Fatboy's preparing for the next level of his grift.
The groundwork's already been laid for quite a while... while Republicans will keep on defending him doing it.
Documents show big foreign gov't spending at Trump hotel
By BERNARD CONDON - Associated Press 15 hrs ago
NEW YORK (AP) — The Trump hotel in Washington took in more than $750,000 from six foreign governments at sensitive moments in their U.S. relations, with guests spending as much as $10,000 per room a night, according to documents from the Trump family company's former accountants released Monday by a congressional committee.
The Trump International Hotel received at least $259,724 on a visit by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and other officials in September 2017 while the U.S. Justice Department was investigating his role in a money laundering scandal, according to a statement released by the Democratic-led House Oversight Committee.
Saudi Arabia spent at least $164,929 that same year and in 2018 for hotel stays while trying to win over support after its invasion and blockade of Qatar, according to the committee, citing documents from former Trump accountants Mazars USA. For its part, Qatar spent more than $300,000 at the hotel.
The heavy foreign government spending at Donald Trump's hotel, since sold to a Miami-based investment firm, has been reported before but details and the timing of this snapshot of payments are new. Two days after a March 2018 stay by the Saudis, the committee noted, then-president Trump approved $1.3 billion in arms sales to the country.
“These documents sharply call into question the extent to which President Trump was guided by his personal financial interest while in office rather than the best interests of the American people," Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney, Dem.-New York, said in statement.
Turns out a hotel is a great way to "money-launder" bribes!
Republicans always dismissed this obvious conflict of interest, while trying to play misdirection by screaming about fantasies on Hunter Biden's laptop. Might take 'em more seriously about that dust mote of a laptop if they weren't ignoring the giant fucking PLANK that is all of Trump's and his kids' business ventures with adversarial governments. China, Russia, and Saudi Arabia all own floors in Trump Tower... and Republicans, who used to be national security hawks before they decided that creeps like Orban were role models, are fine and dandy with it.
The Trump hotel down the street from the White House, now a Waldorf Astoria, drew criticism from the start of Trump's presidency for taking money from GOP poliicians, companies and foreign governments eager to curry favor with him. The hotel lost tens of millions of dollars each year while he was in office, though the Trump family did well in the end — selling it for $375 million earlier this year, allowing it to pocket as much as $100 million in profit.
Along with the Mazars documents, the Oversight Committee released a letter sent Monday to the National Archives and Records Adminstration for reports and communications related to spending at the hotel and policies or investigations that involved the foreign governments at the time.
The committee had previously disclosed that the Trump hotel had taken in more than $3.75 million from foreign governments while Trump was president.
Among the details in Monday's release was that Prime Minister Razak spend $1,500 on a personal trainer and more than $8,000 for in-room lunches while being investigated for money laundering in the U.S. The Malaysian government later prosecuted Razak.
The Saudi Ministry of Defense spent $85,961 in a March 2018 stay, booking several suites at the hotel for $10,500 each, the most expensive rooms available. The Qatari government spent heavily, too. Between January and early March 2018, the ruling family of Sheikh Al Thani paid nearly $300,000 for an extended stay at the hotel.
The Mazars documents show that lobbyists for the Turkish govenment and a state-owned bank spent more than $80,000 during a Justice Department money laundering investigation of that bank that Istanbul wanted dropped, according to the committee. And two months before a 2017 meeting between Tump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, that country's embassy spent nearly $20,000 at the hotel.
And, in preparation for another White House run, Trump's already finagling some more sleazy deals with adversaries.
Trump Family Signs Deal With Saudi Real Estate Developer
WASHINGTON — The Trump family has struck a deal with a Saudi-based real estate company to license its name to a housing and golf complex that will be built in Oman, renewing a swirl of questions about former President Donald Trump’s mixing of politics and business just as he appears poised to announce a third presidential candidacy.
But a spokesperson for the Trump Organization confirmed the paperwork had been signed to have the Trump brand be a part of the $1.6 billion project, which goes by the name Aida and will include an estimated 3,500 residential units, luxury retail and 450 rooms at the hotels.
