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👑 Portrait of a President

Yes, T wants no liability for you wanting to be there to celebrate him.

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BREAKING

Another big NYT Trump’s Taxes and Finances Drop - hitting like well-placed Election attention grabbers. And they are RIVETING… :boom:

There have been 3 or 4 other NYT’s articles (See below) on T’s taxes, but this time they have received about 10 years of them (through an unknown source, but a legal one)

But basic grift is the game here - Trump can sell what people want - access to the President through his hotels, clubs etc. More swampy activity.

But Mr. Trump did not merely fail to end Washington’s insider culture of lobbying and favor-seeking.

He reinvented it, turning his own hotels and resorts into the Beltway’s new back rooms, where public and private business mix and special interests reign.

Federal tax-return data for Mr. Trump and his business empire, which was disclosed by The New York Times last month, showed that even as he leveraged his image as a successful businessman to win the presidency, large swaths of his real estate holdings were under financial stress, racking up losses over the preceding decades.

Federal tax-return data for Mr. Trump and his business empire, which was disclosed by The New York Times last month, showed that even as he leveraged his image as a successful businessman to win the presidency, large swaths of his real estate holdings were under financial stress, racking up losses over the preceding decades.

But 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.

But 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.

Articles from NYT on T’s Finances

Oct 9, 2020 The Latest - Friday, October 9

Sept 27th What The Fuck Happened Over The Weekend?

Sept 28th NYT Article on T’s Tax Records - Quest for fame

FIrst NYT article 10.2.18 chronicling Trump’s family finances coming from Fred Sr.

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Willy Wonka is trending on twitter because Trump wanted to pull a Gene Wilder-like stunt of pretending to be frail and then busting out a superman shirt under his clothes when he left Walter Reed.

Seriously.

Trump Makes First Public Appearance Since Leaving Walter Reed

The president continued to play down the threat of the virus, but the event that the White House had previewed as a huge “peaceful protest for law and order” was uncharacteristically brief.

https://twitter.com/Cavalorn/status/1315057602276007937?s=20



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Failing the 3am call, a statement used in every Election debate - do you trust your leader to handle any crisis at 3am? And T failed to perform, and failed miserably.

T’s inability to rise to the job has been highlighted lots. Everyone (here) sees it, and a majority of those polled.

WTF - 24 days til Nov 3rd. We’re ready.

A memorable campaign ad from 2008 urged voters to ask themselves which candidate would perform better in an unexpected emergency: “It’s 3 a.m. and your children are safe and asleep, but there’s a phone in the White House and it’s ringing … Your vote will decide who answers that call.” Franklin D. Roosevelt answered Pearl Harbor. John F. Kennedy answered the deployment of Soviet missiles to Cuba. How would this year’s candidates respond when confronted with an emergency?

Joe Biden has never held the top job, so voters can only speculate. But a pandemic began on Donald Trump’s watch, so no speculation is needed. Trump showed us how he did perform in a crisis: He failed. Trump is obviously not responsible for all of the COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. But the U.S. has fared much worse than the median developed country. And among wealthy nations, its per capita deaths rank in the top five. Trump can’t avoid blame for America’s subpar performance, because voters can identify specific actions he took that contributed to the country’s failures. Especially damning is that Trump couldn’t even protect himself from the disease.

> Compare the White House to the NBA. Months ago, the league decided to go ahead with its season by bringing 22 teams into a “bubble” with coaches, trainers, referees, support staff, and media, despite a formidable challenge: Hundreds of young basketball players would run, pant, sweat, jostle for rebounds, huddle together in time-outs, and fill their off hours together, away from friends and family. The league developed sound protocols. Players, coaches, and others executed them competently. And the NBA went months without a positive COVID-19 test, allowing it to salvage a season worth billions of dollars while entertaining the American public.

A presidential bubble is comparatively easy to protect: Trump had all the resources of the federal government, no need for close physical contact, the ability to consult with any expert on optimal protocol, and a Secret Service to enforce whatever he decided upon. Yet he proved unable to stay healthy, not because he was stricken early, when little was known, but because he failed to take the most commonsense precautions, such as wearing a mask or not hosting large events.

Trump’s carelessness didn’t just jeopardize his own health, and that of his wife, his aides, and the Secret Service. The September 26 White House event for the Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett appears to have compromised the health of many important officials. “More than 100 people gathered,” NPR reported. “Guests mingled, hugged and kissed on the cheek, most without wearing masks. An indoor reception followed the outdoor ceremony. Seven days later, at least eight people who were at the ceremony have tested positive.” Someone may die because of the White House’s bizarre laxness at an unnecessary event. And because U.S. senators are among the infected, its consequences could conceivably delay or even derail Barrett’s nomination. Nothing like this could have happened to a president exercising good judgment.

But the drama of recent days should not overshadow Trump’s actions prior to his illness. His compounding failures of leadership date back to the very beginning of the pandemic.

Mendacity was his most avoidable failure. Presidents in a public-health crisis should tell the truth. Trump lied to Americans from the outset of this life-threatening emergency. In early February, he privately told Bob Woodward that COVID-19 spread through the air and was more dangerous than the flu, even as he downplayed the seriousness of the disease in public. “I wanted to always play it down,” he later told Woodward. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.” The false impression he gave was echoed by his allies through the conservative media. Millions would have taken COVID-19 more seriously if Trump hadn’t repeatedly downplayed it. But instead of leveling with Americans, Trump kept lying month after month.

Throughout those months, the U.S. regulatory state was failing in various ways. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed its own test procedures early on, but those proved to be faulty and based on contaminated materials,” the economist Tyler Cowen told me. “At the same time, the CDC legally prevented Americans from pursuing other testing options. That is a major reason America fell behind in the testing race, and with its late start, America was not able to buy up enough testing materials before those items became very scarce.”

A better president would have shored up America’s public-health infrastructure prior to the pandemic rather than letting it continue to decay. A better president would’ve seen the earliest failures of the regulatory state and used the powers of his office to correct them as quickly as possible. But rather than constantly insisting that the regulatory state treat COVID-19 more like an emergency and emphasizing that brief bureaucratic delays could cost thousands or tens of thousands of lives, Trump repeatedly focused on downplaying the challenge that America faced. As Ronald Klain, who served as chief of staff to two different Democratic vice presidents, told my Atlantic colleague Ed Yong, “In the best circumstances, it’s hard to make the bureaucracy move quickly. It moves if the president stands on a table and says, ‘Move quickly.’ But it really doesn’t move if he’s sitting at his desk saying it’s not a big deal.”

Trump’s failures can be exaggerated. He is not the only public official to err. His defenders are correct when they observe that Anthony Fauci fumbled his early messaging on masks, that various governors failed to adequately protect nursing homes in their jurisdictions, and that public-health officials undermined the culture of social distancing when they put out politicized statements justifying large public gatherings to protest the death of George Floyd. Many officials at the national and state levels behaved in ways that suggest they should not be trusted in future emergencies. But Trump is the only one running for president on his record.

Besides, a core part of the president’s job in an emergency is to glean useful advice from experts while overruling them when their narrow insights are outweighed by broader national interests––but for the most part, Trump neither accepted the best expert advice nor rejected the worst. He presided over the worst of both worlds. “Caution has become politically contentious in part because of disputes over whether this spring’s shutdowns were necessary. That is a legitimate subject for debate,” Scott Gottlieb and Yuval Levin wrote in The Wall Street Journal . “But that dispute has kept us from grasping the truly critical mistake––the failure to deploy diagnostic tests early that would have helped gauge where the virus was spreading. Some cities, such as New York, were on the brink of collapse. Others still had little spread and containment was possible. This failure led both to exploding caseloads and overbroad shutdowns.”

No one can pinpoint exactly how many excess deaths Trump is wholly or partially responsible for, or how much excess economic pain America is suffering because of his poor job performance, not only because of the complexity of parceling out blame and the hypothetical nature of what different leaders might have done, but also because the death toll is still rising–– every week or two , COVID-19 is killing more Americans than died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

And winter is coming. Cold weather drives people inside, public-health directives that allowed many businesses to reopen by doing as much as possible outdoors will no longer be feasible in colder regions, isolated people will want to travel home to gather with family for winter holidays, and the flu season is almost here. Back in mid-September, when there were roughly 40,000 new cases of COVID-19 each day, my colleague James Hamblin interviewed Fauci. “As we approach the fall and winter months, it is important that we get the baseline level of daily infections much lower,” Fauci told him, adding that “we must, over the next few weeks, get that baseline of infections down to 10,000 per day, or even much less if we want to maintain control of this outbreak.” But Trump had no plan to do that. Daily new cases are still at more than 40,000.

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People who felt compelled to leave the WH because they did not like what they saw in terms of policy and the way people were being treated can be free to openly discuss what they experienced in meetings and inside the corridors of the WH. Here are two - Miles Taylor, who left HHS and Olivia Troye who left working for Pence within the Corona Task Force. The sexist commentary from a T are mind-boggling, but when you elect a playboy-grifter-egomaniac-narcissist all these pointed comments make sense. They are just gross.

Women are not voting for him in droves.

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Trump wants to hit campaign trail every day through election

President Trump has asked his campaign to put him on the road every single day from now until Nov. 3.

Behind the scenes: His team is in the process of scheduling events to make that happen, two sources familiar with the discussions tell Axios. But not everyone thinks this is a good idea. One adviser said, “He’s going to kill himself.”

