maqroll

U.S. Politics

Recommended Posts

So Canada has detained the head of Huawei because the US government doesn't like them ignoring their illegal and foolish sanctions against Iran.

Another step in the decline of the "rules-based order".

Foolish and cowardly of Canada.  Hubristic overreach on the part of the US.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Trump’s 2020 Campaign Has Reportedly Funneled Over $1 Million Into His Own Businesses

President Donald Trump‘s 2020 re-election campaign has funneled over $1 million worth of campaign money–donor money–into Trump branded businesses and real estate properties, according to a new report.

Federal election filings analyzed by Forbes say that Trump’s 2020 campaign has raked in millions of dollar from donors while Trump himself has converted at least $1.1 million of those donor funds into his own money by charging “the campaign for hotels, food, rent and legal consulting.”

Trump Tower Commercial LLC is a New York State-based entity owned by the 45th president. As of the latest campaign finance filing, the entity had charged Trump’s re-election campaign at least $665,000 in rent. An additional $225,000 in rent payments have been made to this entity through a similar arrangement with the Republican National Committee (RNC).

The extent of the space currently being rented by the 2020 campaign and the RNC is currently unknown but reporter Dan Alexander‘s reporting suggests one of two things: an extreme amount of real estate is currently being occupied–or the Trump Tower business is heavily inflating real estate prices.

Per Forbes:

Leading up to the 2016 election, the president’s campaign paid an average of $2,700 in monthly Trump Tower rent for every person listed in campaign filings as receiving a “payroll” payment. The 2020 operation, by contrast, is shelling out an average of $6,300 in monthly rent for every such person.

And that’s not all.

There’s also the matter of a separate Trump-owned and New York State-based entity known as Trump Plaza LLC. This entity currently controls a retail space, a parking garage, and two medium-sized apartment buildings.

According to federal filings, the Trump 2020 campaign has paid Trump Plaza LLC at least $42,000 in rent since November 2017–but, according to Forbes, there doesn’t appear to be any campaign activity occurring on any such property owned by the entity.

For one, the retail space simply has nothing campaign-related going on whatsoever. Same goes for the parking garage–which appears to be sub-leased to a non-Trump company at present. As for the apartment buildings? It doesn’t look like there’s any campaign-related activity happening there either.

Again, Alexander’s report:

Forbes staked out the buildings, arriving at 7:15 a.m. one November morning and staying for the next 14 hours, with the exception of an 18-minute break around 3 p.m. By our count, seven people went in and out of the twin, four-story brownstones over the course of the day. One refused to talk, and six said they had not seen any sign of the campaign in the buildings. Nor had a man behind the front desk at Trump Plaza. “I’ve been here since the beginning,” he said. “If there was any kind of office rented out for campaigning or whatever, I would know about it.”

The report goes on to speculate that it’s “unlikely” Trump’s 2020 campaign would simply hand cash over to the president for “nothing in return,” and cites an unnamed Trump 2016 staffer who said that Trump Plaza apartments would occasionally serve as crash pads for Trump campaign staff. If that’s the case, of course, it would be a lot cheaper to occasionally rent hotel rooms, but, Alexander notes, “that would not guarantee a steady stream of rent for the president.”

Breaking down that revenue stream is also illustrative.

Since Trump Plaza LLC began charging Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign “rent” in November 2017,  such payments have averaged out to some $4,200 per month. Those amounts appear to be quite a bit above market value.

According to Forbes‘ recent perusal of real estate website StreetEasy, recent rents in the same brownstone apartments have gone for $3,700 and $3,850–substantially lower prices (especially in the fiercely competitive Manhattan real estate market) than what Trump’s campaign has been paying the president’s own business for alleged campaign use of those circumspect properties.

And even if it doesn’t seem like much of up-charge? According to Federal Election Commission rules, campaigns are supposed to pay “fair market value” for all goods and services they use–especially when they use and pay their own businesses.

https://lawandcrime.com/high-profile/trumps-2020-campaign-has-funneled-over-1-million-into-his-own-businesses-report-says/?fbclid=IwAR1pT-R7yuA2lCYpcpgd5SneZUudWKO0JnAnA9HGDt3U_PXeSVydEi_IQ7c

Dodgy or just the way you do things in the US?

