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The Case Against the President: Emoluments, Trump's Finances, Taxes & Foundation

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Kushner, a senior White House adviser, was a close ally of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman - a key architect of a regional boycott against Qatar, which Riyadh accuses of sponsoring terrorism. Doha denies the charge.

Brookfield, a global property investor in which the Qatari government has placed investments, struck a deal last year that rescued the Kushner Companies’ 666 Fifth Avenue tower in Manhattan from financial straits.

The bailout, in which Doha played no part and first learned about in the media, has prompted a rethink of how the gas-rich kingdom invests money abroad via its giant sovereign wealth fund, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

The country has decided that the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) will aim to avoid putting money in funds or other investment vehicles it does not have full control over, according to the sources, who are familiar with the QIA’s strategy.

“Qatar started looking into how its name got involved into the deal and found out it was because of a fund it co-owned,” said one of the sources. “So QIA ultimately triggered a strategy revamp.”

 

- Reuters.

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Costa Ricans bought fake documents to work at Donald Trump’s golf club

Most were from Pérez Zeledón, arrived on tourist visas and were put in touch by acquaintances; at the beginning, they got paid a fifth of what a worker from the U.S. would earn.

"There were about 30 Ticos (Costa Ricans), and after that, it was Guatemalans, Hondurans ... The course is really big, I’d say it’s about from here to my house. You couldn’t walk it on foot, that course is incredibly big, I understand it’s one of the best golf courses in the United States. "

That’s how Franklin Mora, a resident of Cajón de Pérez Zeledón, Costa Rica, describes where he worked without legal status for a company owned by the now president of the United States, Donald Trump, who has focused his policies against illegal immigration and even declared a national emergency to build a wall on the border with Mexico.

The Trump National Golf Club, one of Trump's most exclusive golf courses, was built in large part by Costa Ricans in Bedminster, New Jersey, one of the wealthiest towns in Somerset County.

Franklin Mora worked there in 2002, when the course was starting out.

To work there, the Ticos bought false documents, including Social Security numbers, which were the only requirements by Trump's company before hiring and paying them.

That’s how Franklin Mora remembers it, as well as Mariano Quesada and Abel Mora, also neighbors of Cajón de Pérez Zeledón. Víctor Hugo Camacho, a neighbor of Aserrí, says the same. The four have family ties with each other.

Everyone says that they bought the document through acquaintances and contacts in the ‘Tico district’ of Bound Brook, New Jersey, about 40 minutes from the golf course.

"A false social. That costs about $100," said Franklin. Víctor Hugo, meanwhile, says: "I knew of some who charged them up to $300 or $400. It cost me $125, more or less."

"That was for a fake document, that you got right there in Bound Brook. What I had was a social (security number). It was like a little card, that I left there," continues Franklin Mora.

At different times during the last 17 years, Franklin, Abel, Mariano, Allan, Victor Hugo, and Risley, all Costa Ricans, and almost all from Cajón or with roots there, were helping each other make it to the U.S. in order to work at Trump’s property.

Arriving in the United States was easy. They bought plane tickets to Newark, New Jersey, entered on their tourist visa and, once there, they got to work.

Paid less with fake social security

Franklin Mora says they were paid between $8 and $10 per hour, “before taxes.” He remembers that the deductions were linked to their social security number, even though the number was fake. That means wages were deducted for benefits the workers would never get.

"We would go in at 6 in the morning and go out at 9 in the evening," says Franklin, who is now 46 years old. Without experience as a tractor operator, he worked 14 or 15 hours a day to build what is now considered one of the 10 best golf courses in the United States, as Trump himself advertises on the club's website.

The Trump National Golf Club, where a large group of Costa Ricans worked, is in the town of Bedminster, in Somerset County, New Jersey. Many of the exclusive club’s employees came from Santa Teresa de Cajón, a town in the mountains 30 minutes from Pérez Zeledón. Map: William Sánchez.

Fired after press reports

One by one, the Costa Ricans started returning back home, but they all still have relatives left in the United States. Franklin has a brother with legal residence, which allowed him to start his own landscaping company.

Víctor Hugo Camacho's brother works in Maryland and his nephews have residency. Abel Mora also has a brother in the United States.

Right now, many Costa Ricans and other Latin Americans working for the golf course while still undocumented are losing their jobs.

In December, The New York Times revealed the illegal labor at the Trump club after talking to Sandra Díaz, from Costa Rica, and Victorina Morales, from Guatemala. In response to the story, Trump executives have started to fire the undocumented workers.

The Washington Post revealed two weeks ago that the "purge" includes dismissals across Trump’s golf courses in New York and New Jersey.

The son of Victor Hugo Camacho, Risley, was one of those who recently returned to the country, in December, after the press reports.

Hat and jacket worn by the employees of the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. These belong to Víctor Hugo Camacho and his sons, who worked at the club in recent years. Photo: Aarón Sequeira.

