Posts Tagged ‘Mar-a-Lago’

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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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’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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Trump’s New Job

May 10, 2021

Trump's New Job

According to the Palm Beach Town Attorney, Donald J. Trump is live-in help at the Mar-a-Lago Club.

In 1993 Mr. Trump signed a “Declaration of Use” agreement with the town, assuring that when he converted the historic Mar-a-Lago property into a private club, he wouldn’t live there permanently. In October of 2019, however, Donald Trump changed his official residence from New York to Florida, specifically 1100 South Ocean Boulevard, Mar-a-Lago.

Neighbors weren’t happy, even less so after Mr. Trump lost the 2020 election and fomented the Capitol insurgency. They cited the 1993 agreement, as if they could trust the word of a man who told 30,573 lies in the 4 years he was president.

The attorney for Palm Beach, John “Skip” Randolph, cited a loophole in the town’s zoning code allowing private clubs to provide living quarters to a “bona fide employee.”

He lives at the club, ergo Donald J. Trump is live-in help at Mar-a-Lago. with so many of his fellow employees out due to COVID-19, maybe he can bus tables or clean the pool in his free time.

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Trump Wants to live at Mar-a-Lago. The Neighbors Don’t Want Him.

December 17, 2020

Trump Wants to Live at Mar-a-Lago. The Neighbors Don't Want Him.

Since he lost the election and his attempted coup failed – 60 times — Donald J. Trump is preparing a White House in Exile at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida. His quarters there are undergoing renovation, and Melania is looking at suitably snooty schools nearby for young Baron.

Coupla things, though. Although Mr. Trump registered Mar-a-Lago as his permanent residence before he voted this fall, according to a 1993 agreement he signed, he can’t legally live there. And the neighbors don’t want him to, either. During his presidency, there was a lot of “there-goes-the-neighborhood” grousing in Palm Beach about helicopters, police overtime, road closures, and Coast Guard patrols, but it was only for a few days at a time and, you know, the guy was president.

But after noon on January 21st, Donald Trump is just another rich old man, and can’t hold himself above the law. When he converted Mar-a-Lago from a home to a private club, DJT signed a pact that no one would live at the place for more than seven days at a time for three nonconsecutive weeks per year — and he got a property tax break in the process. Mr. Trump now wants to weasel out of the contract and live fulltime at Mar-a-Lago, since Florida residence helps him avoid New York State and City income taxes, or at least the legal hassle of finagling out of them, anyway.

Bottom line: Donald Trump’s Palm Beach neighbors want him gone, and New York doesn’t want him back, either. So where’s a failed American autocrat to go? Well, Moscow’s media are urging his pal Putin to offer him political asylum in Russia.

More:

“Mar-a-Lago neighbors to Trump: Spend your post-presidency elsewhere,” Manuel Roig-Franzia and Carol D. Leonnig, Washington Post

“Mar-a-Lago neighbors say Trump forfeited right to live on estate once presidency ends,” Christine Stapleton, Palm Beach Post

“Mar-a-Lago neighbors want Trump to go elsewhere after he leaves the White House,” Kate Bennett and Katelyn Polantz, CNN

“Almost no one wants a neighbor like Donald Trump,”Helaine Olen, Washington Post

Related:

“Use of helipad at Mar-a-Lago ends with Trump’s term on Jan. 20,” William Kelly, Palm Beach Daily News

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Mar-a-Lago Must Be a Sh*thole

January 12, 2018

Mar-a-Lago Must Be a Sh*thole

In an anti-immigrant rant during a meeting with members of Congress, serial bankrupt, racist isolationist, and U.S. President Donald Trump referred to Haiti and African nations as “sh*thole countries.” Mr. Trump then left Washington for his private Palm Beach resort (membership fee: $200,000). This season that Florida club, Mar-a-Lago, hired 70 foreign workers through the H-2B visa program. Where are many of those Mar-a-Lago workers from?

Oui, Haiti.