I'll add the caveat that I know nothing about this site and what their agenda is.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Trump is about two things and two things only.  His wallet and his mushroom cock.  If you are not filling the first or emptying the other then he is not interested.  It also seems there are no legal or moral boundaries in his pursuit of satisfying these two things.  If the UK want a good trade deal with the USA, all we need to do is rent a floor in Trump Tower, maybe buy and apartment or two from him, invite him round for a burger or a well done steak and ketchup and then send in a couple of hookers.  It's so painfully obvious that he is for sales that it is a wonder that we have not adjusted our foreign policy to account for it.  It is all well and good pretending to having the moral high ground, but sooner or later you have to deal with the reality of it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's a question, Trump has either savaged or distanced himself from every major cooperating witness in the Mueller enquiry with one exception... Gen Flynn. So the one witness that has been cooperating the longest and as best we can ascertain has provided the most information thus far, has escaped the attention of Trump. Why? It's more than a little odd

Oh today is Mueller Friday, Cohen and Manafort both get dealt with today... could be interesting

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, bickster said:

Here's a question, Trump has either savaged or distanced himself from every major cooperating witness in the Mueller enquiry with one exception... Gen Flynn. So the one witness that has been cooperating the longest and as best we can ascertain has provided the most information thus far, has escaped the attention of Trump. Why? It's more than a little odd

Oh today is Mueller Friday, Cohen and Manafort both get dealt with today... could be interesting

Maybe he knows where the bodies are buried.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 06/12/2018 at 00:43, VILLAMARV said:

Funeral eh?

I thought the yanks had a penchant for having war criminals dumped at sea somewhere or streamed over Instaperitubeo having spikes shoved places you shouldn't keep your spikes.

You live and learn.

Should have played this at the funeral.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How to Kill a Presidential Scandal

Quote

A mysterious intrusion at the Democratic National Committee, an obstructive and besieged president, fears of an incipient constitutional crisis. It’s been easy to draw parallels between Watergate and the Trump-Russia scandal.

This isn’t entirely surprising. For decades, Watergate has been the touchstone whenever a scandal wafts through Washington. There’s been Chinagate and Plamegate, Bridgegate and Emailgate, and many others besides. But these comparisons have become particularly fervid lately. Historians of the Richard Nixon era and former Watergate prosecutors and protagonists are again cable news mainstays. Discussions about potential impeachment proceedings, should the Democrats retake the House in November, inevitably glance backward to the dark final days of the Nixon administration.

But the lessons of Watergate, through real, are overstated. And its persistence in our collective imagination reveals a particularly American tendency: our bedrock optimism, and—even in this era of cynicism—trust in the equalizing force of our political institutions. In Watergate, “the American system worked,” as Carl Bernstein said. Americans stared down an unprecedented modern threat to their democracy and won.

But this is an overly optimistic scenario. In truth, the other great political scandal of the last half-century—the complex set of crimes known as Iran-Contra—parallels President Donald Trump’s alleged coordination with Russia to skew the 2016 presidential election much more closely and offers us greater insight into how the scandal will likely unfold in the future. And if Iran-Contra’s lessons have been oddly forgotten, we might want to consider why. Because there, the perpetrators succeeded.

“The bottom line in Iran-Contra is: Cover-ups can work,” James Brosnahan, a prosecutor in the independent counsel’s Iran-Contra investigation, told me in a phone interview. “And that’s what we should be worried about here.”

Iran-Contra involved a feast of malfeasance. The initial crime was the Reagan administration’s illegal provision of military aid to anti-communist Nicaraguan guerillas known as the Contras. Separately, top administration officials ordered the illegal sale of anti-tank and surface-to-air missiles to Iran, in a series of (failed) exchanges aimed at the release of American hostages held by Iran-linked terrorist groups in Lebanon. Administration figures, led by National Security Council staffer Oliver North, then illegally used the proceeds from these Iran transactions to purchase more weapons for the Nicaraguan Contras. Finally, officials illegally falsified a presidential directive ordering the Iranian arms sales, and—in a cover-up of the preceding crimes—Cabinet and other top administration officials illegally obstructed investigators, lying to Congress and prosecutors in the process.

