Former Director of the United States Office of Government Ethics Walter Shaub is going ballistic over news from The New York Times that the Trump re-election campaign has set up a “war room” inside a taxpayer-funded federal government office building. The move could possibly be a violation of federal law.
Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman broke the news on Election Day.
In a rare response, Shaub exploded on Twitter, attacking the head of the United States Office of Special Counsel, Henry Kerner, who is supposed to be investigating and prosecuting violations of federal law that occur inside the federal government.
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) November 3, 2020
The Eisenhower Executive Office Building is close to the White House. It’s not known where in the EEOB the “war room” has been set up. (Photo of Trump in EEOB’s Indian Treaty Room.)
Economist David Rothschild weighs in:
So. Fucking. Illegal. Make the “Hatch Act of 1939, An Act to Prevent Pernicious Political Activities” Great Again. https://t.co/22KSkqmx1q
— David Rothschild (@DavMicRot) November 3, 2020
Executive Director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW):
The misuse of government resources to support the President’s re-election, potentially in violation of the law, continues even into Election Day. https://t.co/XGA6aBNAOE
— Noah Bookbinder (@NoahBookbinder) November 3, 2020
Former Senior Advisor to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and former Special Assistant to President Barack Obama:
I worked in this building for a good part of my adult life. If I had been caught doing this I would have been fired on the spot, because it would have been blatantly illegal, as I’d been trained on every six months by White House Counsel. https://t.co/vMM7yrHm3M
— Jesse Lee (@JesseCharlesLee) November 3, 2020
PrioritiesUSA Senior Strategist and Communications Director:
Ah yes, the taxpayer funded campaign war room https://t.co/P1lTsecKeH
— Josh Schwerin (@JoshSchwerin) November 3, 2020
Popular Information founder:
This seems illegal. https://t.co/kT9ZVfLfcP
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) November 3, 2020
UPDATE: 3:22 PM ET –
Shaub has just responded to Haberman’s follow up, in which she reports the ethics office within the White House counsel’s office allegedly approved the arrangement.
Shaub isn’t having it, calling their opinion “meaningless.”
The ethics office is staffed by White House attorneys in the WH Counsel, which wrote a letter to OSC, the Hatch Act agency, in 2019 insisting that the Hatch Act didn't apply to presidential appointees and defending Kellyanne Conway. Their opinion is meaningless. https://t.co/aLkX3qtqUt
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) November 3, 2020
Image: The Indian Treaty Room in the East Wing of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building (EEOB) of the White House. Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian via Flickr
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Watchdog Reports Trump ‘Credibly Accused’ of ‘Staggering’ List of 55 Criminal Offenses – Urges DOJ to Prosecute
A nonpartisan federal government watchdog has updated its list of “uncharged” criminal offenses it says Donald Trump stands “credibly accused” of committing, and is urging the Dept. of Justice to prosecute them, warning that “the rule of law is not self-enforcing.”
“As of September 2022, Donald Trump has been credibly accused of committing at least 55 criminal offenses since he launched his campaign for president in 2015,” reports Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, better known as CREW. “That total only reflects allegations relating to his time in or running for office and omits, for instance, Trump’s criminal exposure for fraudulent business dealings.”
The lengthy list includes numerous allegations of campaign finance crimes and coverup, destruction of presidential records, obstruction of the Russia and Special Counsel Investigations, attempts to steal the 2020 election, false public financial disclosure reports, attempts to get Ukraine to interfere in 2020 election, profiting off of post-election lies, and unlawful post-presidency possession of government records.
CREW says its update includes “seven offenses we have added since we published the first version of this table in March 2022,” including “three criminal offenses relating to the investigation of election fraud and related crimes in Fulton County, Georgia; one offense relating to potential wire fraud stemming from fraudulent representations made to solicit PAC contributions after the 2020 election; and three offenses relating to Trump’s unlawful possession of government records at Mar-a-Lago after leaving office.”
“The updated tracker likely understates Trump’s legal exposure because the high volume of sensitive records discovered at Mar-A-Lago suggests that he could be indicted for multiple counts of willfully retaining without authorization government records containing national defense information, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 793(e)), even though it is only listed once on CREW’s tracker.”
CREW is not the only one keeping track of Trump’s misdeeds, criminal civil, or ethical.
McSweeney’s published a list of 1056 “atrocities,” it calls “horrors,” titled: “A Catalog of Trump’s Worst Cruelties, Collusions, Corruptions, and Crimes.” It stopped updating on Jan. 20, 2021.
Civil liberties and national security journalist Marcy Wheeler on Wednesday published her “Trump Document Theft Resources,” a timeline of events surrounding the former president’s unlawful retention and refusal to return classified documents, complete with numerous links.
For those who’ve missed it: I have put together a post with links to all MY posts on the Trump Espionage case, as well as the public docs, statutes, and some other key reports. Not entirely up-to-date and a work in progress, though. https://t.co/1xpy6I5ine
— emptywheel (@emptywheel) September 28, 2022
Trump Mocked for ‘Sidelining’ His New $3 Million Attorney: ‘Must Have Given Him Actual Legal Advice’
It’s no secret Donald Trump has been virtually unable to hire highly-respected attorneys to defend him in the many legal and civil cases he is facing for a variety of alleged crimes and misdeeds, including his actions surrounding fraudulent efforts to overturn a free and fair election and the January 6 insurrection, his retention and refusal to return hundreds of classified documents, and his alleged real estate and tax fraud cases, and more.
Trump did manage to hire what many consider a qualified and respected attorney for his legal issues surrounding his classified documents case.
Chris Kise, the former solicitor general for Florida, agreed to work for Trump but only if he was paid up front.
Thanks to Trump’s massive fundraising operation Kise is being paid millions, effectively by Trump supporters.
Kise is also no longer leading the case.
CNN reports Kise “has been sidelined from the Mar-a-Lago documents investigation less than a month after he was brought on to represent Trump in the matter, two sources familiar with the move tell CNN.”
“Kise’s hiring came with an unusual price tag of $3 million, paid for by Trump’s outside spending arm. The retainer fee, paid upfront, raised eyebrows among other lawyers on Trump’s team, given the former President has a developed a reputation for not paying his legal fees.”
Legal experts are mocking Trump for sidelining his top attorney.
“Obviously this means the lawyer must have given Trump actual legal advice,” teased George Conway.
“Which is just RUDE,” replied attorney Ken White.
MSNBC/NBC News legal analyst and anchor Katie Phang asked, “So Kise is a $3 million dollar benchwarmer?”
“Trump is already throwing over Chris Kise after signing a $3M retainer and convincing him to leave Foley & Lardner? That seems … not smart,” says Liz Dye, who writes about law and politics. “Chaos monkey gonna chaos monkey, I guess.”
Dan Berman, CNN Politics managing editor for legal, immigration, and the Supreme Court serves up the perfect headline: “Trump’s 3 Million Dollar Man is sidelined already.”
LA Times columnist Harry Litman, a frequent guest on MSNBC and a former U.S. Attorney offered perhaps the most amusing response:
“The one credible lawyer that Trump has hired in years, Chris Kise, paying $3M up front, now has been demoted and is no longer leading the MAL defense. Must be Trump’s payback for the fix he’s now in w/ Judge Dearie. He thinks he’s Goldfinger/Dr.No but he’s really Austin Powers.”
Trump Acknowledges Past Business Interactions With the Mob in New Book
In an upcoming book from New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, former President Donald Trump acknowledged past business interactions with organized crime.
CNN reports that Haberman’s new book, titled “Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America,” offers new details about Trump’s past business practices, which came into the public spotlight earlier this week when New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a civil lawsuit alleging the former president and three of his adult children engaged in years of systemic fraud.
One particularly noteworthy detail involves Trump’s admission of having to deal with organized crime figures as part of the price of doing business as a real estate developer in New York.
“Well, anybody that built in New York City, whether you dealt with them indirectly, or didn’t even know they existed, they did exist,” Trump said. “Well, you dealt, you had contractors and you don’t know if they were mob or controlled or maybe not controlled, but I will tell you getting bids sometimes is very tough. You’d get one bid, it’d be a high end disappointing bid. And then there was nobody else to bid.”
Haberman also reports that Trump was directly involved in the drafting of a misleading earnings statement that earned a rebuke from the Securities and Exchange Commission, despite the fact that his attorneys said at the time that Trump had no involvement in the statement.
“Haberman reports that a former company consultant, Alan Marcus, said that Trump personally marked up a draft of the release in question and made existing projections rosier,” CNN writes. “Trump denied that account, according to Haberman.”
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