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Donald Trump has turned the White House into a bribe factory

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Floridatexan

Floridatexan
For years now it has been clear that Donald Trump is the most corrupt president in American history. No previous president has continued to operate a vast personal business empire while in office — creating more than 3,000 identifiable conflicts of interest. As I predicted three days before he was inaugurated, he has constantly jammed taxpayer money into his own pockets, corruptly bullied foreign powers into doing him political favors, and turned the Department of Justice into an arm of his campaign.

Now that The New York Times has gotten access to many years of Trump's tax returns, we have new confirmed details about one particular aspect of his corruption — getting paid for political favors. In essence, he has turned the American executive branch into a giant bribery scheme. Wealthy people with business before the state stuff money into Trump's pockets through his many properties, and in return he gives them the contracts or policy concessions they want.

Here's how the bribery machine works: an interested party spends tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars at one of Trump's hotels, or golf resorts, or at Mar-a-Lago. That gets them in front of Trump — as he has spent nearly 400 days as president at those locations — and in his good graces, because he is exceptionally greedy. Then he is easily convinced to help them on some matter of policy.

Just 60 customers with interests at stake before the Trump administration brought his family business nearly $12 million during the first two years of his presidency, The Times found. Almost all saw their interests advanced, in some fashion, by Mr. Trump or his government. [New York Times]

AAR Corp., a government contractor fighting off a rival in court, held two retreats at the Trump National Doral resort, paying the president $120,746. It kept its contract and got new ones. The GEO Group, a private prison contractor, hired Trump's personal lobbyist, paid at least $32,100 to Mar-a-Lago, and saw its government contracting rise from $500 million per year to $900 million. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University spent $75,000 at the Trump International Hotel in Washington and got a bill passed removing restrictions on land it owns. And those are just three of over 100 companies that spent bigly at Trump's various properties.

Various right-wing religious groups paid six-figure sums to Trump through his properties, and received "an array of favorable policies from the administration, including appointments of anti-abortion judges and measures exempting religious groups from anti-discrimination laws." He also offered five members of his clubs ambassadorships.

Ironically, Trump is such an inept businessman that it appears he is not even making enough money off all these bribes to make his businesses profitable. The Times' overall coverage of his tax returns show that he experienced a steep decline in income after 2014 or so, in part because his newly toxic political reputation killed off most of his brand deals. Massive loans that he personally secured are due for repayment in the next few years, and Trump may well be bankrupted if he loses his race for re-election. Anyone who wasn't a complete dolt could rake in way more than that by leveraging the power of the American presidency. If nothing else, he could just write himself a $100 billion check — Senate Republicans have already made clear they will not remove him from office no matter what he does.

But whether Trump is competent at turning the government into a shakedown machine has nothing to do with whether doing so is right or wrong, or violates the law. For instance, 18 U.S. Code ¬ß 201 stipulates that any public official who "corruptly demands, seeks, receives, accepts, or agrees to receive or accept anything of value personally … in return for … being influenced in the performance of any official act" can be punished by up to 15 years in prison.

Indeed, we would need to examine all of Trump's tax and business records to have a good idea of the total take here. Should Joe Biden be elected along with a Democratic Congress, one of the first orders of business should be a thorough investigation of the Trump regime's gargantuan corruption — from soliciting bribes, to looting the state, to sending out illegal payments to voters, to accepting unconstitutional payments from foreign governments, to whatever else might be found. Trump's suspiciously gigantic golf course losses, for example, give off a distinct whiff of money laundering. He might be in much better shape money-wise than he appears to be on paper.