This was a scandal that could have taken down a presidency. When details of Iran-Contra exploded into public view in 1986, even President Ronald Reagan’s own chief of staff, as well as other Cabinet officials, feared that impeachment might be forthcoming.

In Iran-Contra, Reagan administration officials illegally conspired with multiple foreign regimes to alter U.S. foreign policy. In Iran-Contra, part of the scandal revolved around inappropriate—and often illegal—dealings with a hostile, expansionist foreign power, a destabilizing force in its near-abroad and a sponsor of terror. In Iran-Contra, powerful administration figures lied to federal investigators about their relations with foreign officials from this hostile country. Perhaps this rings a bell.

The parallels to Trump-Russia don’t end there. In Iran-Contra, the independent counsel investigating the scandal, Lawrence Walsh, was a deadly serious Brahmin lawyer with a sterling Republican pedigree; he nevertheless faced withering criticism from members of his own party, just as special counsel Robert Mueller has as he investigates Trump and his circle. Congressional Republicans attacked Walsh’s team for its purported partisan bias, clamoring for the resignation of key investigators, and  railed against the probe’s purported waste and corruption. They even demanded that an investigation be opened into Walsh’s (spurious) improprieties.

Walsh’s team was “a hotbed of Democratic activist lawyers,” thundered Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole, repeatedly, during the yearslong probe. In Walsh’s own account, Dole was a key figure in undermining public trust in the special counsel’s office and in thwarting its activities. Today, Trump cronies such as Reps. Devin Nunes and Jim Jordan play a similar role.

Iran-Contra investigators were nothing more than “highly paid assassins,” Dole said. It was “the biggest witch hunt since Salem,” read placards at the 1992 Republican National Convention—echoing Trump’s own favorite term for the Mueller investigation.The most powerful man in the world agreed. The whole thing was nothing but a “big witch hunt,” said then-President George H.W. Bush, who faced serious questions—and potential criminal liability, thought Walsh—regarding his own behavior during this time, when he was Reagan’s vice president.

Walsh, the Mueller of yesteryear, spent seven years fleshing out what was in essence a conspiracy to defraud the United States, only to see powerful political interests, whose fate sometimes depended on killing the investigation, bulldoze their way through a potential constitutional crisis.

Eleven people were convicted of Iran-Contra-related crimes, but all the principals walked away unscathed. The conviction of John Poindexter, a Reagan-era national security advisor, was overturned on appeal in 1991, as was that of Oliver North. (A judge ruled that congressional immunization of Poindexter and North in exchange for their testimony interfered with their later prosecution; Reagan himself encouraged both men to seek immunity, perhaps for this purpose.) A former CIA officer involved with the scandal had his case dismissed when Bush’s attorney general refused, in a highly unusual maneuver, to declassify material deemed necessary for the defense by the trial judge.

But the investigation’s real deathblow came on Christmas Eve, 1992, when Bush pardoned five officials connected to the affair, including Robert McFarlane, another Reagan-era national security advisor. Most shocking of all, however, was Bush’s pardon of Reagan-era Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, whose trial had not even begun yet. Walsh believed Weinberger had withheld key, incriminating notes to investigators for years that showed that administration officials—including, potentially, Reagan himself—knowingly broke the law, and thus forestalled impeachment hearings.

The prosecution of Weinberger presented “a true test of the applicability of the rule of law to the political upper crust,” wrote Walsh in Firewall, his book on Iran-Contra. There was, at the time of Bush’s action, “no precedent for granting a pardon to block the trial of an indicted person—let alone the trial of a president’s colleague or a trial at which the president might be called to testify.” But now there is.

Iran-Contra provides a gift to Trump officials—a normative, legal, and political precedent—for what the president himself has been telegraphing for months: that he will pardon his allies caught up in the Mueller probe.