Worker treatment?

Víctor Hugo sighs, he prefers not to get too much into what others say. Everyone has their own story about working for Trump.

Franklin Mora remembers Max, a very good guy and one of his four bosses, but he also remembers Chris, who in his opinion "was very racist."

Víctor Hugo Camacho says he and his children were treated very well. He worked in construction, and when he began to suffer a pain in his right leg, he left his job on the course and was asked to return after recovering from the injury.

Twelve years later, he began to work at the Trump club again, now taking care of the grass and cutting every inch starting from 4:30 a.m. together with his two children.

He did know that he worked for Donald Trump, but he explains: "About Mr. Trump, that doesn’t really have anything to do with you. It may seem like a lie, but it didn’t really mean anything, in terms of the work and everything else."

The bosses at the club, according to Camacho, treated the workers well.

"As far as I know, they didn’t mistreat anyone, and sometimes they were too easy on people," he said. "When he became president, I was already there, and my boy was still there. I used to say, well, this is going to get ugly, because the man spoke so badly about immigrants."

Franklin and Abel, who only worked at in the club’s very early years, weren’t really aware of who Trump was.

Heading to work together

It's hot at noon on a Wednesday, and Franklin Mora agrees to talk for a while.

He’s doing construction work on a building in Cajón de Pérez Zeledón and he remembers that in the United States, the heat would be even worse. The heat and the cold.

"I was actually doing okay (in Costa Rica), but people would come and say that in the United States you could almost find clothes in every trash can, you should hear what they would tell you. That's why you end up going and seeing for yourself," Franklin says.

Now, 17 years later, he can say that "it's not like you're told," and it wasn’t true that the job would be easy. Even though sometimes he was told not to go in to work because of rain, if he was already working on the course, "it could rain or thunder" and you couldn’t leave you or even wait it out.

"I wanted to go and instead of just hearing about it, I wanted to experience it. Living in Bound Brook (a working class neighborhood in New Jersey), it was like coming to Santa Teresa (in the Cajón de Pérez Zeledón district). "

“All of us who lived there were from Santa Teresa. We worked in that course, and we traveled in a van or a bus to get there at 6 in the morning, and it was 20 of us, sometimes up to 30.”

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Former Trump Adviser Pushed Saudi Nuclear-Plant Plan, Report Says

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Mike Flynn and others within the White House ignored repeated legal and ethical warnings, according to House report

WASHINGTON—Former national-security adviser Mike Flynn and others within the White House ignored repeated legal and ethical warnings as they pushed early in President Trump’s tenure an ambitious plan to build dozens of nuclear-power reactors in Saudi Arabia, according to a report released Tuesday by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

The report describes how Mr. Flynn and Derek Harvey, whom Mr. Flynn brought to the National Security Council staff to oversee Middle East affairs, worked closely on the plan with a group of retired U.S. generals and admirals who had formed a private company to promote it.

Despite the warnings from career White House staff—and an order by the NSC’s top lawyer to stand down—the White House officials and their private-sector allies worked to place the idea on Mr. Trump’s agenda during a phone call with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, and to be discussed during the U.S. president’s May 2017 trip to Riyadh, his first overseas trip as president, the report says.

The plan for U.S. companies to build nuclear power plants in Saudi Arabia, part of an ambitious “Middle East Marshall Plan,” was billed by advocates as a way to revive the moribund U.S. nuclear industry, create jobs and reassert American influence in the region.

But one unnamed senior official quoted in the report derided the idea as “a scheme for these generals to make some money.”

The House Oversight Committee’s report, which is based on documents obtained by the panel and accounts of unidentified whistleblowers, deals primarily with events in the first few months of Mr. Trump’s administration.

But the Trump administration has continued to discuss nuclear cooperation with Riyadh, even as that idea has become more controversial. In December, in the aftermath of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation requiring Congress’ approval of any U.S.-Saudi nuclear deal.

The Oversight Committee, chaired by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D., Md.), said it was continuing to investigate the matter and making new requests for document from the White House and numerous cabinet agencies.

The White House declined to comment. Representatives for Mr. Flynn and Mr. Harvey didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Wall Street Journal first reported many of the details of the Saudi plan and Mr. Flynn’s efforts to advance it inside the White House in a series of articles in 2017.

 

 

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House Opens Inquiry Into Proposed U.S. Nuclear Venture in Saudi Arabia

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President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is scheduled to travel to the Middle East next week to brief diplomats on the economic portions of the Trump administration’s

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s former national security adviser and other White House officials pushed a venture to bring nuclear power plants to Saudi Arabia over repeated legal and ethical warnings that potential conflicts of interest around the plan could put American security at risk, concluded a new report from House Democrats released on Tuesday.

The 24-page report from the House Oversight and Reform Committee outlined actions taken in the early weeks of the Trump administration to secure government backing to have American companies build dozens of nuclear power plants across Saudi Arabia, potentially at the risk of spreading nuclear weapons technology. But House Democrats said there was evidence that as recently as last week, the White House was still considering the proposal.

Claims presented by whistle-blowers and White House documents obtained by the committee show that the company backing the nuclear plan, IP3 International, and its allies in the White House were working so closely that the company sent a draft memo to the former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, to circulate just days after the inauguration. Mr. Flynn had worked on the plan for IP3 during the Trump campaign and transition, the Democrats said, and continued to advocate for it in the White House.

Even after Mr. Flynn left the White House in February 2017, officials on the National Security Council pushed ahead, the Democrats said, ignoring advice from the N.S.C.’s ethics counsel and other lawyers to cease all work on the plan because of potentially illegal conflicts. At a March 2017 meeting, a National Security Council aide tried to revive the IP3 plan “so that Jared Kushner can present it to the President for approval,” the Democratic report said, a reference to Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and top adviser.

The draft memo also referenced another close Trump associate, Thomas J. Barrack, who served as chairman of the president’s inaugural committee. It said that Mr. Trump had appointed Mr. Barrack as a special representative to implement the plan, which it called “the Middle East Marshall Plan.” The memo also directed agencies to support Mr. Barrack’s efforts.

The Democrats’ investigation comes at a sensitive time, when lawmakers of both parties are incensed over the Trump administration’s reluctance to punish Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the Saudi government over the slaying of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. As supporters of the nuclear deal maneuvered in opening days of the Trump White House, Mr. Kushner was orchestrating what would be Mr. Trump’s first overseas trip as president, to Saudi Arabia, and met on his own with the then-deputy crown prince, Mr. bin Salman, before the prince became the power behind the Saudi throne.

Mr. Kushner is scheduled to travel to the region next week to brief diplomats on the economic portions of the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan.

Representative Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, chairman of the Oversight Committee, first disclosed claims brought to him by one of the whistle-blowers in November 2017, and called on the committee’s Republican chairman at the time to further scrutinize them. The Republicans did not touch it, so on Tuesday, after laying out a more detailed timeline of events, Mr. Cummings said he was now able to do that work himself.

“Further investigation is needed to determine whether the actions being pursued by the Trump Administration are in the national security interest of the United States or, rather, serve those who stand to gain financially as a result of this potential change in U.S. foreign policy,” Mr. Cummings’s staff wrote in the report.

Editors’ Picks

He Committed Murder. Then He Graduated From an Elite Law School. Would You Hire Him as Your Attorney?

In 12 Minutes, Everything Went Wrong

Trump Sought a Loan During the 2016 Campaign. Deutsche Bank Said No.

Republicans on the committee did not receive a copy of the report until last night and had not fully assessed it, according to their spokeswoman, Charli Huddleston.

“This is a delicate and nuanced issue that Chairman Cummings is approaching without bipartisan input and with far-flung requests for information,” she said.

In a statement, a spokesman for Mr. Barrack said that he would cooperate with Mr. Cummings’s investigation and noted he had never taken a job in the administration. The White House and other people named in the report did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

Democrats responded by tying the report to broader issues in U.S.-Saudi relations, from the killing of Mr. Khashoggi to congressional efforts to end military support for the Saudi war in Yemen.

Sign Up for On Politics With Lisa Lerer

A spotlight on the people reshaping our politics. A conversation with voters across the country. And a guiding hand through the endless news cycle, telling you what you really need to know.

It is shocking that Trump Administration officials would sell our nuclear secrets to the Saudis when the Saudis are supplying weapons to Al Qaeda against our troops and killing civilians in Yemen.

— Rep. Ro Khanna (@RepRoKhanna) February 19, 2019

The export of American nuclear technology that could be used to create nuclear weapons is strictly controlled under the Atomic Energy Act of 1954. The act says that Congress must approve such exports, and at least one of the whistle-blowers claimed that officials involved ignored warnings about such legal requirements.

A plan like the one advocated by IP3 International has not gone forward to date. But Mr. Cummings’s staff said there was evidence that the White House was still kicking around the proposal.

Mr. Trump met with nuclear industry executives at the White House last week to discuss expanding their presence internationally, including in the Middle East. Bloomberg reported that the session was organized by Jack Keane, a retired a retired four-star Army general and one of the founders of IP3 International.

 

- I'm pretty sure Keane is a Fox News contributor also.

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Deutsche Bank Weighed Extending Trump Loans on Default Risk

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Top Deutsche Bank AG executives were so concerned after the 2016 U.S. election that the Trump Organization might default on about $340 million of loans while Donald Trump was in office that they discussed extending repayment dates until after the end of a potential second term in 2025, according to people with knowledge of the discussions.

Members of the bank’s management board, including then Chief Executive Officer John Cryan, were leery of the public relations disaster they would face if they went after the assets of a sitting president, said the people, who asked for anonymity because the discussions were private. The discussions were about risks to the bank’s reputation and did not relate to any heightened concerns about the creditworthiness of Trump or his company, the people said.

Donald Trump at the Trump National Doral Blue Monster Golf course in 2016.

Photographer: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

The bank ultimately decided against restructuring the loans to the Trump Organization, which come due in 2023 and 2024, and chose instead not to do any new business with Trump while he is president, one of the people said.

A spokesman for Deutsche Bank declined to comment, and the people with knowledge of the discussions said they didn’t know why the bank ultimately decided not to extend the loans. The White House didn’t respond to requests for comment.

“This story is complete nonsense,” Eric Trump, a son of the president and an executive vice president of the Trump Organization, said in an email. “We are one of the most under-leveraged real estate companies in the country. Virtually all of our assets are owned free and clear, and the very few that do have mortgages are a small fraction relative to the value of the asset. These are traditional loans, no different than any other real estate developer would carry as part of a comparable portfolio.”

Go-To Lender

Deutsche Bank had been Trump’s go-to lender for decades, even as other commercial banks stopped doing business with him because of multiple bankruptcies. Although the German lender’s investment bank had severed ties with Trump during the financial crisis, after he defaulted on a loan and then sued the bank, its wealth management unit continued to extend him credit.

But, as the New York Times first reported, Deutsche Bank had already turned down a request for a loan from the Trump Organization for work on a Scottish golf course in early 2016, during the campaign, in part because of concern that it might have to collect from a sitting president.

The head of the retail bank at the time, which includes the wealth management unit, was Christian Sewing, who replaced Cryan as CEO in April. Sewing initially favored approving the loan application, but he submitted it to Deutsche Bank’s reputational risk committee, which recommended turning it down, according to a person familiar with the matter. Sewing supported the decision, the person said. The Trump Organization said it never sought such a loan.

The outstanding Deutsche Bank debt includes $125 million for the Trump National Doral Miami resort, which matures in 2023, according to federal records and mortgage documents. The company also owes $170 million for the Trump International Hotel in Washington and has another loan against a Chicago tower, both of which come due in 2024.

Read More: Deutsche Bank in Bind Over How to Modify $300 Million Trump Debt

Trump’s dealings with Deutsche Bank are facing heightened scrutiny now that Democrats are in control of the House of Representatives and two party members -- Maxine Waters and Adam Schiff -- are sitting at the top of powerful committees.

Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee have already described in detail what they want from Deutsche Bank. In a March report, they said they would seek to interview senior executives in the bank’s risk division who could tell them about due diligence conducted on Trump after the 2016 election. They also want documents about the bank’s earlier transactions with Trump and would like to interview his personal banker, Rosemary Vrablic.

In the four years before his election, Trump borrowed more than $620 million from Deutsche Bank and a separate lender, Ladder Capital, to finance projects in Manhattan, Chicago, Washington and a Miami suburb, federal documents and property records show. Jack Weisselberg, a top loan-origination executive at Ladder, is the son of Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s longtime chief financial officer who previously worked for Donald Trump’s father, Fred. Ladder loaned Trump $282 million for four Manhattan properties, records show. Jack Weisselberg declined to comment.

The loans are split between variable-rate and fixed-rate mortgages. Some are interest-only loans, with balloon payments due at maturity, according to property records and securities filings.

The maturities on Trump’s Deutsche Bank loans haven’t changed since his preelection financial disclosure, filings show. Government-run databases containing local property filings for New York, Washington, Chicago and Miami-Dade County don’t show any changes in the terms of Trump’s mortgages.

 

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Trump introduced Qatari to donor pursuing nuclear power project, report says

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Last spring, President Donald Trump introduced a potential Qatari investor to a friend and inauguration donor seeking a few billion dollars in investment to buy an unfinished nuclear power plant in northeastern Alabama, according to interviews the donor gave to a Tennessee media outlet published this week.

Tennessee businessman Franklin Haney, 78, told the University of Memphis’ Institute for Public Service Reporting that Trump introduced him to the Qatari at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, of which Haney is a longtime member. He said the introduction to the Qatari, whose name he said he did not recall, came a couple weeks after he was introduced in March to Trump’s then-personal lawyer Michael Cohen, whom Haney briefly hired as a consultant.

 

Edited by SaintsInDome2006

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Cohen Gave Prosecutors New Information on the Trump Family Business

Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, met last month with federal prosecutors in Manhattan, offering information about possible irregularities within the president’s family business and about a donor to the inaugural committee, according to people familiar with the matter.

Mr. Cohen, who worked at the Trump Organization for a decade, spoke with the prosecutors about insurance claims the company had filed over the years, said the people, who did not elaborate on the nature of the possible irregularities.

While it was not clear whether the prosecutors found Mr. Cohen’s information credible and whether they intended to pursue it, the meeting suggests that they are interested in broader aspects of the Trump Organization, beyond their investigation into the company’s role in the hush money payments made before the 2016 election to women claiming to have had affairs with Mr. Trump. Mr. Cohen pleaded guilty last summer to arranging those payments.

The prosecutors also questioned Mr. Cohen about a donor to the president’s inaugural committee, Imaad Zuberi, a California venture capitalist and political fund-raiser, according to the people familiar with the matter, who were not authorized to discuss the confidential meeting. Around the time that Mr. Zuberi contributed $900,000 to the committee, he also tried to hire Mr. Cohen as a consultant and wrote him a substantial check, one of the people said.

Although Mr. Cohen did not go through with the arrangement, he was building a consulting business at the time with clients who sought to understand and have access to the Trump administration.

A spokesman for Mr. Zuberi, Steve Rabinowitz, confirmed the check on Friday, saying it was for $100,000 and never cashed. Mr. Zuberi, the only person directly referenced in a recent subpoena the prosecutors sent the inaugural committee, had previously denied having any dealings with Mr. Cohen beyond a few conversations.

There was no indication that Mr. Cohen, who is scheduled to begin serving a three-year prison sentence in May, implicated Mr. Trump in the possible irregularities discussed during the meeting last month. If prosecutors concluded that Mr. Cohen’s information was truthful and valuable, they could ask the judge who sentenced him to reduce his prison term.

The White House referred questions to the Trump Organization. A spokeswoman at the company did not respond to requests for comment. In the past, the president has accused Mr. Cohen of lying to try to reduce his sentence.

Lanny Davis, a lawyer and adviser to Mr. Cohen, would not comment on the investigations beyond saying that his client was “interested in cooperating with and assisting” the prosecutors “in any way they believe is helpful.”

A spokesman for the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan, known as the Southern District of New York, declined to comment.

The prosecutors recently sought to interview Trump Organization executives, according to a person briefed on the request, which was previously reported by CNN. The nature of the questions they were seeking to ask was not known.

So far, Mr. Cohen is the only person sentenced to significant prison time in various investigations connected to Mr. Trump.

In August, Mr. Cohen pleaded guilty to breaking campaign finance laws for his role in the hush money payments, as well as tax and bank crimes. In a separate case brought by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, Mr. Cohen pleaded guilty in November to lying to Congress about the timing of negotiations to build a Trump skyscraper in Moscow, and about the extent of Mr. Trump’s involvement in the plans.

In a memo to the court before he was sentenced in December, Mr. Cohen’s lawyers wrote that he was being disproportionately punished for “conduct that is routinely pursued through noncriminal enforcement,” referring to his admission of tax evasion. His lawyers drew a comparison to celebrities who received either fines or far less time after being charged with extensive tax fraud.

The session with the Southern District prosecutors was not the first time Mr. Cohen provided information that could possibly lead to a reduced sentence. Earlier, Mr. Cohen met twice with the prosecutors to assist their investigation of the payments to women, including the Trump Organization’s decision to reimburse Mr. Cohen for $130,000 he paid to the pornographic film actress Stormy Daniels.

In an interview in December, Mr. Cohen told George Stephanopoulos of ABC News that he was “done with the lying.” He went on: “I am done being loyal to President Trump, and my first loyalty belongs to my wife, my daughter, my son and this country.

Federal law allows prosecutors to seek — and a judge to grant — a reduced prison term for a defendant who offers “substantial assistance in investigating or prosecuting another person” within a year of being sentenced. The same rule would also allow the judge to consider assistance Mr. Cohen provided, before his sentencing, to the special counsel. Last year, he met seven times with prosecutors from Mr. Mueller’s office.

The continued scrutiny of the Trump family business and inaugural committee from the Southern District comes as Mr. Mueller is said to be wrapping up his investigation. Once he completes a report with his findings, various aspects of his investigation are expected to live on in the Southern District and other United States attorneys offices.

Mr. Cohen declined to seek a formal cooperation deal with the Southern District, which would have required him to disclose any crimes he had committed or had been aware of, and would have delayed his sentencing. His decision to forgo such an agreement most likely contributed to the severity of his sentence; his lawyer had argued for no prison time.

Mr. Trump had offered a different view, saying late last year that Mr. Cohen should serve a “full and complete” prison sentence. And as Mr. Cohen remained in the spotlight as a likely witness before Congress, Mr. Trump intensified his attacks on his former employee, urging prosecutors and the media to scrutinize Mr. Cohen’s family.

The attacks led Mr. Cohen to postpone a planned appearance before the House oversight committee earlier this month. But this week, the committee announced that the testimony was back on for next Wednesday and that Democrats planned to question Mr. Cohen about “the president’s business practices.”

Mr. Cohen has also agreed to testify behind closed doors before the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.

Mr. Cohen was originally scheduled to begin his prison term next month, but his lawyers cited the congressional testimony — as well as recent shoulder surgery — as a reason for a two-month delay. The judge overseeing Mr. Cohen’s case granted the request on Wednesday.

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House Democrats are planning to investigate Trump's personal finances.

Democrats are launching an investigation to discover why Deutsche Bank was willing to lend the Trump Organization money when other banks wouldn't and whether Russia was involved.

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/02/25/trump-money-deutsche-bank-1204497

:popcorn:

 

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1 hour ago, SaintsInDome2006 said:

Man, surprised to see the Chinese government shafting the Chinese citizenry like this again. I thought they'd turned things around somewhat. Can you sue for fraud in China?

Edited by Gr00vus

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9 hours ago, Leroy Hoard said:

Sounds like a good vacation destination for Robert Kraft.

Maybe Jeffrey Epstein can run them

Edited by msommer
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Maxine Waters, the House Financial Services chair, says Deutsche Bank is cooperating with her Committee.

She says Committee staff are going to Deutsche Bank and are now coordinating with the bank to begin reviewing documents related to Trump's finances.

https://www.msnbc.com/all-in/watch/rep-maxine-waters-tell-chris-hayes-that-deutsche-bank-is-cooperating-with-her-committee-1450881091506?cid=sm_npd_ms_tw_ai

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Pretty shameless tweet this morning from Trump. 

WaPo article discussing

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CREW Senior Adviser Walter Shaub, who formerly led the Office of Government Ethics, went even further. “This is Trump’s most explicit commingling of personal interests and public office to date," he wrote. "This is shameless, corrupt and repugnant presidential profiteering. This is an invitation to graft.”

 

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17 minutes ago, jonessed said:

It’s just going to get stuck in litigation.  I would be surprised if it’s seen by anyone before he leaves office.

2 years or 6 years of litigation?

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Posted (edited)

Trump Mar-a-Lago Buddy Wrote Policy Pitch. The President Sent It to VA Chief.

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A handwritten note to Trump, addressed “Dear King,” presents another instance of access and influence for Mar-a-Lago associates.

- Basically people who pay the President's private business a membership fee are able to send him letters and notes on public policy.

 

 

In late 2017, on one of President Donald Trump’s retreats to Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Palm Beach, Florida, he caught up with an old friend: Albert Hazzouri.

When Hazzouri is not at Mar-a-Lago, he’s a cosmetic dentist in Scranton, Pennsylvania. At a campaign rally there in 2016, Trump gave him a shoutout: “Stand up, Albert. Where the hell are you, Albert? Stand up, Albert. He’s a good golfer, but I’m actually a better golfer than him. Right?”

Shortly after Hazzouri and Trump saw each other in late 2017, Hazzouri followed up with a message, scrawled on Mar-a-Lago stationery. Here’s the letter:

[letter]

In a telephone interview, Hazzouri said he sent the note as a favor to the 163,000-member American Dental Association. He said he had only the vaguest sense of what proposal he was vouching for.

“I’m really not involved in any politics, I’m just a small-time dentist,” he said. “I guess there’s a lot of money spent on veterans’ care and American Native Indians’ care, and I guess they wanted to have a little hand in it, the American Dental Association, to try to guide what’s going on or whatever.”

The idea seemed to intrigue Trump. He took a thick marker and wrote on top of Hazzouri’s note, “Send to David S at the V.A.,” referring to David Shulkin, then the secretary of veterans affairs. Next to the Mar-a-Lago coat of arms, an aide stamped: “The president has seen.”

It was not the first time Mar-a-Lago membership had bestowed access to the VA. As ProPublica revealed last year, Trump handed sweeping influence over the department to club member Ike Perlmutter, who is the chairman of Marvel Entertainment and was a major donor supporting Trump’s campaign, along with a physician and a lawyer who are regular guests at the resort. The trio, known as the “Mar-a-Lago Crowd,” acted as a shadow leadership for the department, reviewing all manner of policy and personnel decisions, including budgeting and contracting. The House veterans committee is now investigating the trio’s “alleged improper influence.”

Beyond the VA, Trump’s presidency has been rife with examples of special interests seeking influence through business associates or friends and family, rather than going through the normal channels. Shortly after the election, the Australian ambassador reportedly managed to contact Trump not through the State Department but thanks to golfer Greg Norman, and Trump’s post-election call with the Vietnamese premier was facilitated by Marc Kasowitz, a personal lawyer for Trump. Megadonor Sheldon Adelson helped a friend’s obscure company secure a research deal with the Environmental Protection Agency, and inaugural chairman Tom Barrack provided support to a company seeking to export nuclear power technology to Saudi Arabia.

In Hazzouri’s case, the details of his pitch to “create an oversight committee” are murky. A spokeswoman for the American Dental Association, Katherine Merullo, declined to elaborate on the proposal. Michael Graham, who heads the ADA's lobbying arm in Washington, recalled that one of his staffers raised the topic with Hazzouri, but Graham said he didn’t know the details. In general, Graham said, the organization wants the government to pay for more dental services.

“The ADA has been looking into how we can get involved in veterans’ issues,” Graham said. “Lots of vets may not be eligible but need care.”

The VA provides dental care only in limited instances, primarily when veterans have a dental injury related to their service. Many veterans also have Medicare, but that doesn’t cover most dental services either. The ADA has lobbied on bills that would expand dental services for veterans, arguing that better dental care leads to better health overall. Of course, it would also lead to more billable patients for the ADA’s members.

Hazzouri’s overture doesn’t appear to have succeeded. Shulkin, who was fired in March 2018, said in an email that he did not recall having received the message. Hazzouri said neither he nor the ADA ever got a meeting.

Hazzouri did, however, reference the proposal a few months later, in an effort to open an office in Florida.

“My intention is to establish a small office in order to treat the President, his family and visitors who may have dental needs while conducting official business,” Hazzouri wrote to the Florida Board of Dentistry in a February 2018 letter published by Politico. “An additional intention is to have the office serve as a dental delivery site on selected dates for U.S. veterans or children from underserved populations.”

Despite invoking the project as part of a bid to expand his business, Hazzouri said he wasn’t pursuing any personal benefit by pitching the ADA’s proposal to Trump. “I wasn’t doing this for any opportunity,” he said. “There are areas in Florida where they said it would be awesome to donate time.”

Hazzouri’s Florida office never materialized either: According to the minutes of his board hearing, Hazzouri hadn’t completed a required examination and withdrew his application for a license to practice in the state.

Hazzouri declined to explain why his note to Trump addressed him as “King,” calling it an inside joke from long before Trump became president. “I call other people King,” he said. “It’s a very personal thing.”

 

 

Edited by SaintsInDome2006

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I read this yesterday. It sounds not good but this guy isn't really just a random member. He has a prior relationship with Trump.

I imagine every President has old friends that hit him up on policy. So while a little gray, I landed on this is more normal  practice than what the article frames it as. 

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If one of the Trumps trademarks in China is a spa and they use a Trump name on a lotion, would that be an emollient emolument?

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https://twitter.com/kylegriffin1/status/1107777588083208195

As a developer, Trump borrowed more than $2 billion from Deutsche Bank despite leaders seeing red flags. Once he was POTUS, the bank moved into damage-control mode, issuing an unusual direction to Wall St. employees: Do not publicly utter the word "Trump."

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/18/business/trump-deutsche-bank.html

 

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The Trump campaign owes the Treasury Department over $1 million in travel expenses, according to a new filing released by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) Thursday.

Quote

The filing reveals that the campaign owed the government an estimated $1,006,954 and is still indebted to other organizations for smaller amounts regarding event staging, video production services and other miscellaneous expenses. It owes a total of $1,035,597.62. 

 

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Things seemed to have gone well for Trump today:

 

The Justice Department And Trump's Lawyers Argue No One Should Be Able To Sue Him For Profiting From His Hotel

 

RICHMOND, Virginia — President Donald Trump's personal lawyers and attorneys from the Justice Department argued Tuesday that no one should be able to sue Trump for profiting from his businesses while he's in office — and for the first time in more than a year, things went well for the president in the case.

***

Justice Department attorney Hashim Mooppan focused his arguments Tuesday on urging the court to toss the case outright, arguing there was no legal authority for anyone to sue the president under the emoluments clauses.

If no one could sue the president for accepting prohibited emoluments, Judge Dennis Shedd asked: "Where's the check on the president?" Mooppan replied that any sort of action against the president at least had to be authorized by Congress, and that had not happened. Mooppan also argued that the president presented a special situation, and left open the question of whether someone could file this type of lawsuit against a lower-ranking public official.

 

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A federal appeals court panel was indisputably hostile Tuesday to a lawsuit accusing President Donald Trump of violating the Constitution by profiting from his business dealings with foreign countries seeking to curry favor with his administration.

The uphill battle the suit faces was evident before the arguments even began Tuesday morning when it was revealed that all three 4th Circuit Court of Appeals judges assigned to the case are GOP appointees, including two of the court’s most conservative jurists....

...At the 4th Circuit, the so-called “draw” of judges is not announced until shortly before arguments begin. As lawyers filed in, those pressing the case against Trump seemed aware that selection had gone about as poorly as it could for their side.

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh slapped his own forehead with his hand, prompting D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine to console him. “Head up, head up,” Racine told his colleague.

...

