US Politics in Trump era
For at least 10 years, Mr. Kerik had been seen as a fallen figure from a distant tough-guy era in New York, banished to the margins of power. But with the rise of Mr. Trump, Mr. Kerik’s fortunes changed. His brand — brashly conservative, critical of federal prosecutors and close with right-wing media — precisely fit the jaw-jutting mold favored in the White House.
Forget “Saturday Night Live.” The best comic relief on television this weekend was Jared Kushner’s performance on Fareed Zakaria’s CNN show.The 39-year-old senior adviser to President Trump was contemptuous of John Kelly, John Bolton, Rex Tillerson and other former officials with decades of experience in fields such as business, the military and government who have been scathing in their recollections of the Trump administration.
Elliott Broidy had the kind of past that might have given a more traditional White House reason to keep him at a distance: A wealthy businessman, he had pleaded guilty in 2009 to giving nearly $1 million in illegal gifts to New York State officials to help land a $250 million investment from the state’s pension fund.
President Donald Trump will head to West Virginia on Wednesday to deliver remarks at a fundraiser hosted by coal baron Bob Murray, underscoring the close relationship the coal industry has with the White House even as the industry steadily declines. The fundraiser comes in the middle of another turbulent month for coal, with Blackhawk Mining the latest company to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
A key architect of the Trump administration’s efforts to weaken federal climate rules is under scrutiny by a federal watchdog for his dealings with industry players who lobbied the government to ease carbon pollution limits. It is the third inquiry into whether Bill Wehrum, who headed the Environmental Protection Agency’s air policy division from November 2017 until last month, violated federal ethics rules.
Homeland Security watchdog retires early after his office was forced to retract ‘feel-good’ audits of disaster response
John V. Kelly, the acting inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security, announced his retirement Monday following revelations that he directed his staff to whitewash audits of the agency’s performance after federal disasters.
Stephen Calk, a former economic adviser to President Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, was indicted Thursday for allegedly approving $16 million in loans to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in exchange for his help seeking a top post in the administration.
Kushner Cos., the real estate firm owned by the family of President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, has received about $800 million in federally backed debt to buy apartments in Maryland and Virginia -- the company’s biggest purchase in a decade.
President Donald Trump complains that large corporations, such as Amazon.com Inc., are shirking their tax responsibilities. Yet for at least a decade, Trump paid none or very little in federal income taxes by exploiting some of the same generous tax breaks that the online retail giant and others have used to reduce IRS bills.
‘Sick, Dystopian Stuff’: Former Trump Adviser Kelly Joins Board of Company Running Immigrant Detention Centers
In what one critic deemed a "nauseating example of the revolving door" through which powerful political players often move in and out of the private sector, former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly joined the board of a company which owns some of the largest detention centers for unaccompanied children who cross the U.S.-Mexico border.
The U.S. State Department allowed at least seven foreign governments to rent luxury condominiums in New York's Trump World Tower in 2017 without approval from Congress, according to documents and people familiar with the leases, a potential violation of the U.S. Constitution's emoluments clause.
Yesterday, the Maine People’s Alliance called on Sen. Susan Collins to return thousands of dollars she received from Robert Mercer, the billionaire backer of Breitbart, the racist, misogynist and bigoted website proud to position itself as the “platform of the alt-right.” Mainers for Accountable Leadership has launched a petition demanding the same.
The Department of Justice has adopted a narrow interpretation of a law meant to bar foreign interests from corrupting federal officials, giving Saudi Arabia, China and other countries leeway to curry favor with Donald Trump via deals with his hotels, condos, trademarks and golf courses, legal and national security experts say.
Republicans on the House antitrust panel laughed off Democrats’ questions over T-Mobile’s spending at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. immediately after the company announced a mega-merger with Sprint. One day after the merger announcement, nine T-Mobile executives checked in to Trump’s D.C. hotel, The Washington Post reported in January. The company ultimately spent $195,000 on 38 nights at the hotel as T-Mobile executives descended on Washington to meet with regulators about the proposed merger.
