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CORRUPTION

Lev Parnas Details ‘Intimate’ Cannabis Industry Dinner With Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump

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In an extensive interview with the Daily Beast, Lev Parnas — the associate of Rudy Giuliani who is at the center of more allegations of corruption against Donald Trump — revealed details of a meeting he had with Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner that the White House has tried to dismiss.

Speaking with the Beast’s Betsy Swan, Parnas stated that we was a participant at a private dinner at the Trump Hotel, with Swan writing, “In October 2018, he attended a dinner in a private suite at Trump Hotel hosted by the pro-Trump super PAC America First Action. The dinner, with around a dozen people, connected Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump with leaders in the cannabis industry. Parnas said he was invited because he “was a Trump loyalist,” and because the super PAC’s Director of Development Joey Ahearn knew he was pro-cannabis.”

According to Parnas, cannabis entrepreneurs were hoping to influence Kushner in the hope he could influence the White House’s stance on weed.

“They wanted Jared to be more involved, maybe help push the agenda with the president because they felt that that was something he needed to be more lenient on,” Parnas explained.

As for a picture taken with the couple that went viral, Parnas sais the White House was lying about the circumstances under which is was taken.

“The White House has claimed that a picture of Parnas with Kushner and Ivanka Trump was ‘taken at an event in a photo line.’” the report states. “Parnas, however, said it was taken at the intimate dinner with cannabis industry insiders. Two sources with knowledge of the dinner confirmed that it happened in October 2018 and that Parnas attended. The decor in the background of the picture–as Zack Everson, author of a newsletter on Trump properties noted–indicates the photo was taken in the pricey Trump Hotel suite where the dinner was hosted.”

You can read more here.

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CORRUPTION

Head of Office Managing Security Clearances ‘Abruptly Resigns’ After Trump Rehires Fired Body Man as Top WH Official: Report

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The director of the U.S. Government’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which is in charge of human resources policy and the management of security clearances, resigned abruptly on Tuesday after just six months on the job.

Dale Cabaniss quit because of “poor treatment from the 29-year-old head of the Presidential Personnel Office, John McEntee (photo), and a powerful appointee at OPM, Paul Dans, the new White House liaison and senior adviser to the director of OPM,” Politico reports.

McEntee had been President Donald Trump’s body man. He was fired by then-White House Chief of Staff John Kelly after a reported gambling issue made his security clearance untenable.

Business Insider reported last month that McEntee “was fired in 2018 amid an investigation into allegations of financial crimes,” and “was also the focus of a financial-crimes investigation by the Department of Homeland Security.”

Politico adds that “McEntee’s return to the White House has roiled the administration with some officials criticizing the former Trump campaign staffer for what they see as an effort to stock the administration with his friends, including at least three college seniors.”

After Kelly’s ouster President Trump rehired McEntee during a recent wave of loyalty hiring that included members of his original team who Trump feels most comfortable around. Among those rehires was Hope Hicks, who resigned the day after she admitted to Special Counsel Robert Mueller that she has lied for Trump.

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CORRUPTION

Trump’s Company Paid Bribes to Lower Property Tax Bills: Report

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Real estate mogul Donald Trump’s firm, The Trump Organization, paid bribes through middlemen to New York City tax assessors to lower its property tax bills, according to a damning report by ProPublica.

Trump’s company paid the bribes in exchange for lowered tax bills “for several Manhattan buildings in the 1980s and 1990s, according to five former tax assessors and city employees as well as a former Trump Organization employee.”

Among those buildings is 40 Wall Street, pictured above.

Two of the five former city employees admitted they personally took the bribes. The other three said they knew about the bribes.

“The city employees were among 18 indicted in 2002 for taking bribes in exchange for lowering the valuations of properties, which in turn reduced the taxes owed for the buildings. All of the 18 eventually pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Manhattan except for one, who died before his case was resolved.”

The moment that corrupt assessors told their co-conspirators that the Trump Organization had agreed to pay bribes was memorable, said Frank Valvo, a former city assessor who served a year and a half in prison for his role in the scheme.

The excitement was palpable in the office, Valvo recalled, as one of the assessors broached the news. “He says, ‘We got Trump!’” Valvo recalled. “Wow. Holy Smokes.”

ProPublica notes that the Trump organization denies bribes were paid, and adds that there is no evidence that Donald Trump knew about them.

Trump Organization chief legal officer Alan Garten wrote in a statement: “If anything, the Trump Organization was a victim of the scandal.”

Read the full report here.

Image by Ken Lund via Flickr and a CC license

 

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CORRUPTION

Jared Kushner Wrestles Control of Trump Pardon Process Away From Bill Barr’s DOJ: Report

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President Donald Trump has taken the pardon process away from the Justice Department and given more direct control to son-in-law Jared Kushner and former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi.

The president granted clemency Tuesday to a group of 11 political allies, Fox News regulars and others, and he has put together an informal task force overseen by Kushner to recommend and vet new candidates, reported the Washington Post.

The group has been meeting since late last year, after Kushner recommended taking away control of the process away from the Department of Justice.

One official told the newspaper that Trump was unconcerned about criticism of this week’s pardon spree, and said more pardons would be coming before November’s election.

“He likes doing them,” the official said.

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