And why wouldn’t he? There have been pitifully few consequences for individuals implicated in Iran-Contra. George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, and Reagan-era Attorney General Ed Meese are all venerated Republican elder statesmen. Dole was the most senior Republican official at the 2016 RNC in Cleveland. Meese—“an architect of the cover-up,” in Walsh’s estimation—was just feted at Trump’s Supreme Court nomination announcement regarding Brett Kavanaugh.

Elliott Abrams, who pleaded guilty to lying to Congress as part of the Iran-Contra probe, worked in the George W. Bush administration and was very nearly Trump’s deputy secretary of state. Poindexter got a job under George W. Bush with the Defense Department. In early 2017, McFarlane reportedly worked with Michael Flynn, then the national security advisor, on a shady proposal to finance nuclear power plants in the Middle East. Oliver North—who nearly rode his newfound Iran-Contra “celebrity” with the far-right into a Virginia Senate seat in 1994—is now the president of the National Rifle Association.

If the system fails during the Trump-Russia investigation, it certainly won’t be on Mueller’s shoulders alone, and Iran-Contra shows us why. The rot goes far deeper than Trump himself.

On the evening of George H.W. Bush’s 1992 Christmas Eve pardons, Walsh held a hastily convened press conference in his hometown of Oklahoma City. Bush’s action, Walsh said at time, “demonstrates that powerful people with powerful allies can commit serious crimes in high office—deliberately abusing the public trust—without consequences.”

As Walsh recalled, “near the end [of the press conference] one reporter asked, ‘Is the message here if you work for the government, you’re above the law?’”

“That,” he replied, “depends on the president you work for.”

Link taken from this tweet:

 

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Every day a fresh insult.

Quote

US President Donald Trump on Friday called former secretary of state Rex Tillerson “dumb as a rock” and “lazy as hell” a day after the former diplomat said he had warned the president against doing things that would violate the law.

He's entertaining, at least.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 07/12/2018 at 13:58, peterms said:

Should have played this at the funeral.

 

I'd have been tempted to go with a 'There's been a warcrime' (Captain Ska)/Warpigs/Masters of War' Mash-up myself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, VILLAMARV said:

It's almost as if nothing has changed even though people perceive it to be different now. ;)

That's still glib tosh.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, snowychap said:

How to Kill a Presidential Scandal

Link taken from this tweet:

 

There is a significant difference now though that the author here has not taken into account. Because of the nature of the crimes and the possibility that many different laws have been broken, the power of the presidential pardon has been mitigated by the use of state led prosecution.  All of the main players and certainly the Trump family have the possibility of significant jail time which cannot be influenced by a pardon. 

Iran Contra relied entirely on pardons, but this I can't help but feel that Mueller has accounted for this and has plans in place. Also Trump's broad criminality and to be blunt his stupidity makes it so much harder to get away with it. How can he and his cronies run an effective cover up when he can't get his story straight and keeps on crapping himself in public? Trump is breathtakingly dumb and he is attended to by the lowest quality of staff ever to have taken residence at the WH. The possibility of them strategizing a way out of this is vanishingly small.

On top of all this Trump is a coward. He will try and chuck everyone under the bus to save his own sorry rear. Who in their right mind is going to help a man like that when it starts to get really messy? The GOP will eventually drop him like a flaming turd and the contest will be on to race as far away from him as possible. The GOP are well practiced at hypocrisy and will to a man happily wax lyrical about how they were never a Trump supporter and have tried to bravely carry on under very testing times.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some thpughts here on possible limits or disadvantages of Trump trying to use the power of pardon.

Quote

Continued links between Donald Trump and his former campaign manager (and now convicted felon) Paul Manafort have raised the possibility that Manafort may be holding out for a presidential pardon. But can a president pardon anyone for anything, and can they even pardon themselves? Looking to history, David Wise writes that the president’s power to pardon could be challenged by the courts if it were found to have violated the president’s duty to uphold the Constitution. A self-pardon, he adds, if annulled would then amount to an admission of guilt which could then open up the president to prosecution.