Why it matters: Look at the polls. Trump is in need of a rebound, and he’s betting he’s got a better chance on the move than sitting around the West Wing.

What we’re hearing: The campaign is more worried than ever that seniors — a crucial voting bloc — are abandoning Trump over his handling of the pandemic.

  • “He really f----d up with seniors when he said not to worry about the virus and not to let it control your life,” one Trump adviser told Axios. “There are so many grandparents who’ve gone almost a year without being able to see grandchildren.”

Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh tells Axios: “The president has personal experience with COVID and understands what people are going through."

What’s next: Trump hits the trail for the first time since contracting COVID-19 tomorrow for an airport rally in Sanford, Florida, followed by stops in Pennsylvania on Tuesday and Iowa on Wednesday.

‘He’s going to kill himself’: Trump aides concerned as he demands to be on the road every day until the election

President Donald Trump’s aides are concerned that he may be risking his life as he launches into a huge travel schedule until Nov. 3.

Axios reported Sunday that Trump understands he’s losing and he’s prepared to do whatever it takes.

“His team is in the process of scheduling events to make that happen,” the site said, citing two sources.

“He’s going to kill himself,” said one adviser.

“He really f*cked up with seniors when he said not to worry about the virus and not to let it control your life,” an adviser said.

Trump’s comments came months after Texas Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and others in the GOP, appeared on Fox News to tell seniors to sacrifice their own lives to help Trump’s economy.

“There are so many grandparents who’ve gone almost a year without being able to see grandchildren,” the adviser also said.

The Trump campaign is trying a new strategy after the president failed to sufficiently handle the pandemic for the past nine months. They now say that he’s an expert in the pandemic because he’s had the coronavirus. It’s a claim that was criticized online, as people noted that having brain surgery does not mean you’re capable of performing brain surgery.

Trump’s rallies have turned into super-spreader events. In Minnesota, a Trump rally led to at least 9 new COVID-19 transmissions so far, said Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) officials. His Tulsa rally in June led to record high COVID-19 numbers just weeks after the event.

Given there are just weeks before Election Day, the last thing Trump should want is to expose his supporters to the virus, because they would be in quarantine during a time he would want them to be voting.

See the full Axios report.

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Long view on T’s presidency and AG Barr who helped shape this despotic administration. From historian Sean Wilentz. Worth a read

Trump and Barr have made the election into a test of democracy. If the United States is to survive as it has existed since 1787, Trump must not simply be defeated, but repudiated.

The Sedition of Donald Trump

Historian Sean Wilentz says the president and his chief accomplice Attorney General Bill Barr’s subversions of democracy have taken America to the very brink

Before Donald Trump got himself infected with the coronavirus, he had firmly secured his place as the worst president in American history. Now, after mocking Joe Biden at their first debate for mask wearing, Trump has proved to be a reckless superspreader, risking the lives of donors at a New Jersey fundraiser and the Secret Service agents sworn to protect him by demanding a bizarre motorcade photo op outside of Walter Reed hospital. One aide and associate after another of those exposed to him — and his wife — have fallen victim to the virus. Trump’s coronavirus policy, or rather the absence of it, had already been shown to have morbid consequences. Herman Cain, the former pizza king, could testify about that had he not died due to complications from the virus after attending Trump’s ill-fated Tulsa rally crammed with shouting, barefaced fanatics.

After demanding to be released from the hospital, Trump put on a display worthy of Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator, except that it wasn’t a parody. Clearly struggling for breath, the president first told the nation that Covid-19 was no big deal — “Don’t be afraid” — playing the he-man while spewing the deadly virus. The next day, Trump tweeted that there would be no further talk about a bill to stimulate the economy until after the election. The New York Stock Exchange averages immediately collapsed. But this unhinged performance is in keeping with the president’s attitude toward the contagion from the beginning, a toxic mixture of denial and presumed invulnerability.

Since Covid hit, Trump’s refusal to call the pandemic a siren-howling public-health emergency, coupled with his know-nothing disparagement of medical science, has led directly to the soaring death count, now well over 210,000 Americans, and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The escalating number of fatalities of Americans from the coronavirus outstrips the number of U.S. combat deaths in World War I, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and every war since combined. However Trump fares with the virus, whether he suffers its symptoms for months or recovers, his legacy is already written in stone as one of catastrophic and lethal failure.

That’s for starters. Trump’s racist rhetoric and shout-outs to white nationalists have cleaved the nation in two, driving political polarization with an intensity not seen since the Civil War. His explicit encouragement of violence and armed demonstrations has menaced the rule of law. His brazen attempt to shake down the president of Ukraine (“Do us a favor, though”), in order to manufacture dirt against his chief political opponent — the event that triggered Trump’s impeachment — almost surely would have led to his removal from office but for the cynicism, cowardice, and partisanship of the Senate Republican majority. His amply documented obstruction of justice in connection with the Russia investigation — 10 offenses, according to the Mueller report; the corruption of his office to enrich himself and his family in violation of the Constitution’s emoluments clause; his purposeful sabotage of the First Amendment by demonizing the free press as enemies of the people — all this and more add up to not just the worst performance of any American president, but the most subversive conduct since Jefferson Davis, who was not a president of the United States.

Trump’s subversion is an immediate existential crisis for American democracy, the worst since the Civil War. He has deliberately tried to discredit and delegitimize democracy itself. By repeatedly trashing the upcoming election as rigged and corrupt, raising baseless wild charges about voting by mail, Trump has poisoned the political wells. By instructing the neo-fascist and anti-Semitic Proud Boys to “stand back” and “stand by,” and instructing his goon squads to descend on the polls to intimidate voters, he has openly called for disrupting the election. By refusing to pledge to a peaceful transition of power should he lose the election, Trump has revealed his plan for a coup d’etat, with the connivance and unswerving support of the Republican Party.

Before Trump fell ill, he openly disclosed his plot, what looked like the last option left to him to snatch a victory despite almost certain defeat. Claiming that the Democrats were out to steal the election and getting his frenzied supporters to turn out, vote, and prevent others from voting, Trump prepared the hardcore MAGA base to unleash orchestrated chaos in the streets in case he lost, a standard tactic in banana republics. The obscene scramble to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court — a cynical move to solidify a right-wing majority on the court — was, again by Trump’s own admission, an equally important element in his mind for the projected coup. Should Trump fall short, as current polls show him doing, then his campaign, against the backdrop of civil chaos, would try and throw the election into either the House of Representatives, where the GOP controls the majority of states and thus the outcome, or the courts, where they can expect that, eventually, the Supreme Court, packed with his appointees and other right-wingers, will simply declare Trump the winner. Complicit GOP leaders and officeholders would absolve themselves of responsibility by throwing up their hands and saying the law, then, must be followed, knowing full well the final decision had been politically preordained. The Republican theft of the presidency in 2000 would look like a dry run for the overthrow of American democracy in 2020.

The president’s illness has not put that strategy on hold, only made it more urgent. His wild performance in the first debate — which repelled voters who saw him unfiltered for 90 minutes and was sufficient to double Biden’s lead — only makes Trump more dependent than ever on undemocratic tactics. The situation around the election is so volatile that no projection appears too dire. But when historians look back on the 2020 election, it will be important for them to recognize that Trump’s plot was taking shape before the virus intervened. This is not lurid speculation. An earlier plan, which was exposed, involved smearing Biden, and it provoked Trump’s impeachment. Since then, Trump has developed a conscious and deliberate strategy to discredit and overturn the popular vote in the election and even the Electoral College in order to keep himself in power.

Trump may never have thought he could actually pull this off. If the scheme faltered, he might fall back on using a coup threat as an opening bid in a negotiation for a pardon for all of his federal crimes, as well as his crimes against New York state law. The exposure of his tax returns by The New York Times had shown that he paid virtually no taxes and is a terrible businessman. More important, though, it showed that even if Trump recovers, he may well be in profound legal trouble, along with members of his family, potentially facing charges of bank fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy, and much more. If so, as seems likely, Trump has always known he’s guilty, and he knows that he and Ivanka and Don Jr. and Eric might also end up in prison. When the virus struck, he was already a truly desperate man, facing not simply an election but also his own existential crisis, one just as severe as the one afflicting the nation. From his bed in the Walter Reed Medical Center, even suffering symptoms his chief of staff called “concerning,” Trump was spreading lies and sowing chaos. So, as we hurtle toward Election Day, the question remains: How did we get to this point? How has Donald Trump managed to take the nation to the brink, holding on to power despite his manifest abuses of the public trust?

First, there is his base, which has become a true cult worshipping its Dear Leader, whipped up by an elaborate propaganda apparatus of Fox News, right-wing talk radio, and conspiracy-spouting websites. Fear of that fevered base, inhabiting its own media bubble, and the immense power of unregulated dark money from special interests, has turned whatever is left of the national Republican Party into a subsidiary of Trump Inc., with the Senate GOP majority ceding Trump enormous power as well as a firewall against congressional checks and balances. When talking about the Republicans, though, it’s important not to forget the long-standing party fixtures outside of Congress that have also done their utmost to secure Trump’s power. Of those insider subversives, none has been more essential to protecting, guiding, and sustaining Trump’s regime — and his election plot — than Attorney General William P. Barr.

