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Trump, worst president ever? -Already?!

 

Here's a straightforward place to keep track of Trump's reckless actions, and their consequences on society, the environment, and the economy.

 

Share what you like but keep it decent, and no trolling please.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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http://www.smh.com.au/world/us-election/donald-trumps-muslim-ban-a-selfinflicted-wound-in-fight-against-terrorism-20170130-gu1bvd.html

 

 

Donald Trump's Muslim ban a 'self-inflicted wound in fight against terrorism'

Washington: The Bush and Obama administrations went to great lengths to embrace Muslims as the Middle East imploded. And despite Donald Trump's campaign rants, that consensus held – prominent Republicans, like then Indiana governor Mike Pence and House Speaker Paul Ryan were quick to rebuke Trump when he proposed a Muslim ban.

Here's a Pence tweet from December 2015: "Calls to ban Muslims from entering the US are offensive and unconstitutional".

Here's Ryan from the same news cycle: "Freedom of religion is a fundamental constitutional principle. It's a founding principle of this country. This is not conservatism. What was proposed yesterday is not what this party stands for. And more importantly, it's not what this country stands for".

And a few months later, then retired Marine Corps General James Mattis said that Trump's proposal was causing American allies to believe "we have lost faith in reason." He told Politico: "They think we've completely lost it. It's sending shock waves through this international system."

Edited by Halcyon Daze

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http://www.smh.com.au/business/markets/airline-stocks-lose-us49-billion-as-investors-weigh-donald-trumps-immigration-order-20170201-gu325m.html

Airline stocks lose $US4.9 billion as investors weigh Donald Trump's immigration order

In two days, President Donald Trump's travel ban wiped out $US4.9 billion ($6.48 billion) in market value for the United States' biggest airlines.

The Standard & Poor's 500 airline index slumped 3.8 per cent combined on Monday and Tuesday, five times the 0.7 percent drop in the S&P 500. American Airlines Group, the world's biggest carrier, led the industry group with a 5.8 percent decline over the two days.

The developments hold several concerns for investors. One is that the US restrictions would expand or spark retaliation by other nations; another, outlined by the International Air Transport Association, is the prospect of higher costs for carriers to enforce the rules, and potential ramifications if they don't. While it's hard to quantify, there's also a risk that some people will forgo travel to the US.

"To the extent that America is becoming a less welcoming place, a less hospitable place, that could hurt leisure travel demand," said Jim Corridore, an airline analyst at CFRA Research.

In a similar vein, Cowen & Co analyst Helane Becker wrote in a note that any financial hit to US airlines probably will come through their international alliance partners, who provide passengers to the US carriers for connecting flights.

Airlines were caught in a whirlwind starting Friday evening after the Trump administration set temporary restrictions on entry to the US from seven countries it said had ties to terrorism.

Because the decree came with no warning, some US-bound travellers had to be barred from getting on planes and others who were already en route were denied entry.

Protesters decrying the ban as anti-American and anti-Muslim swarmed airports, adding to a chaotic weekend.

"Crews, reservations agents and airport teams have witnessed turmoil in our airports that shows how divisive this order can be," Doug Parker, American's chief executive officer, said in a letter to employees.

"It is the current law of the US, and so long as that is the case, we must comply."

IATA, the trade group for major carriers, asked the US government for clarification.

Trump's executive order "placed additional burdens on airlines to comply with unclear requirements, to bear implementation costs and to face potential penalties for non-compliance," the group said in a statement this week.

Edited by Halcyon Daze

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https://www.stripes.com/bannon-making-sure-there-s-no-white-house-paper-trail-says-intel-source-1.451921

 

 

Bannon making sure there's no White House paper trail, says intel source

 

If there was any question about who is largely in charge of national security behind the scenes at the White House, the answer is becoming increasingly clear: Steve Bannon, the former head of Breitbart News, a far-right media outlet, and now White House adviser.

Even before he was given a formal seat on the National Security Council's "principals committee" this weekend by President Donald Trump, Bannon was calling the shots and doing so with little to no input from the National Security Council staff, according to an intelligence official who asked not to be named out of fear of retribution.

"He is running a cabal, almost like a shadow NSC," the official said. He described a work environment where there is little appetite for dissenting opinions, shockingly no paper trail of what's being discussed and agreed upon at meetings, and no guidance or encouragement so far from above about how the National Security Council staff should be organized.

The intelligence official, who said he was willing to give the Trump administration the benefit of the doubt when it took office, is now deeply troubled by how things are being run.

"They ran all of these executive orders outside of the normal construct," he said, referring to last week's flurry of draft executive orders on everything from immigration to the return of CIA "black sites."

After the controversial draft orders were written, the Trump team was very selective in how they routed them through the internal White House review process, the official said.

Under previous administrations, if someone thought another person or directorate had a stake in the issue at hand or expertise in a subject area, he or she was free to share the papers as long as the recipient had proper clearance.

With that standard in mind, when some officials saw Trump's draft executive orders, they felt they had broad impact and shared them more widely for staffing and comments.

That did not sit well with Bannon or his staff, according to the official. More stringent guidelines for handling and routing were then instituted, and the National Security Council staff was largely cut out of the process.

By the end of the week, they weren't the only ones left in the dark. Retired Marine Gen. John Kelly, the secretary of homeland security, was being briefed on the executive order, which called for immediately shutting the borders to nationals from seven largely Muslim countries and all refugees, while Trump was in the midst of signing the measure, the New York Timesreported.

The White House did not respond in time to a request for comment.

The lack of a paper trail documenting the decision-making process is also troubling, the intelligence official said. For example, under previous administrations, after a principals or deputies meeting of the National Security Council, the discussion, the final agreement, and the recommendations would be written up in what's called a "summary of conclusions" - or SOC in government-speak.

"Under [President George W. Bush], the National Security Council was quite strict about recording SOCs," said Matthew Waxman, a law professor at Columbia University who served on Bush's National Security Council. "There was often a high level of generality, and there may have been some exceptions, but they were carefully crafted."

These summaries also provided a record to refer back to, especially important if a debate over an issue came up again, including among agencies that needed to implement the conclusions reached.

If someone thought the discussion was mischaracterized, he or she would call for a correction to be issued to set the record straight, said Loren DeJonge Schulman, who previously served in former President Barack Obama's administration as a senior advisor to National Security Adviser Susan Rice. Schulman is now a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security.

"People took the document seriously," she said.

During the first week of the Trump administration, there were no SOCs, the intelligence official said. In fact, according to him, there is surprisingly very little paper being generated, and whatever paper there is, the NSC staff is not privy to it. He sees this as a deterioration of transparency and accountability.

"It would worry me if written records of these meeting were eliminated, because they contribute to good governance," Waxman said.

It is equally important that NSC staff be the ones drafting the issue papers going into meetings, too, said Schulman. "The idea is to share with everyone a fair and balanced take on the issue, with the range of viewpoints captured in that document," she said.

If those papers are now being generated by political staff, she added, it corrupts the whole process.

It could also contribute to Bannon's centralization of power.

"He who has the pen has the authority to shape outcomes," the intelligence official said.

Now Bannon's role in the shadows is being formalized thanks to an executive order signed Saturday by Trump that formally gives Bannon a seat on the National Security Council's principals committee. The same executive order removed from that group the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the director of national intelligence, and the secretary of energy. Their new diminished role is not unprecedented, but some still find it a troubling piece of this larger picture.

For example, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates - who served under both Bush and Obama - told ABC News this weekend that sidelining the chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the director of national intelligence was a "big mistake." Every president can benefit from their "perspective, judgment, and experience," Gates said.

Meanwhile, Bannon's new role is unprecedented. Under Obama, it wasn't unheard of for his chief political advisers, John Podesta and David Axelrod, to attend NSC meetings, but they were never guaranteed a seat at the table. Under Bush, the line between national security and domestic political considerations was even clearer. Top aides have said they never saw Karl Rove or "anyone from his shop" in NSC meetings, and that's because Bush told him explicitly not to attend.

The signal Bush "especially wanted to send to the military is that, 'The decisions I'm making that involve life and death for the people in uniform will not be tainted by any political decisions,'" former White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten said last September.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., called Bannon's appointment to the council as a permanent member a "radical departure" from how the decision-making body was organized in the past, adding that he found the change "concerning."

Inside and outside of government, there are also deep reservations about Bannon's alignment with the far right and white nationalism, thanks to his previous leadership of Breitbart. One Bannon quote making the rounds this weekend: "Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that's my goal, too. I want to bring everything crashing down and destroy all of today's establishment."

There are new questions about where retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump's national security advisor, fits into all of this. Internally, it remains unclear what his role is, the intelligence official said. "He has a voice at the table, but he's overshadowed by Bannon."

Meanwhile, Tom Bossert, a former Bush national security aide whom Trump picked to serve as the White House's homeland security advisor, is not "one of Bannon's," so he is also on the outside looking in, according to the official. However, in Saturday's executive order, Bossert was also given a permanent seat on the NSC principals committee.

But there is not a lot of infighting right now, because to have infighting, there needs to be a power struggle, and there is no struggle, the intelligence official said.

However, there is an effort to crack down on leaking. Last week, a draft executive order, which raised the prospect of bringing back CIA "black sites" and reopening the debate on torture, leaked to the press. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said it was "not a White House document" and that he had "no idea where it came from." But according to the New York Times, "the White House had circulated it among National Security Council staff members for review on Tuesday morning." The Times was even provided with the details of the email chain that showed "the draft order's movements through the White House bureaucracy."

"They're doing a witch hunt now to find out how that got out," the intelligence official said. "There is zero room for dissenting opinion."

Trump did say publicly that he would defer to Defense Secretary James Mattis for now on the question of torture, which would suggest that disagreement is OK. But while publicly the president is allowing for different opinions, there is unhappiness about what is permitted behind the scenes, according to the official. If you take a stand against the White House, you might find yourself frozen out of future meetings, he said.

The NSC staff is mostly in shock after last week, the intelligence official said. For now, no one knows what each day will bring. There is no organizational chart yet for the NSC, meaning there has been no internal guidance yet about which portfolios still exist and to whom they report, the official said. The Washington Postreported Sunday on some of the changes being made, including that "some offices such as cyber have been expanded, while others have been collapsed." The directorates on Europe and Russia, which were separate under Obama, have now been combined.

It's possible that the current chaos and lack of bureaucratic process is a result of the Trump administration still going through growing pains and figuring out how best to run things. But former NSC officials said an organizational chart for the NSC is the kind of thing you have in place weeks before taking office.

Only time will tell if the way things are currently being done is deliberate or part of a new administration learning on the job how best to provide advice to the president and communicate with the relevant agencies.

Trump's management style is known to be highly unstructured, if not chaotic. The Postreported in May that he was running his presidential campaign like he ran his business - "fond of promoting rivalries among subordinates, wary of delegating major decisions, scornful of convention and fiercely insistent on a culture of loyalty around him."

"While this may have worked for his company, it is certainly not a way to run a country," the official said.

Edited by Halcyon Daze

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http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-trailguide-updates-trump-administration-orders-media-1485281190-htmlstory.html

 

 

Trump administration orders media blackout at EPA

The Trump administration has instituted a media blackout at the Environmental Protection Agency and barred staff from awarding any new contracts or grants.
 

Emails sent to EPA staff since President Trump's inauguration on Friday and reviewed by the Associated Press detailed the specific prohibitions banning news releases, blog updates or posts to the agency's social media accounts.

The Trump administration has also ordered a "temporary suspension" of all new business activities at the department, including issuing task orders or work assignments to EPA contractors. The orders are expected to have a significant and immediate impact on EPA activities nationwide.

Similar orders barring external communications have been issued by the Trump administration at other federal agencies in recent days, including the Agriculture and Interior departments.

Staffers in EPA's public affairs office are instructed to forward all inquiries from reporters to the Office of Administration and Resources Management.

"Incoming media requests will be carefully screened," one directive said. "Only send out critical messages, as messages can be shared broadly and end up in the press."

A review of EPA websites and social media accounts, which typically include numerous new posts each day, showed no new activity since Friday.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Tuesday he had no information on the blackout. He said aides were looking into the circumstances.
 

Edited by Halcyon Daze

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http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-trump-tax-returns-20170122-story.html

Trump won't release his tax returns because people don't care, top adviser says

Kellyanne Conway, a senior aide to President Donald Trump, said Sunday that he has no plans to release his tax returns, a marked shift from Trump's pledge during the campaign to make them public once an audit was completed.

"The White House response is that he's not going to release his tax returns," said Conway, counselor to the president, during an appearance on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos." "We litigated this all through the election.

"People didn't care," Conway added. "They voted for him, and let me make this very clear: Most Americans are -- are very focused on what their tax returns will look like while President Trump is in office, not what his look like."

Presidents are not required to release their tax returns, but presidents dating back to Richard Nixon have routinely voluntarily done so.

 

A Washington Post-ABC poll last week showed that Trump's continued refusal to release his tax returns continues to be an unpopular decision, with 74 percent of Americans saying he should make the documents public, including 53 percent of Republicans.

Conway was questioned about a petition page on the White House website that allows citizens to ask government officials to take up issues of importance to them. Under former President Barack Obama, the White House would note any actions related to petitions that garnered more than 100,000 signatures online.

As of Sunday morning, a petition for Trump to immediately release his tax returns had received more than 200,000 signatures.

One petition asks the administration to "immediately release Donald Trump's full tax returns" and says it wants Trump to not be in conflict with the emoluments clause of the Constitution.

Less than a day after the petition was started, it eclipsed the 100,000-signature mark -- enough to elicit an official response.

There were a handful of petitions this weekend. Another petition on the site is also about Trump's money, demanding he "divest or put in a blind trust all of the President's business and financial assets." One asked Trump to resign. Another sought the repeal of the National Firearms Act, removing restrictions on gun ownership.

Oh, and some people want farmers to be able to grow hemp.

The most popular petition, about the tax returns, says that "unprecedented economic conflicts of this administration need to be visible to the American people."

It seeks documentation about "foreign influences and financial interests which may put Donald Trump in conflict with the emoluments clause of the Constitution."

The clause prohibits a president from accepting a gift or a benefit from a foreign leader. It was drafted by the Founding Fathers to prevent the leaders of the fledgling United States from being under the financial thumb of a foreign country like France or England.

But Trump's critics say the billionaire businessman was violating the Constitution the moment he swore an oath to protect and defend it.

Ron Fein, the legal director at Free Speech for People, told The Washington Post's Matea Gold that there are several examples of Trump violating the emoluments clause, including rent paid by the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China for its space in Trump Tower in New York and spending by foreign diplomats at the Trump properties, including his hotel in Washington, a few blocks from his new home.

Trump has said he would donate profits from foreign business clients to the U.S. Treasury, although he hasn't said exactly how he'd track, collect and disburse such payments, according to Gold.

And even if he's found to be in violation of the emoluments clause, it is unclear whether a violation of it qualifies as "treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors" that could lead to Trump's impeachment.

Trump's refusal to release his tax returns became a heated issue on the campaign trail.

On Jan. 11, during Trump's first official news conference since winning the election, he continued to resist suggestions to release the returns.

"The only ones that care about my tax returns are the reporters," Trump said. "You learn very little from a tax return."

During the campaign and since then, Democrats consistently criticized Trump for not releasing his returns, saying that information was needed to evaluate conflicts that might be posed by his vast business holdings.

"You know full well that Trump -- President Trump and his family are complying with all the ethical rules, everything they need to do to step away from his businesses and be a full-time president," said Conway, who previously served as Trump's campaign manager.

On NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday, Conway said that White House press secretary Sean Spicer had presented "alternative facts" on Saturday when he falsely stated that Trump's swearing-in ceremony drew "the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration."

Spicer made that claim during a late Saturday afternoon briefing, in which he scolded reporters for trying to "lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration" by deliberately reporting numbers that were lower than the White House believed.

The National Park Service, which controls the National Mall, where crowds gather for the swearing-in ceremonies, does not release crowd estimates.

But photographs and other means make clear that Trump's crowd was far smaller than the 1.8 million people that Obama's first inauguration was estimated to have attracted in 2009. Television ratings released by Nielsen on Saturday also showed a smaller audience for Trump than for Obama in 2009.

Confronted by "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd about Spicer's characterization, Conway responded by saying: "You're saying it's a falsehood, and Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that."

Conway later backtracked and said there was no way to know which audience was larger.

"I don't think you can prove those numbers one way or another," she told Todd. " There's no way to quantify crowd numbers."

Edited by Halcyon Daze

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http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/videos/a52466/donald-trump-tax-returns-timeline/

 

A Definitive Timeline of Donald Trump's Many Excuses About His Taxes

 

"Nobody knows the tax return world better than me."

Lost amidst Kellyanne Conway's assault on the concept of facts this weekend was her remarkable new line when it comes to President Trump's tax returns. Conway finally cut to the chase, declaring unequivocally that Trump simply will not release his returns because nobody cares.

"The White House response is that he's not going to release his tax returns," Conway told NBC News. "We litigated this all through the election. People didn't care. They voted for him. And let me make this very clear. Most Americans are very focused on what their tax returns will look like while President Trump is in office, not what his look like."

(Conway took to Twitter this morning to reintroduce the audit excuse. To be clear, this excuse is not valid—Trump could release the returns while they're under audit.)

As The Washington Post's Philip Bump pointed out, this is not the case. Donald Trump's victory did not prove voters didn't care about his tax returns, because a vote for a candidate is not an endorsement of every specific position they hold. (Also, nearly 3 million more Americans voted for his opponent.) This seems particularly true given that after the election, 60 percent of Americans still think Trump should release his tax returns, including a majority of independents.

The reason for this is for the public to get a better idea of the financial relationships that Trump brings to the Oval Office, particularly with foreign entities and creditors. Every major party candidate since Watergate has released their taxes during the campaign so that the public is aware of conflicts of interest that could arise during his or her presidency. As the former head honcho at a tremendously huge company, Trump could have entanglements that affect his decision making in significant ways.

Trump and his surrogates' excuses for avoiding this basic responsibility of modern presidential politics hasn't always been so direct as Conway's was this past weekend, though. Let's hop in the DeLorean and see what they used to say about tax returns.

January 18, 2012: Trump told Fox News' Greta Van Susteren that then-Republican candidate Mitt Romney should release his tax returns.

May 20, 2014: Trump said in an interview on Irish TV that he would "absolutely" release his tax returns if he decided to run for office:

February 25, 2015: Trump told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt: "I would release tax returns," because, after all, "Nobody knows the tax return world better than me."

 

October 4, 2015: Trump said on This Week that he would release the returns when "we find out the true story on Hillary's emails."

January 24, 2016: Trump told Chuck Todd on Meet the Press that he would release the returns. When asked about the delay, he cited their size.

 

Well, we're working on that now. I have very big returns, as you know, and I have everything all approved and very beautiful and we'll be working that over in the next period of time, Chuck. Absolutely...This is not, like, a normal tax return.

 

February 10, 2016: Trump pledged to Matt Lauer to release them "probably over the next few months."

February 25, 2016: Trump introduced the audit argument after Mitt Romney challenged him to release his returns, and appeared to hint there was an IRS conspiracy against him.

"As far as my return, I want to file it except for many years, I've been audited every year. Twelve years or something like that. Every year they audit me, audit me, audit me. I have friends that are very wealthy people" who never get audited, he said..."I will absolutely give my return but I'm being audited now for two or three [years' worth] now so I can't."

Fact-checkers, tax experts, and the IRS have repeatedly made it clear that there is no legal reason a person under audit could not release their tax returns. In fact, President Nixon—that paragon of virtue—released his tax returns while they were under audit.

March 30, 2016: The Trump campaign released a letter from his accountants attesting to the fact his tax returns since 2009 are under review by the IRS. They indicate this has been a regular occurrence since 2002 because of the complexity of his holdings—namely, the byzantine structure of the Trump Organization.

May 5, 2016: Trump said he also can't release his returns from 2002-2008, or from 1977-2002—all of which his accountants say are not under audit—because "they're all linked."

May 11, 2016: Trump said he didn't expect to release his returns before the November election, again citing the audit. He also claimed there's "nothing to learn from them."

May 13, 2016: Trump told George Stephanopoulos his tax rate is "none of your business" and that he "fight very hard to pay as little tax as possible."

 

WATCH: "It's none of your business, you'll see it when I release." - @realDonaldTrump on what his tax rate is...

 

July 27, 2016: Then-campaign chair Paul Manafort continued the audit line: "Mr. Trump has said that his taxes are under audit and he will not be releasing them."

July 28, 2016: Trump to Van Susteren: "I haven't had much pressure (to release tax returns). I'll be honest, most people don't care."

This was obviously false.

September 7, 2016: "When the audit is complete I will release my returns," Trump told Bill O'Reilly. "I have no problem with it. It doesn't matter." O'Reilly reminded him he could release while under audit, and Trump said, "Nobody would recommend that."

 

 

Edited by Halcyon Daze

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https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/14/trump-suggests-he-may-drop-russia-sanctions-if-moscow-helpful

Donald Trump suggests he may drop Russia sanctions if Moscow 'is helpful'

 

Donald Trump: ‘If Russia is really helping us, why would anybody have sanctions if somebody’s doing some really great things?’ Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP

Donald Trump has suggested he might drop sanctions against Russia and that the communist party rulers in Beijing needed to show good faith on currency and trade practices before he committed to a “One China” policy on Taiwan.

In fresh signs that the US president-elect is prepared to reshape longstanding Washington foreign policy, he told the Wall Street Journal that he would keep sanctions against Russia in place “at least for a period of time”.

But he added: “If you get along and if Russia is really helping us, why would anybody have sanctions if somebody’s doing some really great things?”

Trump’s policy towards Russia is the subject of intense interest in Washington amid a Senate inquiry into allegations that the Kremlin ordered a hacking operation against the Democratic party to help the billionaire politician win the November election.

Trump – who has praised Vladimir Putin for being “very smart” – said he was willing to meet the Russian president in the months after he moves into the White House following his January 20 inauguration.

“I understand that they would like to meet, and that’s absolutely fine with me,” he said.

Controversy also surrounds the Trump administrations’s attitude towards China, with soon-to-be secretary of state Rex Tillerson warning Beijing this week that China would “not be allowed access” to its artificial islands in the South China Sea.

Asked if he supported the “One China” policy on Taiwan that has underpinned US relations with Beijing for decades, Trump said: “Everything is under negotiation including ‘One China’,” the Journal reported.

Trump caused offence in Beijing when he took a congratulatory telephone callfrom Taiwan’s president in the wake of his election victory – a breach of the “One China” protocol under which Washington agreed to withdraw diplomatic recognition of the island nation as part of a deal to open up relations with the mainland.

On Taiwan, he told the Journal: “We sold them $2bn of military equipment last year. We can sell them $2bn of the latest and greatest military equipment but we’re not allowed to accept a phone call. First of all it would have been very rude not to accept the phone call.”

During the election campaign Trump said he would label China a currency manipulator on the first day of taking office. The yuan has fallen steadily against the dollar in recent years, bringing accusations from the US that Beijing has deliberately forced its currency lower to gain a market advantage for its exports.

 

 

 

Edited by Halcyon Daze

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https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/01/tusk-europe-trump/515154/

 

 

European Leaders Are Now Describing Trump as a Threat

The new administration has called into question "the last 70 years of American foreign policy,” one says.

 

Something has fundamentally changed in the world  when one of the leaders of the European Union mentions the American president among the top threats to European unity, along with Russian aggression, radical Islamic terrorism, and civil wars in the Middle East. On Tuesday, European Council President Donald Tusk did just that. In a letter to the heads of EU member states, he expressed deep misgivings about the other Donald, who has questioned the value of NATO, applauded Britain’s exit from the European Union, suggested other countries may also leave the bloc to reclaim “their own identity,” and dismissed the EU as merely a “vehicle for Germany” to assert its power.

The “change in Washington puts the European Union in a difficult situation; with the new administration seeming to put into question the last 70 years of American foreign policy,” Tusk wrote. Europe should try to preserve its close relations with the United States, he argued, but the EU should also respond to Trump’s protectionist trade policies by “intensifying” its trade talks with other countries. (The EU is the second-largest supplier of imports to the U.S. and America’s second-largest export market.)

Tusk also identified an internal danger for the European Union: the rise of “anti-EU, nationalist, increasingly xenophobic” populist movements in countries like France and the United Kingdom, for which Donald Trump has expressed support. “National egoism is ... becoming an attractive alternative to integration,” he warned, leaving the EU more vulnerable than it’s been since the signing in 1957 of the Treaty of Rome, which created an early version of the union.

Tusk’s letter comes as European leaders from Germany to Iceland to Britain condemn Trump’s immigration ban, and a day after Guy Verhofstadt, the EU’s lead negotiator for Brexit talks, similarly characterized the U.S. president as a threat to the union on par with jihadist terrorism and Vladimir Putin. “Trump spoke very favorably of the fact that also other countries will want to break away from the European Union, and that he hoped for a disintegration of the European Union,” Verhofstadt said during a speech in London.

“Twenty million people have died because of nationalism in Europe, because of the [Holocaust], ethnic cleansing, pogroms,” Verhofstadt continued. “There is not one family living on the continent ... who has no grandfather, grandmother, member of the family, who was not a victim of these stupidities, and of these atrocities at the end of the 19th and the whole 20th century.” Staking the “future organization of Europe on nationalist ideas is the most stupid thing you can do,” he added. “It’s playing with fire.”

As Richard Aldrich of the University of Warwick has documented, U.S. leaders since Harry Truman have supported European political and economic unification—not just through the creation of the Marshall Plan and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization after World War II, but also through overt and covert backing for the European federalist movement in the late 1940s and 1950s. These American leaders hoped, in part, that a “United States of Europe” would help counter the Soviet Union and the spread of communism, but they also hoped to avoid a repeat of the horrific history invoked by Verhofstadt, including a resurgence of German aggression. Barack Obama referenced those goals when he traveled to the United Kingdom last spring to campaign against Britain leaving the EU. “For centuries, Europe was marked by war and by violence,” Obama said. “The architecture that our two countries helped build with the EU has provided the foundation for decades of relative peace and prosperity on that continent.”

Donald Trump doesn’t appear to agree. And European leaders seem increasingly aware of that fact. As German Chancellor Angela Merkel observed shortly before Trump’s inauguration, “We Europeans have our fate in our own hands.”

Edited by Halcyon Daze

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http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-27/enrique-pena-nieto-cancels-talks-with-donald-trump-over-wall/8216322

 

 

Donald Trump threatens Mexico with 20pc import tariff to pay for southern border wall

 

 

Mr Pena Nieto said on Twitter he had "informed the White House that I will not attend the work meeting planned for next Tuesday with the POTUS," following earlier tweets from Mr Trump suggesting the US was owed the price of the wall.

 "If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting," the US President had declared on Twitter.

In a later speech, Mr Trump claimed that calling off the meeting was a mutual decision and floated a new possible threat to Mexico, which sends about 80 per cent of its exports to the US and which has vowed not to pay for a wall. 

He also said: "Unless Mexico is going to treat the United States fairly, with respect, such a meeting would be fruitless, and I want to go a different route. We have no choice."

How Trump's border wall would work

Donald Trump's plan to build a border wall with Mexico raises many questions. White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Mr Trump could impose a 20 per cent tax on imports to pay for the southern wall. But the announcement sparked immediate confusion across Washington, and the White House tried to backtrack.

During a hastily arranged briefing in the West Wing, chief of staff Reince Priebus said a 20 per cent import tax was one idea in "a buffet of options" to pay for the border wall. 

The two countries conduct some US$1.6 billion ($2.12 billion) a day in cross-border trade, and cooperate on everything from migration to anti-drug enforcement to environmental issues.

Even before the tweet cancelling the meeting, Mr Pena Nieto faced growing pressure at home to scrap the meeting over objections to the border wall. 

Mexico says import tax would raise cost for US consumers

Mr Trump signed new executive orders, including one authorising the planned wall, on Wednesday just as a Mexican delegation led by Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray arrived at the White House for talks. 

The timing caused outrage in Mexico, with prominent politicians and many on social media seeing it as a deliberate snub to the Government's efforts to engage with Mr Trump, who has for months used Mexico as a political punching bag.

Donald Trump spends his first televised sit-down interview as US President insisting his inauguration speech saw the biggest crowd ever.

 Mr Videgaray said the summit was still on "for now". "If you tax exports from Mexico into the United States, you're going to make things ranging from avocados to appliances to flat-screen TVs, you're going to make them more expensive," Mr Videgaray told reporters at the Mexican embassy in Washington. Countries like Mexico would not pay such taxes directly. Companies would face the tax if they import products made there into the US, potentially raising prices for American consumers.

Edited by Halcyon Daze

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http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/donald-trump-wall-mexico-developer-says-most-idiotic-thing-ever-jorge-perez-a7556581.html

 

Donald Trump’s wall the 'most idiotic thing I have ever seen', says developer asked to build it

Argentine-born billionaire Jorge Perez said he declined the President's offer and joked about which side of the barrier he would end up on.

 

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Miami real estate tycoon Jorge Perez said he declined an invitation by President Donald Trump to help build a wall along the US border with Mexico, describing the plan as “idiotic.”

 

 

Perez, a billionaire who has built Trump-branded towers in South Florida, said the president e-mailed him after the inauguration with plans for the wall and asked if he’d be interested in working on it. In an interview at the offices of his company, Related Group, the Argentine-born developer said he politely declined and joked about which side of the barrier he would end up on.

 

 

He spoke in stronger terms during the interview. Financing the wall with a border tax on imports would mean the cost will ultimately be passed on to US consumers, and protectionism could risk triggering a trade war with Mexico, Perez said.

 

 

 “The wall is the most idiotic thing I’ve ever seen or heard in my life,” said Perez, who was raised in Colombia by Cuban parents. “A wall for what? You think a wall is going to stop people that are hungry? Good employment in Mexico, economic growth in Mexico, equality is going to stop people from coming over the border.” The White House press office didn’t respond to requests for comment.

 

Perez is developing real estate projects in Mexican cities including Cancun, Zihuatanejo and Mexico City, which he expects may reach a total value of about $2 billion. He said he’s considering an initial public offering of Related Group within the next few years as he weighs how to pass on his business.

 

Perez, known in Miami as the “Condo King” for redefining the city’s skyline, is a longtime friend and partner of Trump’s. The president wrote the introduction to the Florida developer’s 2008 book, “Powerhouse Principles.” Perez said in the interview that he holds Trump in high regard as a businessman and marketer, and praised his successful presidential campaign.

 

Perez said he was approached about a potential position as undersecretary of housing and urban development under Ben Carson, but he declined to be considered. He said he’s “dramatically opposed” to parts of Trump’s immigration and trade policies.

 

Edited by Halcyon Daze

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http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/politics/ct-trump-kushner-diplomacy-20170128-story.html

 

Trump tasks son-in-law Kushner, a diplomatic novice, with managing Mexico dispute

One week into office, President Donald Trump was trying to clean up his first international incident.

 

 

The president shifted a jam-packed schedule Friday to make room for an hourlong phone call with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, who had abruptly snubbed the new president by canceling a visit. Trump's team had appeared to respond by threatening a hefty border tax on Mexican imports.

 

By the end of the conversation, Trump had tasked his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner — a real estate executive with no national security experience — with managing the ongoing dispute, according to an administration official with knowledge of the call.

 

The episode, an uneven diplomatic debut, revealed the earliest signs of how the new president plans to manage world affairs. In a matter of days, he both alarmed and reassured international partners. He picked fights, then quickly backed away from them. He talked tough, and toned it down. And at each step, Trump relied on the small clutch of advisers that guided his norm-breaking campaign, a group with scant foreign policy experience but the trust of the president.

 

Much of the foreign policy decision-making has rested with Kushner and Steve Bannon, the conservative media executive turned White House adviser, according to administration officials and diplomats. Rex Tillerson, his nominee for secretary of state, is still awaiting confirmation. Officials at the National Security Council, an agency Trump has described as bloated, are still seeking marching orders from the new administration.

 

Some of Trump's early diplomatic moves have followed standard protocols. He scheduled early phone calls with friendly allies, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who both plan to meet Trump at the White House next month. Additional calls were planned Saturday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, key European partners.

 

But Trump also moved swiftly to announce a new era. He declared an end to efforts to pursue multi-nation trade deals and used his first executive action to withdraw the U.S. from a sweeping Pacific Rim pact. He also effectively closed off the United States to refugees, at least temporarily, and risked angering the Arab world by halting visas for people from seven majority Muslim nations for at least three months.

 

On his first full day as president, he told members of the intelligence community gathered at CIA headquarters that the U.S. should have taken Iraq's oil for "economic reasons," given America's efforts in the country, adding, "But, OK, maybe you'll have another chance."

 

Some officials at the National Security Council raised concerns over several elements of the refugee measure, as well as other early actions the president took on border security. But administration officials say Trump's inner circle has addressed few of their concerns.

 

Administration officials and diplomats insisted on anonymity to disclose private dealings with the White House.

 

Kushner and Bannon have been heavily involved in the Trump administration's early dealings with some European partners, leading during both phone calls and in-person meetings with diplomats and government officials.

 

In a discussion with British officials, Kushner is said to have angrily denounced the United Kingdom's decision to support a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning the expansion of Israeli settlements. The U.S. abstained from the vote before President Barack Obama left office, brushing aside Trump's demands that the U.S. exercise its veto.

 

Asked about Kushner's involvement on foreign policy, a White House official said he was "particularly well-suited for sensitive negotiations and relationship building."

In contrast with the Trump team's strong views on Israel, European partners have been left largely in the dark about Trump's approach to Russia. Some are on edge over a phone call with Putin on Saturday and fear he may strike a deal that leads to the removal of U.S. sanctions on Russia. The call was said to be arranged by national security adviser Mike Flynn, who has kept a low profile in recent days amid scrutiny over his ties to Russian officials.

 

Trump did little to ease anxieties Friday when he pointedly refused to say whether he planned to keep in place economic sanctions on Russia as punishment for its provocations in Ukraine.

 

"We'll see what happens," Trump said during a news conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May.

 

The prime minister was the first world leader to meet Trump following last week's inauguration, underscoring May's eagerness to get a reading on a man who is a mystery to many world leaders. Trump was measured during their brief joint press conference, but he also showed flashes of charm, joking with May about a British reporter's pointed question about his position on torture and complimenting her for being a "people person."

 

A visit from Pena Nieto to Washington had been expected to follow May's. But after Trump needled the Mexican president on Twitter, saying it would be better for him not to come if he couldn't commit to paying for Trump's proposed wall along the U.S. southern border, Pena Nieto told the White House he wouldn't be coming.

 

The White House quickly threatened to slap a 20 percent tax on imports from Mexico to pay for the wall, though officials quickly tried to walk the proposal back, saying it was just one option being considered.

 

Kushner, who already wields enormous power in the White House, is expected to work through the dispute with Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray. The two men, who know each other from the financial circles, also worked together to arrange Trump's surprise visit to Mexico during the presidential campaign.

 

The readouts released by the two countries after Friday's call pointed to the work to be done. A statement from Mexico said the presidents agreed "to no longer speak publicly" about their dispute over payment for the border wall. The White House statement made no such promise.

 

 

 

Edited by Halcyon Daze

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http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-25/trump-to-approve-controversial-pipelines/8210026

 

Donald Trump advances North Dakota, Keystone XL pipeline projects

 

US President Donald Trump has signed executive actions to advance the construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines, a pair of projects that were blocked by the Obama administration due in part to environmental concerns.

 

Mr Trump also signed an action to expedite environmental review and approval of high-priority infrastructure projects that he hopes to get moving as part of his drive to rebuild US airports, roads and bridges.

 

He told reporters that "we are going to renegotiate some of the terms" of the Keystone XL project.

 

"And if they like we will see if we can get that pipeline built — a lot of jobs, 28,000 jobs, great construction jobs," he said.

 

He said the Dakota pipeline, which was at the centre of massive Standing Rock protests, would be "subject to terms and conditions negotiated by us". Mr Trump said his order on pipelines "will put a lot of steelworkers back to work". "We are very insistent that if we are going to build pipelines in the United States, the pipes should be built in the United States," he said.

 

PHOTO: Donald Trump signed an executive order to advance construction of the Dakota Access pipeline. (Reuters: Kevin Lamarque)

Who are the Standing Rock protesters?

 

The US Army is now standing in the way of the controversial pipeline at Standing Rock. This is why the protests have received international attention.

The pipeline would run from Canada to US refineries in the Gulf Coast. The US government needed to approve the pipeline because it crossed the border.

 

Separately, late last year, the Army Corps of Engineers declined to allow construction of the Dakota Access pipeline under Lake Oahe, saying alternative routes needed to be considered.

 

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe and its supporters say the project threatens drinking water and Native American sites, though Energy Transfer Partners, the company that wants to build the pipeline, disputes that and says the pipeline will be safe.

 

Trump's executive order on #DAPL–violates the law and tribal treaties. We will be taking legal action. #standwithstandingrock #noDAPL The tribe said it would be taking legal action following Mr Trump's executive action. "President Trump is legally required to honour our treaty rights and provide a fair and reasonable pipeline process," Standing Rock Sioux tribe chairman Dave Archambault II said in a statement.

 

"Americans know this pipeline was unfairly rerouted towards our nation and without our consent. "The existing pipeline route risks infringing on our treaty rights, contaminating our water and the water of 17 million Americans downstream." The pipeline is to carry North Dakota oil through South Dakota and Iowa to a shipping point in Illinois.

 

Mr Trump has moved swiftly this week to make good on some of his core campaign pledges he says are aimed at creating jobs and growing the economy. On Monday, he signed a memorandum withdrawing the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, a proposed accord with 11 Pacific Rim countries and another of Mr Obama's prized accomplishments.

Mr Trump also signed memorandums freezing most federal government hiring, although he noted an exception for the military, and reinstating a ban on providing federal money to international groups that perform abortions or provide information on the option. The regulation, known as the "Mexico City Policy," has been a political volleyball, instituted by Republican administrations and rescinded by Democratic ones since 1984. The actions were among the long list of steps Mr Trump pledged to take on his opening day as president.

 

Trump administration orders EPA media blackout

 

Mr Trump's administration has also announced a media blackout on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and barred staff from awarding any new contracts or grants.

 

Emails sent to EPA staff detailed specific prohibitions banning press releases, blog updates or posts to the agency's social media accounts.

 

It also ordered a "temporary suspension" of all new business activities at the department, including issuing task orders or work assignments to EPA contractors. The orders were expected to have a significant and immediate impact on EPA activities nationwide.

 

"We're just trying to get a handle on everything and make sure what goes out reflects the priorities of the new administration," communications director for Mr Trump's EPA transition team Doug Ericksen said.

 

Edited by Halcyon Daze

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http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/01/30/the-coming-chaos-what-to-expect-from-trumps-national-security-team/

 

The Coming Chaos: What to Expect From Trump’s National Security Team

No one knows with any degree of certainty what type of foreign policy approach President Donald Trump and his team might pursue. But important data points from the transition and during his first week do not form a promising picture. A cancelled visit by Mexico’s president, chaos at our airports, and a political tirade in front of the CIA Memorial Wall give us plenty to worry about. The most likely scenario is an incoherent and dysfunctional policy process led by an ideological and hardline National Security Council and White House, an independent and reasonable Pentagon, a weak State Department, and an intelligence community leaking like a sieve to counter the White House.

 

Lack of Coherence

 

Nixon Lawyer Warns of ‘Calamity,’ Calls Trump’s Statement…

John Dean, who kept a list of political enemies, says he has never seen a statement so "nasty."

 

What is clear from the confirmation hearings for James Mattis, Rex Tillerson, and Mike Pompeo — Trump’s respective picks for secretary of defense, secretary of state, and CIA director — is that the views of Trump’s foreign policy team are all over the map and do not align with his own. While Mattis was calling NATO the “most successful military alliance, probably in modern world history, maybe ever,” Trump was describing it as “obsolete.” As Tillerson argued for a full review of the Iran nuclear deal, Mattis said that he would not have agreed to it but that the United States must keep its word, and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus indicated that the agreement was on “life support.”

 

It is good to have a diversity of views inside the national security team. This leads to robust debate and avoids the danger of groupthink. The problem is that you need a strong and engaged president who can listen to the various positions, make decisions, and set a clear course forward. There are no indications that Trump is going to have the attention span and willingness to do that. And without it, these types of disagreements will lead to dysfunction.

 

The problem is further exacerbated by the fact that the Trump team has yet to nominate a single deputy or undersecretary for any of the key national security agencies. It will take months to fill these positions because they all require Senate confirmation, and these high-level officials are essential for teeing up decisions and setting policy. Under the Barack Obama administration, they spent hours together (some would argue too many hours) in the situation room hammering out positions, setting policy, and preparing decisions for the cabinet and the president. This interagency process is essential for making sure that all agencies are working towards the same objectives. But in the Trump administration it is not clear what the interagency process will look like, given that the two officials responsible for running it — National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and his deputy, K.T. McFarland — have little experience in managing this critical endeavor.

 

Trump’s immigration executive order is a poster child for how not to conduct interagency coordination. The White House wrote the order with no consultation with the State Department, Department of Homeland Security, or Office Legal Counsel. The end result was confusion from agencies that did not understand how to implement the order (and thus began doing so haphazardly) and legal holes so wide that courts stayed elements of the order within a day.

 

Ideological National Security Council

 

Without a strong interagency process, each agency will operate on its own — often at cross-purposes. At the National Security Council, we can expect a right wing, pro-Russia agenda most reflective of the views expressed by the president. None of these officials have to be confirmed by the Senate, which gives Trump leeway to hire people with views similar to his own, even if those perspectives are unpopular with both Democrats and Republicans.

 

The five phone calls between Flynn and Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak on the day Obama announced punitive steps against Russia for interfering in the election are perhaps most telling of what we might see from this National Security Council. While we do not know what those calls involved, it was interesting that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s response was so restrained and that Trump then came out and praised the Russian leader. It almost felt coordinated. As former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, who worked on the Obama transition, explained, “I dealt with Kislyak all the time when I worked at the White House. Never needed to call him five times in one day to make my point.”

 

In an unusual move, Trump has given Stephen Bannon — his chief strategist — a permanent seat on the Principals Committee — an interagency of body of cabinet officials that deliberates on the most pressing national security challenges. Previous presidents have kept political advisors off this body to avoid mixing politics and national security and Bannon’s inclusion is an indicator of his power. Trump has also stated that Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, who has no real foreign policy experience and a decidedly right-wing perspective on Israel, will be responsible for making peace between Israel and the Palestinians. And the fact that extreme far-right figures like Nigel Farage, the leader of the U.K. Independence Party, and Marie Le Pen, the president of the French National Front, are showing up for meetings at Trump Tower is another indicator of the people with whom Trump is surrounding himself.

 

An Independent Pentagon

 

While the National Security Council may reflect the relatively frightening foreign policy views of the president, you can expect something very different at the Department of Defense. Mattis will be in a politically strong position as an overwhelmingly popular choice on both sides of the aisle who sailed through confirmation with no controversy. He is also the only Trump national security nominee with unassailable credentials and experience for the job he is set to assume, which will give him even more leverage.

 

As the secretary of defense, Mattis will have the authority based on current law to make decisions about significant movements of assets, troops, and money without checking with the White House. Even though the defense secretaries in the Obama administration also had these authorities, they often checked with the president and the national security advisor, because they knew that Obama and his team wanted to get deeply engaged on such detailed questions. And indeed, one critique of the Obama White House was that it was too controlling, often slowing decisions that should have just been made by the military with civilian oversight at the Defense Department.

 

But with a disengaged president and a dysfunctional interagency process, Mattis will not feel those constraints and will likely use his authorities. For example, even as the National Security Council and Trump are moving closer to Russia and dismissing NATO, Mattis may want the United States militarily to deepen it commitment to Europe and deter Russian aggression. This is probably good for those of us who care about maintaining the transatlantic alliance. But it will also be confusing for our friends and adversaries.

 

But Mattis will not be able to block many of the bad ideas coming out of the National Security Council and the White House. This was clear on Friday at the Pentagon’s Hall of Heros, where Mattis looked on as Trump signed the executive order on immigration, enacting a policy that Mattis has previously opposed.

 

A Feckless State Department

 

The outlook is different at the State Department, which will likely be quite weak. Tillerson will not have a huge budget and military assets to move around the globe. Instead, the secretary of state’s influence is largely derived from the perception that he speaks for the president and represents the administration’s policies abroad. But Tillerson does not seem to have that connection to Trump. When he stated at his confirmation hearing that he had not yet spoken with Trump about the critical issue of Russia, what he was essentially saying was: “I have no influence.”

 

The tough confirmation process — during which a number of Republican senators, including John McCain, Lindsay Graham, and Marco Rubio, as well as many Democrats, aired their concerns — may have weakened him further. This will give him less standing in future negotiations with Congress. And early steps by the administration to remove senior career officials at the department with no clear plans yet to replace them means confusion and lack of leadership for months to come.

 

A Leaky CIA

 

Finally, there is the Intelligence Community, in which relations with the president are off to a horrific start. Trump publicly cited Putin — a former KGB agent — over the assessment of U.S. intelligence agencies, and compared some of the leaks coming out of the Intelligence Community to life in Nazi Germany. This does not sit well with intelligence professionals — many of whom risk their lives for the United States. As opposed to the State Department and the Department of Defense, where the Trump administration will have a large number of political appointments that it can use to bend those agencies to its will, there are few such slots in intelligence. Career professionals dominate the intelligence agencies, and Trump has already alienated most of them.

 

The result is likely to be more of what we have already begun to see — strategic leaks to undercut Trump and combat what some intelligence officials see as dangerous policies coming out of the White House. It is unlikely that the Intelligence Community leaked the opposition research memo on Trump’s alleged ties to Russia — many news organizations and political operatives had that information. It is much more likely that someone in the community detected and leaked the existence of the five calls between Flynn and the Russian ambassador to undercut what was viewed as both bad policy and inappropriate meddling with Obama’s policies. The stories of intelligence counterparts warning British and Israeli colleagues not to share information with the Trump team for fear it would get to Russia and Iran is another indicator that the Intelligence Community may be at war with Trump’s National Security Council and White House for the next four years.

 

Ultimately, it is possible that much of what we have seen thus far is simply the result of a difficult transition process with a team that was not expecting to win the election and did not prepare as much as it should have. It is possible that as it catches up and learn to govern, some of these problems will go away quickly.

 

But the way national security policy is made ultimately derives from the tone set by the president and there is no sign that Trump is changing. It is much more likely that in the months ahead we will see a national security team beset by conflict, with little leadership from the president, resulting in an incoherent foreign policy. The only question is whether this problem lasts six months until Trump decides to clean house and bring in new leadership at the National Security Council to try and fix the problems, or whether it will last four or eight years. Either way, it is bad news for the United States and its allies.

 

Edited by Halcyon Daze

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http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/01/donald-trump-scandals/474726/

 

 

 

The Many Scandals of Donald Trump: A Cheat Sheet

One of the women who accused Trump of sexual misconduct has sued him for defamation after he labeled her claims false.

 

Donald Trump is now president and not just a private citizen, but that doesn’t mean he’s free of the controversies that dogged him in his former life.

Last week, a few days before Trump’s inauguration, former Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos sued him in New York state, accusing the president of defamation. Zervos, who’s represented by the famous lawyer Gloria Allred, was one of the several women who accused Trump of sexual assault or misconduct prior to the election. She claims that he kissed her and pressed his genitals against her non-consensually. Trump denied those claims, saying all of the women who had accused him had made their stories up. So Zervos sued him for defamation.

“I wanted to give Mr. Trump the opportunity to retract his false statements about me and the other women who came forward,” she said, as my colleague Nora Kelly reported. She added that she would withdraw the suit if Trump said she had been truthful. That seems unlikely, since a spokeswoman dismissed the suit immediately.

It’s unusual for a president to be in such a legal situation—though not entirely unprecedented. Bill Clinton settled a suit for sexual harassment filed by Paula Jones. Zervos’s suit serves to underscore an even more unusual fact, though, which is that Trump won election despite a raft of allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct lodged by women in multiple places, from different eras.

The 2016 presidential campaign saw a long string of stories showing scandals involving Trump, both large and small—from questionable business dealings to allegations of sexual assault. While they did not derail his presidential hopes, many of them remain live issues as Trump begins his transition to the White House.

The breadth of Trump’s controversies is truly yuge, ranging from allegations of mafia ties to unscrupulous business dealings, and from racial discrimination to alleged marital rape. They stretch over more than four decades, from the mid-1970s to the present day. To catalogue the full sweep of allegations would require thousands of words and lump together the trivial with the truly scandalous. Including business deals that have simply failed, without any hint of impropriety, would require thousands more. This is a snapshot of some of the most interesting and largest of those scandals.

 

 

 

Sexual-Assault Allegations

Where and when: Various, 1970s-2005

The dirt: Even before the release of a 2005 video in which he boasted about sexually assaulting women—“Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything,” he said, as well as “I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything”—there’s a long line of allegations against Trump. Jill Harth says Trump assaulted her in the 1990s. Trump’s ex-wife Ivana Trump once suggested he had raped her, though she has since recanted her story. Former Miss Utah Temple Taggart said he kissed her on the lips inappropriately. But since the release, more women have come forward. Two told The New York Times that Trump had assaulted them, one saying he tried to put his hand up her skirt on a flight in the 1970s and another saying he forcibly kissed her. A Florida woman says Trump groped her. A former Peoplereporter recounted an alleged assault at his Mar-a-Lago debate, and says he told her, “You know we’re going to have an affair, don’t you?” Several former teen pageant contestants said Trump walked in on them while they were naked or partially dressed.

The upshot: Trump denies all of the allegations. In the sexual-assault cases, Trump faces the difficulty that he in some cases bragged openly about just the behavior of which he has accused—whether grabbing or forcibly kissing. Trump has demanded a retraction from the Times, and has threatened to sue several outlets. The paper, in a letter, refused. A woman who brought a rape case against Trump (twice) withdrew her suit in November, but in January, Summer Zervos sued Trump for defamation, after he labeled her claims of sexual assault false.

