Thursday Reads: Horrible Trump News with Puppies on the SidePosted: June 29, 2017
I’m going with puppy images today, because this post is kind of distasteful. I needed to cheer myself up since they make me happy because I love dogs and I take really good care of the ones I have with the best food and a list of the top probiotics for dogs.
Many of the people surrounding Trump, including VP Mike Pence, have hired top Washington lawyers; but Trump was unable to get any top law firms to defend him and he had to fall back on the usual shysters and grifters he has used in the past. Now two of those guys are in trouble. I posted about Jay Sekulow on Tuesday. The Guardian reported that Sekulow had
…approved plans to push poor and jobless people to donate money to his Christian nonprofit, which since 2000 has steered more than $60m to Sekulow, his family and their businesses.
Telemarketers for the nonprofit, Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism (Case), were instructed in contracts signed by Sekulow to urge people who pleaded poverty or said they were out of work to dig deep for a “sacrificial gift”.
“I can certainly understand how that would make it difficult for you to share a gift like that right now,” they told retirees who said they were on fixed incomes and had “no extra money” – before asking if they could spare “even $20 within the next three weeks”.
In addition to using tens of millions of dollars in donations to pay Sekulow, his wife, his sons, his brother, his sister-in-law, his niece and nephew and their firms, Case has also been used to provide a series of unusual loans and property deals to the Sekulow family when they could just got credit cards loans to get the money, since is easy to learn more here.
Now Seculow is being investigated by Attorney Generals in New York and North Carolina.
Josh Stein, the attorney general of North Carolina, and Eric Schneiderman, the attorney general of New York, said on Wednesday they would be examining the operations of Jay Sekulow’s group Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism (Case).
Stein said in a statement: “The reports I’ve read are troubling. My office is looking into this matter.”
Amy Spitalnick, a spokeswoman for Schneiderman, said in an email: “We’re reviewing their filings.”
The Democratic state law enforcement officials acted following the disclosure that Case and an affiliate have since 2000 paid more than $60m in compensation and contracts to Sekulow, his relatives and companies where they hold senior roles.
Nonprofits are forbidden by law from giving excess benefits to the people responsible for running them. Case’s board is dominated by Sekulow and his family. The group is registered with state authorities to operate and raise funds in 39 states plus Washington DC, according to its last available IRS filing. It is closely entwined with American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), another Sekulow nonprofit.
This morning the Guardian also reported that Trump’s personal attorney Mark Kasowitz may have serious conflicts of interest in defending Trump in the Russia investigation.
The lawyer privately advising Donald Trump on the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election is head of a law firm that was involved in the sale of a prestigious piece of New York real estate to Jared Kushner, the US president’s son-in-law, in a deal that could fall under the spotlight of the same inquiry.
Marc Kasowitz, a member of the New York bar who has represented Trump in his business dealings for 15 years, was brought on board by the president last month to provide personal legal advice relating to the Russian inquiry now being conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller. The appointment has placed Kasowitz at the center of the legal maelstrom over the investigation into potential collusion between Russia and elements of Trump’s presidential campaign.
An investigation by the Guardian has found that Kasowitz’s law firm, Kasowitz Benson Torres, legally represented the owners of the former New York Times building in Times Square, Manhattan, in a 2015 deal in which part of the property was sold to Kushner for $296m.
The Washington Post has reported that a subsequent loan of $285m from Deutsche Bank to Kushner Companies, relating to the purchase of the building, could fall under the remit of the Mueller investigation given Deutsche Bank’s scandal-riven reputation. The involvement of Kasowitz’s firm as a key legal player in the initial sale adds a further possible twist as the special counsel’s inquiry gathers momentum.
Questions have already been raised about possible conflicts of interest between the lawyer’s role as Trump’s private attorney in the Russian inquiry and his work for various other clients, among them Russia’s largest bank OJSC Sberbank, which he represents in a corporate dispute lodged in US federal court. The Guardian asked Kasowitz, via his spokesman, to respond to the potential conflict of interest relating to his firm’s role as attorney on the sale of the Times Square building to Kushner but he did not respond.
There’s much more to read at the link.
Yesterday several articles described Trump’s pathetic ignorance about health care policy.
