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CORRUPTION

Is Trump’s DC Hotel Acting as a Money-Launderer in Pay-For-Endorsements Scheme?

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One Event at Trump’s D.C. Hotel Includes a $10,000-Per-Person Photo With the President Opportunity

In the old days, if a politician wanted an endorsement from, say, the President of the United States, they would find a way to ask for it. Maybe a phone call, maybe a word with high-level officials in the lawmaker’s party – which the President heads.

In the Trump era, politicians wanting an endorsement from the President apparently have a new way to get it: book an event at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. That’s sure to get the President’s attention.

Trump endorsements follow in the wake of candidates spending money at his properties,” a report from Fast Company, shows eight GOP politicians or PACs associated with them have held events or spent money at Trump properties, usually his D.C. hotel – which were followed with endorsements from President Trump.

A PAC run by Vice President Mike Pence and GOP Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who is running to become the next Speaker of the House, has spent over $225,000 at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., including $7500 at Trump’s Bedminster golf course, which goes to the D.C. hotel.

Trump “signaled his support for Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) candidacy for Speaker of the House” at one of the events last month at Trump’s D.C. hotel.

“It raises the specter that the president is essentially enriching himself by virtue of his position,” Noah Bookbinder, the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) told Fast Company. “Because if you have other politicians who think they’re more likely to get the president’s support if they spend money at his hotels or his golf courses or his other businesses, they’re more likely to do that and the president makes more money.”

Fast Company notes that Rep. McCarthy’s main competition for Speaker of the House comes from Rep. Jim Jordan. Congressman Jordan is a big Trump supporter – but not financially. Jordan’s campaign has spent just $3000 at a Trump property.

Making it seem all the more possible that Trump properties are in effect acting as money-laundering agents in a pay-for-endorsements scheme, a White House deputy press secretary, the Trump Organization, and the Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C., “did not reply when asked if any employees ever told a campaign that patronizing a Trump business could put the candidate in President Trump’s good graces.”

It would seem like a question about the President’s ethics would garner some sort of response, certainly a denial. But reportedly, nothing.

Fast Company names these politicians: Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisc.); Reps. Tom Reed (R–NY), Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.), Lee Zeldin (R-NY), and Republican John James, a candidate for U.S. Senate in Michigan, as having received endorsements after spending money at a Trump property.

On Monday, James was forced to apologize after a Nazi swastika was found in footage of his campaign ad. He claims it was a mistake. Some Democratic strategists say that’s impossible.

On Tuesday, Trump tweeted out an endorsement for James.

Also on the list is Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY), whose PAC spent a mere $292 at Trump’s D.C. hotel.

But wait, there’s more.

Next week President Trump will headline a fundraiser at the Trump International Hotel in D.C. for New Jersey Republican assemblyman Jay Webber, who is running for Congress.

“The October 25 event seeking hard money contributions, includes a $20,000-per-person roundtable with Trump and a photo with the president for $10,000-per-person,” the New Jersey Globe reports today.

Trump tweeted out his “Full and Total Endorsement!” of Webber last month:

Image by Mike Maguire via Flickr and a CC license

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CORRUPTION

McCarthy’s Threat Over Jan. 6 Records ‘Meets the Elements’ of Obstruction of Justice: Legal Expert

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House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy violated ethics rules — and may have broken the law by obstructing justice — on Tuesday when he threatened telecommunications companies that comply with a Select Committee’s request to preserve records relevant to the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, according to CNN legal analyst Norman Eisen.

McCarthy warned the companies — including Apple, AT&T and Verizon — that if the GOP takes back the House in 2022, “a Republican majority will not forget.” He also claimed that complying with the Select Committee’s request would somehow violate federal law. But Eisen, who served as special counsel to the House Judiciary Committee during former president Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial, said bluntly Wednesday that “there is no law.”

“This is the equivalent of the proverbial gangster, walking in to a business and saying, ‘Gee, nice telecomm company you have here. It would be a shame if anything happened to it,'” Eisen said of McCarthy’s threat. “It’s the exact opposite, it’s Orwellian. If these telecomm companies fail to comply with the requirement to preserve these records, if they did what Kevin McCarthy wants and refused to turn over the records, that would be a violation of law. So this is absolutely unjustified by law, and it raises serious questions under the House ethics rules and other laws for Kevin McCarthy himself.”

Asked whether McCarthy’s threat constitutes obstruction of justice, Eisen responded: “It meets the elements of obstruction. It’s a threat. It’s an attempt to stop them through that threat, from turning over documents. It’s self-motivated, it’s corrupt, and McCarthy is worried about what may be in those records on him, and on members of his caucus. It’s always a challenge when you have legislative activity — and note that he did this on his official Twitter account — you have protection under the Constitution for legislators, the speech and debate clause, there will be a debate about that.

“The House Ethics Rules .. prohibit any behavior that brings discredit on the House,” Eisen added. “What could be more discreditable than threatening companies that if they comply with the law, they’ll be punished, when McCarthy has the ability to do that? So I think there’s a serious ethics issue, and then legal issues potentially that need to be explored as well.”

Eisen added there is “no question” that McCarthy had a “personal motivation” in issuing the threat.

“We know that his behavior is going to be called into question, and the committee is going to probe his exchanges with the president,” Eisen said. “We know that members of his caucus, like Matt Gaetz, Mo Brooks, Marjorie Taylor Greene, are also in the crosshairs here, and possibly many others. And it’s not just Jan. 6. The committee correctly understands that President Trump’s pattern of incitement and that of his enablers went back for months in illegitimately attacking an unquestioned electoral result and whipping people into a frenzy. So there could be some very embarrassing revelations. Remember that many members of the Republican caucus, with no basis at all, voted against certifying the election results.”

 

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CORRUPTION

Former US Attorney Reveals He Resigned Rather Than Be Fired for Not Supporting Trump Voter Fraud Lies

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The former U.S. Attorney in Atlanta revealed Wednesday he resigned just two weeks before President Donald Trump would leave office, because top DOJ officials told him Trump would fire him for refusing to say he had found widespread voter fraud in Georgia.

Byung Pak had been the U.S. Attorney since mid 2017, and his surprising resignation on January 4 raised eyebrows, and has since initiated a DOJ inspector general investigation into the cause of his sudden departure.

“Mr. Pak, who provided more than three hours of closed-door testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee,” The New York Times reported Wednesday afternoon, “testified that top department officials had made clear that Mr. Trump intended to fire him over his refusal to say that the results in Georgia had been undermined by voter fraud, the person said. Resigning would pre-empt a public dismissal.”

UPDATE –
‘Mounting Evidence of Trump’s Criminal Intent’: Experts Say Latest Scandal Leaves DOJ ‘No Choice’ but to Indict

The Times adds that Pak “also described work done by state officials and the F.B.I. to vet Mr. Trump’s claims of voter fraud, and said they had not found evidence to support those allegations.”

This is a breaking news and developing story. 

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CORRUPTION

Leaked Kremlin Documents Reveal Putin Holds Blackmail Leverage Over Trump – and That’s Why Russia Backed Him

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A leaked document appears to confirm rumors that the Kremlin holds blackmail leverage over former president Donald Trump.

Russian president Vladimir Putin personally authorized a secret spy agency back “mentally unstable” Trump for U.S. president during a Jan. 22, 2016, closed session of that country’s national security council, according to what appears to be leaked Kremlin documents obtained by The Guardian.

“It is acutely necessary to use all possible force to facilitate his [Trump’s] election to the post of U.S. president,” the paper says.

The documents include a brief psychological assessment of Trump as “impulsive, mentally unstable and unbalanced individual who suffers from an inferiority complex,” and also refer to “certain events” that happened during his previous trips to Moscow.

More details about those events are listed in an appendix to that document, but that portion of the papers remains undisclosed.

Those present agreed that Trump in the White House would help Russia create “social turmoil” in the U.S. and weaken the American presidency, two of Moscow’s top strategic objectives.

A decree appearing to bear Putin’s signature authorized Russia’s three spy agencies to work toward getting Trump elected, as the former reality TV star and celebrity businessman was emerging as the Republican Party’s presidential frontrunner.

 

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