Defense Tech Startup Founded by Trump’s Most Prominent Silicon Valley Supporters Wins Secretive Military AI Contract
A startup founded by a young and outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump is among the latest tech companies to quietly win a contract with the Pentagon as part of Project Maven, the secretive initiative to rapidly leverage artificial intelligence technology from the private sector for military purposes.
N.Y. regulators subpoena Trump’s insurance broker as probes of his campaign, White House and businesses multiply
New York state regulators have subpoenaed President Trump’s insurance broker, following testimony from former Trump attorney Michael Cohen that Trump exaggerated his wealth to insurance companies. That subpoena — acknowledged Tuesday by broker Aon PLC — signaled another line of inquiry into Trump’s private business, this time by New York’s Department of Financial Services.
Intimidation, Pressure and Humiliation: Inside Trump’s Two-Year War on the Investigations Encircling Him
As federal prosecutors in Manhattan gathered evidence late last year about President Trump’s role in silencing women with hush payments during the 2016 campaign, Mr. Trump called Matthew G. Whitaker, his newly installed attorney general, with a question. He asked whether Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York and a Trump ally, could be put in charge of the widening investigation, according to several American officials with direct knowledge of the call.
At 3:45 p.m. on October 6th, 2017, an unassuming man in his early sixties with a low, raspy voice and a thin, wide smile arrived at the White House. He had been here before, in the George W. Bush years, when he was one of the most sought-after fundraisers in the Republican Party. But a scandal had derailed his life, and afterward he had disappeared from politics. In early 2016, the opportunity arose to make his return. The man had helped Donald J. Trump’s long-shot campaign raise millions of dollars, and he could rightly say he played a role in the most improbable presidential victory in American history.
The proposed $28 billion merger announced Thursday between large regional banks SunTrust and BB&T is the biggest banking tie-up since the financial crisis, creating what would become the nation’s sixth-largest bank. And it’s a direct result of actions taken by the Trump administration and the bipartisan group of lawmakers who passed a bank deregulation bill in 2018.
China has granted Ivanka Trump’s company preliminary approval for another five trademarks this month, as her father’s administration pushes ahead on trade negotiations with China, Time Magazine reported Monday.
A few weeks after President Donald Trump moved into the White House, he received a memo from one of his biggest campaign donors: Robert Murray, the CEO of Murray Energy, America’s largest private coal company. Emblazoned with the words “Action Plan,” it was essentially a wish list of all the environmental regulations Murray wanted Trump to get rid of.
President Trump’s Justice Department is scrambling to stop two state attorneys general from procuring evidence about whether the President is violating the Constitution’s emoluments clause by filing an emergency appeal in the Fourth Circuit court.
Trump’s inaugural committee is under criminal investigation by federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York over whether donors handed over cash in exchange for access to government officials and into whether funds were misallocated, the Wall Street Journal reported.
In late 2016, as Donald Trump was readying to move into the White House, Elliott Broidy, then one of the Republican Party’s top fundraisers, was working on a deal to gain control of what a business partner called “billions of dollars in oil & gas, and mining assets” in Angola. And while he was trying to pull together this gigantic venture—as well as mounting another project to provide intelligence services to the Angolan government—Broidy used his clout to hook up top Angolan government officials with members of the US Congress and the Trump administration.
On the day Donald Trump became president of the United States, while inauguration festivities were still in full swing, he officially launched his 2020 reelection campaign. Donations poured in from more than 50,000 people across the country. But according to the latest federal filings, Trump still has not donated a penny of his own, while his businesses continued to charge the campaign for hotels, food, rent and legal consulting. That means the richest president in American history has turned $1.1 million from donors across the country into revenue for himself.
A multimillion-dollar lawsuit has been quietly making its way through the New York State court system over the last three years, pitting a private equity manager named David Storper against his former boss: Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. The pair worked side by side for more than a decade, eventually at the firm, WL Ross & Co.—where, Storper later alleged, Ross stole his interests in a private equity fund, transferred them to himself, then tried to cover it up with bogus paperwork.
