Posts Tagged ‘Donald Trump’

Collectors of Classified Documents

January 25, 2023

Collectors of Classified Documents

When leaving the White House, everybody takes home some souvenir secret documents. It seems like that, anyway. Trump had 300. Ex-VP Biden had a few. Now it turns out that ex-Veep Mike Pence had some back home in Indiana, too. It’s a questionable hobby.

The federal government began the modern system of document classification in 1951, updating it in 1953 and 2009. Maybe the FBI also needs to search the homes of Harry Truman, Alben Barkley, Ike, Nixon, JFK, LBJ, Hubert Humphrey, Spiro Agnew, Gerald Ford, Nelson Rockefeller, Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Dan Quayle, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, George W. Bush,  Dick Cheney, and Barack Obama.

Kamala Harris, take heed.

More:

“Trump Angrily Orders Pence to Return All Classified Documents to Mar-a-Lago,” Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker

Updates:

See? We told you.

“Classified records pose conundrum stretching back to Carter,” Zeke Miller, Farnoush Amiri, Colleen Long, and Jill Colvin, Associated Press

“US National Archives asks ex-presidents to check for classified papers,” Hugo Lowell, The Guardian

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2024 Presidential Campaign Shapes Up

December 1, 2022

2024 Presidential Campaign Shapes Up

Last week, at Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump, former president, had dinner with Ye, former Kanye West, and Ye’s companion, Holocaust-denying white supremacist Nick Fuentes. Ye announced he would run for president in 2024, and asked Mr. Trump to be his running mate. As this meal occured a week after Mr. Trump had announced his own candidacy, hilarity ensued.

Perhaps the former Kanye West felt the former president would be open to his deal after Mr. Trump cost the GOP the Senate in the midterms and nearly lost them the House. On the other hand, Ye, as Kanye, was briefly a 2020 presidential candidate, and that evaporated faster than his Adidas deal.

More:

“A ‘nightmare’: Trump team does damage control after he dines with Ye and white supremacist Nick Fuentes,” Marc Caputo, NBC News

“Report: Trump Doesn’t Want to Condemn His Holocaust-Denying Dinner Date Because It Might Alienate His Jew-Hating Supporters,” Bess Levin, Vanity Fair

“Trump Says He Did Not Know Identity of Dinner Guest, Owing to White Hood,” Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker

Related:

“Trump Brought Nazis Into the GOP. DeSantis Won’t Expel Them.” Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine

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Trump Fraud Lawsuit: Red Meat?

September 23, 2022

Trump Fraud Lawsuit: Red Meat?

After a three-year civil investigation into the Trump Organization’s business practices, New York State Attorney General Letitia James has sued Donald Trump, his adult children Donald Jr., Eric, and Ivanka, and Trump Organization employees for falsely inflating the value of assets for many years to receive tax breaks and favorable loan and insurance rates. The suit aims to recover $250 million. Said AG James: “Claiming you have money that you do not have does not amount to the art of the deal. It’s the art of the steal.”

Attorney General James seeks to bar Trump and his organization from buying commercial real estate or receiving bank loans for five years, and to permanently bar Trump, Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric Trump from serving as executives in any New York companies. Naturally, Trump’s attorney called the filing politically motivated.

This is a civil suit, but the charges, if true, would point to federal and local criminal charges, and AG James has referred these matters to the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the Manhattan District Attorney.

More:

“Donald Trump, 3 of his children accused of business fraud by New York AG,” Shayna Jacobs and Jonathan O’Connell, Washington Post

“New York attorney general lawsuit accuses Trump of ‘staggering’ fraud,” Hugo Lowell, Maya Yang and Martin Pengelly The Guardian

“‘Art of the steal’: Trump accused of vast fraud in NY suit
By Michael R. Sisak and Larry Neumeister, Associated Press

“New York attorney general sues Trump, accuses him of “astounding” fraud and deception,” Andrew Prokop, Vox

Updates:

