't hooked up. ... I think you told me someone was coming to fix that?"
While there doesn't appear the Pompeos were engaged in making requests for special service that would personally enrich them while he served as Sec'y. of State, it is obvious that many of their requests are specifically made to curry favor with friends and the "connected" in KS as Pompeo prepares the ground for his return to that state and probably his future political or employment opportunities.

oct. 29, 2020, 6:40pm

Wilbur Ross Remained on Chinese Joint Venture Board While Running U.S.-China Trade War

Is there no end to Trump Administration corruption? Apparently not. Chinese documents show that the U.S. commerce secretary did not step down from all his corporate commitments.
Wilbur Ross, an investor-turned-U.S. commerce secretary, has long been accused of ethical violations because of his failure to extricate himself from his business ties. Documents obtained by Foreign Policy show that ,b>Ross’s potential conflicts of interest around Chinese business are greater than previously known.

Ross is listed as serving on the board of a Chinese joint venture until January 2019—nearly two years into his term as commerce secretary. That joint venture, now called Huaneng Invesco WLR (Beijing) Investment Fund Management Co., is an investment partnership. . .(and) an arm of China Huaneng Group, a major state-owned power producer.
Can you say, "Conflict of Interest" more clearly than that?
At the same time as Ross was overseeing the trade war (begun by Trump in 2018) as U.S. Commerce Secretary, he was still, according to the paperwork, on the board of a joint venture that was a partnership with a Chinese state-owned firm.

The letter that Ross provided to Foreign Policy is dated Feb. 27, 2017, marked “Confidential,” and has as its subject line “Re: Resignation from WLR Entities.” In the letter, addressed to WL Ross & Co., Ross writes that he “shall be deemed to have retired, resigned or withdrawn” from every entity affiliated with WL Ross & Co. Ross lists dozens of companies that he claims the letter applies to, including those affiliated with Huaneng. But Chinese corporate law experts consulted by Foreign Policy say that under Chinese law, writing a private letter to a U.S. parent company (in this case, Invesco) does not remove one from Chinese corporate boards.

“Public trust demands that all employees act in the public’s interest, and are free from any actual or perceived conflicts when fulfilling the governmental responsibilities entrusted to them,” the then-acting director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics wrote to Ross in a July 2018 letter, about other. . .ethical violations.
Intentional or inadvertent violations -- makes no difference. Neither Ross nor Invesco issued a comment in response to the story. Follow link above for details on Ross' history of "Oopsies!" with sleight-of-hand divestment, public (dis-)trust, and ethics pecadilloes.

oct. 30, 2020, 6:41am

Ivanka Trump violated the Hatch Act eight times in just over 48 hours
Linnaea Honl-Stuenkel | October 13, 2020

Latest Update
October 28, 2020:
Ivanka Trump appears to have violated the Hatch Act a staggering 30 times on Twitter alone since this was published, just two weeks ago.

...The Hatch Act bars federal employees from using the power of their official positions to push partisan political outcomes. Apolitical career government employees have faced serious consequences like firing or suspension without pay for violations of the law. But even as President Trump has campaigned on a message of “law and order,” he has allowed more than a dozen White House and senior administration staff to break the law and face no consequences.

Ivanka Trump’s Twitter account lists her official position “Advisor to POTUS on job creation + economic empowerment, workforce development & entrepreneurship” and she regularly uses the account for official government business like promoting Trump administration policy initiatives. The Office of Special Counsel, a small federal agency that enforces the Hatch Act has found that when a government official uses a “Twitter account for official purposes, the Hatch Act prohibits her from using that account to engage in political activity.” Ivanka Trump using her @IvankaTrump account for political as well as government business suggests that she is using government resources like her time, title, and position to boost campaign messages. Many of Trump’s messages definitely cross the line when it comes to using her official position to push a partisan agenda...

nov. 3, 2020, 10:40am

To be contd., sounds like...

The Ultimate Donald Trump Mystery That Couldn’t Be Solved Before Election Day
Dan Alexander | Nov 3, 2020

After all we’ve learned about Trump’s finances—from years of investigative reporting, an avalanche of tell-all books and a trove of tax-return data, the president’s biggest secret seems to be hidden near Lake Michigan.

...Chicago Tower...Deutsche Bank...

...Did Trump account for all the forgiven debt properly? Is Chicago Unit Acquisition LLC in fact just a way of hiding a secretive lender? What else might explain the riddle? And why are Trump and his representatives acting so strangely about all of this?