The charges against Mr. Collins, a New York Republican who was one of President Trump’s earliest and most ardent supporters, stem from his involvement with Innate Immunotherapeutics Limited, a small drug maker based in Australia, which had no approved drugs but several well-placed allies in the capital.Within minutes of learning about the company’s unsuccessful test, Mr. Collins frantically called his son, Cameron Collins, who, in the days that followed, sold off his stock, avoiding losses of more than $570,000, prosecutors said.
Rudolph W. Giuliani continues to work on behalf of foreign clients both personally and through his namesake security firm while serving as President Trump’s personal attorney — an arrangement experts say raises conflict-of-interest concerns and could run afoul of federal ethics laws.
The son of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was leading a real-estate division of Deutsche Bank as it gave President Donald Trump over $1 billion in loans to finance his real-estate projects when other banks wouldn't, The New York Times reported Thursday.
Priebus joins a long list of former Trump administration officials and staffers who have found lucrative work providing “strategic advice” to clients looking to make good with the administration. While President Trump promised to “drain the swamp” by prohibiting former administration officials from “lobbying activities,” many have found creative work-arounds.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur L. Ross Jr. shorted stock in a shipping firm — an investment tactic for profiting if share prices fall — days after learning that reporters were preparing a potentially negative story about his dealings with the Kremlin-linked company.
Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross told federal ethics officials last November that he had gotten rid of all assets that he promised to divest. But he admitted that was not true in a new filing released Monday afternoon.
The New York State attorney general’s office filed a scathingly worded lawsuit on Thursday taking aim at the Donald J. Trump Foundation, accusing the charity and the Trump family of sweeping violations of campaign finance laws, self-dealing and illegal coordination with the presidential campaign.
Even after they ascended to top White House positions, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner continued to benefit from an extraordinary number of investment deals carried out by the companies they once ran, ethics filings released Monday evening showed.
House Republicans on Wednesday afternoon blocked an effort by Democrats to increase funding for the agency’s watchdog, which is tasked with investigating the many scandals surrounding agency administrator Scott Pruitt. The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) has in recent months seen an increased workload due to the more than a dozen investigations launched into Pruitt’s spending and management decisions during his first year as administrator.
The E.P.A. chief, who has reversed Obama-era rules on coal mining, enjoyed a superfan experience at a University of Kentucky basketball game — courtesy of an industry executive. But there was more to the game last December than a superfan experience for Mr. Pruitt and his son, who joined him. They sat in seats belonging to Joseph W. Craft III, a billionaire coal executive who has engaged in an aggressive campaign to reverse the Obama administration’s environmental crackdown on the coal industry. Mr. Craft and his wife donated more than $2 million to support President Trump’s candidacy and inauguration.
China this month awarded Ivanka Trump seven new trademarks across a broad collection of businesses, including books, housewares and cushions. At around the same time, President Trump vowed to find a way to prevent a major Chinese telecommunications company from going bust, even though the company has a history of violating American limits on doing business with countries like Iran and North Korea.
Richard Smotkin, a former Comcast lobbyist who has known the EPA administrator for years, worked for months with Pruitt’s aides to hammer out logistics, according to four individuals familiar with those preparations. In April, Smotkin won a $40,000-a-month contract, retroactive to Jan. 1, with the Moroccan government to promote the kingdom’s cultural and economic interests. He recently registered as a foreign agent representing that government.
The waiver enables Icahn’s CVR Energy Inc (CVI.N) to avoid tens of millions of dollars in costs related to the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. The regulation is meant to cut air pollution, reduce petroleum imports and support corn farmers by requiring refiners to mix billions of gallons of biofuels into the nation’s gasoline and diesel each year.
At the E.P.A., Mr. Pruitt is under investigation for allegations of unchecked spending, ethics lapses and other issues, including his interactions with lobbyists. An examination of Mr. Pruitt’s political career in Oklahoma reveals that many of the pitfalls he has encountered in Washington have echoes in his past.
A major donor with close ties to the White House resigned on Friday as deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee after the revelation that he had agreed to pay $1.6 million to a former Playboy model who became pregnant during an affair. The deal was arranged by President Trump’s personal lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen.