“It’s Just Fraud All the Way Down,” David A. Graham. The Atlantic

“As Trump’s Legal Woes Mount, So Do Financial Pressures on Him,” Maggie Haberman, Ben Protess, Matthew Goldstein and Eric Lipton, New York Times

“Are Mar-a-Lago and other Trump-owned properties over-valued?” Sam Cabral, BBC News

“How Screwed Are Donald Trump and His Adult Children, and Other Questions You Might Have About the ‘Staggering’ Fraud Lawsuit Against Them,” Bess Levin, Vanity Fair

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Trump Embraces QAnon Conspiracy Theories

September 21, 2022

Trump Embraces QAnon Conspiracy Theories

Donald Trump is, finally, openly embracing the wacko QAnon conspiracy theory. Tuesday, on his Truth Social platform, he reposted an image of himself wearing a Q lapel pin overlaid with the words “The Storm is Coming.” For QAnon looons, the “storm” refers to a Trump final victory, when he will regain power and his opponents will be tried (and probably executed) on live television.

At a JD Vance campaign rally on Saturday, Donald Trump spoke over QAnon-themed background music while his supporters raised their right index fingers to the sky in a creepy salute. Sure, it might mean “We’re Number 1” or “America First,” or signal the “One Way” of Christian Nationalism, but The Daily Beast’s Will Sommer, author of a forthcoming book on QAnon, tweeted that it could symbolize the QAnon rallying cry ‘Where we go one, we go all.’”

That rally music?  It was either the QAnon anthem “Wwg1wga” or a copyright-free clone of it. Trump had used it in a video on his Truth Social last month.

More:

“Trump openly embraces, amplifies QAnon conspiracy theories,” David Klepper and Ali Swenson, Associated Press

“Trump asks QAnon to stand back and stand by,” Phillip Bump, Washington Post

“Trump’s Gone Full QAnon. There’s No Point in Denying It Anymore.” Jared Holt, Daily Beast

“What’s with the creepy one-fingered salute by Trump supporters?” Imogen Champagne, Crikey.com.au

“Is Trump fans’ ‘weird’ one-finger salute at rally a QAnon tribute?” Gustaf Kilander, The Independent via Yahoo News

“Trump’s Latest Rally Was Even Weirder Than Usual,” Chas Danner, New York Magazine

“Trump’s New Recruits: He’s embracing the QAnon conspiracy theorists,” Tom Nichols, The Atlantic

Update:

“Trump Endorsed QAnon Because He’s Stuck,” Juliette Kayyem, The Atlantic

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FBI Seeks Trump’s Stolen Documents at Mar-a-Lago

August 10, 2022

FBI Seeks Trump's Stolen Documents at Mar-a-Lago

Early this past Monday, FBI agents toured Donald Trump’s beautiful Mar-a-Lago residence in Palm Beach, executing a search warrant for classified documents he stole while vacating the White House after his failed 2021 coup attempt. At the time of the FBI raid, Mr. Trump was in New Jersey, recuperating after playing golf on his ex-wife’s grave with Saudi officials. FBI Director Christopher A. Wray is a Trump appointee, and the judge who approved the search warrant, Bruce Reinhart, was appointed in 2018, during the Trump administration. Before that, the judge was an attorney, and represented several employees of Donald Trump’s friend Jeffrey Epstein.

The former president fled Washington with 15 cartons of purloined pages, and some are still missing. Withholding or destroying the documents is a violation of the Presidential Records Act and provisions of the Federal Records Act, felonies punishable by up to three years in prison. Conviction might make him ineligible to hold public office in the future.

The FBI agents brought a safecracker to Mar-a-Lago to help search for the remaining stolen documents, which reportedly include a “love letter” from Kim Jong Un. Maybe the feds brought a forensic plumber, given Donald Trump’s habit of flushing documents down the toilet.

More:

“Trump says FBI searched estate in major escalation of probe,” Eric Tucker and Michael Balsamo, Associated Press

“FBI searches Trump’s Florida home as part of presidential records probe,” Brian Ellsworth and Sarah N. Lynch, Reuters

“Here’s what we know about the FBI search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago,” Brett Samuels, Rebecca Beitsch, and Emily Brooks, The Hill

“The consequences Trump could face for mishandling White House records,” Melissa Quinn, CBS News

Presidential Records (44 U.S.C. Chapter 22)

“Lara Trump incorrectly claims that Donald Trump had ‘every authority’ to take documents from White House,”
Stephen Proctor, Yahoo Entertainment

“Fox News Is Having a Nuclear Meltdown Over the Feds Raiding Mar-a-Lago,” Ryan Bort, Rolling Stone

“Republicans dust off familiar playbook to weaponise Mar-a-Lago FBI search,” David Smith, The Guardian

“Pelosi responds to GOP criticism of search at Trump’s estate: ‘No person is above the law,’” Anna Kaplan, NBC Today

“Feds Seizing Documents at Mar-a-Lago Unable to Find Trump’s Health-Care Plan,” Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker

Updates:

“Mar-a-Lago search appears focused on whether Trump, aides withheld items,” Devlin Barrett, Josh Dawsey, Rosalind S. Helderman, Jacqueline Alemany and Spencer S. Hsu, Washington Post

“‘Defund the FBI!’ Trump allies are not happy with Mar-a-Lago raid.” Peter Weber, The Week

“The FBI’s Search of Mar-a-Lago Is a Reminder That Trump Has Always Been a National Security Threat,” David Rothkopf, Daily Beast

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LIV Golf: Trump Welcomes His Saudi Masters to New Jersey

July 29, 2022

LIV Golf: Trump Welcomes His Saudi Masters to New Jersey
While Joe Biden was criticized for his recent fist bump with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Donald Trump has given a big, wet, sloppy kiss to the Saudi-funded LIV Golf Toursportswashing” campaign. The third tournament of the new pro golf league‘s tour is being held at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

Mr. Trump may have embraced the insurgent tour because he’s peeved at the U.S.-based PGA for pulling its 2022 championship tourney from Bedminster, but he has backed upstart sports leagues before, and this is not the first time Donald Trump has taken Saudi money. Far from it. Saudi cash saved Trump from bankrupcy, and, despite anti-Saudi rhetoric during his 2016 campaign, he and son-in-law Jared Kushner have kept their shoddy businesses afloat on an Arabian Gulf of Saudi money.

There have been strong objections to Trump’s embrace of Saudi golf money by the PGA, of course, but also by survivors of the victims of 9/11, and National Press Club members who remember the “grisly-bonesaw” murder of their collegue Jamal Khashoggi.

More:

“Trump Seeks Money and Revenge in Hosting the New Saudi Golf League,” John Cassidy, The New Yorker

“Hosting Saudi Golf Tourney, Trump Has Forgotten He Used to Blame Kingdom for 9/11,” Nikki McCann Ramirez, Rolling Stone

Updates:

“9/11 families rip Saudi-financed golf tour ahead of finale at Trump resort,” Olafimihan Oshin, The Hill

“Trump: LIV Golf tournament a ‘great thing’ for Saudi Arabia,” Jared Gans, The Hill

“LIV Golf’s latest stop brings together Trump, Saudi Arabia and plenty of criticism,” Bryan Armen Graham, The Guardian

“The marriage of LIV Golf and Donald Trump is the stuff schemes are made of,” Eamon Lynch, Golfweek

“Bill Maher mocks Trump over golf course comments, suggests US trade him for Griner’s release,” Chloe Folmar, The Hill

“LIV Golf Tournament at Trump Club Sees Thin Crowds, $1 Tickets: Reports,” Jason Lemon, Newsweek

“LIV Golf spectator yells, ‘Do it for the Saudi royal family’ at Phil Mickelson,” Riley Hamel, Golfweek

“Golf takes back seat at Saudi-backed, Trump-hosted event,” Bryan Armen Graham, USA Today

Updated Updates:

“LIV Golf sellouts bailed on the PGA Tour. Now they want back in?” Sally Jenkins, Wasghington Post