It seems clear the president is hiding something...

nov. 3, 2020, 4:26pm

Trump Partisan 'War Room' Invades the People's White House

Continuing the theme of Republican and right wing fair and balanced coverage of fair and free elections. . .well, no. Continuing the four year story of Republican and right wing lying, cooked up twisting conspiracy theories, and election intimidation supported by vote suppression schemes, Trump and his felonious campaign cronies have
set up a “war room” inside a taxpayer-funded federal government office building. The move could possibly be a violation of federal law.
The the head of the United States Office of Special Counsel, Henry Kerner, who is supposed to be investigating and prosecuting violations of federal law that occur inside the federal government has done nothing in response to the administration's egregious breach of ethical/legal norms.
Per two sources, the campaign has a "war room" set up in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Trump is also going to be briefed in the residence and the Oval Office throughout the day by officials.

— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) November 3, 2020

nov. 5, 2020, 11:06pm

. . .And Here's the Follow-Up on Trump's 'War Room'

Trump campaign under investigation by Office of Special Counsel for improperly using the White House
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel has opened an investigation into whether President Donald Trump’s campaign’s use of the White House violated federal law.

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) called on the watchdog to conduct a probe on Election Day, to which the agency responded that it “was not consulted on the decision to use space inside the Eisenhower Executive Office Building as a campaign ‘war room.” The office’s statement also read, ,b>“Our Hatch Act Unit has opened an investigation into these allegations to determine if the Hatch Act was violated.”

des. 18, 2020, 2:05pm

Kushner OK’d Trump Campaign Shell Company That Secretly Paid Inner Circle: Report
Rachel Olding | Dec. 18, 2020 1:04PM ET

Jared Kushner approved the creation of a shell company that operated like a “campaign within a campaign” and secretly funneled millions of dollars in campaign cash to Trump family members.... The company, American Made Media Consultants Corporation and American Made Media Consultants LLC, took more than half of the Trump campaign’s massive $1.26 billion war chest and was largely shielded from having to publicly report financial details. However, a source told Business Insider that Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump was the company’s president, Vice President Mike Pence’s nephew was its VP, and Trump campaign CFO Sean Dollman was treasurer and secretary.

The mysterious company caused consternation among other campaign staffers, who had no idea how it was spending money, and the Campaign Legal Center filed a civil complaint with the FEC in June accusing the Trump campaign of laundering $170 million largely through it...

des. 18, 2020, 9:00pm

"I Can't Hide My Disgust, My Disdain: Judge to Flynn

REPLAY: Judge Emmet Sullivan subjected Trump’s former national security adviser to a stinging rebuke. That was at the 2018 sentencing of America's most disgraced traitor. But Michael Flynn's beginning to feel the heat again.
The rebuke is getting renewed attention in 2020, after Flynn suggested that Trump deploy the military in to “rerun” the election.

The retired U.S. Army general had already pleaded guilty to lying to FBI investigators and agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors in exchange for a lenient sentence before Trump’s pardon, but District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan let him know he’s not off the hook yet,
Sullivan asked prosecutors whether they ever considered charging Flynn with treason, and he accused the retired general of selling out his country to Russia and Turkey.
Pardon be damned, it doesn't cover sedition for suggesting armed intervention to overturn legal election results just because you don't like them. But that's exactly what Flynn did.
Michael Flynn says Trump could seize every voting machine across the country and "rerun" election. . .suggests Trump could deploy the military to “swing states” to “rerun” the election. in TV interview with far right conspiracy mongering "Newsmax."
"I mean, it's not unprecedented," he said. "These people are out there talking about martial law like it's something that we've never done. Martial law has been instituted 64 times, Greg. So I'm not calling for that. We have a constitutional process."
Sweet of him to refer to a constitutional process as if he didn't intend to overthrow it with his remarks.

feb. 9, 2:11pm

Jared and Ivanka made up to $640 million in the White House
Jordan Libowitz and Caitlin Moniz | February 8, 2021

...One major factor in their outside profits came from Ivanka Trump’s ownership stake in the Trump Hotel in DC, just blocks from the White House and the locus of influence peddling in the Trump administration.

...In 2018, Ivanka announced she was shutting down her namesake brand, and she later filed a disclosure with the government that “all operations of the business ceased on July 31, 2018.” But we discovered that she still made up to $1 million from it in 2019 despite the fact that she claimed it no longer existed.

...In all, CREW found at least 28 foreign trademarks approved for Ivanka Trump while in the White House. (Russia, China, Japan, Canada...)

...At the same time that Ivanka was working on Opportunity Zones, Jared owned a significant financial stake in a company called Cadre which offers investment vehicles under the Opportunity Zones program...(Jared) Kushner originally failed to disclose his ownership in Cadre...