When Barr replaced the utterly unqualified lunkhead serving as acting attorney general, Matthew Whitaker, in February 2019, the sigh of relief from Washington’s quarters of conventional wisdom was almost audible. Whitaker’s predecessor, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, had infuriated Trump by recusing himself from investigating possible Russian interference in the 2016 election. Sessions had in turn acquiesced in the appointment of a special counsel, former FBI director Robert Mueller. As soon as the 2018 midterms were done, Trump fired Sessions and appointed Whitaker as his temporary replacement. But eventually Trump picked Barr — and the choice may have appeared to be a nod to the old establishment.

Barr had no apparent ties to Trump, for whom personal loyalty is everything; and he had previously served as President George H.W. Bush’s attorney general. The elder Bush, who had just died, had not only refused to support Trump’s election, but actually voted for Hillary Clinton. So Trump choosing Barr didn’t seem entirely to add up, if you thought of him as a traditional Bush man.

Barr seemed to be what is approvingly called in Washington an institutionalist, meaning in this case the type of conventional GOP operator who privately loathed Trump. What most observers had forgotten is that back in 1992, Barr had helped successfully shut down once and for all the investigation of the Iran-Contra scandal that for a time had threatened to topple Ronald Reagan and to upset George H.W. Bush. Now Barr was about to go to full-scale war in the service of Donald Trump — and his own ideas about America as a degenerate liberal culture in need of a right-wing judiciary and an autocratic president.

Inside of two years, Barr has become the most aggressively political attorney general in American history. Of course, there have been rotten attorneys general before: Richard Nixon’s consigliere, the taciturn John Mitchell, a convicted felon in the Watergate affair; Ronald Reagan’s ethically challenged California buddy Ed Meese, who resigned under a cloud amid the Wedtech scandal. And before them there was Harry Daughtery, Warren G. Harding’s attorney general, boss of the “Ohio Gang,” who was implicated in the Teapot Dome scandal.

Since his appointment, Barr has rushed forward as Trump’s public savior, making havoc of the rule of law he claims to revere and using the full weight of his office to deflect trouble and advance Trump’s political fortunes. Barr deliberately thwarted potential checks and balances on the president’s corruption, inflamed the civil strife on which Trump feeds, and both launched and cooperated with investigations of dedicated public officials for maximum political effect on the eve of the election. If Trump grabs another term, he will have Barr to thank possibly more than anyone. And if that happens, what’s left of the Justice Department as an institution above partisan politics, serving the public trust, will almost certainly and completely collapse. A survey of the damage done so far makes that clear.

Barr’s first outrage was to scuttle the Mueller report. Exploiting his authority under the special-counsel law, Barr held on to the report for a month, preventing the press and the public from reading it, while he and his staff heavily redacted the two volumes of official findings. It was the old strategy of redact-and-delay that Nixon’s men deployed to try squelching the Watergate investigation by hiding the material that proved Nixon’s guilt. The strategy hadn’t worked then, but Barr would make it work now. In defense of Trump, Barr was acting out Nixon’s revenge. He issued a statement effectively exonerating the president before releasing the heavily redacted yet still very damning report a few weeks later. The delaying tactic had its desired effect, and the damaging details of Trump’s extensive attempts to obstruct justice and a clear willingness to play ball with foreign operatives to win an election were muted. If anyone had been able to do for Nixon what Barr did for Trump, Nixon’s crimes would never have been exposed.

Barr has effectively served as Trump’s mouthpiece, repackaging White House talking points with an air of blunt authority, dismissing any and all serious charges against the president as “bogus,” and, in true Trumpian fashion, turning the tables and accusing the accusers of fabricating accusations against Trump and therefore committing crimes against the American people. Not finished after having gotten Trump off the hook for the Mueller report’s findings, Barr has also used the power of the Justice Department to try to eradicate every trace of the president’s Russian scandal.

First up was the case of Michael Flynn, the retired lieutenant general and rabid Trump supporter who Trump tapped to be his national security adviser. In the interim between the election and the inauguration, Flynn had had improper contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, in which they discussed possible relief of sanctions imposed on the Russians by the Obama administration. Exposure of the contacts led Flynn to abruptly resign, and in time he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI twice, a federal crime. But Trump was unrelenting in trying to get Flynn in the clear.

This past May, it looked as if Trump just might have to pardon Flynn, which would have caused political blowback. Barr, though, did the job for him by simply having the Justice Department drop the charges, over the stern objections of a federal judge, who happened to be a Reagan appointee. Another former federal judge, brought in to review the matter, called it “a corrupt and politically motivated favor” that was “unworthy of our justice system.”

Barr’s role in the case of Roger Stone, Trump’s longtime dirty trickster, crony, and connection to Wikileaks — and through that to Russian military hacking operations, according to U.S. intelligence — was even messier. Early in 2020, Barr, goaded by the president, personally intervened to ensure that Stone — convicted of seven felony counts in connection with the 2016 campaign — received little or no jail time. The affair shook the Department of Justice to its core. The entire federal prosecution team on the case quit in protest, and more than 2,000 former department officials called for Barr’s resignation. Reportedly, Barr balked at an outright commutation of Stone’s sentence, but he had set the stage. Trump then commuted Stone’s sentence.

Meanwhile, Barr pushed ahead with continuing efforts to criminalize the intelligence community’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. In May 2019, a month after the release of the blacked-out Mueller report, Barr announced he had appointed U.S. Attorney for Connecticut John Durham as special prosecutor to investigate the FBI’s probe into the Trump-Russia connection. The Durham investigation amounted to putting Trump’s conspiracy theories into action, placing “deep state” villains in the inquiry’s crosshairs. The probe was going to be payback time.

At around the same time as the Flynn and Stone stories were breaking, Barr summarily removed the U.S. attorney for the powerful and famously independent Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman. A Republican, named by Trump to the position on an interim basis in 2018, and a former associate of Trump’s fixer Rudy Giuliani, Berman had proved dangerously professional and unreliable to Trump, beginning with the investigation into and flipping of Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney.

The plan was to fire Berman, who Barr had already told aides needed to be reined in, and have Trump’s hand-picked nominee for the post step in right away. Initially, Barr lied to the press, saying that Berman had resigned his post. Speculation about what the rush was all about focused immediately on pending Southern District investigations of Trump’s friends and associates, including the funding of the inaugural committee and financial dealings with the Turkish Halkbank, as well as two close and shady associates of Giuliani in his Ukraine capers indicted for fraud. In the end, Berman put up a fight and, though he finally left his job, his next-in-line, and not Trump’s favorite, took over. The plan was foiled, but Berman was still purged.

The historic events of the late spring and summer opened up new fronts and new opportunities for Trump and his attorney general to begin a great campaign for law and order. After George Floyd was killed on May 25th, mass protests against racial injustice swept the country. Three days later, the death toll in the United States from the Covid-19 pandemic surpassed 100,000, prompting the Centers for Disease Control to redouble its public appeals for social distancing and wearing face masks. At that very moment, Biden’s lead over Trump in national polls, noticeably widened.

Trump’s response to the pandemic was to belittle the science and to encourage resistance to the public-health appeals for masks, social distancing, and lockdowns. Then he sought to distract attention from the pandemic by casting the Black Lives Matter demonstrations as the work of lawless violent radicals and fomenting a Nixon-style “law and order” panic campaign. Third, he tried to throw the entire election into disarray with groundless claims that voting by mail would be subject to massive fraud.

Barr not only followed Trump every step of the way, but often led the way. He set the Justice Department in conflict with public-health officials. In April, as some states began relaxing public-health measures, he directed the nation’s federal prosecutors to look out for any state and local anti-Covid -ordinance that “crosses the line” into alleged infringements of constitutional rights, and to “address that overreach in federal court.” He called proposals for a national lockdown the worst abuse of civil liberties in all of American history, apart from slavery.

There has been no more steadfast peddler of falsehoods about mail-in voting than the attorney general. In September, he declared flatly that “there’s no more secret vote, there’s no secret vote,” with mailed ballots, adding with dark emphasis that “the government and the people involved can find out and know how you voted.” That kind of talk is typical from a barroom loudmouth, not an attorney general of the United States. In fact, there are numerous safeguards to mail-in voting to protect voters’ privacy. Those safeguards are familiar to voters in the several states who have adopted mail-in voting for years. They are of course familiar to the attorney general, who has also voted by mail.

But Barr’s handling of the Black Lives Matter demonstrations was his most daring authoritarian intervention. The battle of Lafayette Square on June 1st will stand in Trump administration history as the most notorious incident, when Barr ordered the forceful clearing of peaceful demonstrators across from the White House, after which he marched with Trump over to St. John’s Church, where the president held aloft a Bible fetched from Ivanka’s purse for a publicity shot. More than 1,250 former Justice Department workers called for an internal investigation of the attorney general. Barr brushed off the criticisms by pointing to Black Lives Matter demonstrations that had turned violent, claiming the crowd had been warned three times to depart, warnings that video showed were inaudible, and that tear gas had not been used on the crowd, which was false.

That infamous display of power fit a larger pattern of incitement on Barr’s part, making a tense situation worse with unnecessary force and inflammatory rhetoric. In Portland, Oregon, for example, where there were unquestionably violent protests that called for arrests, the Justice Department upped the ante by sending in armed, unidentified federal officers to roam the city’s downtown, shoving demonstrators into unmarked cars, police-state style. Later, Barr pressed federal prosecutors to charge demonstrators with sedition, a major crime against the United States rarely if ever mentioned in peacetime.