Upon entering the White House, Jared Kushner divested the property only in the most technical sense. He “sold” the assets to his brother and a trust controlled by his mother. A lawyer described the transaction to the New York Times as a “shell game.” Now, with Kushner ensconced as a senior adviser in the White House, someone has emerged to bail him and his family out of this mess. The identity of Kushner’s white knight is a mystery.
Buried in the campaign finance reports available to the public are some troubling connections between a group of wealthy donors with ties to Russia and their political contributions to President Donald Trump and a number of top Republican leaders. And thanks to changes in campaign finance laws, the political contributions are legal. We have allowed our campaign finance laws to become a strategic threat to our country.
Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, rented a residence in Washington in 2017 that was partly owned by the wife of a top energy lobbyist whose firm, according to disclosure forms, conducted business before the E.P.A. that same year.
For Elliott Broidy, Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign represented an unparalleled political and business opportunity. An investor and defense contractor, Mr. Broidy became a top fund-raiser for Mr. Trump’s campaign when most elite Republican donors were keeping their distance, and Mr. Trump in turn overlooked the lingering whiff of scandal from Mr. Broidy’s 2009 guilty plea in a pension fund bribery case.
As Schweizer tells it, the Chao family fortune derives from the Foremost Group, a shipping company that Chinese native James Chao, a classmate of former Chinese president Jiang Zemin at Jiao Tong University, founded in New York in 1964.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis is implicated in one of the largest business scandals of the past decades, described by the Securities and Exchange Commission as an “elaborate, years-long fraud” through which Theranos, led by CEO Elizabeth Holmes and president Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, “exaggerated or made false statements about the company’s technology, business, and financial performance.”
Two senior Environmental Protection Agency political appointees — including one who personally supervises every grant the agency awards to or solicits from outside groups — got approval from the agency’s ethics office to continue to collect outside income while working for the Trump administration.
A company that once had financial ties to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was one of two firms selected Thursday by the Education Department to help the agency collect overdue student loans. The deal could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
House and Senate Republicans, in their divergent bills, both offered steeply reduced rates to corporate giants, partnerships and family-owned firms across the board. But when it came time to eliminate special breaks or impose tighter standards, real estate was generally excused from the room.
President Donald Trump hired hundreds of undocumented Polish immigrants to demolish a New York City building in 1980 and paid them as little as $4 an hour without providing proper safety equipment to do the job, court documents show. The workers and their contractor, William Kaszycki of Kaszycki & Sons, sued Trump for unfair labor practices in 1983. After litigation dragged on for 15 years, Trump ultimately paid $1.375 million to settle the case.
Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) got points for honesty Tuesday while advocating for Republicans’ tax bill to slash the corporate tax rate and eliminate the estate tax, among other things. “My donors are basically saying, ‘Get it done or don’t ever call me again,’” Collins said. According to the Hill, Collins made the comment while speaking to reporters after a House GOP conference meeting.
Seven Republican super-donors helped bankroll the conservative push for power in the 2016 election cycle, between them pumping more than $350m (£264m) into federal and state races. The seven have their divisions, especially over Donald Trump. Warren Stephens was a major backer of the Stop Trump movement last year, while Geoff Palmer was among the then Republican nominee’s biggest financial backers.
Donald Trump’s commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, is doing business with Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law through a shipping venture in Russia. Leaked documents and public filings show that Ross holds a stake in a shipping company, Navigator, through a chain of offshore investments. Navigator operates a lucrative partnership with Sibur, a Russian gas company part-owned by Kirill Shamalov, the husband of Putin’s daughter Katerina Tikhonova.
President Donald Trump on Thursday named former Ernst & Young LLP executive David Kautter to serve as the interim head of the Internal Revenue Service after the current chief, John Koskinen, finishes his term on November 12. During his three decades of work at Ernst & Young, Kautter served as the director of national tax practices at a time when his firm was engaged in a massive effort to assist wealthy clients with tax avoidance schemes.
The E.P.A.’s abrupt new direction on legacy chemicals is part of a broad initiative by the Trump administration to change the way the federal government evaluates health and environmental risks associated with hazardous chemicals, making it more aligned with the industry’s wishes.
