Posts Tagged ‘Donald Trump’

Conflicts of Interest: The President Is Still a Businessman

May 24, 2017

President Donald Trump is advised by his daughter and son-in-law while profiting from the world-wide Trump Organization, run by his sons. NPR’s Marilyn Geewax explains the ethics and conflicts-of-interest issues.

Related:

“Trump’s connection to his businesses leaves more questions than answers in first 100 days,” Alexander Mallin, ABC News

“After 100 Days of Trump, America’s Gotten Corruption Fatigue,” Bridgette Dunlap, Rolling Stone

Updates:

“Trump’s Business Ties to Middle East Precede Him,” Steve Eder and Jesse Drucker, New York Times

“Donald Trump Jr., Dubai business partner discuss ‘new ideas,'” Jon Gambrell, Associated Press

“Trump Family Bolsters Its Dubai Connection,” Russ Choma, Mother Jones

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The NSA and DNI Told Trump to Take a Hike

May 23, 2017

The NSA and DNI Told Trump to Take a Hike
In March, after FBI Director James B. Comey told the House Intelligence Committee the FBI was investigating links between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, President Trump asked Director of National Intelligence (DNIDaniel Coats and NSA Director Michael Rogers to say there was nothing to the Trump-Russia story. They declined to spread disinformation about a sister agency’s ongoing investigation, even at the president’s request. The CIA had already determined that there was Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.

More:

“Trump asked intelligence chiefs to push back against FBI collusion probe after Comey revealed its existence,” Adam Entous and Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post

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Trump Is Meeting With the Wrong Guy at the Vatican

May 22, 2017

Trump Is Meeting With the Wrong Guy at the Vatican
U.S. President Donald Trump will meet with Pope Francis on Wednesday when he visits Vatican City, but he should really meet with another Francis while he’s in town — Father Francesco Bamonte. He’s the leading Catholic exorcist, president of the International Association of Exorcists, and well-practiced in casting out demons.

Related:

“Can the pope save Trump?”  E.J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post

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James Comey to Testify Before the Senate Intelligence Committee

May 19, 2017

James Comey to Testify Before the Senate Intelligence Committee

Recently terminated FBI director James Comey, the career law enforcement official who keeps meticulous records of all his meetings, has agreed to publicly testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee in a few weeks. The announcement will probably be dismissed as “more showboating” by America’s Showboater-in-Chief, Donald Trump.

The Intelligence Committee is investigating links between Russia and the Trump campaign. Mr. Trump told Lester Holt of NBC News that he fired Mr. Comey to end the FBI’s criminal investigation of the same matter.

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The Trump Campaign Contacted Russia at Least 18 Times

May 18, 2017

The Trump Campaign Contacted Russia at Least 18 Times

“Michael Flynn and other advisers to Donald Trump’s campaign were in contact with Russian officials and others with Kremlin ties in at least 18 calls and emails during the last seven months of the 2016 presidential race, current and former U.S. officials familiar with the exchanges told Reuters.

The previously undisclosed interactions form part of the record now being reviewed by FBI and congressional investigators probing Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election and contacts between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

Six of the previously undisclosed contacts described to Reuters were phone calls between Sergei Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, and Trump advisers, including Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser, three current and former officials said.

Conversations between Flynn and Kislyak accelerated after the Nov. 8 vote as the two discussed establishing a back channel for communication between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin that could bypass the U.S. national security bureaucracy, which both sides considered hostile to improved relations, four current U.S. officials said.”

— “Trump campaign had at least 18 undisclosed contacts with Russians: sources,” Ned Parker, Jonathan Landay and Warren Strobel, Reuters

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2017 Coast Guard Academy Commencement Whine

May 17, 2017

2017 Coast Guard Academy Commencement Whine
President Donald Trump delivered the commencement speech to the 2017 graduating class of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. Faced with young people committed to public service, he spoke about himself,  blaming the messengers for his problems:

“Look at the way I’ve been treated lately – especially by the media.  No politician in history – and I say this with great surety – has been treated worse or more unfairly.”

More:

“Trump Keeps the Focus on Himself in Coast Guard Commencement Address,” Adam K. Raymond, New York Magazine

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Comey Filed a Memo of Trump’s Obstruction Request

May 17, 2017

Comey Filed a Memo of Trump's Obstruction Request

“President Trump asked the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, to shut down the federal investigation into Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, in an Oval Office meeting in February, according to a memo Mr. Comey wrote shortly after the meeting.

‘I hope you can let this go,’ the president told Mr. Comey, according to the memo.

The existence of Mr. Trump’s request is the clearest evidence that the president has tried to directly influence the Justice Department and F.B.I. investigation into links between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia.

Mr. Comey wrote the memo detailing his conversation with the president immediately after the meeting, which took place the day after Mr. Flynn resigned, according to two people who read the memo. The memo was part of a paper trail Mr. Comey created documenting what he perceived as the president’s improper efforts to influence a continuing investigation. An F.B.I. agent’s contemporaneous notes are widely held up in court as credible evidence of conversations.