The pardoning power that is described and defined in US Constitution is coming into public attention in a manner not seen since the immediate aftermath of Watergate and President Nixon’s resignation in 1974 and quite possibly since perhaps the question of how to deal with the leadership of the Confederacy after the conclusion of the US Civil War. The actions of the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, increasingly seem to suggest that he is focusing on possible conspiracy and cover up; a suspicion bolstered by several leading actors allegedly reneging on plea agreements that subject the parties to great jeopardy for which there is no other logical rationale than the expectation of a pardon from the 45th President.

The President’s frequent tweets about potential pardons for these individuals raise questions about obstruction of justice.  The President’s activity on social media may improperly influence potential witnesses in an ongoing criminal investigation.  Furthermore, the President’s apparent limited understanding of the Constitution and lack of appreciation of the system of checks and balances make the risk of a Constitutional crisis a very real possibility. Although the President and some of his supporters seem to believe that pardoning power is an absolute personal prerogative that view is far from the truth.

In describing the system of government created by the founders, John Adams famously said that it was a “government of laws and not of men.” The Declaration of Independence based its case of twenty-seven specific complaints against the rule by one man — George III. The framers of the Constitution quite meticulously devised a system that ensured limits on the exercise of power though an elaborate, conscious system of “checks and balances” based on Enlightenment political theory.

The Constitution nevertheless confers broad authority to the executive in granting pardons.  The Constitutional Convention rejected the proposal that presidential pardons be reviewable by Congress. The idea that presidential pardons should be reviewed by Congress has also been rejected by the Supreme Court in Ex Parte Garland (1866).  There is, however, no such restriction against judicial review of the breadth and scope of the pardoning power as established in early cases such as United States v, Wilson (1833) and Ex Parte Wells (1855). In another significant case, Ex Parte Grossman (1925), it was stated that this power was granted to the executive in “confidence that he will not abuse it.”

The pardoning power as described in the Constitution draws upon the experience of British legal history. One case, dealing with Thomas Osborne, Earl of Danby, is notable in that Parliament sought to impeach him for acts he undertook in colluding with Catholic France at the behest of the King Charles II, contrary to the will and interests of the nation.  Despite a pardon from the king, Danby served five years in the Tower of London and through the case the principle was established, a principle adopted by the Constitutional Convention, that pardons could not apply in the case of impeachment.

It is significant that the opinion in Ex Parte Grossman (mentioned above) was written by Chief Justice William Howard Taft who, himself, also served as President of the United States.  The presidential oath of office requires that the president act to “preserve, protect and defend” the Constitution and the grant of power to that office requires that the occupant must act to ensure that the laws are “faithfully executed.”

It follows, therefore, that a pardon that violates these clear Constitutional duties would be outside of the grant of presidential power and if not immediately void, would be voidable by the court. In Biddle v. Perovich (1927) Oliver Wendell Holmes stated that:

    A presidential pardon in our days is not a private act of grace from an individual who happens to possess power.  It is part of the Constitutional scheme.

In his later writings on the presidency William Howard Taft would describe the idea of pardon used to further the private interests of the president as a “curious notion.”   Taft, the only Supreme Court justice to have held the presidential reins of power, wrote in his study of the presidency that a pardon must serve a “public purpose.”

Along these same lines of reasoning a presidential self-pardon would be entirely abhorrent to the rule of law.  The framers did not labor though the debates around a system of checks and balances to have it rendered meaningless by such an attempted abuse of the pardoning power in a way that would create a government by one man or woman, not a government of laws. It is also an established principle that no one should be judge in their own case.

Pardons that run counter to the rule of law and which obstruct the public interest raise a further interesting question. In Burdick v. The United Stated States (1915) the Supreme Court held that the acceptance of a pardon carried with it an admission of guilt.  If a recipient of such a pardon that is declared void because it was contrary to the public interest and outside of the duty of faithful execution then it follows that such an individual would be in the worst of all worlds having made an admission of guilt for a pardon that is later declared invalid as to punishment.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, Keyblade said:

em9LSA.jpg

Has he been to Vietnam for a first time? Seem to recall him rejecting at least one invitation. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites