Sunday ReadsPosted: May 29, 2016
Donald Trump has really stepped in it now. At a campaign rally in San Diego on Friday, he trashed the federal judge who is overseeing a lawsuit against Trump’s phony “Trump University.” Think Progress reports:
The case against the real estate mogul’s now-defunct company, which has been accused of scamming students who were misled into paying money for insight from business experts they thought were hand-picked by Trump, is scheduled to go to trial in San Diego federal court shortly after the presidential election. According to his lawyer, Trump is planning on testifying.
In what the Wall Street Journal characterized as an “extended tirade,” Trump spent 12 minutes of his 58-minute speech focused on the case and the California judge who will hear it.
“I have a judge who is a hater of Donald Trump, a hater. He’s a hater. His name is Gonzalo Curiel,” Trump told the crowd. “I think Judge Curiel should be ashamed of himself.”
Trump told his supporters he believes Judge Curiel should be removed from the case, citing the fact that Curiel was appointed to the bench by President Obama. Trump also said he believes Curiel is “Mexican.” The crowd — which had previously shouted “build that wall” — booed loudly.
In previous statements about the case, Trump has pointed to Curiel’s Hispanic heritage to insinuate that he won’t be able to approach the case impartially. Asked on Fox News what exactly Curiel’s ethnicity has to do with the case against him, Trump responded, “I think it has to do perhaps with the fact that I’m very, very strong on the border, very, very strong at the border, and he has been extremely hostile to me.”
Trump University — which was not actually an accredited university and did not hand out degrees — has several fraud cases proceeding against it.
Yesterday Judge Curiel ordered the release of documents that Trump had requested be sealed. From Politco:
Just hours after Trump used a campaign speech at a San Diego convention center to unleash a remarkable verbal fusillade against U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel, the judge — who also happens to be based in the same Southern California city — acknowledged in a much more measured fashion the criticism Trump has aimed at the court.
“Defendant became the front-runner for the Republican nomination in the 2016 presidential race, and has placed the integrity of these court proceedings at issue,” Curiel said in an order unsealing a series of internal Trump University documents that Trump’s lawyers asked be kept from the public.
The judge’s order didn’t make reference to Trump’s 12-minute tirade Friday afternoon in which the all-but-certain Republican nominee called Curiel a “hater” and again invoked his Latino heritage. However, the judge cited a series of news stories from earlier in the campaign, including an NBC story which noted Trump called Curiel “extremely unfair” and an Associated Press story titled, “Trump: Judge’s ethnicity matters in Trump University suit.” ….
Curiously, the Republican candidate laid into the judge at about the same time the judge was holding a hearing less than a mile away on a motion by the Washington Post seeking unsealing of the Trump University-related files. The judge’s order was released a couple hours after the hearing.
Meanwhile a number of news organizations are reporting that a Canadian version of Trump Tower is in financial trouble. Huffington Post: Trump Tower Toronto To Be Sold Off After Debt Default: Report.
Toronto’s Trump Tower has seen one disaster after another since it opened four years ago, but its latest debacle may be its last.
The Globe and Mail reports that the Trump International Hotel & Tower Toronto is on the verge of being sold to an unnamed new owner after its current one failed to pay back a $260-million construction loan last year.
The sale will likely mean the Trump name will disappear from the building.
Donald Trump himself doesn’t own the Toronto tower — it belongs to Talon Developments, which licensed the Trump brand for the skyscraper, and hired a Trump-owned company to run the property.
Talon’s clients are “no longer interested in the Trump brand” because Trump himself has damaged it, company lawyer Symon Zucker said.
“It’s more important for him to be president than run a successful business,” Zucker told the Toronto Star last month.
The right-wing Washington Examiner is reporting that Trump’s campaign is “low on money.”
Donald Trump’s campaign has alerted Senate Republicans that he won’t have much money to spend fending off attacks from Hillary Clinton over the next couple months.
The notice came when Paul Manafort, Trump’s senior advisor, met with a group of Senate Republican chiefs of staff for lunch last week, sources familiar with the meeting told the Washington Examiner. The admission suggests that Trump will be far more dependent on the GOP brass for money than he has led voters to believe, but it’s consistent with his reliance on the Republican National Committee to provide a ground game in battleground states.
“They know that they’re not going to have enough money to be on TV in June and probably most of July, until they actually accept the nomination and get RNC funds, so they plan to just use earned media to compete on the airwaves,” one GOP source familiar with Manafort’s comments told the Examiner.
That’s a far cry from Trump’s public insistence that he signed a fundraising agreement with the RNC in order to help the party, not himself. “The RNC really wanted to do it, and I want to show good spirit,” he said last week. “‘Cause I was very happy to continue to go along the way I was.” ….
The preemptive fretting about how the RNC plans to spend its money this fall makes some Republicans think that Trump, who has repeatedly insulted Mitt Romney for failing to defeat President Obama in the 2012 presidential election, is preparing to protect his reputation if Hillary Clinton wins.