Since taking office in February, Mr. Trump’s E.P.A. chief has held back-to-back meetings, briefing sessions and speaking engagements almost daily with top corporate executives and lobbyists from all the major economic sectors that he regulates — and almost no meetings with environmental groups or consumer or public health advocates, according to a 320-page accounting of his daily schedule from February through May, the most detailed look yet at what Mr. Pruitt has been up to since he took over the agency.
In an interview on Fox News last month, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin made a sales pitch for the GOP’s tax reform plan—specifically, its plan to cut corporate taxes. “Most economists believe that over 70 percent of corporate taxes are paid for by the workers,” he said. His implication, in laymen’s terms: Regular workers would get 70 percent of the benefit of corporate tax cuts. Five years ago, the Obama-era Treasury department found the exact opposite
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, a leader in the Trump administration's effort to inject $1 trillion into America's crumbling infrastructure, chose to hold on to more than $300,000 of deferred stock awards in a transportation construction company after resigning from its board when she was confirmed to the Cabinet position.
Tom Price, the health and human services secretary, resigned under pressure on Friday after racking up at least $400,000 in travel bills for chartered flights and undermining President Trump’s promise to drain the swamp of a corrupt and entitled capital.
VA chief took in Wimbledon, river cruise on European work trip; wife’s expenses covered by taxpayers
Shulkin and his wife spent about half their time sightseeing on his 10-day visit for meetings with Danish and British officials. The federal government paid for the flights for Shulkin and his wife, Merle Bari, and provided a per-diem reimbursement for their meals and other expenses, VA said Friday. An agency spokesman did not respond to questions about why Bari qualified for the reimbursements and taxpayer-funded airfare, other than to say she was traveling on “approved invitational orders” and had “temporary duty” travel expenses.
The list of potential candidates for the EPA's scientific advisory boards includes many oil and gas industry representatives and consultants. While industry has always had a voice on those panels, comments from the Trump administration and the potential new appointees suggest the balance may soon change in favor of greater power for regulated companies, particularly the oil and gas industries.
As Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price calls for drastic cuts to Medicaid, including programs that provide care for children and people with disabilities, he's billing taxpayers thousands of dollars to fly around in private jets. Just last week, Price racked up a $60,000 bill for five chartered flights. One trip between Washington and Philadelphia (less than 150 miles apart) cost taxpayers an estimated $25,000. Past secretaries flew commercial. Even Price himself, a self-proclaimed deficit-hawk, once called the use of government planes, "fiscal irresponsibility run amok." Trump and his enablers continue to serve their own interests, while doing nothing to improve the lives of the American people.
On the campaign trail, Trump had spoken often about the importance of investing in infrastructure. Yet the president-elect had apparently failed to appreciate that the government would need to come up with hundreds of billions of dollars to fund his plans. Cohn, brash and bold, wired to attack any moneymaking opportunity, pitched a fix that would put Wall Street firms at the center: Private-industry partners could help infrastructure get fixed, saving the federal government from going deeper into debt.
In December 2015, an Associated Press reporter asked Donald Trump why he had appointed Felix Sater, a man who’d been convicted for stock raud, his senior advisor. “Felix Sater, boy, I have to even think about it,” Trump told the AP. “I’m not that familiar with him.” The feeling is not mutual.
Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich appears regularly in the media to talk about his ideas for the future of health care in America without mentioning one very important fact: His consulting company advises a health insurance company.
The $180 million conflict that kept Scaramucci out of the White House in January has only gotten shadier
Let's not be naive. If I told you that a firm with ties to a sometimes adversarial foreign power was trying to overpay a Trump administration official for their now struggling business, you might say, "Gee, that seems like a conflict the White House doesn't need right now." But here we are.
This week, the Trump administration defied its “America First” rhetoric with a policy change that would make it easier for companies to hire guest workers from foreign countries. The Trump Organization is already poised to benefit from it. On Monday, the Department of Homeland Security raised the cap on H-2B visas for foreign guest workersfrom 66,000 visas per year to 81,000. On Thursday — just three days later — Trump’s properties told the Department of Labor that they wanted approval to hire 76 guest workers using those visas.