But whatever we may find, it is now known for a fact that Trump is abusing his power for personal profit, yet again. Like practically everything else he has done in office, it is a grotesque betrayal of the foundational values of a democratic republic. Another four years of this man in office will be another four years of chintzy schemes to line his own pockets, while he lies about "draining the swamp."

https://theweek.com/articles/943450/donald-trump-turned-white-house-into-bribe-factory?utm_campaign=afternoon_newsletter_20201014&utm_source=afternoon_newsletter&utm_medium=email

Telstar and zsomething like this post

zsomething


I'm pretty sure once this presidency is over and we get a chance to really put it up on the racks and give it a big going over, we're gonna find a LOT of stuff. I've studied organized crime a bit and this administration feels far more like organized crime than it does a political machine. I mean, I hated Dubya, but I never got the sense that Dubya was a "mobster." But I get nothing but "mobster" from the moves Trump and his family make.

Every day there's some new odd foreign ties linked to Trump. I'm sure some of it is bullshit (there's an Eric Trump - Ukraine thing getting batted around right now that I figure's gonna be nothing, for instance... just 'cuz I hate 'em doesn't mean I think every bad thing they're accused of is instantly true), but there's so much of it that there's gonna end up being some "there" there. Russia's definitely helping Trump, spreading bullshit faked e-mails and such. I don't know if Trump's collaborating with them at all on it, but Russia's definitely trying to keep their puppet in power.

Here's one thing that's gonna be fun: for the past four years, we've watched conservatives cheerlead and defend every sort of vileness, corruption, rule-breaking, indecency, falsehood, and reprehensible act possible out of this administration. And, for a party that's so tied up in proclaiming themselves as "moral," it's devastated their brand. Some of them realize it and that's why you get conservative movements like The Lincoln Project and these folks: https://www.youtube.com/c/RepublicanVotersAgainstTrump/videos

And, if Biden wins, we'll likely get to watch them seal their own casket by raging against honor, decency, kindness, and honesty. I don't know how effective he'll be at doing it, especially in the current national climate, but I do know Biden is sincerely going to try to help people... and I trust conservatives to find fault every time he does it. They're going to walk right into it and make themselves look even worse.

That's if they don't really go off the rails and turn themselves into some kind of crazy ISIS-like insurgency. They've started relying on psychotics like Dan Bongino, who's been on Facebook spreading absolute horseshit and stirring his idiots to violence. I think these folks have been in such a comfy self-created propaganda bubble that they don't realize exactly how fed up with them most of America is. They've always liked a steady diet of nothing but comfort-food when it comes to their "news," where never is heard a discouraging word about the choices they've made... but that's turned into church and now their political-religion is looking more jihadi-y every day. They keep, incrementally, saying more and more crazy stuff to keep getting attention, and their base starts thinking that's normal. And eventually you end up with stuff like "you should start kidnapping governors and killing people." And their base of Q-berts think that shit is absolutely reasonable.

Trump does all this stuff because he knows he'll get away with it. There is no criminal action he can take that his base will not either defend as a good thing or will disbelieve, all out of spite to not let liberals score a "point." And there's nothing liberals can say that Trump's base won't dismiss as "fake news." Hell, they're dying of a fucking pandemic now and they're working for the pandemic, making all kinds of claims that it isn't actually dangerous, etc. We see that silliness going on right here already, with our resident believe-anything looneytoon.

Floridatexan likes this post

PkrBum

PkrBum
But of course this won't matter:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/nypost.com/2020/10/14/email-reveals-how-hunter-biden-introduced-ukrainian-biz-man-to-dad/amp/

Hunter Biden introduced his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, to a top executive at a Ukrainian energy firm less than a year before the elder Biden pressured government officials in Ukraine into firing a prosecutor who was investigating the company, according to emails obtained by The Post.

The never-before-revealed meeting is mentioned in a message of appreciation that Vadym Pozharskyi, an adviser to the board of Burisma, allegedly sent Hunter Biden on April 17, 2015, about a year after Hunter joined the Burisma board at a reported salary of up to $50,000 a month.

“Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together. It’s realty [sic] an honor and pleasure,” the email reads.

An earlier email from May 2014 also shows Pozharskyi, reportedly Burisma’s No. 3 exec, asking Hunter for “advice on how you could use your influence” on the company’s behalf.

The blockbuster correspondence — which flies in the face of Joe Biden’s claim that he’s “never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings” — is contained in a massive trove of data recovered from a laptop computer.

zsomething


Like I was just saying.  Predictable as the fuckin' sunrise.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/09/27/quick-guide-trumps-false-claims-about-ukraine-bidens/

https://twitter.com/i/events/1316398754883272704


There's no amount of disinformation that a Trump-cultist won't blindly consume, repeat, and keep defending no matter how much it's debunked. They believe what they want to believe and get enraged if you won't be as accommodatingly stupid.

Floridatexan and Telstar like this post

Floridatexan

Floridatexan

Anatomy Of A Smear: Questions Surrounding The New York Post’s Hunter Biden Story

The series of events laid out by the conservative tabloid and pushed by Trumpworld strain credibility and suggest a crude political hit.

By Jesselyn Cook, Jessica Schulberg, and Nick Robins-Early

10/15/2020 08:45 pm ET

With only 20 days before the presidential election, the New York Post published what it called a “smoking-gun email” in a front-page feature accusing Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden of high-level political corruption. Within hours of its publication, the viral story was dominating the news cycle, with aggressive promotion from President Donald Trump’s campaign.

Trumpworld seems to believe it has found an October bombshell that will damage Biden’s dominant standing in the polls. But critical elements of the story are dubious, contradictory or outright false.

As the Post tells it, Biden’s son, Hunter, left his damaged laptop — which, the story claims, contained footage of him having sex while smoking crack — at a Delaware repair shop last spring, but he never came back for it. The unnamed shop owner, unaware that the laptop was Hunter Biden’s, noticed a Beau Biden Foundation sticker on it, so he made a copy of the hard drive and gave it to Robert Costello — an attorney for Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani — who later gave it to the Post. The hard drive contained a 2015 email from a top executive at Burisma, a Ukrainian energy firm, thanking Hunter for “inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and [spend] some time together.”

The Post concludes that this is evidence of Joe Biden’s misconduct because Hunter Biden “introduced his father” to the Burisma executive “less than a year before the elder Biden pressured government officials in Ukraine into firing a prosecutor who was investigating the company.” (Biden’s campaign says the alleged meeting with the Burisma executive never occurred.)

It’s a highly suspicious narrative that’s riddled with inconsistencies and other red flags. The story’s premise and very first sentence contain a glaring, long-debunked falsehood: Viktor Shokin, the Ukrainian prosecutor in question, was not investigating Burisma, as The Washington Post reported more than a year ago in response to Trump’s similar false claims at the time. In fact, Biden and other Western officials had pushed for Shokin’s ouster precisely because of his failure to probe the firm. The Obama-Biden administration was actually considering launching a U.S. investigation into Burisma’s alleged money laundering.

It’s one of several inconsistencies in the story’s version of events. Here are some of the biggest questions surrounding it.

How did the laptop end up at the repair shop?

John Paul MacIsaac, identified as the owner of the laptop repair shop after the Post’s story published, told reporters on Wednesday that Hunter Biden had actually dropped off three laptops at his shop last April. MacIsaac initially suggested that because he is legally blind, he didn’t recognize the younger Biden when he came into the shop and only later determined that the laptop was his after noticing the sticker, as the Post reported.

But MacIsaac later changed his story, claiming that Hunter Biden had actually introduced himself by name at the time.

Throughout the interview, MacIssac seemed nervous and claimed without elaborating that his life was in danger. He described Trump’s impeachment as a “sham,” vaguely implied the FBI is involved in a coverup surrounding the alleged scandal, and repeatedly declined to answer whether he is or was working with Giuliani.

On Thursday, Giuliani, who was not present at the laptop repair shop at the time of the supposed dropoff, told SiriusXM that Hunter Biden was definitely the person who handed off the computer and that he was “in an inebriated, heavily inebriated state” at the time.