While Trump has faced at least four lawsuits alleging his illegal receipt of foreign gifts related to his office, the D.C. and Maryland suit had previously seemed to present the biggest legal headache of the bunch. That’s because last December, Messitte gave the D.C. and Maryland attorneys general the go-ahead to begin discovery — the process of seeking documents and testimony about how much money the Trump hotel is making from foreign sources, the U.S. government and state governments.

The 4th Circuit put that discovery process on hold last December at the Justice Department’s request until the appeal is resolved.

Last October, a New York-based federal appeals court heard arguments in the first lawsuit filed over the emoluments issue — a case brought by the liberal watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. A district court judge in New York threw out that case in December 2017, ruling that the watchdog group and other plaintiffs in the hospitality industry lacked the legal standing to pursue their claims.

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals panel has yet to rule on efforts to revive that suit.

Meanwhile, a suit that more than 200 Democratic lawmakers brought over the emoluments issue remains alive in a federal court in Washington. Last September, a judge found that the lawmakers did have legal standing to sue, but the case has proceeded at a glacial pace. ...

Politico.

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Trump Has Now Shifted $1.3 Million Of Campaign-Donor Money Into His Business

Quote

Donald Trump has charged his own reelection campaign $1.3 million for rent, food, lodging and other expenses since taking office, according to a Forbes analysis of the latest campaign filings. And although outsiders have contributed more than $50 million to the campaign, the billionaire president hasn’t handed over any of his own cash. The net effect: $1.3 million of donor money has turned into $1.3 million of Trump money. ...

 

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Genuine question....what's the statute of limitations on stuff like this?  After he's not President anymore, how long can they continue to look into the shadiness?  I ask because I think it's mathematically impossible to look into all these cases in the next two years, nevermind the ones yet to come.

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On 4/2/2019 at 4:10 PM, The Commish said:

Genuine question....what's the statute of limitations on stuff like this?  After he's not President anymore, how long can they continue to look into the shadiness?  I ask because I think it's mathematically impossible to look into all these cases in the next two years, nevermind the ones yet to come.

I really don't know, it really depends.

We have never had a president with a serious emoluments problem before. And the other stuff - well it depends, the criminal allegations will continue if the acts continue. I think older stuff might be like 5 years.

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Exclusive: Key House Democratic chairman requests Trump's tax returns

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House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal has formally requested President Donald Trump's tax returns from the Internal Revenue Service, likely launching a battle with the administration that could stretch months or even years in the courts and could shed light on the President's finances.

In a letter to the IRS sent Wednesday and first obtained by CNN, Neal cites a little known IRS code in his request for six years of Trump's personal tax returns from 2013 to 2018. He also requested the tax returns of eight of Trump's business entities, a nod to escalating pressure from liberals in the caucus who have argued that Trump's personal returns wouldn't sufficiently paint a picture of the President's financial history.

 

 

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4 minutes ago, SaintsInDome2006 said:

I really don't know, it really depends.

We have never had a president with a serious emoluments problem before. And the other stuff - well it depends, the criminal allegations will continue if the acts continue. I think older stuff might be like 5 years.

It'd be nice if we had a lawyer or two around here wouldn't it?  Seriously

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Posted (edited)

I guess Trump finally realized that Congress wasn't requesting the returns from him, they were requesting the returns from the IRS. And they had a right to see them.

Edited by Joe Summer

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Just now, Joe Summer said:

I guess Trump finally realized that Congress wasn't requesting the document from him, they were requesting it from the IRS. And they had a right to see it.

The statute is black and white, no exceptions. The only proviso is a taxpayer can request it be done in closed session if there’s a hearing.

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Posted (edited)
Quote

 

(f)Disclosure to Committees of Congress

(1)Committee on Ways and Means, Committee on Finance, and Joint Committee on Taxation

Upon written request from the chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives, the chairman of the Committee on Finance of the Senate, or the chairman of the Joint Committee on Taxation, the Secretary shall furnish such committee with any return or return information specified in such request, except that any return or return information which can be associated with, or otherwise identify, directly or indirectly, a particular taxpayer shall be furnished to such committee only when sitting in closed executive session unless such taxpayer otherwise consents in writing to such disclosure.

 

US Code.

- This is what Neal is relying on in seeking Trump's taxes. There are no exceptions.

Edited by SaintsInDome2006
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1 hour ago, Ruffrodys05 said:

What? A partisan approved non-existant loophole is being flaunted as reason why government can't/won't real this guy in? Free to do whatever he wants, huh?

*non-existent

*reel

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3 hours ago, msommer said:

*non-existent

*reel

Yes, my apologies. Was texting while on way to work and didn't take time to fix. Thanks! I'm also a grammar nut so, it irks me too.

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7 minutes ago, Ruffrodys05 said:

Yes, my apologies. Was texting while on way to work and didn't take time to fix. Thanks! I'm also a grammar nut so, it irks me too.

No worries. It was bigger than me...

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