Barr’s crackdown was intended to distract from Trump’s dismal record confronting the pandemic, all while Trump encouraged menacing bands of armed right-wingers. Trump’s summons to militias began long before his callout to the Proud Boys. “Liberate Michigan,” the president tweeted in all caps in April, when rifle-toting MAGA troops shut down the state’s Legislature over Michigan’s Covid restrictions.

These two words were seditious in the most exact sense, a president instructing armed American citizens to attack their own government. His acts amounted to an assault by the president himself on the Constitution’s clause that guarantees states “a Republican Form of Government,” including against “domestic violence.” And chillingly, they may well have encouraged, if not incited, the right-wing militia plot, now revealed by the FBI, to kidnap Michigan’s governor Gretchen Whitmer, storm the state capitol, and overthrow the state government. (In character, Trump the inflamer reacted to news of the plot by attacking Whitmer as an ingrate who has done “a terrible job” on Covid.) Yet Trump’s April tweet — perhaps the most literally subversive utterance by any president in our history — has proven to be but a forecast of the grander subversion taking place right now.

How, then, did William Barr, the respected conservative lawyer and public servant, come to this abysmal bottom? Like so many Republicans who have come into Trump’s orbit, he has been seduced into loyalty, but that barely scratches the surface of his motives. Barr has not become captive to Trump’s agenda; like other longtime Republicans, Barr has an agenda of his own. Trump uses Barr, just as Barr uses Trump. Barr’s agenda is a very distinct agenda, nothing so crass as merely more tax cuts for the rich, or so mundane as “America First.” It is a vision of the United States as a Christian nation — a certain kind of Christian nation with a certain kind of Christianity.

There have been several strong articles about Barr’s emergence as a right-wing enforcer. One of the best, by Dana Milbank of The Washington Post, reports on Barr’s youth in Manhattan as a boyhood tormentor, described by one schoolmate as a “classic bully,” “power abuser,” and “sadistic kid,” with a special hatred for liberal causes and a “vicious fixation on my little Jewish ‘commie’ ass.” Milbank notes that research shows childhood bullies are likely to become adult bullies, which may help explain not just Barr’s current performance but also his and Trump’s mutual admiration. It may also account for Barr’s deepening adulation for Trump as a “statesmanlike” leader — this with regard to the White House’s raw politicized handling of the pandemic — coupled with his accusations that Trump’s critics have launched a “jihad” against him, equating political opponents to Islamic terrorists. Through Barr, Trump gets the kind of competent legal muscle that Giuliani never could give him, while Barr gets to be the all-important henchman, operating as the power behind the throne.

But Barr has ideas as well as a temperament, described recently in The Atlantic by Donald Ayer, a former U.S. attorney under George H.W. Bush. After closely examining the attorney general’s 30-year paper trail, Ayer finds that Barr holds two primary propositions to be at the heart of everything. The first is that the founders established the United States as a religious and more specifically Christian nation, dedicated to, in Barr’s words, “a transcendent moral order with objective standards of right and wrong,” divulged by God through his church. The second is that contrary to what Barr calls the “civics-class version” of the Constitution, the founders, by resolving in favor of a single executive officer, invested the president with extremely broad authority.

According to Barr, “Judeo-Christian” government prevailed in this country until the tumult of the 1960s — which to Barr amounted to a wave of soul-destroying licentiousness — when, allied with unremitting attacks on sacrosanct presidential power, the immoral left began toppling the founders’ design. The enemy — a militant secularism, rooted not in the word of God but in the humanism of the Renaissance and the rationalism of the Enlightenment — has unleashed moral chaos. Simultaneously, Barr writes, “a steady grinding down of the executive branch’s authority, that accelerated after Watergate” has reduced the presidency to a wisp of what the founders envisaged. Trump — the candidate who paid hush money to a porn star — may not be a perfect vessel, but he stands strong against the immoralists, the Democrats, who Barr says want to create a “progressive utopia” stripped of God’s blessings. For Barr this nightmare scenario must be stopped at all costs.

To a historian, a lot of this is crackpot stuff. The founders, although for the most part self-designated Christians, were devotees of precisely the secular rationalism and humanism that Barr calls the root of all evil. Although some were likely to invoke God’s grace and even speak in providential terms, this had nothing to do with founding a Christian nation. Had they wanted that, they wouldn’t have framed and ratified a godless Constitution. Likewise, Barr’s account of the presidency is perfectly wrong: Far from a powerful and omnipotent presidency falling into ruin in the 1960s, the presidency, with a few major exceptions like Abraham Lincoln, was fairly weak until Theodore Roosevelt took the job, and the greatest expansion of presidential authority came not with the founding but in the 20th and 21st centuries and the advent of the imperial presidency.

Whatever Barr is driving at has little or nothing to do with what the American Revolution established, nor with any kind of government this nation has ever known. It more closely resembles a theocracy, overseen by a president who more closely resembles an elected monarch. Trump, for his part, would prefer a kind of Putin-like kleptocracy. Barr’s vision, if you can call it that, is an Americanized version of something more akin to Generalissimo Francisco Franco’s Spain. This is a counterrevolutionary doctrine and it is now in command of the Department of Justice, aiming for much, much more power. Its first order of business is to return Donald Trump to the White House by any means necessary.

After Trump fell ill, Barr, who himself is quarantining as of press time, continued the plot to cast doubt on the popular vote, to hype the bogus Durham investigation, and to proclaim the election one between orderly Americanism and the massive threat of Antifa anarchy. This is Barr’s last chance to shape an authoritarian presidency, a federal bench and Supreme Court that will be a right-wing conservative bastion for a generation to come, and a very different country.

Trump and Barr have made the election into a test of democracy. If the United States is to survive as it has existed since 1787, Trump must not simply be defeated, but repudiated. There can be no forgiveness in the name of some fanciful national unity for all the criminal carnage that Trump has done, before as well as during his presidency. Failure to attack the roots of a far greater seditious threat more than a century and a half ago, in the form of the Confederate States of America, has led directly to our current traumas, allowing a bacillus of racism and authoritarianism to survive, mutate, and reinfect our politics. That bacillus is now virulent as Trumpism.

Trump and his accomplices have not merely betrayed American principles. Some of our previous presidents and political leaders have done that. But Trump, with his threats and his rhetoric, his self-dealing and his contempt for the rule of law, has crossed a very dangerous line. Should the American majority prevail, and should he survive, Trump must be held to full account at the bar of history as well as the bar of justice. Should the majority fail, the American experiment in free government will be so badly damaged as to be unrecognizable.

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:boom:

Here comes some more unloading of what former COS Kelly thinks of Trump. Program includes former Nat. Security Advisor, John Bolton, Counsel to HHS Doug Mitnick, former epidemiologist/vaccine expert Rick Bright, Olivia Troye (worrked w/ Pence and on Covid task force) and former HHS analyst Miles Taylor all who had worked w/ Trump.

This will be aired on a program on Sunday Night on CNN.

Former White House chief of staff, retired Marine Gen. John Kelly, has told friends that President Donald Trump “is the most flawed person” he’s ever known.

The depths of his dishonesty is just astounding to me. The dishonesty, the transactional nature of every relationship, though it’s more pathetic than anything else. He is the most flawed person I have ever met in my life,” the retired Marine general has told friends, CNN has learned.

The reporting comes from a new CNN special scheduled to air Sunday night, “The Insiders: A Warning from Former Trump Officials,” in which former senior administration officials – including former national security adviser John Bolton, former Health and Human Services scientist Rick Bright and former Department of Homeland Security general counsel John Mitnick – explain why they think the President is unfit for office.

Kelly’s sentiments about the President’s transactional nature and dishonesty have been shared by other former members of the Trump administration who also appear in the special.

Olivia Troye, a former top adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, has said the President knew about the impact the coronavirus pandemic would have on the US by mid-February, but that "he didn’t want to hear it, because his biggest concern was that we were in an election year." Miles Taylor, a former DHS chief of staff who now serves as a CNN contributor, has asserted Trump essentially calls individuals within the federal government who disagree with him “deep state.”

Elizabeth Neumann, another former DHS official, had criticized Trump for not condemning White supremacy after the first presidential debate in September.

The fact that he continues to not be able to just point-blank say, ‘I condemn White supremacy.’ It boggles the mind,” she told CNN at the time.

Trump did say on Thursday during a town hall on NBC that he condemned White supremacy. “I denounce White supremacy, OK?,” Trump told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie. “I’ve denounced White supremacy for years.”

The President sometimes is successfully cajoled to condemn White supremacists, but often – such as in the first presidential debate – seems reluctant do so, perhaps so as to not alienate any potential votes.

Kelly, who left the White House under contentious circumstances in January 2019, has occasionally voiced criticisms of the Trump administration since leaving his post.

In June, in the wake of George Floyd’s killing at the hands of Minneapolis police and Trump’s response to the subsequent protests and calls for racial justice, Kelly said he agreed with former Secretary of Defense Gen. Jim Mattis’ stark warning that Trump is “the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people.” Kelly said he would have cautioned Trump against the idea of using law enforcement to clear Lafayette Square of protesters ahead of the President’s now infamous photo op in front of a nearby church.

Kelly also defended retired Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman for raising concerns about the President’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky – the call at the heart of the President’s impeachment. And Kelly has said he believes Bolton’s allegation that Trump conditioned US security aid to Ukraine on an investigation into political rivals.

Kelly has said that before he left the White House, he cautioned Trump: “Don’t hire a ‘yes man,’ someone who won’t tell you the truth. … Because if you do, I believe you will be impeached.”

