The Corrupt State starts with Trump himself, giving new meaning to the old adage about a fish rotting from the head down.
By Robert Reich
The Guardian (6/15/19)
Trump has been ramping up his “Deep State” rhetoric again. He’s back to blaming a cabal of bureaucrats, FBI and CIA agents, Democrats and “enemies of the people” in the mainstream media for conspiring to remove him from office, in order to allow the denizens of foreign “shitholes” to overrun America.
But with each passing day it’s becoming clearer that the real threat to America isn’t Trump’s Deep State. It’s Trump’s own Corrupt State.
Not since the sordid administration of Warren G Harding have as many grifters, crooks and cronies occupied high positions in Washington.
Trump has installed a Star Wars cantina of former lobbyists and con artists, including several whose exploits have already forced them to resign, such as Scott Pruitt, Ryan Zinke, Tom Price and Michael Flynn. Many others remain.
When he was in Congress, the current White House acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, pocketed tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from payday lenders, then proposed loosening regulations on them. Mulvaney was also acting head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, of all things.
When he was Trump’s special adviser on regulatory reform, the Wall Street billionaire Carl Icahn sought to gut the Environmental Protection Agency rule on ethanol credits, which was harming his oil refinery investments.
This week the Guardian reported that a real estate company partly owned by Trump son-in-law and foreign policy adviser Jared Kushner has raked in $90m from foreign investors since Kushner entered the White House, through a secret vehicle run by Goldman Sachs in the Cayman Islands. Kushner’s stake is some $50m.
Whole new level of shamelessness
All this takes conflict of interest to a new level of shamelessness.
What are Republicans doing about it? Participating in it.
The secretary of transportation, Elaine Chao, who also happens to be the wife of the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, has approved $78m in grants for her husband’s home state, Kentucky, including a highway improvement project twice rejected in the past. Chao has even appointed a special liaison to coordinate grants with McConnell’s office. Did I say McConnell is up for re-election next year?
Under normal circumstances, news that a cabinet secretary is streamlining federal funding for her husband’s pet projects would be a giant scandal. But in the age of Trump, ethics have gone out the window.
Since he was elected in November, congressman Greg Pence, who just happens to be the brother of Vice-President Mike Pence, has spent more than $7,600 of campaign funds on lodging at the Trump International Hotel in Washington. Federal election law forbids politicians from using campaigns dollars to cover housing costs. …
(Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2019. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )
Trump-Owned Beverly Hills Property Sold To Entity Linked To Indonesian Billionaire For $5 Million Above Appraised Value
By Brie Stimson
Fox News (6/14/19)
The buyer was reportedly a foreign corporate entity linked to an Indonesian billionaire and Trump business partner. The price paid was $13.5 million -– nearly double the $7 million that the Trump Organization paid in 2007.
Just last year Los Angeles County had reappraised the home at $8.3 million, the Washington Post reported.
“Trump got a really good price,” a West Hollywood real estate executive said. …
Company Part-Owned By Jared Kushner Got $90m From Unknown Offshore Investors Since 2017
By Jon Swaine
The Guardian (6/10/19)
A real estate company part-owned by Jared Kushner has received $90m in foreign funding from an opaque offshore vehicle since he entered the White House as a senior adviser to his father-in-law Donald Trump.
Investment has flowed from overseas to the company, Cadre, while Kushner works as an international envoy for the US, according to corporate filings and interviews. The money came through a vehicle run by Goldman Sachs in the Cayman Islands, a tax haven that guarantees corporate secrecy.
Kushner, who is married to Trump’s elder daughter Ivanka, kept a stake in Cadre after joining the administration, while selling other assets. His holding is now valued at up to $50m, according to his financial disclosure documents.
Cadre’s foreign funding could create hidden conflicts of interest for Kushner as he performs his work for the US government, according to some ethics experts, who raised concerns over the lack of transparency around the investments. …
Trump Isn’t A President, He’s A Dangerous Gangster
Are the Democrats up for this kind of open-field thievery and in-your-face treachery? …Impeach him? Is it even a question anymore? If not now, when?
The FBI had to wiretap mafia bosses like John Gotti and Vincent “The Chin” Gigante to catch them breaking the law. All they had to do to catch Donald Trump on Wednesday night was turn on ABC News. Trump proceeded to commit multiple felonies out in the open on national television when he told George Stephanopoulos he would be happy to accept dirt on his opponent from foreign governments in his 2020 re-election campaign.
“Somebody comes up and says, ‘hey, I have information on your opponent,’ do you call the FBI?” Trump asked rhetorically. “It’s not an interference, they have information — I think I’d take it,” Trump said. “I’ll tell you what, I’ve seen a lot of things over my life. I don’t think in my whole life I’ve ever called the FBI. In my whole life. You don’t call the FBI. You throw somebody out of your office, you do whatever you do.” He paused for a moment. “Oh, give me a break — life doesn’t work that way.”
Trump treats law enforcement officials like subcontractors on one of his buildings. Stiff the stupid fucker, and if he comes back at you, fire him. And if he doesn’t like that, sue him.
He looked like he’d been gobbling Adderall. His pupils were pinned, and he kept doing that thing with his hands, holding them in front of himself and moving them apart and then together impatiently, talking to Stephanopoulos like he was a school child just learning about politics rather than the seasoned operative he is (Stephanopoulos was one of the architects of the Bill Clinton campaign when he won the presidency in 1992 and has covered political campaigns as a reporter and news anchor in the decades since then).
But perhaps Trump was right. Maybe Stephanopoulos needs a good talking to from the Capo du tutti capo on Pennsylvania Avenue. Doesn’t George get it that politics in the age of Trump is a criminal enterprise, that politicians are no different from gangsters? They don’t go to the FBI and turn each other in. They don’t report crimes. They commit them, and they keep their mouths shut. My buddy’s having sex with underage girls? Call the FBI? Are you kidding?
Trump acted like a bank robber who walked up to a cop standing in front of the bank and said, “hey, man, I’m going in there in a minute, and I’m going to rob that bank, and what are you going to do about it?” We got our answer from Republicans the next day. Nothing. Zip. …
AOC On The Question Of Impeachment
“This is about the rule of law.”
(Commoner Call cartoons by Mark L. Taylor, 2017/2019. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )