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CORRUPTION

Pence Knew About and Actually Participated in Trump’s Apparent Ukraine Extortion Plot: Report

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Vice President Mike Pence is seemingly complicit in President Donald Trump’s apparent extortion and bribery plot, based on the transcript of a press conference the VP held in Poland on September 2. At issue is a whistleblower’s complaint that the White House refuses to release. It is believed it says Trump repeatedly threatened to withhold military aid from Ukraine until, or in exchange for, that country digging up and handing over dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. There is no evidence any dirt was found or even exists.

Talking Points memo editor Josh Marshall writes Monday that “the key thing about this latest and most egregious Trump scandal is that his senior team was clearly in on it, aware of it, participated in it. One key person here is Vice President Mike Pence.”

Marshall published the official White House transcript of that press conference with President Duda of Poland. It’s clear Pence not only knew about the scheme but participated in it, based on his own admissions.

A few excerpts of Pence’s remarks and responses (bolding is Marshall’s):

Pence says he and Ukraine President Zelensky “discussed America’s support for Ukraine and the upcoming decision the President will make on the latest tranche of financial support in great detail.

Remember, Trump held back $250 million in military aid to Ukraine, then released it literally one day after the House sent him a letter announcing it was launching an investigation into the withholding of that aid.

But as President Trump had me make clear, we have great concerns about issues of corruption.”

Trump has never before, as far as NCRM could find, mentioned concerns about corruption in any other country or ever before this scandal was revealed.

“I mean, to invest additional taxpayer in Ukraine, the President wants to be assured that those resources are truly making their way to the kind of investments that will contribute to security and stability in Ukraine. And that’s an expectation the American people have and the President has expressed very clearly.”

So Pence freely admits what Trump admitted, and what Giuliani admitted.

Pence moments later admits that he told Ukraine President Zelensky “that I would carry back to President Trump the progress that he and his administration in Ukraine are making on dealing with corruption in their country.”

Marshall concludes, “in the context of what we know was happening and especially the call we know took place a month earlier, these repeated references to progress on corruption and holding up military aid until Zelensky acted could scarcely be more clear.”

 

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CORRUPTION

Matt Gaetz Begged Donald Trump for a ‘Blanket Pardon’ Before He Left Office: NYTimes

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Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) was among those who asked for a pardon from President Donald Trump before he left office, the New York Times reported.

While Gaetz spoke to Fox News saying that Trump should pardon anyone and everyone, now it has been revealed why he was so excited about that.

A pardon requires that one outline the crimes that they were guilty of. According to the Times, however, Gaetz wanted a preemptive pardon for himself and “unidentified congressional allies for any crimes they may have committed, according to two people told of the discussions.”

At the time that Gaetz was calling for the pardons, and asking for his own pardon, the Justice Department had started questioning Gaetz’s associates about whether he had a sexual relationship with an underage girl that also violated sex trafficking laws.

“It was unclear whether Mr. Gaetz or the White House knew at the time about the inquiry, or who else he sought pardons for. Mr. Gaetz did not tell White House aides that he was under investigation for potential sex trafficking violations when he made the request. But top White House lawyers and officials viewed the request for a pre-emptive pardon as a nonstarter that would set a bad precedent,” the Times said, quoting the people familiar said.

Aides told Trump about the request, but it’s unknown if Gaetz reached out to Trump personally.

 

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CORRUPTION

Controversial High-Level Trump Official Banned From Federal Employment for 4 Years After Hatch Violation: Report

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A highly-controversial now-former Trump political appointee who worked at the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development has been fined $1000 and is banned from federal employment for four years, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel announced Tuesday.

Lynne Patton, who was hired by the Trump administration into a high-level role at HUD after being the wedding planner for Eric Trump and working at the Eric Trump Foundation, admitted to violating the Hatch Act.

“As part of the agreement Patton admitted to violating the Hatch Act by using her official position to produce a video about housing conditions for the Republican National Convention,” an OSC statement (below) reads. “As a HUD employee Patton received permission in early 2019 to temporarily live in and observe living conditions in the New York City Housing Authority. During her approximately one month stay Patton met residents and later leveraged one of those relationships to recruit participants to film a video that would air at the the RNC. Patton wanted NYCHA residents to appear in the video to explain how their standard of living had improved under the Trump administration.”

A 2016 Associated Press article on the lack of minority senior executives “in Trump’s empire” described Patton as “Eric Trump’s longtime personal assistant.”

“After the AP questioned the campaign’s citation of her as a Trump Organization executive, her title on the Eric Trump Foundation’s website and her profile on the LinkedIn service was changed to ‘vice president of the Eric Trump Foundation.’ That position did not appear on the foundation’s most recent tax filing for 2014, which said Patton was one of 16 unpaid directors who devote approximately one hour per week to the charity.”

Tenants were outraged at being used in the RNC video, according to this local NYC news report:

 

Related: Calls Grow for Trump Official to Resign After Calling Reporter April Ryan ‘Miss Piggy’

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CORRUPTION

‘60 Minutes’ Nails Ron DeSantis in Vaccine ‘Pay to Play’ — With Program Allowing the Rich to Fly in for Shots

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Last week, an angry Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) snapped at a CBS reporter asking about evidence showing a kind of “pay to play” scandal that favored the wealthy to get COVID-19 vaccinations first.

Community health officials have said that the Florida vaccine roll-out favors the rich over the rest of Florida residents, the report said.

“Florida’s rollout started pretty typically,” the report said. “The first doses were given to healthcare workers and nursing home residents in early December. But then, a few weeks later, Gov. Ron DeSantis, breaking from C.D.C. guidelines, announced he would not vaccinate teachers and essential workers next, but instead put ‘seniors first,’ making anyone 65 or over eligible for the vaccine, the first in the country to do that. DeSantis said seniors were at highest risk.”

Community health officials have said that the Florida vaccine roll-out favors the rich over the rest of Florida residents, the report said.

“Florida’s rollout started pretty typically,” the report said. “The first doses were given to healthcare workers and nursing home residents in early December. But then, a few weeks later, Gov. Ron DeSantis, breaking from C.D.C. guidelines, announced he would not vaccinate teachers and essential workers next, but instead put ‘seniors first,’ making anyone 65 or over eligible for the vaccine, the first in the country to do that. DeSantis said seniors were at highest risk.”

It caused a run on the vaccine, websites crashed and it was extremely difficult.

“Almost immediately the line-jumping started,” said the report.

West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James was trying to get vaccines for the town’s firefighters, but he later learned that some wealthy board members of a nursing home who were able to be vaccinated.

“Then, the private jets started arriving,” said the report. “Hollywood moguls, New York socialites and tourists from overseas were getting vaccinated in Florida, posting on social media and sparking outrage. Early on, there were no residency requirements to get vaccinated in the state.”

Mayor James said that there were simply no rules and everyone was taking advantage of it.

See the full report from CBS News:

 

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

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