Since Kelly’s departure, the White House and the President have maintained that the former general wasn’t cut out for his job in the West Wing.

“When I terminated John Kelly, which I couldn’t do fast enough, he knew full well that he was way over his head,” Trump tweeted in February. “Being Chief of Staff just wasn’t for him. He came in with a bang, went out with a whimper, but like so many X’s, he misses the action & just can’t keep his mouth shut.”

This story has been updated with additional background.

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:moneybag: :moneybag: :moneybag: :moneybag: :moneybag: :moneybag: :moneybag: :moneybag: :moneybag: :moneybag: :moneybag: :moneybag: :moneybag: :moneybag: :moneybag: :moneybag: :moneybag: :moneybag: :moneybag: :moneybag: :moneybag: :moneybag: :moneybag: :moneybag: :moneybag: :moneybag: :moneybag:

All the gloves are off - Forbes goes on a deep dive into what T does really owe - more like
$1 Billion, and not the $420 Million as was indicated in the NYT’s.

You can just scroll through the various properties, and see the outstanding debt, who he owes it to, and when.

Only put a few charts in…but go to the link and check it out there if so inclined.

It is just another in one of the horrendous things about this President…that is just beyond imagination.

And I really need very little evidence that he is horrendously flawed. No argument here I am sure.

No aspect of Donald Trump’s business has been the subject of more speculation than his debt load. Lots of people believe the president owes $400 million, especially after Trump seemed to agree with that figure on national television Thursday night. In reality, however, he owes more than $1 billion.

The loans are spread out over more than a dozen different assets—hotels, buildings, mansions and golf courses. Most are listed on the financial disclosure report Trump files annually with the federal government. Two, which add up to an estimated $447 million, are not.

It is important to note, as Trump did Thursday night, that he also has significant assets. Forbes values them at $3.66 billion, enough to make his net worth an estimated $2.5 billion. He is not broke, despite what many critics claim.

Some people also like to suggest that Deutsche Bank is the only institution willing to lend to Trump. That’s not true. The president’s creditors include at least six other institutions, two of which began or reworked deals while the president was in office.

One reason for all the confusion: Trump’s loans are not fully transparent. It’s still unclear to whom he owes an estimated $162 million against his skyscraper in San Francisco, for example. The loan against 1290 Avenue of the Americas is also something of a mystery. And it’s difficult to pin down the amount the president owes on a loan tied to his Bedford, New York, mansion. When asked about all of this, the Trump Organization did not respond.

Here’s what we know—and don’t know—about the president’s debt.

Donald Trump owns a 30% interest in 1290 Avenue of the Americas, which might explain why he does not list its debt on the financial disclosure report he files annually with federal ethics officials. Trump’s share of the debt on the building appears to be the largest liability in his entire portfolio. In 2012, he and his business partner, Vornado Realty Trust, got a $950 million loan from four financial institutions: Deutsche Bank, UBS, Goldman Sachs and the state-owned Bank of China. It is not clear exactly who holds the debt today. The Bank of China told Politico that it had sold off its portion of the loan.

CHARTS

Trump funded his redevelopment of the Old Post Office building in Washington, D.C., which now serves as the Trump International Hotel, with a $170 million mortgage from Deutsche Bank. It’s possible that Trump does not still owe all of that money today—the New York Times , which has access to Trump’s tax-return data, recently reported that the loan has a balance of $160 million. Regardless of the exact amount of principal outstanding, it doesn’t appear that the hotel is doing well enough to cover the interest expenses with profits from the business.

CHART

CHARTS

Weeks after announcing his initial presidential run, Trump refinanced his skyscraper in downtown Manhattan, borrowing $160 million. He has been paying down the debt ever since, but he still owes $138 million, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

More Charts

Trump got a $106 million mortgage against his Miami golf resort from Deutsche Bank in 2012, at the time that he purchased the property. In August 2015, shortly after Trump launched his presidential bid, he got a second loan against Doral, this time for $19 million. It’s possible that his debt on the property is now more than the $125 million combined value of the mortgages. The New York Times reported last month that Trump’s balance totals $148 million.

CHARTS

Trump took out a $100 million, interest-only loan against his signature Fifth Avenue tower in 2012. The property kicked off $13.3 million of net operating income in 2019, more than enough to cover the roughly $4.2 million Trump owes in annual interest expenses. Paying back the $100 million principal, due in two years, could be more complicated.

CHARTS

The debt against Trump’s Chicago tower includes the most confounding liability in his portfolio. In addition to a Deutsche Bank loan for what seems to be $45 million, there’s a loan of more than $50 million, from a creditor named Chicago Unit Acquisition LLC. Here’s where things gets confusing: Donald Trump owns Chicago Unit Acquisition LLC, so he’s lending money to himself. If one of his companies owes more than $50 million to another one of his companies, then the company lending the money should theoretically be worth more than $50 million. But Trump does not list any value for Chicago Unit Acquisition LLC on his financial disclosure report. All of this has befuddled investigative reporters from Mother Jones , the Washington Post and, yes, Forbes for years.

CHARTS

Through a company called Trump Plaza LLC, the president controls two brownstone apartment buildings, a garage and a strip of retail shops on Third Avenue in New York City. From 2017 to 2019, one of the tenants paying rent to Trump Plaza LLC was Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign.

CHARTS

Trump took out a 30-year, $11.2 million mortgage from Professional Bank on May 16, 2018, the day he purchased an $18.5 million home near Mar-a-Lago from his sister Maryanne Trump Barry.

Trump took out a 30-year, $11.2 million mortgage from Professional Bank on May 16, 2018, the day he purchased an $18.5 million home near Mar-a-Lago from his sister Maryanne Trump Barry.

CHARTS

Trump purchased a golf club in Colts Neck, New Jersey, for $28 million in 2008, borrowing $18 million from a local institution called Amboy Bank. In 2019, the club produced just $7.6 million of revenue, suggesting it’s now worth about half of what Trump paid for it. Forbes estimates he still owes roughly $11 million on the property.

CHARTS

The president’s financial disclosure report, which discloses assets and liabilities in broad ranges, lists the loan against Trump Park Avenue at $5 million to $25 million. Patrick Birney, who works in financial operations at the Trump Organization, said in February 2019 that the balance was just under $10 million. It’s possible that the principal is lower today.

The president’s financial disclosure report, which discloses assets and liabilities in broad ranges, lists the loan against Trump Park Avenue at $5 million to $25 million. Patrick Birney, who works in financial operations at the Trump Organization, said in February 2019 that the balance was just under $10 million. It’s possible that the principal is lower today.

CHARTS

Five months before he was elected president, Donald Trump refinanced the debt against this tower on the corner of New York City’s Central Park.

CHARTS

At some point last year, while the president was in office, the Trump Organization reworked the loan against his New York estate. The maturity date moved from 2019 to 2029, and the interest rate jumped from 4% to 4.5%. It’s unclear exactly how much the president still owes on the loan.

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Facing lawsuits if he loses, and no self-pardon or pardon from Pence could help him in any Civil case, ie Trump Organization.

The most serious legal threat facing Trump is the Manhattan district attorney’s broad criminal investigation into the financial workings of the Trump Organization. Prosecutors have suggested in court filings that the investigation could examine whether the President and his company engaged in bank fraud, insurance fraud, criminal tax fraud and falsification of business records.

In the course of that probe, Trump has challenged a subpoena to his accounting firm for eight years of tax returns and financial records. Five courts have ruled the subpoena is valid, and last week Trump faced the latest setback when a federal appellate court denied his appeal, ruling that the grand jury subpoena was not overly broad or issued in bad faith. On Tuesday, Trump’s lawyers asked the Supreme Court to block the enforcement of the subpoena to allow it time to appeal to the court. Trump already lost an appeal to the highest court in July, when it ruled that the president is not immune from a state grand jury subpoena.

New York prosecutors have said the tax records, working papers and documentation around business transactions are crucial to their investigation, which has been underway for more than a year.

There are legal questions as to whether a state prosecutor could file charges against a sitting president.

“He’s so powerful right now. They know that they can’t indict him right now so there is an incentive to build their case and get ready. I think what happens if he loses and leaves office that things will move very quickly,” said Jennifer Rodgers, a CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor.

Playing fast and loose with value of company assets

The New York attorney general is also proceeding with a separate civil investigation into the Trump Organization and whether it improperly inflated the value of certain assets in some instances and lowered them in others, in an effort to secure loans and obtain economic and tax benefits.

Investigators are looking into the tax breaks taken at the Trump Seven Springs property in Bedford, New York, and the Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles. They are also investigating the valuation of a Trump office tower on Wall Street and the forgiveness of a more than $100 million loan on the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago.

Eric Trump, executive vice president of the Trump Organization, sat remotely for a deposition with civil investigators last week. The lawyers are seeking additional depositions with Sheri Dillon, Trump’s longtime tax lawyer.

Lawyers for the Trump Organization have said in court documents that they believe New York Attorney General Letitia James is politically motivated, and they initially tried to push off Eric Trump’s deposition until after Election Day, but a judge rejected that request. The state lawyers, who have said they are not coordinating with any criminal law enforcement agency, said their investigation is civil in nature. But they could make a criminal referral if they believe there is enough evidence.

