Trump: Corruption and Conflicts of Interests Thread

Repository for links and comments regarding corruption by Trump and those in his family and administration.

From WaPo: Nine questions about President Trump’s businesses and possible conflicts of interest

Here are the nine questions the article provides answers to:

1. Does President Trump still own his company?
2. How many properties does President Trump have his name on?
3. But how many of those buildings does Trump own?
4. Wait, I thought Trump was going to profit off the presidency. Have his businesses actually done better or worse?
5. How much money does the president owe — and who does he owe it to?
6. Is Trump getting business from the federal government? What about from his political supporters?
7. Have foreign governments spent money at Trump properties?
8. Is Trump breaking the law with his business dealings?
9. Has President Trump released his tax returns?
9a. Would we be able to answer all of these questions more clearly if he did?

Good article.

Edit (2/18/2018)

From WaPo: Trump Jr. to give foreign policy speech while on ‘unofficial’ business trip to India

News that the Trump Organization would be offering buyers in the Trump Tower the chance to meet the president’s son sparked criticism of potential conflicts of interest, and the fact that Trump Jr. will be giving a foreign policy speech while on a private business trip complicates the matter further, ethics experts said.

The senior Trump did not divest himself of his businesses when he was elected president. Rather, he turned the day-to-day operations over to his older sons, Don Jr. and Eric, to run. Eric Trump told The Washington Post last year that “the company and policy and government are completely separated. We have built an unbelievable wall in between the two.”

Watchdog groups disagree.

“Trump’s company is literally selling access to the president’s son overseas,” said Jordan Libowitz, the communications director for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which is frequently critical of the first family. “For many people wanting to impact American policy in the region, the cost of a condo is a small price to pay to lobby one of the people closest to the president, far away from watchful eyes.”

Critics have often complained of the high cost of Secret Service agents accompanying the Trump children on private business trips, straining the agency’s budget. The Trump Organization’s spokesman did not return requests for comment.

Edit (2/20/2018)

If this alone is an impeachable offense, I think it’s very close. I would guess that there isn’t more outrage because people are just overwhelmed with deluge of bad things and distractions. Maybe they really haven’t thought through the reasons this is so bad. I predict this will be one of the many things future generations will marvel at how many seemed to overlook this.

3/1/2018

3/2/2018

Who knows if Ivanka served the nation’s interests or her own. But at the very least this creates the appearance of corruption, and the conflicts of interest are apparent.

3/7/2018

***

Janet Matricciani, former CEO of payday lending company, World Acceptance, requesting to be next director for Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Re: the quote above, here’s what Matricciani said to Mick Mulvaney the Budget director and acting directorof the CFPB

“I have indepth (sic) experience of what a CFPB investigation is like, and so I am in an unparalleled position to understand the effect of various CFPB actions on a company, its workforce, its customers and the industry,” she says.

World Acceptance had been under investigation by the CFPB for three-years over its lending practices after ProPublica published an examination of the company’s lending tactics, finding evidence it repeatedly trapped its customers in debts they could not repay and charged them interest rates higher than what they disclosed when the customers took out the loan. The bureau has said the decision to drop its investigation into World Acceptance was made by career staff, and not by Mulvaney or any other political appointee.

Also,

World Acceptance, one of the nation’s biggest payday lenders, is based in South Carolina and gave Mulvaney thousands of dollars in campaign contributions while he represented the state in Congress.

3/15/2018

As far as I know, big debts also make a person a potential security risk and Jared Kushner–maybe even the Trump–may have some significant outstanding debts.