President Donald Trump’s Washington hotel received roughly $270,000 in payments linked to Saudi Arabia as part of a lobbying campaign by the Gulf kingdom against a controversial piece of terrorism legislation last year. The payments—for catering, lodging and parking—were disclosed by the public relations firm MSLGroup last week in paperwork filed with the Justice Department documenting foreign lobbying work on behalf of Saudi Arabia and other clients.
President Trump has given at least 16 White House staff members dispensation to work on policy matters they handled while employed as lobbyists or to interact with their former colleagues in private-sector jobs, according to records released late Wednesday. Among those receiving waivers were former lobbyists for the insurance and fossil fuel industries, the White House counsel and key advisers including Reince Priebus.
The waivers exempt the appointees from certain portions of ethics rules aimed at barring potential conflicts of interest. In letters posted on the White House website, the White House counsel's office wrote that the waivers were in the public interest because the administration had a need for the appointees' expertise on certain issues.
When it comes to political pundits who claim to have inside sources, I judge them by track record. Liberal pundit Claude Taylor’s sources have recently been proven right about Donald Trump grand juries. Conservative pundit Louise Mensch’s sources have long been proven right on Trump-Russia FISA warrants. So when the two of them say they each have different inside sources telling them the same thing, I listen. And what they’re jointly saying tonight is that a sealed indictment has been delivered against Donald Trump.
President Trump is planning to include a massive cut in the top tax rate on "pass-through" companies, from its current level of 39.6 percent to a mere 15 percent, the Wall Street Journal's Michael Bender and Richard Rubin report. This will be sold as a boost for small businesses, and it is, but it is mostly a huge giveaway to the rich — including the president himself.
Chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion are a group of pesticides that are a big money-maker for Dow Chemical, with the company selling approximately 5 million pounds of chlorpyrifos in the U.S. each year. Studies by federal scientists have found that chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion are harmful to almost 1,800 “critically threatened or endangered species.” Luckily for Dow, the E.P.A. is now run by climate-change skeptic and general enemy of living things Scott Pruitt, who last month said he would reverse “an Obama-era effort to bar the use of Dow's chlorpyrifos pesticide on food after recent peer-reviewed studies found that even tiny levels of exposure could hinder the development of children's brains.” Plus, Dow Chemical C.E.O. Andrew Liveris is good buddies with President Donald Trump.
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has been sending some chilling signals lately about how she plans to deal with America’s $1.3 trillion student debt burden. On at least two separate ocassions now, her department has scrapped Obama-era reforms that were designed to protect borrowers from being gouged or misled by the companies responsible for collecting their loans. All told, DeVos seems less interested in protecting former students than in protecting the predators that have fleeced them for profit.
The president’s daughter, now a White House adviser, has filed 173 foreign trademarks in 21 countries, as well as in Hong Kong and the European Union. Even though many of her trademark applications were filed long before she took her government job, they could be decided on by foreign governments while she works in the White House, creating ethical issues with little precedent. While trademarks do not directly confer financial gains, they protect the use of logos and other intellectual property, making them valuable tools for companies looking to build new ventures or expand existing operations.
President Trump is populating the White House and federal agencies with former lobbyists, lawyers and consultants who in many cases are helping to craft new policies for the same industries in which they recently earned a paycheck.
The Trump administration announced Friday that it would discontinue former president Barack Obama's policy of voluntarily disclosing the names of most visitors to the White House complex, citing “grave national security risks and privacy concerns.” Watchdog groups sued the Trump administration in a bid to continue the practices of the previous White House.
On a day in which reliable sources are pointing to the Trump-Russia investigation being so far along that arrests could come as soon as next week (link) and that Rudy Giuliani’s offer to flip is no longer even needed (link), another piece of the puzzle is now coming from an insider who has a tendency to be proven right about these things. The upshot: one or more of Donald Trump’s kids is about to go down.