“With a big-time executive, when they do these multiple or hundreds of millions of dollar transactions, they’re always advised by lawyers and accountants,” said Dan Alonso, a former prosecutor with the Manhattan district attorney’s office. “There are a lot of layers between messing up the tax treatment and criminal liability on the part of the President, that’s a big leap.”

Opening the floodgates to lawsuits

If Trump is not reelected, he will lose the deference that courts have given to sitting presidents, opening the floodgates for many lawsuits.

The state attorneys general of Washington, DC, and Maryland sued the President in 2017, alleging he corruptly profited off his position by placing his financial interests above those of American citizens.

The state investigators prepared more than 30 subpoenas, including to the Trump Organization, and others relating to the Trump businesses. Trump sued to block the lawsuit, which alleges he violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution by virtue of the hundreds of thousands of dollars that foreign governments and others have spent at his properties. Trump has appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court, which has not yet decided whether to hear the case. A second emoluments lawsuit brought by hotel and restaurant operators in New York is also pending.

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Long list of all the statements and actions by T that have been norm breaking. How not to become inured to them…but see them for what they are - outlandish and rule breaking statements.

This is not normal

A guide to what the next president will have to unwind

Experts in authoritarianism advise keeping a list of things changing, subtly, around you, so you’ll remember. Days after the 2016 presidential election, I started a list. Each week, I chronicle the ways Donald Trump has changed our country. This selection, adapted from more than 34,000 entries — or about 1 percent of the total — focuses on the norms he and his administration have broken. The List offers us a road map back to normalcy and democracy.

This is just one week’s example of an EXTENSIVE and STUPEFYING LIST

Week 5

Asked why he has availed himself of only four of 31 intelligence briefings, Trump responds, “I’m, like, a smart person.”

Kellyanne Conway says Trump is looking at ways to get around nepotism rules so he can include his daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner in his administration.

Trump criticizes Lockheed Martin in a tweet just before the market opens, and the stock craters, as traders have started to anticipate the tweets.

The president-elect excludes Twitter from a meeting of tech leaders at Trump Tower that includes Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Tesla; Politico reports that this is because Twitter’s CEO had not allowed the Trump campaign to produce a “Crooked Hillary” emoji.

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Stark raving mad…three adjectives which could sum up the President’s mood in reaction to what gets said about him, and for a disgrunted President Maggie Haberman of NYT is someone who he is not pleased with.

His commentary is always straight off the top, and he’s barking at all his staff and critics particularly loudly as his election hopes are in real time are diminishing.

Aides are looking for new positions…hmmm

And he doesn’t like this article

In television and in campaign appearances, Mr. Trump and his children dismiss public polls that suggest that his prospects are bleak. The president’s calendar of events is packed through Election Day, with aides predicting a thrice-a-day rally schedule in the final weeks of the race. When Mr. Trump contemplates the prospect of defeat, he does so in a tone of denial and disbelief: “Could you imagine if I lose?” he asked a crowd Friday.

In private, most members of Mr. Trump’s team acknowledge that is not a far-fetched possibility.

Away from their candidate and the television cameras, some of Mr. Trump’s aides are quietly conceding just how dire his political predicament appears to be, and his inner circle has returned to a state of recriminations and backbiting. Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, is drawing furious blame from the president and some political advisers for his handling of Mr. Trump’s recent hospitalization, and he is seen as unlikely to hold onto his job past Election Day.

Mr. Trump’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien, has maintained to senior Republicans that the president has a path forward in the race but at times has conceded it is narrow.

Some midlevel aides on the campaign have even begun inquiring about employment on Capitol Hill after the election, apparently under the assumption that there will not be a second Trump administration for them to serve in. (It is not clear how appealing the Trump campaign might be as a résumé line for private-sector employers.)

Less than three weeks before Election Day, there is now an extraordinary gulf separating Mr. Trump’s experience of the campaign from the more sobering political assessments of a number of party officials and operatives, according to interviews with nearly a dozen Republican strategists, White House allies and elected officials. Among some of Mr. Trump’s lieutenants, there is an attitude of grit mixed with resignation: a sense that the best they can do for the final stretch is to keep the president occupied, happy and off Twitter as much as possible, rather than producing a major shift in strategy.

Often, their biggest obstacle is Mr. Trump himself.

Instead of delivering a focused closing message aimed at changing people’s perceptions about his handling of the coronavirus, or making a case for why he can revive the economy better than Mr. Biden can, Mr. Trump is spending the remaining days on a familiar mix of personal grievances, attacks on his opponents and obfuscations. He has portrayed himself as a victim, dodged questions about his own coronavirus testing, attacked his attorney general and the F.B.I. director and equivocated on the benefits of mask-wearing.

Rather than drawing a consistent contrast with Mr. Biden on the economy, strategists say, the president’s preference is to attack Mr. Biden’s son Hunter over his business dealings and to hurl personal insults like “Sleepy Joe” against a candidate whose favorability ratings are much higher than Mr. Trump’s.

“A lot of Republican consultants are frustrated because we want the president’s campaign to be laser-focused on the economy,” said David Kochel, a Republican strategist in Iowa. “Their best message is: Trump built a great economy” and Covid-19 damaged it, and Mr. Trump is a better option than Mr. Biden to restore it, he said.

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Next installment on T’s taxes. Now a Chinese Bank account.

President Trump and his allies have tried to paint the Democratic nominee, Joseph R. Biden Jr., as soft on China, in part by pointing to his son’s business dealings there.

Senate Republicans produced a report asserting, among other things, that Mr. Biden’s son Hunter “opened a bank account” with a Chinese businessman, part of what it said were his numerous connections to “foreign nationals and foreign governments across the globe.”

But Mr. Trump’s own business history is filled with overseas financial deals, and some have involved the Chinese state. He spent a decade unsuccessfully pursuing projects in China, operating an office there during his first run for president and forging a partnership with a major government-controlled company.

And it turns out that China is one of only three foreign nations — the others are Britain and Ireland — where Mr. Trump maintains a bank account, according to an analysis of the president’s tax records, which were obtained by The New York Times. The foreign accounts do not show up on Mr. Trump’s public financial disclosures, where he must list personal assets, because they are held under corporate names. The identities of the financial institutions are not clear.

The Chinese account is controlled by Trump International Hotels Management L.L.C., which the tax records show paid $188,561 in taxes in China while pursuing licensing deals there from 2013 to 2015.

The tax records do not include details on how much money may have passed through the overseas accounts, though the Internal Revenue Service does require filers to report the portion of their income derived from other countries. The British and Irish accounts are held by companies that operate Mr. Trump’s golf courses in Scotland and Ireland, which regularly report millions of dollars in revenue from those countries. Trump International Hotels Management reported just a few thousand dollars from China.

In response to questions from The Times, Alan Garten, a lawyer for the Trump Organization, said the company had “opened an account with a Chinese bank having offices in the United States in order to pay the local taxes” associated with efforts to do business there. He said the company had opened the account after establishing an office in China “to explore the potential for hotel deals in Asia.”

“No deals, transactions or other business activities ever materialized and, since 2015, the office has remained inactive,” Mr. Garten said. “Though the bank account remains open, it has never been used for any other purpose.”

Mr. Garten would not identify the bank in China where the account is held. Until last year, China’s biggest state-controlled bank rented three floors in Trump Tower, a lucrative lease that drew accusations of a conflict of interest for the president.

China continues to be an issue in the 2020 presidential campaign, from the president’s trade war to his barbs over the origin of the coronavirus pandemic. His campaign has tried to portray Mr. Biden as a “puppet” of China who, as vice president, misread the dangers posed by its growing power. Mr. Trump has also sought to tar his opponent with overblown or unsubstantiated assertions about Hunter Biden’s business dealings there while his father was in office.

“He’s like a vacuum cleaner — he follows his father around collecting,” Mr. Trump said recently, referring to Mr. Biden’s son. “What a disgrace. It’s a crime family.”

In a misleading claim amplified by surrogates like his son Donald Trump Jr. and his lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president has said the younger Mr. Biden “walked out of China” with $1.5 billion after accompanying his father on an official trip in 2013. Numerous news articles and fact-checking sites have explained that the huge figure was actually a fund-raising goal set by an investment firm in which Hunter Biden obtained a 10 percent stake after his father left office. The firm did receive financial backing from a large state-controlled bank, but it is not clear the fund-raising target was ever met, and there is no evidence Hunter Biden received a large personal payout.

As for the former vice president, his public financial disclosures, along with the income tax returns he voluntarily released, show no income or business dealings of his own in China. However, there is ample evidence of Mr. Trump’s efforts to join the myriad American firms that have long done business there — and the tax records for him and his companies that were obtained by The Times offer new details about them.

As with Russia, where he explored hotel and tower projects in Moscow without success, Mr. Trump has long sought a licensing deal in China. His efforts go at least as far back as 2006, when he filed trademark applications in Hong Kong and the mainland. Many Chinese government approvals came after he became president. (The president’s daughter Ivanka Trump also won Chinese trademark approvals for her personal business after she joined the White House staff.)

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Can’t take it…leaves. rating are going to be sky high for 60 Minutes.

The Washington Post: Trump, unhappy with questions from ‘60 Minutes’ host Lesley Stahl, threatens to release interview himself

According to a person with knowledge of what happened during the interview, Trump was unhappy that Stahl asked him tough questions regarding his rhetoric about Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) and his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the size of the crowds at his rallies and his disputes with Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious-disease expert. Stahl also told him during the interview that allegations about Biden’s son Hunter were not verified and that the Obama administration did not spy on the Trump campaign. Many of the questions were about the coronavirus pandemic and his handling of it, said the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the interview frankly.

