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CORRUPTION

Trump Appears to Admit He is Still Running His Real Estate and Resort Empire – Says Washington Ran Businesses Too

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President Donald Trump repeatedly appeared to admit he is still running his real estate and resort businesses, despite promising the American people he was  “turning over complete and total control to my sons.”

In heated remarks at a noon cabinet meeting President Trump compared himself to President George Washington, saying the nation’s first president also ran a business while serving in the nation’s highest office.

“I’m very good at real estate,” Trump also said, according to pool reporters, suggesting he is still involved in The Trump Organization.

“I own a property in Florida,” Trump continued, speaking about the Doral in Miami, where he had decided (and ultimately reversed) to host the G-7. “I would have given it for nothing.”

That statement suggests he is still making decisions for The Trump Organization.

“The Democrats went crazy, even though I would have done it free,” the president continued, again suggesting he has not given up control of his business empire.

“I don’t need promotion. I don’t need promotion,” he said, again suggesting he is being made aware of the state of his businesses.

He also said he is losing money and that being president is costing him between $2 billon and $5 billion annually, figures he would not know if he had walled himself off from his businesses as he told the American people he would.

Saturday night, in announcing he would reverse his widely-condemned decision to host the 2020 G-7 at the Doral, Trump took to Twitter and said: “I announced that I would be willing to do it at NO PROFIT or, if legally permissible, at ZERO COST to the USA. But, as usual, the Hostile Media & their Democrat Partners went CRAZY!”

Again, his statement strongly suggests he is still making decisions for The Trump Organization.

On Sunday White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney revealed President Trump “still considers himself to be in the hospitality business.”

Journalist E.J. Dionne said that “is confessing that Trump has never cut himself off from his businesses, even though Trump claims he has.”

Washington reportedly did own businesses while president. The rules were not as strict in 1789, but that doesn’t make Washington perfect, as some have noted too.

 

Image of George Washington via Wikimedia

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CORRUPTION

Senate Investigating IRS Whistleblower’s Charge a Political Appointee Meddled With Audit of Trump or Pence Tax Returns

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U.S. Senate investigators are probing a whistleblower’s complaint charging that a political appointee may have “meddled” with an IRS audit of either President Donald Trump’s or Vice President Mike Pence’s taxes, or the returns of both.

Of note is the investigation is bipartisan, and is moving forward, The Washington Post reports.

Investigators are on the staffs of both Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Vice Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR).

Staffers met with the whistleblower last month and follow up interviews are being scheduled.

The whistleblower is identified only as a “career IRS official.”

Last month the whistleblower reportedly said they were “told at least one Treasury Department political appointee attempted to improperly interfere with the annual audit.”

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CORRUPTION

RNC Chair Asked Nominee for $500,000 in Possible Pay-to-Play Scheme for Ambassadorship: Report

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Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel appears to be enmeshed in an possible pay-to-play scheme, asking a nominee for $500,000 after his ambassadorship nomination ran into trouble.

When the confirmation for President Donald Trump’s ambassador to the Bahamas stalled in the Senate, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Rona McDaniel dashed off an email to the nominee, San Diego billionaire Doug Manchester.

“Would you consider putting together $500,000 worth of contributions from your family to ensure we hit our ambitious fundraising goal?” McDaniel wrote in an email, according to CBS News, which reports the email came “as his confirmation in the Senate hung in the balance.”

Manchester, who had donated $1 million to Trump’s inauguration fund, replied quickly.

“As you know I am not supposed to do any, but my wife is sending a contribution for $100,000,” he wrote. “Assuming I get voted out of the [Foreign Relations Committee] on Wednesday to the floor we need you to have the majority leader bring it to a majority vote … Once confirmed, I our [sic] family will respond!”

Related: Payday Lender Accidentally Exposes Corrupt Pay-to-Play Scheme Between RNC and White House

CBS spoke with Manchester, telling him, “You know what this looks like.”

“Well — it looks like it to you. But it’s not the facts,” Manchester responded. “My wife gave out of separate funds and she in fact loves Donald Trump.”

Manchester told CBS it’s just “part of politics.”

“You give and you give and you give and you give some more and more and more,” he said.

He ultimately was forced to withdraw.

This is not the first ambassador nominee who has given huge sums to the RNC or to team Trump. Gordon Sondland, who is at the center of the Ukraine scandal, became Trump’s ambassador to the European Union despite having no experience for the role. He also gave Trump’s inauguration committee $1 million. The New Republic reports many of Trump’s ambassadors are high-dollar donors.

Among them, Kelly Knight Craft, who is now the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, “donated $1 million alongside her husband.”

 

 

 

 

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CORRUPTION

Giuliani Henchman Arrested Carrying Suspicious Items Connected to Trump’s Extortion Scheme in Ukraine

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One of Rudy Giuliani’s henchman was carrying items when he was arrested that raise questions about what he was planning as he fled the country.

Lev Parnas, who was arrested with associate Igor Fruman last month on campaign finance violations, was carrying the business card of a Ukrainian prosecutor who had previously met with Giuliani to discuss the conspiracy theories that set in motion the actions now under investigation in the impeachment inquiry, reported The Daily Beast.

Parnas and Fruman were arrested by plainclothes officers last month as they were boarding a jet to Frankfurt on one-way tickets, just hours after having lunch with Giuliani at the Trump International Hotel.

The pair, who investigators say were eventually headed to Vienna, had been enjoying free drinks and food in an airport lounge before their arrest.

Federal agents searched their belongings, and The Daily Beast learned that Parnas was carrying the business card of anti-corruption prosecutor Nazar Kholodnytsky, among 66 items catalogued by FBI agents after the arrest.

It’s not clear how Parnas obtained the card for Kholodnytsky, who had met months earlier with Giuliani in Paris to discuss Joe Biden and his son Hunter and dubious 2016 election interference claims involving Ukraine.

Parnas was also reportedly carrying Trump straws sold on the president’s campaign website, along with large amounts of cash.

Kholodnytsky was caught on a recording earlier this year trying to influence false testimony and tipping off targets to impending raids, although he claims the evidence was taken out of context.

Marie Yovanovitch — who was forced out as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine following a smear campaign by Giuliani, Parnas and Fruman — called for Kholodnytsky’s removal.

Yovanovitch, who has told lawmakers she felt threatened by President Donald Trump and his associates, will testify Friday in the second public impeachment hearing.

 

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