If the billionaire Koch brothers turn to the White House for favors, they will see many familiar faces. Newly disclosed ethics forms reveal that a significant number of senior Trump staffers were previously employed by the sprawling network of hard-right and libertarian advocacy groups financed and controlled by Charles and David Koch, the conservative duo hyper-focused on entrenching Republican power, eliminating taxes, and slashing environmental and labor regulations.
In an interview with ProPublica, Trump Organization attorney Alan Garten confirmed that President Trump can withdraw profits and underlying assets from his trust at any time.He also said the president has been able to withdraw money since Trump took office on Jan. 20. That language was not included in a Jan. 26 summary of the trust — what’s known as a trust certification — but was included in a Feb. 10 version of the document.
China approves Donald Trump-branded spas, escort services, hotels and massage parlours without US Congress permission
Chinese authorities have granted preliminary approval for dozens of Trump-branded businesses, expanding his commercial empire and raising further conflicts of interest, say lawyers. The 38 trademarks include new hotels, spas, escort and concierge services, massage parlors, personal security services and insurance, according to public documents
Shortly after taking office, Donald Trump abandoned a bizarre hotel project in Azerbaijan which never made any sense to begin with. It was built in an industrial part of town where a hotel wouldn’t be needed. The roads being built to the hotel didn’t even lead to it. And now it turns out the entire hotel project appears to have been little more than an excuse to illegally launder money coming from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
Donald Trump’s family’s trips have cost taxpayers nearly as much in a month as Barack Obama’s cost in an entire year. The US President’s three visits to his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida since his presidential inauguration, combined with his sons’ business trips, reportedly cost $11.3m (£9.1m).
Trump would drain the swamp, he claimed, and reinstate a “21st-century” version of the law separating main street banking from Wall Street – Roosevelt’s Glass-Steagall Act – which was scrapped by President Bill Clinton, in one of his worst decisions. Trump would throw the money men out of the temple, he said. He would reshape finance for the “little guy”. His audiences roared him on.But, in office, Trump has proved to be a great deal friendlier to the titans of Wall Street and their interests than he suggested he would be as a candidate, although a close reading of his speeches foretells some of what is now happening. Far from draining the swamp, he is opening the sluicegates; the money men are not so much being hurled out as in full occupation of the economic citadel.
When the president-elect’s son Eric Trump jetted to Uruguay in early January for a Trump Organization promotional trip, U.S. taxpayers were left footing a bill of nearly $100,000 in hotel rooms for Secret Service and embassy staff. “This is an example of the blurring of the line between the personal interest in the family business and the government,” said Kathleen Clark, an expert on government ethics and law professor at Washington University in St. Louis.
President Trump on Friday moved to chisel away at the Obama administration’s legacy on financial reform, announcing a series of steps to revisit the rules enacted after the 2008 financial crisis and setting the stage for a showdown with Democrats over the future of Wall Street regulation. The rule’s supporters, including Democratic lawmakers and consumer groups, describe it as a basic consumer protection that can prevent brokers from taking advantage of vulnerable clients.
A lot happened in the 2016 campaign, but one of the things Donald Trump did to win the election was shift to the left on a number of key issues — promising to avoid cuts in Social Security and Medicare benefits and adopting a longstanding Democratic pledge to let Medicare negotiate bulk discounts in the price it pays for prescription drugs.
The president named Bannon to the council in a reorganization of the NSC. He also said his chief-of-staff Reince Priebus would have a seat in the meetings. During his presidential campaign, Trump promised to “drain the swamp” of Washington, which he depicted as a city rife with unscrupulous lobbyists and corrupt career politicians. Since election day he has drawn criticism, however, by relying on lobbyists to advise his transition team, by stocking the government with potentialconflicts of interest, and by refusing to divest or publicly account for his own ethics risks.
Reich explains that rather than coming up with the necessary money to fund these massive infrastructure plans by making the wealthy pay their fair share, Trump’s plan offers tax breaks for the rich to encourage them to invest. “Which means that for every dollar they put into a project, they are actually paying only 18 cents – and we are paying the other 82 cents through our tax dollars.”
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