“He’s going to blame it on the RNC if he doesn’t win in November,” the first source said. “They’re laying that groundwork now.
You have to go to right wing sources to find these kinds of reports, because supposedly “liberal” outfits like The New York Times are too busy trying to tear down Hillary Clinton. I’m not going to excerpt from their latest report on how Hillary is supposedly “struggling,” but you can go read it at the link if you want to.
The Washington Post has been hammering Hillary too, but they did manage to publish an interesting article about internal troubles in Trump’s campaign: In campaign chaos, Donald Trump shows his management style.
Interviews with current and former Trump associates reveal an executive who is fond of promoting rivalries among subordinates, wary of delegating major decisions, scornful of convention and fiercely insistent on a culture of loyalty around him….
Honed over decades in business and now suddenly under the glare of a national contest, Trump’s style offers a glimpse of the polarizing management techniques he would carry into the White House. In fashioning his campaign after his real estate and entertainment projects, the mogul has inspired supporters and alarmed critics with his brazen moves.
“He’s always the man in charge,” said Edward Rollins, the veteran Republican strategist who is working for a pro-Trump super PAC….Rollins pointed to the relationship between Trump’s 42-year-old campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, and his 67-year-old campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, as a prime example of how Trump handles people. While they have worked just steps from each other in recent weeks at Trump Tower in New York, the pair — contrasts in age, experience and personality — have a simmering rivalry over stature and responsibilities within the candidate’s orbit. And Trump doesn’t seem to mind.
Last week, Trump abruptly fired national political director Rick Wiley, who had only worked for the campaign since April. According to insiders, it happened because Wiley didn’t
suck up to get close enough to Trump.
From his 26th-floor office in New York, Trump — who through a spokeswoman declined to be interviewed for this article — is attempting to bend the nature and norms of a presidential campaign to his unpredictable and outsize personality, eschewing the top-down, consultant-heavy mode used by most candidates.
Rather, Trump functions simultaneously as his own big-picture strategist and micro-managing chief executive. He has gotten involved in intramural skirmishing that has engulfed his campaign, both stoking and calming tensions depending on the circumstances.
“His style can be what I call ‘hands off, hands on.’ He gives people space to think and work and doesn’t get involved in everything each day, but he is the kind of person who can swoop in in a second and change everything,” said Sam Nunberg, a former aide who was let go from the campaign last year following disagreements with Lewandowski and controversy over past racially charged posts on Facebook. “He monitors it all and he comes to check in on things when you don’t expect him.”
Read much more at the link. This doesn’t sound like a very good management style for a presidential campaign, but then Trump will apparently have big media on his side. It’s going to be very important for Democrats to get out every possible vote. Hillary has been very wise to cultivate relationships with local newspapers around the country.
Hillary does have a few defenders in the media, and Joe Conason is one of the best. Conason co-wrote The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton. From the NY Daily News: The truth about Donald Trump’s old mud: The facts about Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey, Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton.
Assisted by Nixon-era dirty trickster Roger Stone, Trump is promoting the absurdly sexist message that Hillary Clinton deserves blame for her husband’s alleged misconduct. To make that case, they have been recruiting — and sometimes paying — women who claim that Bill Clinton victimized them.
One of these women is Juanita Broaddrick, an Arkansas nursing home owner who came forward in 1998 to claim that Clinton assaulted her, after signing a sworn affidavit denying that any such incident had occurred. Whitewater independent counsel Kenneth Starr investigated her case, found the evidence “inconclusive” and declined to include her charges in his impeachment brief. Now Broaddrick accuses Hillary Clinton of attempting to “silence” her — even though she said the opposite in a famous NBC News interview.
“Did Bill Clinton or anyone near him ever threaten you, try to intimidate you, do anything to keep you silent?” asked Dateline correspondent Lisa Myers in 1999. “No,” replied Broaddrick firmly. What did Broaddrick tell Starr about Hillary when he put her under oath? An enterprising reporter might ask.
Another former Starr witness excavated from obscurity by Trump and Stone is Kathleen Willey, a former White House aide who claims that Clinton made “unwanted advances” toward her in the Oval Office. Willey’s story too has shifted repeatedly during the 23 years since that incident allegedly occurred.
How she recalled what Clinton had supposedly done — and how she reacted — first began to change when she appeared on CBS’ “60 Minutes.” Having sworn in a lawsuit deposition that she didn’t recall Clinton kissing her, she assured CBS correspondent Ed Bradley several months later that the President “kissed me on the mouth.” Suddenly, she remembered lots of salacious details — and forgot facts and statements that undermined her dramatic account.
Her memory improved around the time that her lawyers secretly began to seek a $300,000 book contract. It is improving faster now that Stone is soliciting donations for an online fund to pay Willey’s mortgage.
There’s more at the link. I’m keeping a link to this story to use between now and November. Conason has updated the information about attacks on Hillary in the book and made it available as a free download at his website The National Memo.
What stories are you following today? Please share your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a great Sunday!