When Trump first walked in, Stahl looked at him and said, “Are you ready for a tough interview?” The president believes “60 Minutes” will cut the interview in an unflattering way and has been talking all afternoon about how to preempt the footage, said the person familiar with the circumstances.

After 45 minutes, Trump looked at staff members and said, “I think we’re done, do you guys agree?”

NYTimes: Trump cuts a ‘60 Minutes’ interview short, and then taunts Lesley Stahl on Twitter.

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Tucson Mayor Calls Out Trump Over $80,000 Rally Debt Before New Superspreader Event

Regina Romero also called on the self-proclaimed “law and order” candidate to follow the Arizona city’s mandatory mask and social distancing requirements.

The mayor of Tucson, Arizona, fired off a letter to President Donald Trump pointing out that his campaign still owes her city $80,000 for his last rally four years ago — even as he heads to his next potential superspreader event there on Monday.

Democrat Regina Romero — the first Latina to become mayor of one of the largest 50 cities in the nation — also urged Trump to adhere to Tucson’s mask mandate and follow social distance requirements to help stem the spread of COVID-19. Few masks and packed crowds are the hallmarks of a Trump rally.

“We do not want a superspreader event in our city,” Romero told MSNBC’s Ali Velshi in a Sunday interview, which can be seen above. “Tucsonans have worked too hard to bring down COVID-19 numbers.”

Romero’s letter, sent Friday, called on Trump to “ensure that our local ordinances are respected and followed during your event.” It would be “deeply unfortunate if one gathering jeopardizes all of the progress we have made thus far” in limiting the spread of the disease, she added.

“As elected officials, we have both the distinct opportunity and the responsibility to set an example for our constituents, especially when it comes to protecting public health,” she said.

There’s also the not-so-little matter of the $80,000 the Trump campaign still owes the city from a 2016 rally, Romero noted. In addition, the estimated cost of “public safety response services” for Monday’s rally is $50,000, she wrote.


Trump’s rally is “not an official visit; it’s a campaign visit,” and shouldn’t use taxpayers’ money, Romero told Velshi on Sunday. “We’re asking him to pay his bills.”

Trump’s campaign owes 14 cities across the nation some $1.82 million in unpaid bills for MAGA rallies stretching back to 2016, according to a report earlier this year from the nonprofit news operation Center for Public Integrity and NBC.

Local officials have complained that the Trump campaign’s unpaid bills are an especially difficult burden now as they grapple with the extra cost of battling COVID-19 as well as aiding residents suffering financial hardships due to the pandemic.

Though Trump won Arizona in the last election, his Democratic opponent Joe Biden currently has an edge in the polls. Arizona Sen. Martha McSally ® is in a tough race against her Democratic rival, former astronaut Mark Kelly.

Romero told Velshi: “Latinos in Arizona will not forget” that the last time around, Trump “declared his candidacy by insulting Mexican Americans, by insulting immigrants and Latinos. We’re not going to forget that he called us rapists and murderers … We’re not going to forget that he had children in cages 45 minutes away from us,” she said. “We’re very excited to vote this time around.”

City leaders to Trump: help us fight the coronavirus by paying your bills

Fourteen city governments say the president’s campaign now owes them a collective $1.82 million. The campaign says it’s not responsible.

Here’s how some city leaders say President Donald Trump could immediately help them grapple with the coronavirus crisis: Pay bills they already sent his campaign committee months or years ago.

Fourteen municipal governments — from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Wildwood, New Jersey — want Trump’s campaign committee to clear a combined $1.82 million worth of public safety-related debt connected to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign rallies, according to interviews with local officials and municipal records obtained by the Center for Public Integrity.

The Trump campaign’s tab is now more than double what Public Integrity first reported in June.

Cities are girding for a coronavirus-induced financial disaster, with a new study from the National League of Cities and U.S. Conference of Mayors indicating more than 2,100 U.S. cities are anticipating significant budget shortfalls and widespread cuts to local government programs and staff. These cuts are likely to fall hardest on low-income residents, people of color, the homeless and the disabled, who are suffering disproportionately from the pandemic.

Campaigns should always reimburse already cash-strapped cities for police and public safety costs, argued Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, whose city wants the Trump campaign to pay nearly $543,000 stemming from an Oct. 10 rally.

“But during this crisis, that loss is even more pronounced — $150,000, for instance, could pay for emergency rental assistance for 100 Minneapolis families,” Frey told Public Integrity this week.

“Without this money, we cannot help our most vulnerable, and I guarantee we do not have enough money to prevent lives lost and homes lost,” said Kate Burke, a city council member in Spokane, Washington, which has been waiting since 2016 for the Trump campaign to pay more than $65,000.

“Any revenue received would be helpful to our general fund, which supports the majority of our operating costs,” said Rebecca Fleury, city manager of Battle Creek, Michigan, which billed the Trump campaign more than $93,000 for public safety services related to a Trump campaign rally in December.

Trump frequently touts his support for law enforcement.

“I love you guys, whether you’re cops, police officers, law enforcement — I’ll call you whatever you want, it doesn’t matter. You are so great, so respected,” Trump said during his rally in Minneapolis.

“Nobody appreciates you more than the president of the United States,” Trump told law enforcement officials on Law Enforcement Appreciation Day in January.

But in a statement to Public Integrity, the Trump campaign indicated it’s not responsible for reimbursing cities for police and public safety costs associated with its spirited, and sometimes boisterous rallies — the president’s favored venue for connecting with supporters.

“It is the U.S. Secret Service, not the campaign, which coordinates with local law enforcement. The campaign itself does not contract with local governments for police involvement. All billing inquiries should go to the Secret Service,” the statement said.

Secret Service officials, however, said that they receive no funding from Congress to reimburse municipal governments for the local public safety protection they request.

The Trump campaign did not say whether it supports Congress appropriating federal tax dollars to reimburse municipal governments for protecting people at future presidential campaign rallies.

In the meantime, Trump’s campaign should both pay Tucson, Arizona, the nearly $82,000 for a March 2016 campaign rally and prioritize helping all cities contend with coronavirus-ravaged budgets, Tucson spokesperson Lane Mandle said.

“What the City of Tucson needs, like every major municipality, is a direct infusion of cash from the federal government that can be put toward our general fund to offset the millions currently being lost in sales tax revenue,” Mandle said.

“We’re a small, seasonal resort. It’s all a scary proposition,” said Wildwood Mayor Pete Byron, whose city of about 5,000 residents is invoicing the Trump campaign for $33,900 following a campaign rally on Jan. 28. “The president could help now.”

Some candidates pay — others don’t

Following his inauguration in January 2017, Trump immediately launched his 2020 re-election effort. No other president has started so early.

Trump has since conducted nearly 90 large-scale campaign rallies — although both Trump and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden have suspended in-person campaign events since mid-March, when states began limiting the sizes of public gatherings in response to spiking COVID-19 infections.

Many cities that hosted Trump rallies chose not to bill his campaign for police and public safety costs, explaining they have policies against doing so or didn’t bother because of Trump’s history of nonpayment.

Alternatively, several — including Nashville — required the Trump campaign to sign a contract and prepay police costs because Trump planned to appear at a city-owned facility.

But Trump often gathers his political flock at private venues. And if city officials want to recoup often significant costs associated with protecting these rallies, they must bill the Trump campaign after the fact and hope it will pay.

When the Trump campaign does not pay, local taxpayers are left to absorb costs they effectively cannot avoid, as municipal leaders say they are duty bound to secure and protect any large gathering within their cities’ limits.

Some recent presidential candidates, including Republican Ted Cruz in 2016 and Democratic also-rans Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Beto O’Rourke and Pete Buttigieg in 2020 routinely paid police bills municipal governments sent their campaigns. They argued it was the right thing to do, even if their campaigns weren’t legally obliged.

President Barack Obama and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton paid some police bills, but not others. Likewise, Sen. Bernie Sanders, who dropped out of the 2020 race this week, has a checkered history of paying such bills.

For example, both the Clinton and Sanders campaigns of 2016 still have pending invoices from Spokane, said Marlene Feist, the city’s public works director of strategic development.

Biden’s campaign, which has primarily conducted small-scale political events during the 2020 campaign, has paid several municipalities and school districts several thousands of dollars during the past year for “event security,” Federal Election Commission records indicate. The Biden campaign has also paid New York-based private security firm T&M Protection Resources more than $312,000, according to federal records.

The Biden campaign did not respond to requests for comment about whether it will honor public safety-related invoices it receives from municipalities that host Biden’s general election campaign events.

Such gatherings — if they’re allowed to occur — will likely be notably larger, and demand significantly more public safety presence, than Biden’s primary events.

Moe Vela, who served in the White House as Biden’s vice presidential senior adviser and director of management and administration, said both the Trump and Biden campaigns should pay police bills sent by municipalities.

“No double standards,” Vela said.

Forcing Trumps hand?

Politicians at all levels of government are now attempting to compel the Trump campaign specifically — and presidential campaigns generally — to pay their bills.

Officials in El Paso, Texas, which initially billed the Trump campaign for more than $470,000 in police bills following a campaign rally in February 2019, have prodded Trump with late fees — to no avail.