How did the emails get to the FBI?

MacIsaac claims that he made several unsuccessful attempts to get in touch with Hunter Biden and that his store’s contract allows him to take possession of devices if they are not retrieved after 90 days. After the 90-day period had passed, MacIsaac said he grew curious about the contents of the computer. According to the Post, MacIsaac then made a copy of the hard drive and handed the hardware over to the FBI.

But in conversations with reporters, MacIsaac dodged the question of how he came to be in touch with federal agents. At first, he told reporters that the FBI approached him, although it is unclear how the bureau would have known about the existence and location of the laptops. He later told reporters that he reached out to people he trusted who connected him with contacts inside the FBI. “And then they showed up,” MacIsaac claimed.

How did Giuliani get involved?

MacIsaac told reporters that he became frustrated that the material on the laptop hadn’t become public, so he gave a copy of the hard drive to Costello, Giuliani’s attorney. He refused to say whether he reached out to the attorney or if the attorney sought him out. He also would not say whether he has been in direct contact with Giuliani himself.

Giuliani is a notoriously unreliable source of information. As Trump’s personal lawyer, he has long acted as a political operative targeting Biden for the Trump campaign, including traveling with far-right media outlet One America News to Ukraine as part of an effort to spread conspiracy theories about Biden. Over the course of the election campaign, Giuliani has repeatedly made wild claims without any evidence to back them up and has spun bizarre theories in an attempt to create the perception that Biden engaged in corruption.

Giuliani is now promising a slow release of allegedly damning information on the Bidens. On his personal website, he posted what he claims is a 2019 text message from Hunter Biden to his sister, Naomi, that was not included in the Post’s story. There is no context for the alleged screenshot, no verification as to whether it is real, and no explanation as to why the Post didn’t cover it.

How did the story end up in the New York Post?

The provenance of the Post story and the paper’s acquisition of the alleged copy of Biden’s hard drive is vague and raises numerous questions. The report states that far-right media influencer and former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon told the Post about the existence of the hard drive in late September before Giuliani gave the outlet a copy on Sunday.

Both Giuliani and Bannon have pushed conspiracy theories and have close ties to Trump. The lead reporter on the Post story, Emma-Jo Morris, was formerly a producer for Fox News host and Trump ally Sean Hannity, as well as a former staffer at the Conservative Political Action Conference. The Hunter Biden stories were her first bylines for The Post, although she has worked there since April, according to her LinkedIn profile. On her Instagram account, Morris has posted numerous photos of herself posing with Trump associates including Bannon and Roger Stone.

Pro-Trump media has already begun to heavily promote and expand upon the story, with Fox News host Tucker Carlson announcing that he would release more of Biden’s emails during his Thursday night prime-time show.

Are the emails authentic?

There is no indication that the Post conducted a forensic analysis to confirm the authenticity of the emails and photographs. The Post says it received the material on Sunday, just three days before publishing its report.

The metadata in the PDF files published by the Post, which supposedly contain Biden’s emails, show that the files were created in September and October of 2019 — months after MacIsaac said the laptops were dropped off and a full year before the Post story dropped.

Hunter Biden’s lawyer George Mesires said in a statement, “We have no idea where this came from, and certainly cannot credit anything that Rudy Giuliani provided to the NY Post.”

Disinformation experts warned that the timing of emails’ release, the way they became public, and the lack of forensic evidence are all signs that the material could be the result of forgery, a hack, or a combination of the two. The Russian GRU unit responsible for hacking the Democratic National Committee in 2016 hacked Burisma, The New York Times reported earlier this year, prompting fears that material from the hack would be leaked near the election in an effort to hurt Biden’s campaign.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/questions-new-york-biden-hunter-biden-trump-campaign_n_5f88de1cc5b66ee9a5ee4aad?ri18n=true&ncid=newsltushpmgnews

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Telstar and zsomething like this post

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