Here’s one at The New York Times: On Senate Health Bill, Trump Falters in the Closer’s Role. Even Republicans are fed up with Trump’s ham-handed attempts to force a vote on the Death Care bill even though the votes just aren’t there. A Brief excerpt:
A senator who supports the bill left the meeting at the White House with a sense that the president did not have a grasp of some basic elements of the Senate plan — and seemed especially confused when a moderate Republican complained that opponents of the bill would cast it as a massive tax break for the wealthy, according to an aide who received a detailed readout of the exchange.
Mr. Trump said he planned to tackle tax reform later, ignoring the repeal’s tax implications, the staff member added.
Trump has absolutely no idea what he doing and he isn’t interested in learning either. You can read the rest at the link if you haven’t already–it’s long and interesting.
Here’s another description of White House-GOP conflicts at the Washington Post: How the push for a Senate health-care vote fell apart amid GOP tensions. The worst thing Trump did was to approve attack ads against Sen. Dean Heller, who opposes the bill and is one of the most endangered Republican Senators heading into the 2018 midterms.
The Daily Beast has a shorter summary of the health care debacle and Trump’s ignorance: Does Trump Know the First Thing About Health Care? Aide: ‘He Understands Winning.’
“Some of the Fake News Media likes to say that I am not totally engaged in health care,” Donald Trump tweeted from his personal @realDonaldTrump account. “Wrong, I know the subject well & want victory for U.S.”
The president’s close aides and political advisers, six of whom spoke to The Daily Beast on the condition of anonymity in order to speak freely, would beg to differ. Some of them simply laughed at the very suggestion that the president knows much, or even cares, about health care policy in this country….
Multiple senior administration and White House officials all independently described Trump as either detached from or barely interested in the complicated details and tricky politics of subsidies, Obamacare markets and taxes, the Medicaid expansion, and the safety net.
Following the Trump administration’s failure at managing an aggressive, threat-filled push to pass the initial House version of the Obamacare repeal in March, White House officials privately concede that it is actually better for Republicans when the president disengages more from being a policy negotiator.
When asked if the president understood or had a solid grasp on the important facets of the Senate or House incarnations of repeal-and-replace, one official—who who works closely with the president on health-care policy, replied initially with a few moments of light chuckling—before answering “not to my knowledge.”
Politico has a story about Secretary of State Tillerson’s conflicts with Trump: Tillerson blows up at top White House aide.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s frustrations with the White House have been building for months. Last Friday, they exploded.
The normally laconic Texan unloaded on Johnny DeStefano, the head of the presidential personnel office, for torpedoing proposed nominees to senior State Department posts and for questioning his judgment.
Tillerson also complained that the White House was leaking damaging information about him to the news media, according to a person familiar with the meeting. Above all, he made clear that he did not want DeStefano’s office to “have any role in staffing” and “expressed frustration that anybody would know better” than he about who should work in his department — particularly after the president had promised him autonomy to make his own decisions and hires, according to a senior White House aide familiar with the conversation.
It seems Tillerson actually wants to hire experienced diplomats as aides, while Trump wants to install a bunch of political supporters at the State Department.
Last night Trump held a high-dollar fundraiser at his hotel in DC, supposedly for his 2020 reelection campaign. Politico: Trump rips media, mocks Pelosi at closed-door fundraiser.
Speaking for about 30 minutes at the closed-door event, according to two people present, the president continued to bash a favorite target — the media, and, in particular, CNN. Trump derided the network for errors and presented himself as a victim of its reporting, which he described as deeply unfair. At one point, the president turned his fire on one of the network’s liberal commentators, Van Jones.
He was at it again this morning on Twitter, attacking Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski and their MSNBC program Morning Joe.
President Donald Trump sent out a crude tweet attacking the hosts of “Morning Joe” on Thursday, claiming co-host Mika Brzezinski was “bleeding from a face-lift” during a recent New Year’s visit to Mar-a-Lago.
In a two-part tweet, the president said he “heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore).” Then went on to hit Brzezinski: “how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came … to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!”
Trump’s tweets follow a similar one earlier on Thursday morning from White House social media director Dan Scavino Jr., who tweeted from his personal account: “#DumbAsARockMika and lover #JealousJoe are lost, confused & saddened since @POTUS @realDonaldTrump stopped returning their calls! Unhinged.”
Honestly, I feel like throwing up after reading that, hence the puppy pics. I’m so ashamed that this monster is representing the U.S. What a horrible, horrible man.
So . . . what else is happening? Any good news to share?