“It is an honor to work with Dar Al Arkan, who share our vision for superior quality and excellence,” the Trump Organization said in the statement. “This will be a truly magnificent project that integrates luxury living and world-class hospitality at the highest levels.”
The disclosure of the deal — which came after a reporter for The New York Times asked the Trump company about the project — occurred on the eve of an expected announcement by Trump of a campaign for president in 2024, once again raising questions about his business dealings with foreign nations.
“The Trump corruption complex is back in business,” said Robert Weissman, the president of Public Citizen, a liberal government watchdog group. “It is a remarkable revelation on the expected eve of his presidential candidacy announcement. Even without that, it would be stunning as another in a series of sweetheart deals from the Saudi government to the Trump family.”
Trump had close ties with the Saudi government during his tenure in the White House, authorizing billions of dollars in weapons sales and defending the government there after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. His son-in-law, Jared Kushner, secured a $2 billion investment from a fund led by the Saudi crown prince six months after leaving the White House.
Oman and the United States separately have long-standing ties, and with close military collaboration, given Oman’s strategic position in the Middle East. Just last week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Sayyid Badr Albusaidi, the Omani foreign minister, to discuss relations between the nations.
Executives involved in the project include Ziad El Chaar, the CEO of Quara Holding, the conglomerate whose holdings include Dar Al Arkan. El Chaar used to work at a real estate company that teamed up with the Trump family for a golf project in Dubai.
The Oman project is expected to be built over the coming decade, with design work still underway. A spokesperson for the Trump family said it was not yet clear if one of the hotels would be branded in the Trump name, but the golf course will be, making it the 17th golf complex in the company’s collection.
Dar Al Arkan, which says it has $8.5 billion in assets, has real estate projects in spots around the world, including in Dubai, Bosnia and China, where the company recently opened a new office.
Trump has also forged a relationship with the Saudi-backed LIV golf network, which recently held an event at his Doral course in Florida. At that event, Trump defended the Saudis over questions about human rights abuses there.
“We have human rights issues in this country, too,” Trump told the Times during a brief interview there.
So, that makes it okay, then? No wonder Trump's little cultists love "what-aboutism" so much... Trump engages in it himself, even if he has to take shots at the United States to do it.
The Trump family has previously announced certain international deals — including a plan to build two golf courses in Indonesia — that have not materialized.
As investigations into the The Trump Organization mounted in recent years, the company shelved plans to expand and focused on running its existing properties, including a handful of hotels and commercial properties.
One of the biggest setbacks came in July 2021, when the Manhattan district attorney unveiled tax fraud charges against the company and its long-serving chief financial officer, Allen H. Weisselberg. The charges, which center on off-the-books luxury perks the company doled out to a few executives, led Weisselberg to plead guilty.
Meanwhile, remember when Republicans threw a fit because a few conservative crooks got looked into? They screamed "persecution!" and what-not?
Trump Wanted IRS Investigations of Foes, Top Aide Says
While in office, President Donald Trump repeatedly told John F. Kelly, his second White House chief of staff, that he wanted a number of his perceived political enemies to be investigated by the IRS, Kelly said.
Kelly, who was chief of staff from July 2017 through the end of 2018, said in response to questions from The New York Times that Trump’s demands were part of a broader pattern of him trying to use the Justice Department and his authority as president against people who had been critical of him, including seeking to revoke the security clearances of former top intelligence officials.
Kelly said that among those Trump said “we ought to investigate” and “get the IRS on” were former FBI Director James B. Comey and his deputy, Andrew McCabe. His account of Trump’s desires to use the IRS against his foes comes after the revelation by the Times this summer that Comey and McCabe had both been selected for a rare and highly intrusive audit by the tax agency in the years after Kelly left the White House.
Trump has said he knows nothing about the audits. The IRS has asked its inspector general to investigate, and officials have insisted the two men were selected randomly for the audits.
Kelly said he made clear to Trump that there were serious legal and ethical issues with what he wanted. He said that despite the president’s expressed desires to have Comey and McCabe investigated by the IRS, he believes that he led Trump during his tenure as chief of staff to forgo trying to have such investigations conducted.
After Kelly left the administration, Comey was informed in 2019 that his 2017 returns were being audited, and McCabe learned in 2021 that his 2019 returns were being audited. At the time both audits occurred, the IRS was led by a Trump political appointee.
Trump regularly made his demands in response to news reports in which he thought his perceived enemies made him look bad. The president would carry on about having them investigated to the point that Kelly thought he needed to tell the president that what he wanted was highly problematic, explaining, in sometimes heated conversations, that what Trump wanted was not just potentially illegal and immoral but also could blow back on him.
Trump would eventually let the idea go, Kelly said, but during subsequent outbursts about his enemies he would again bring up his desires to have them investigated.
Throughout Trump’s presidency he regularly, in both public and private, ranted about Comey, whom Trump had fired in May 2017, and McCabe, who played a leading role in the investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.
Kelly said that along with Comey and McCabe, Trump discussed using the IRS and the Justice Department to investigate former CIA Director John O. Brennan; Hillary Rodham Clinton; Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and the owner of The Washington Post, whose coverage often angered Trump; Peter Strzok, the lead FBI agent on the Russia investigation; and Lisa Page, an FBI official who exchanged text messages with Strzok that were critical of Trump.
“The U.S. government, whether it’s the IRS or the Justice Department, should never be weaponized or used to retaliate, and certainly not because someone criticizes you in the press or is your political opponent,” Kelly said in response to questions. “The average federal employee or FBI agent or IRS agent goes to work and executes the laws and regulations and shouldn’t be put in this position.”
A spokesperson for Trump denied that the former president had ever discussed using the IRS.
“It’s total fiction created by a psycho, John Kelly, who never said this before, and made it up just because he’s become so irrelevant,” said the spokesperson, Liz Harrington.
Kelly, who also served as Trump’s first homeland security secretary, was Trump’s longest-serving White House chief of staff, a role in which he brought a semblance of order to an often chaotic West Wing. Unlike many former top Trump administration officials, Kelly has said little publicly since Trump left office and not written a book.
But in response to repeated questions over months, Kelly said he chose to respond now because Trump had publicly claimed last week that he had used the Justice Department and the FBI to help Gov. Ron DeSantis win election in Florida in 2018. Kelly, who was Trump’s chief of staff at the time, said Trump never made such a request. If he had, Kelly said, it would have been an improper use of the Justice Department and the FBI.
Just in case anybody missed that little bit of news in all the uproar, here ya go:
Kelly’s statements are among the most damning from a former high-ranking official about Trump’s efforts to use federal power to his own ends, and come just days before Trump is scheduled to announce another presidential campaign.
His account of some of Trump’s requests, including his effort to use the Justice Department against his enemies and to remove security clearances for former officials, has been corroborated by other public disclosures and former Trump aides.
Kelly said that after he initially started working for Trump as his chief of staff in July 2017, he was surprised that Trump actually thought he would follow through on what the president wanted.
“He initially thought I would do it,” Kelly said. “He thought I would be loyal and obedient to him. I told him we were loyal to our oath to the Constitution.”
Kelly said Trump had no appreciation for that concept and continued to push him and others to do what he wanted.
“If he told you to slit someone’s throat, he thought you would go out and do it,” Kelly said.
Kelly said he would tell Trump why using the powers of the federal government for his political ends was morally and legally problematic.
“I would say, ‘It’s inappropriate, it’s illegal, it’s against their integrity and the IRS knows what it’s doing and it’s not a good idea,’” Kelly said he told Trump.
“Yeah, but they’re writing bad things about me,” Kelly said Trump told him.
Ah, sociopaths. They can justify damn near anything according to whatever hurts their feelings.
Among other steps sought by Trump, Kelly said, was the revocation of security clearances for officials from the George W. Bush and Obama administrations who had gone on to be critical of Trump on television. Among them were Brennan; James R. Clapper Jr., the former director of national intelligence; Michael Hayden, the former director of the CIA and the National Security Agency; and retired Adm. William H. McRaven, the former head of the Special Operations Command.
“I don’t want them making money,” Kelly said Trump told him.
Kelly said that during his tenure, the officials’ security clearances remained intact.
In refuting the claim by Trump that he had used the Justice Department and the FBI to help DeSantis when he faced a potential recount in 2018, Kelly said no such request had been made to the Justice Department or the FBI. In fact, Kelly said, Trump was growing increasingly disillusioned with DeSantis at the time. That fall, DeSantis had distanced himself from Trump’s public claim that Democrats inflated the death toll in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria.
“He was insufficiently impressed with DeSantis’ loyalty to him,” Kelly said.
Trump never made any secret of his belief that he could use his government powers to his political ends, frequently saying in public that the Justice Department should investigate his enemies and that the former intelligence officials should not have clearances. Congressional and Justice Department investigations, news media accounts and books about the Trump presidency have also shown that Trump tried behind closed doors to use the powers of the Justice Department against his enemies.
But far less is known about how he tried to weaponize the IRS.
Trump was familiar with how IRS audits functioned. In the closing year of his presidency, he remained engaged in a decadelong audit battle with the agency over the legitimacy of a $72.9 million tax refund that he claimed, and received, after declaring huge losses. (The current status of the audit is not publicly known.)
It is against federal law for executive branch employees — including the president, the vice president or any other White House official — “to request, directly or indirectly” that anyone at the IRS conduct an investigation or audit of any taxpayer.
The Times reported in July that between 2019 and 2021, when the IRS was being led by Trump’s appointee, Comey and McCabe were subjected to the same type of rare audit that is so invasive it is known among tax lawyers as “an autopsy without the benefit of death.”
IRS officials have insisted that the men were randomly picked for the audit and that there were no political motivations behind how they were chosen. Out of the 153 million returns filed for the year Comey was audited, only 5,000 tax returns were targeted for the audit. For the year McCabe was audited, 154 million people filed returns and 8,000 were selected for the audit.
Kelly said that Trump was particularly “obsessed” with McCabe’s wife, Jill, who had run for Virginia’s state assembly around the time the FBI was investigating Clinton’s use of a personal email account. Trump has repeatedly made the false claim that Jill McCabe, a Democrat, received money for her campaign directly from the Clintons.
“That was proof McCabe hated him,” Kelly said.
Trump regularly attacked Comey and Andrew McCabe in public when he was president. He called Comey a “dirty cop” who “should be tried for treason” and “should be arrested on the spot!” He also accused McCabe of treason.
By the end of the Trump administration, the Justice Department and its inspector general had investigated the conduct of Comey, McCabe, Strzok and Page in a range of matters, but they were never charged with any crimes.
A year before McCabe’s audit began, Trump raised public doubts about McCabe’s finances.
“Was Andy McCabe ever forced to pay back the $700,000 illegally given to him and his wife, for his wife’s political campaign, by Crooked Hillary Clinton while Hillary was under FBI investigation, and McCabe was the head of the FBI??? Just askin’?” Trump tweeted in September 2020.
And now, because DeSantis's ambitions hurt Trump's own vanity, he's playing mobster games to try to keep DeSantis out of the race.
That much, should be fun.
Trump Threatens to Reveal Unflattering Information About DeSantis if He Runs
“I know more about him than anybody other than perhaps his wife,” the former president reportedly said.
Several hours before polls opened on Tuesday for Election Day in Florida, former President Donald J. Trump warned the state’s governor, Ron DeSantis, against mounting a challenge to Mr. Trump’s own anticipated presidential candidacy in the 2024 election cycle.
“If he runs, he runs,” Mr. Trump said of Mr. DeSantis to a handful of reporters traveling with him on his private plane — recently refurbished and put back into use — after a rally Monday night in Dayton, Ohio.
But Mr. Trump added, in remarks published on Tuesday by The Wall Street Journal, “If he did run, I will tell you things about him that won’t be very flattering. I know more about him than anybody other than perhaps his wife, who is really running his campaign.”
The former president, preparing to announce a rare candidacy for the White House after a defeat, was thus openly threatening to smear the person who would be considered his leading rival, should he choose to run.
"Nice little political career you got going there, Ron... be a shame if anything happened to it!"
Mobsters and con-artists. It couldn't be more obvious.
And that's what the Republican base is entranced by.