4/9/2018

Lawyers representing President Trump’s company last month wrote directly to the president of Panama, asking him to intervene in a legal fight over the Trump International Hotel in the nation’s capital — and warning that the case could have “repercussions” for Panama’s reputation.

and

“It is a letter that urges Panama’s executive branch to interfere in an issue clearly of the judicial branch,” de Saint Malo said. “I don’t believe the executive branch has a position to take while the issue is in the judicial process.”

and

“This situation is currently before the courts, but it has repercussions for the Panamanian state, which is your responsibility,” said the letter, signed by attorney Eric Britton (Britton is attorney for Trump’s business.)

and

The Trump Organization did not respond to a request for comment. President Trump has said he gave up day-to-day control of the business when he took office, but he remains its owner and can withdraw money from it at any time.

And the very least this creates appearance of conflict of interests, and it creates a situation where U.S. government may hurt Panama in some way, if the Panamanian government doesn’t help Trump Organization.

This is beyond Trump enriching himself–This is damaging relationships with other countries and making it impossible for U.S. citizens to feel confident that Trump is acting in the best interests of the country and not himself.

4/19/2018

Edit

Not to state the obvious, but Trump is breaking this law. And if the law doesn’t apply to the President, he’s violating the principle behind the law.

Edit

(Note: I didn’t read the article.)

6/27/2018

8/7/2018

This could have been under the corruption thread. In any event, I’d be surprised if these three advisers don’t make a mess of things at at the VA.

13 thoughts on “Trump: Corruption and Conflicts of Interests Thread

  1. RNC Complicity

    3/8/2018

    9/12/2018

  2. I don’t understand why Senate incumbents think this is a good idea. It’s as if they’re all saying, “Let’s see how far we can actually push this stuff and get away with it.”

    Also, that’s a lot of white guys.

  3. One journalist mentioned something about how oligarchs in Russia know that their opportunity to enrich themselves may be limited, because ruler can be overthrown at any moment. Because of that they scramble to enrich themselves, often brazenly. My hypothesis is many of the GOP are behaving in the same way. The odds are decent that after this year many of them may be wiped out. If it’s really bad, the party itself might be near dead. Maybe this isn’t accurate, but it would explain a lot, in my view.

  4. Think of it this way: the process of enrichment may also involve bribing and catering to the ruler in unethical and illegal ways in order to enrich themselves. The GOP is turning a blind eye to all the conflicts of interests with Trump and his family, including allowing unqualified people like Ivanka and Kushner to handle highly complex foreign policy issues, knowing that the Trump family enriching themselves in the process. In return the GOP get the policies they want, and possibly line their pockets personally (maybe creating a golden parachute in the event the midterms are a bloodbath).

  5. Con Man

    From CNN Money: All the Things Donald Trump Said About His Tax Forms (April 17, 2017)

    Mr. Trump complains that his tax returns have been subject to audit — one of the many bogus excuses he has given for keeping them hidden. In fact, he is free to release them even if an audit is taking place. He could certainly also release returns from past years.

    8/24/2018

    Or a late night informercial or a pitch from a self-help charlatan. Also, someone else asked, “What’s ‘4.1?'”

  6. I don’t know if this is true, but if it is, it doesn’t sound good.

    1. I’m guessing it depends on whether they’re Clinton supporters or not. I’d like to think that I would condemn Clinton for this.

  7. I think this Ezra Klein Show podcast with Adam Davidson is worth listening to, even though it’s quite long. But I suspect you guys won’t listen to it, so I will mention a few details that stood out for me:

    1. Davidson mentions that the Trump organization did business with an Iranian group that has been known to launder money for the Iranian government, which funds terrorism. Davidson expressed surprise that this hasn’t become a bigger deal.

    It’s also important to note that Davidson mentions several examples of the Trump Organization dealing with sketchy individuals and organizations.

    2. Russia has been laundering a lot of money via real estate businesses in the New York and London. How much money? Davidson said that an official told him that they haven’t cracked down on this because it would severely damage the economies of both cities if that they did. To me, this is crazy, but it does explain things–why, perhaps, both the U.S. and U.K. won’t push back hard on Russian oligarchs and Putin, even when Russia uses a nerve agent to kill British citizens on British soil.

  8. 8/22/2018

    8/24/2018

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