“Judge rules LIV golfers can’t play in PGA Tour postseason,” TuAnh Dam, Axios

Related:

“Donald Trump’s Sketchy Playbook for Blowing Up a Pro Sports League,” Ian Ward, Politico

“Remembering The Tour De Trump, Donald Trump’s Failed Bike Race,” Patrick Redford, Deadspin

“Does Saudi Arabia Own Donald Trump?” NotionsCapital

“Tiger Woods turned down offer in ‘neighborhood’ of $700M to $800M to play in Saudi-backed tournament, Greg Norman says,” Sarakshi Rai, The Hill

“Ivana Trump was buried near the first hole of Trump National Golf Club. Her gravesite could offer tax breaks for the business.” Katherine Tangalakis-Lippert and Isabella Zavarise, Business Insider

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Federal Grand Jury Looks at Trump Document Tampering

May 13, 2022

Federal Grand Jury Looks at Trump Document Tampering

In January 2021, when he left the White House, Donald J. Trump sent 15 boxes of presidential documents to Mar-a-Lago instead of the National Archives, as required by law. Many of the docs were marked “Classified” and “Top Secret.” The Archives asked the Department of Justice to investigate the violation. On Thursday, the New York Times reported that a federal grand jury was convened to look into the matter:

“Federal prosecutors have begun a grand jury investigation into whether classified White House documents that ended up at former President Donald J. Trump’s Florida home were mishandled, according to two people briefed on the matter. The intensifying inquiry suggests that the Justice Department is examining the role of Mr. Trump and other officials in his White House in their handling of sensitive materials during the final stages of his administration.”

— “Prosecutors Pursue Inquiry Into Trump’s Handling of Classified Material,” Maggie Haberman and Michael S. Schmidt, New York Times

Another grand jury in Atlanta is investigating Mr. Trump’s efforts to interfere in the 2020 presidential election there.

More:

“Grand jury used in probe of classified documents taken to Mar-a-Lago,” Matt Zapotosky, Jacqueline Alemany, and Josh Dawsey, Washington Post

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Trump on Putin’s Ukraine Invasion: ‘Genius’

February 24, 2022

Trump on Putin's Ukraine Invasion: 'Genius'

Responding to Russia’s original rationalization for its unprovoked military invasion of neighboring Ukraine, Russia-linked former US president Donald Trump called Vladimir Putin’s flimsy excuse “genius.” As Tony Borowitz suggests, maybe Mr. Trump is currying Putin’s continuing support for a 2024 campaign run.

More:

“Trump, again cozying up to Putin, praises Russian aggression as ‘genius.’” Reid J. Epstein, New York Times

“Trump Keeps Going With His Big Lie: Putin Invaded Ukraine Because Of ‘Rigged Election,'” Amanda Terkel, HuffPost

“Why Donald Trump can’t stop praising Vladimir Putin,” Chris Cillizza, CNN

Updates:

“Trump and his supporters praise Putin and dismiss Biden as crisis unfolds,” Meryl Kornfield, Washington Post

“Trump and other top conservatives rally to Putin’s side as he threatens Ukraine,” John Haltiwanger, Business Insider

“Fox News hosts play down Russia’s attack on Ukraine,” Katie Robertson and Michael M. Grynbaum, New York Times

“Putin’s Useful Idiots,” David A. Graham, The Altlantic

“Tommy Tuberville Gives Breathtakingly Ignorant Explanation of Russia’s Invasion,” Ed Kilgore, New York Magazine

“Donald Trump defends calling Putin ‘smart’, hints at 2024 presidential bid,” David Smith, The Guardian

“Almost treasonous’: Romney condemns GOP voices backing Putin,” Colin Campbell, Yahoo News

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Trump’s 15 Boxes of Stolen Documents

February 10, 2022

Trump's 15 Boxes of Stolen Documents

The National Archives had to retrieve 15 boxes of presidential documents illegally stolen by former president Donald Trump. At least the archivists got a trip to Mar-a-Lago out of that. During his time in office, Mr. Trump continued his habit of ripping up paperwork and throwing it in the trash or on the floor, and the poor shnooks in the presidential records mangement office had to tape them back together to be forwarded to the National Archives. The Presidential Records Act requires the preservation of memos, letters, notes, emails, faxes and other written communications related to a president’s official duties.