Several state lawmakers in Wisconsin grew so perturbed with deadbeat presidential candidates that they introduced legislation in January that would deny rally permits to presidential campaigns that owe Wisconsin municipalities money.

The bill, which has not become law, also authorizes local governments to require presidential campaigns to make advance payments covering estimated police and sanitation costs related to their rallies.

Trump has yet to pay four-year-old bills from Eau Claire, Wisconsin ($47,398) and Green Bay, Wisconsin ($9,380), city officials there confirmed last week.

“That kind of money could be the difference between hiring another police officer or not,” said state Rep. Amanda Stuck, a Democrat and the bill’s co-sponsor, who’s also running for Wisconsin’s 8th District U.S. House seat. “This should be a bipartisan issue, and this really should be on campaigns to pay. I don’t expect taxpayers to pay for my campaign events.”

In Washington, D.C., Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., filed a complaint with the FEC against the Trump campaign, in part accusing it of violating a provision in federal election law that requires candidate committees to report its debts, including disputed debts.

The Trump campaign has not publicly disclosed any of the police and public safety bills it’s received as debt, disputed or otherwise.

The FEC, however, cannot act on the complaint because it doesn’t have enough commissioners to enforce federal campaign finance laws — and hasn’t since Sept. 1.

If the Trump campaign decided to pay the $1.82 million in police and public safety bills it’s received, it’d have no trouble doing so: Trump’s own campaign committee, combined with Republican National Committee entities, this week announced they had begun the month with more than $240 million in reserve.

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Trump Called The $10 Million A Loan. His Campaign Called It A Donation. Who Paid It Back, And How?

Trump boasted about self-funding his 2016 campaign, but in its tense final moments, his advisers could only get him to agree to a loan. “It was like a cash advance.”

As the 2020 presidential campaign hurtles toward a close, questions remain about a last-minute $10 million lifeline Trump threw to his previous campaign, the one that catapulted him into the presidency.

Speculation has swirled around the source of that money, with one report suggesting Trump might have gotten the funds from a casino magnate looking for help building a bullet train from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. Another report pointed to the possibility of a shadowy foreign donation funneled through an Egyptian bank.

But nothing is known about whether the $10 million loan — which the campaign however appears to have reported as a contribution — was ever repaid, who might have repaid it, and whether it would even be legal to do so. The very existence of the loan was a closely guarded secret until this month, when a newly unsealed document indicated that Trump’s closest advisers convinced him to let the campaign borrow the money from him after he refused to just write a check.

While the Trump campaign didn’t respond to requests for comment on this story, the president and his advisers have always maintained his finances are above board. But now, with his 2020 run under fire for a lack of financial transparency, and once again short on cash, significant questions remain about the mysterious 4-year-old loan and what it might say about the frothy final days of the 2016 election.

“If this was a loan, it should have been reported as a loan,” said Brendan Fischer, director of federal reform at the Campaign Legal Center, which monitors money in politics. If it were a loan, he said, the transaction should also have been recorded on financial disclosures Trump was required to file, along with details of how the money was repaid. “If there is some off-the-books mechanism that Trump is using to get repaid for his loans, that should be disclosed,” Fischer added.

AN URGENT REQUEST

It was late in the second presidential debate, and Trump was on the back foot. In the wake of the Access Hollywood tape, released just three days earlier, he was forced to defend what he referred to as “locker room talk,” while separately acknowledging that he did not pay income tax. But he found something to brag about when it came to campaign financing.

Unlike Hillary Clinton, he said, he couldn’t be bought by powerful corporate interests, because he was using his own money rather than taking big donations.

“By the time it’s finished, I’ll have more than $100 million invested,” he claimed, adding that the campaign by that point was “pretty much self-funding.”

Federal Election Commission data, however, shows that Trump had by then put up barely half that amount — $56.1 million. Records show that the campaign would return more than $12 million through payments for use of Trump’s hotels, restaurants, golf resorts, and an airline he owns, and also through reimbursements to his children for their travel during the campaign.

Meanwhile, the campaign had been vastly outspent by Clinton, who was leading in most opinion polls. In the face of so many challenges, it was proving increasingly difficult for Trump’s campaign to raise funds, and it was spending money far faster than it could raise it. By the third debate, on Oct. 19, his war chest had dwindled to just $16 million, less than half of what it had been at the beginning of the month. That day, Reuters released data suggesting that Clinton had a 95% chance of winning the electoral college.

Despite all that, a few hours before the debate, Steve Bannon, the campaign’s CEO, said Trump was confident: “Right now he really, really thinks he’s going to win.”

But behind the scenes, Bannon would later tell the FBI, the campaign was imploding.

Not long after the debate, Bannon, Jeff DeWit, the campaign’s chief operating officer; Brad Parscale, its digital media director; and Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, put their heads together to discuss finances, according to the FBI’s account of a 2018 interview with Bannon that BuzzFeed News published this month. Bannon told investigators that it became apparent that if the campaign was going to make it over the finish line, Trump was going to have to write a very big check.

Kushner said “that was not going to happen,” according to the account of Bannon’s interview. Trump liked to back winners, Bannon recalled Kushner saying, adding that his father-in-law was “a probability guy” who “was not a guy who while six to eight points down, was going to write $25 million checks.”

Bannon said they figured that $10 million would at least allow them to get out the final television advertisement they had planned.

That’s when, Bannon said, Steve Mnuchin, the former Goldman Sachs banker who was then Trump’s national finance chair, put forward a novel solution. In a meeting in the 26th-floor offices of the Trump Tower in Manhattan, Mnuchin proposed that Trump put forward $10 million immediately. The campaign could repay him down the line with the small donations that were still coming in. It would be structured like a loan, complete with paperwork like a term sheet. According to the FBI document, “Mnuchin called it a cash advance.”

Federal records show that Trump had made his first loan to the campaign in April 2015, several months before he formally declared his candidacy. Eventually, he loaned a total of $47.5 million to the effort. But in July 2016, at almost the same time he accepted the Republican nomination for president, he formally forgave all those previous loans, converting them to outright donations.

At $10 million, the new loan Trump was being asked to make would be the single largest chunk of money he’d put into his campaign, and, based on Bannon’s recollections, the candidate was far from convinced.

Although federal campaign finance laws put strict limits on how much individuals can donate to politicians, there are no such caps for candidates who choose to donate to their own campaigns. By the time billionaire Michael Bloomberg dropped out of the Democratic primary this past March, he had contributed nearly $900 million of his own money to his campaign, putting him atop a long list of self-funded efforts that fell short.

Candidates are also free to loan money to their campaigns, and many do. But there are more stringent rules about those transactions when it comes to repayment, particularly for loans that come late in the campaign cycle.

Campaign finance law states that such loans may be repaid only with campaign contributions made on or before Election Day, and that any contributions coming in after the election can be used to pay only up to $250,000 of the loan. Anything beyond that is considered a donation.

According to Bannon, he, Mnuchin, and Kushner had a five-hour conversation with Trump that started in the Trump Tower and continued onto the Boeing 757, dubbed “Trump Force One,” that he flew to campaign stops. “They kept working on Trump until he couldn’t take it anymore,” investigators said that Bannon told them. Finally Trump agreed to the plan.

Mnuchin had prepared the documents in advance and pulled them out as soon as he got a yes — including a term sheet and information on how to wire the money into the campaign’s accounts, the FBI document says. Last week, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin acknowledged the loan had been made and the fact that he helped convince Trump to execute it, but provided no other details and did not respond to a request for comment.

“Trump was convinced the cash would be there,” the FBI document continues. “Trump understood the logic of it.”

During the final 20 days of a race for federal office, campaigns are required to file notice of any contributions or other deposits of $1,000 or more within 48 hours of receiving the funds. So on Oct. 28, 2016, just 11 days before the election, the $10 million was duly reported to the Federal Election Commission — but not as a loan. It was reported as a “candidate contribution.”

To Fischer, of the Campaign Law Center, the idea that Trump would write a large check, sign documents characterizing it as a loan, then almost immediately recast it as a donation, “just doesn’t add up.”

One of the people present during the negotiations with Trump who agreed to speak to BuzzFeed News only on condition of anonymity said it wasn’t until after the election that Trump was persuaded to forgive the loan. (According to this source, his advisers told him “it would look bad” to insist on repayment.)

If so, Trump waited at least two weeks to reverse course and donate the money, which would mean that at the time the campaign reported it, the $10 million donation should still have been characterized as a loan.

On the same day the money was reported to election officials, Trump appeared on Fox News and mentioned the $10 million. When asked whether he’d come through with his pledge to put a total of $100 million into the race, he hedged. “We’ll see what’s needed,” he said. Other than some in-kind contributions for rent and payroll, records show Trump did not donate again, meaning his total contributions for the cycle fell about $33 million short of his pledge.

Bannon, who was indicted on fraud and money laundering charges in August, did not respond to requests for comment on the loan, and the White House referred requests to the campaign, which did not respond to multiple messages seeking clarification.

Meanwhile, the most recent filings from the 2020 race show that Trump — once again lagging in the polls — has taken a different approach this time around. Other than a $5,000 donation to his own super PAC in October 2017, he hasn’t donated or loaned a dime.

“I would raise a billion dollars in one day, if I wanted to,” said Trump, campaigning Monday in Prescott, Arizona. “I don’t want to do that, I don’t want to do it. I put in a lot of money when I ran originally, I put in a lot of money into this campaign, my primary campaign. And I never thought it was appreciated. They never gave me credit for it.” ●

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