More:

“Trump asked why the US needs more Haitians. Mar-a-Lago may hold the answer,” Christina Wilkie, CNBC

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Trump Golf: Hole-in-One for Hackers

May 19, 2017

Trump Golf: Hole-in-One for Hackers

“We parked a 17-foot motor boat in a lagoon about 800 feet from the back lawn of The Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach and pointed a 2-foot wireless antenna that resembled a potato gun toward the club. Within a minute, we spotted three weakly encrypted Wi-Fi networks. We could have hacked them in less than five minutes, but we refrained.

A few days later, we drove through the grounds of the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, with the same antenna and aimed it at the clubhouse. We identified two open Wi-Fi networks that anyone could join without a password. We resisted the temptation.

We have also visited two of President Donald Trump’s other family-run retreats, the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., and a golf club in Sterling, Virginia. Our inspections found weak and open Wi-Fi networks, wireless printers without passwords, servers with outdated and vulnerable software, and unencrypted login pages to back-end databases containing sensitive information.

The risks posed by the lax security, experts say, go well beyond simple digital snooping. Sophisticated attackers could take advantage of vulnerabilities in the Wi-Fi networks to take over devices like computers or smart phones and use them to record conversations involving anyone on the premises.

“Those networks all have to be crawling with foreign intruders, not just ProPublica,” said Dave Aitel, chief executive officer of Immunity, Inc., a digital security company, when we told him what we found.”

— “Any Half-Decent Hacker Could Break Into Mar-a-Lago,”  Jeff Larson and Julia Angwin, with Surya Mattu of Gizmodo, ProPublica.com

While the president travels with secure communication equipment, he tweets on an older model Android phone. And members and their guests could have their phones hacked to record conversations at the clubs.

Related:

“Trump’s Mar-a-Lago is heaven — for spies,” Darren Samuelsohn, Politico

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Cash-Strapped Palm Beach Considers ‘Mar-a-Lago Tax’

April 20, 2017

Cash-Strapped Palm Beach Considers 'Mar-a-Lago Tax'

Palm Beach County gave Donald Trump tax breaks when he bought Mar-a-Lago, but his weekend trips to the “Winter White House” are breaking the county’s budget. A typical Donald Trump visit costs the county more than $60,000 a day for police overtime, and the county estimated its costs for Trump’s visit with Chinese President Xi Jinping at over $250,000. That’s why County Commissioner Dave Kerner is proposing a tax on Mar-a-Lago to cover the costs. It’s that or increased taxes for local residents, whose lives are already disrupted by the president’s weekend golf jaunts.

Of course the Trump Administration could reimburse the county and add that to the $3 million in federal tax dollars each Mar-a-Lago trip costs all of us.

More:

“‘He’s baaaack!’: Trump’s visits to Mar-a-Lago are stretching Palm Beach’s budget and locals’ patience,” Abby Phillip and Lori Rozsa, Washington Post

“Palm Beach official proposes Mar-a-Lago tax to pay for Trump visits,” Brooke Seipe, The Hill

Related:

“Trump has spent one out of every five minutes of his presidency in Palm Beach,” Philip Bump, Washington Post

“GOP Senator: ‘I Do Wish’ Trump Would Host State Visits In DC, Not Mar-A-Lago,” Esme Cribb, TPM Livewire

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Mar-a-Lago Kitchens Cited for 13 Health Code Violations

April 14, 2017

13 Health Code Violations in Mar-a-Lago Kitchens

In Florida this month, members of President Trump’s pricy Mar-a-Lago club got some extras in the dining room‘s kitchen: Fish parasites, unrefrigerated raw meats, and more. Mar-a-Lago was cited for a total of 13 health code violations.

But Palm Beach is no Las Vegas. The Trump steakhouse there, DJT,  was cited for 51 health code violations in 2012.

More:

“Undercooled meat. Dangerous fish. Health inspectors ding Trump’s Mar-a-Lago kitchen,” José Lambiet, Miami Herald

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Mar-A-Lago Weekends Are ‘Part Of Being President’

March 23, 2017


Spending weekends at a private Florida club is “part of being president,” according to White House spokescreature Sean Spicer. Each weekend of presidential golf and steaks with ketchup at Mar-a-Lago is said to cost U.S. taxpayers about $3 million. For what Trump’s trips have cost to date, Meals on Wheels could feed 5,967 seniors for a year.

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