— “Comey Memo Says Trump Asked Him to End Flynn Investigation,” Michael S. Schmidt, New York Times

More:

“Notes made by former FBI director Comey say Trump pressured him to end Flynn probe,” Devlin Barrett, Ellen Nakashima and Matt Zapotosky, Washington Post

“U.S. lawmakers want to see Comey memo on Trump meeting,” Bill Trott and Peter Cooney, Reuters

“Chaffetz demands Comey-Trump memos in letter to FBI,” Heather Caygle, Politico

“Senate Intel Committee Wants Comey Memos And Testimony,” Allegra Kirkland, TPM Livewire

“Law professor: ‘If the allegations are true, Trump has committed a serious federal crime,’” Dylan Matthews, Vox

“Another Bomb Drops: Initial Thoughts on Trump Asking Comey to Kill the Flynn Investigation,” Helen Klein Murillo, Jack Goldsmith, Susan Hennessey, et al., Lawfare

“Is Trump guilty of obstruction of justice? That depends …,” William Yeomans, The Hill

“What Is Obstruction of Justice? An Often-Murky Crime, Explained,” Charlie Savage, New York Times

“Legal analysts: Trump might have obstructed justice, if Comey’s allegation is true,” Matt Zapotosky, Washington Post

“A Short History of Presidential Obstruction of Justice,” Jon Schwarz, The Intercept

“Donald Trump has committed the exact offense that forced Richard Nixon to resign,”
Updated by Dylan Matthews, Vox

“Comey’s Memo Is the Smoking Gun of Donald Trump’s Watergate,” Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine

“GOP Rep. Justin Amash on Comey memo: if true, there are grounds for impeachment,” Tara Golshan, Vox

“‘I think we’re in impeachment territory,’ says David Gergen, former aide to Nixon and Clinton,” Derek Hawkins, Washington Post

“Is the Comey Memo the Beginning of the End for Trump?” David Remnick, The New Yorker

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Telephone. Telegraph. Tell Trump.

May 15, 2017

Telephone. Telegraph. Tell Trump.
President Donald Trump met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador (and friend of the Trump Campaign) Sergey Kislyak at the White House last week and managed to reveal classified information to them. The Washington Post, with a better sense of discretion, didn’t print particulars, but it seems the loose presidential lips burned a source of Syrian conflict intelligence on ISIS.

More:

“Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador,” Greg Miller and Greg Jaffe, Washington Post

“Republicans Display a Mix of Defense and Alarm on Trump Allegations,” Clare Foran, The Atlantic

UPDATE:

After sending National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster into the fray to issue a sort-of denial of the Trump leak, the president himself admitted he’d done it and said, essentially, “Yeah, so what?” Mr. Trump is saying he did it because he can. Many in the U.S. are asking (a few months too late) if he is too incompetent to be president, and the foreign leaders he will meet with this week must ask themselves if the U.S. president can be trusted with sensitive information.

Further reports on the Leaker-in-Chief:

(more…)

Adulterer and Dissembler Speaks to Impressionable Young Christians

May 14, 2017

Adulterer and Dissembler Addresses Young Christians
On Saturday, renowned sinner and U.S. President Donald J. Trump, flanked by Secret Service agents and 2 Corinthians, gave the commencement speech to graduating students at the world’s largest Christian college, Liberty University. He was introduced by University President Jerry Falwell Jr., the gun-totin’ Christian lawyer famously sired by televangelist and Liberty U. founder Jerry Falwell Sr., who had endorsed Mr. Trump during the election. 1300 LU students and a prominent university board member protested the endorsement.

Even though Mr. Falwell Jr. has encouraged Liberty University students to carry concealed handguns on campus and keep them in their dorms, firearms were not permitted in Lynchburg’s Williams Stadium during commencement exercises. Oh ye of little faith ….

Mr. Trump urged the graduates to adhere to the basic founding principles of our Republic, Christian Nationalism, critic-bashing, and college football. Since 30% of Americans are not Christians, will their citizenship be revoked? And if you’re counting critics, 58% of your neighbors disapprove of the job President Trump is doing. And of course many people prefer the NFL to college football. No wonder Trump is fast-tracking Deportation Force recruiting.

Related:

“At Liberty University, All Sins Are Forgiven on the Altar of Football,” Michael Powell, New York Times

Update:

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El Caudillo Trump Demands Loyalty

May 12, 2017

El Caudillo Trump Demands Loyalty
President Donald Trump invited FBI Director James Comey to dinner in January and asked for his loyalty. Mr. Comey, a career law enforcement official, promised him honesty. Honesty clearly has no place in a Trump administration, so Comey was sacked, then threatened.

As former FBI agent Clint Watts, a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, observes,  “Trump’s loyalty pledge tactic comes straight from the worst aspects of authoritarians and mob bosses who see their rule above the rule of law.”

More:

“Trump Asked Comey for Loyalty a Day After He Was Warned About Flynn: Report,”  Margaret Hartmann, New York Magazine

“Trump said he was thinking of Russia controversy when he decided to fire Comey,” Devlin Barrett and Philip Rucker, Washington Post

“Trump Threatens Fired FBI Director Comey With ‘Tapes,'” John T. Bennett, Roll Call

“The Threat in President Trump’s Interview with Lester Holt,” Amy Davidson, The New Yorker

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