From descriptions, it seems like Mr. Trump ripped up papers he didn’t like (such as a letter from Chuck Schumer), and stole the ones he did, like “love letters” from Kim Jong Un. On the other hand, maybe he destroyed the incriminating papers and swiped the ones that incriminated other people, to use as leverage. After all, Trump’s mentor was Roy Cohn.

More:

“National Archives retrieved 15 boxes of Trump White House Documents From Mar-a-Lago,” Kevin Breuninger, CNBC

“Could Trump be prosecuted for his serial Presidential Records Act violations?” Peter Weber, The Week

“National Archives asks Justice Dept. to investigate Trump’s handling of White House records,” Matt Zapotosky, Jacqueline Alemany, Ashley Parker, and Josh Dawsey, Washington Post

“Trump denies flushing documents down White House toilet,” Quint Forgey, Politico

“MyPillow Customer Finds Classified Documents Inside Duvet,” Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker

“Trump’s document destruction isn’t something to paper over or shrug off,” Eugene Robinson, Washington Post

“Republicans Who Railed About Clinton Emails Are Quiet on Trump’s Records,” Lisa Lerer and Katie Rogers, New York Times

“Trump records at Mar-a-Lago clearly marked as classified, including documents at ‘top secret’ level,” Jacqueline Alemany, Devlin Barrett, Matt Zapotosky and Josh Dawsey, Washington Post

Updates:

“Archives Found Possible Classified Material in Boxes Returned by Trump,” Reid J. Epstein and Michael S. Schmidt, New York Times

“US House to investigate whether Trump broke law in handling of documents,” Hugo Lowell, The Guardian

“Trump: Return of documents to Archives viewed as routine and ‘no big deal,'” Joseph Choi, The Hill

“Trump Reportedly Clogged White House Toilet With Flushed Documents,” Inae Oh, Mother Jones

“Trump Flushed the Presidential Honor System Down the Toilet,” Jack Shafer, Politico

Related:

Presidential Records (44 U.S.C. Chapter 22), U.S. National Archives and Record Administration

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GOP: It’s Official, They’re Fascists.

February 7, 2022

GOP: It's Official, They're Fascists.

Meeting in Salt Lake City on Friday, the Republican National Committee (RNC) passed a resolution declaring that the actions of the Insurrection of January 6, 2021, including the violent attempt to overthrow the elected government of the United States and the defilement of the Capitol building, were “legitimate political discourse.” The resolution (co-authored by Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel) was passed by voice vote, without debate, so individual Republican leaders could avoid personal (and legal) responsibility for this outrage against two centuries of American democratic values. They’re not just fascists, they’re weasels.

More:

“Republican party calls January 6 attack ‘legitimate political discourse,’” Martin Pengelly, The Guardian

“GOP leaders approve resolution that says Jan. 6 was ‘legitimate political discourse,’” Bryan Schott, Salt Lake City Tribune

“G.O.P. Declares Jan. 6 Attack ‘Legitimate Political Discourse,’” Jonathan Weisman and Reid J. Epstein, New York Times

Updates:

“Murkowski criticizes RNC calling Jan. 6 attack ‘legitimate political discourse,'” Caroline Vakil,The Hill

“‘Legitimate Political Discourse’ Is Now an Official Republican Party Description of the Jan. 6 Attack on the Capitol,” Ryan Bort, Rolling Stone

“McConnell rebukes RNC, calls Jan. 6 ‘violent insurrection,'” Mary Clare Jalonick,  Associated Press

“‘Legitimate political discourse’: Three words about Jan. 6 spark rift among Republicans,” Josh Dawsey and Felicia Sonmez, Washington Post

“McConnell breaks with RNC: Jan. 6 ‘violent insurrection,'” Jordain Carney, The Hill

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