 

 

 

  The Beauty Pageant Scandals

Where and when: Various, 1992-present

The dirt: The Boston Globe’s Matt Viser reports on the mess of the American Dream pageant in 1992. After years of attending beauty pageants—Trump seems to have always enjoyed the company of beautiful, scantily clad women—he decided he wanted to get in on the business himself, meeting with George Houraney and Jill Harth, a couple that ran the American Dream pageant. It was an ill-fated effort. Harth and Houraney alleged that Trump started making passes at her almost immediately. On one occasion, Trump allegedly asked them to bring some models to a party. Harth alleges Trump groped her at the party. In a limo afterward, another model said she heard him say that “all women are bimbos” and most “gold diggers.” Trump reportedly joined another model in bed, uninvited, late at night. On other occasions, he forced Harth into bedrooms and made passes at her, she said. But after the contest, Trump broke off dealings. Harth sued Trump, alleging sexual misbehavior, while the couple together sued him for breach of contract. In the suit, they also alleged that Trump had kept black women out of the pageant.

The upshot: The couple settled with Trump for an unannounced sum, and Harth dropped her suit. Trump has denied all the allegations. But it wasn’t Trump’s last turn in the pageant business. A few years later, he bought the Miss Universe pageant, which also includes Miss USA and Miss Teen USA. “Honestly, when I bought [Miss Universe], the bathing suits got smaller and the heels got higher and the ratings went up,” he boasted to Vanity Fair later. In 2012, he won a $5 million suit against a former contestant who claimed the contest was rigged. By 2015, he operated Miss Universe as a joint venture with NBC, but after he slurred Mexican immigrants at his campaign launch, Univision and NBC both announced they would not air the pageant. Trump bought out NBC’s share, then promptly sold the company. He sued Univision but settled in February. The terms were undisclosed.

 

  Racial Housing Discrimination

Where and when: New York City, 1973-1975

The dirt: The Department of Justice sued Trump and his father Fred in 1973 for housing discrimination at 39 sites around New York. “The government contended that Trump Management had refused to rent or negotiate rentals ‘because of race and color,’” The New York Times reported. “It also charged that the company had required different rental terms and conditions because of race and that it had misrepresented to blacks that apartments were not available.” Trump called the accusations “absolutely ridiculous.”

The upshot: The Trumps hired attorney Roy Cohn, who had worked for Joe McCarthy and whom Michael Kinsley once indelibly labeled “innocent of a variety of federal crimes.” They sued the Justice Department for $100 million. In the end, however, the Trumps settled with the government, promising not to discriminate and submitting to regular review by the New York Urban League—though crucially not admitting guilt. The Times has much more on the long history of allegations at Trump-owned properties

Read more: The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New York Times

 

   Mafia Ties

Where and when: New York and Atlantic City, 1970s- ?

The dirt: Trump has been linked to the mafia many times over the years, with varying degrees of closeness. Many of the connections seem to be the sorts of interactions with mobsters that were inevitable for a guy in the construction and casino businesses at the time. For example, organized crime controlled the 1980s New York City concrete business, so that anyone building in the city likely brushed up against it. While Trump has portrayed himself as an unwitting participant, not everyone agrees. There have been a string of other allegations, too, many reported by investigative journalist Wayne Barrett. Cohn, Trump’s lawyer, also represented the Genovese crime family boss Tony Salerno. Barrett also reported a series of transactions involving organized crime, and alleged that Trump paid twice market rate to a mob figure for the land under Trump Plaza in Atlantic City. Michael Isikoff has also reported that Trump was close to Robert LiButti, an associate of John Gotti, inviting him on his yacht and helicopter. In one case, Trump’s company bought LiButti nine luxury cars.

The upshot: Though Trump has been questioned in court or under oath about the ties, he’s never been convicted of anything. A New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement report after Barrett’s 1992 book on Trump generally found no mafia-related wrong-doing on Trump’s part. Trump Plaza was fined $200,000 for keeping black employees away from LiButti’s table, at his behest, and for the gift of the cars, though Trump personally was not penalized.

 

 

 

Trump University  

Where and when: 2005-2010

The dirt: In 2005, the Trump announced an eponymous “university” to teach his real-estate development secrets. Students ponied up as much as $35,000—some after being suckered in by slick free “seminars”—to learn how to get rich. One ad promised they would “learn from Donald Trump’s handpicked instructors, and that participants would have access to Trump’s real estate ‘secrets.’” In fact, Trump had little to do with the curriculum or the instructors. Many of the “students” have since complained that Trump U. was a scam. At one time, it had some prestigious instructors, but over time the “faculty” became a motley bunch of misfits. (It was also never really a “university” by any definition, and it changed its name to the “Trump Entrepreneur Initiative,” because as it happened, the school was violating New York law by operating without an educational license.)

The upshot: The school shut down in 2010. In November 2016, Trump agreed to settle a series of lawsuits related to the school for $25 million. Trump did not admit any wrongdoing as part of the settlement. But he had insisted for months that he would not settle the suit because he expected to win. For a time, he appeared to have been trying to intimidate plaintiffs, including countersuing one for $1 million (a favorite Trump litigation tactic) and refusing to let her withdraw from the suit. (The countersuit was thrown out.) His lawyers cited positive reviews, but former students say they were pressured to give those. Trump also mounted a length attack on the judge, claiming his ethnicity made him biased. Trump has been widely repudiated across the board, with fellow Republicans openly calling him racist.

 

 

 

Tenant Intimidation  

Where and when: New York City, 1982-1986

The scoop: In 1981, Trump scooped up a building on Central Park South, reasoning that the existing structure was a dump, but the land it was on would be a great place for luxury condos. Trump’s problem was that the existing tenants were—understandably and predictably—unwilling to let go of their rent-controlled apartments on Central Park. Trump used every trick in the book to get them out. He tried to reverse exceptions the previous landlord had given to knock down walls, threatening eviction. Tenants said he cut off heat and hot water. Building management refused to make repairs; two tenants swore in court that mushrooms grew on their carpet from a leak. Perhaps Trump’s most outlandish move was to place newspaper ads offering to house homeless New Yorkers in empty units—since, as Trump wrote in The Art of the Deal, he didn’t intend to fill units with permanent residents anyway. City officials turned him down, saying the idea did not seem appropriate. Typically, Trump also sued tenants for $150 million when they complained.

The upshot: Trump gave in. He settled with tenants and agreed to monitoring. The building still stands today, and his son Eric owns a unit on the top floor.

 

 

 

The Four Bankruptcies  

Where and when: 1991, 1992, 2004, 2009

The dirt: Four times in his career, Trump’s companies have entered bankruptcy.

In the late 1980s, after insisting that his major qualification to build a new casino in Atlantic City was that he wouldn’t need to use junk bonds, Trump used junk bonds to build Trump Taj Mahal. He built the casino, but couldn’t keep up with interest payments, so his company declared bankruptcy in 1991. He had to sell his yacht, his airline, and half his ownership in the casino.

A year later, another of Trump’s Atlantic City casinos, the Trump Plaza, went bust after losing more than $550 million. Trump gave up his stake but otherwise insulated himself personally from losses, and managed to keep his CEO title, even though he surrendered any salary or role in day-to-day operations. By the time all was said and done, he had some $900 million in personal debt.

Trump bounced back over the following decade, but by 2004, Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts was $1.8 billion in debt. The company filed for bankruptcy and emerged as Trump Entertainment Resorts. Trump himself was the chairman of the new company, but he no longer had a controlling stake in it.

Five years later, after the real-estate collapse, Trump Entertainment Resorts once again went bankrupt. Trump resigned from the board, but the company retained his name. In 2014, he successfully sued to take his name off the company and its casinos—one of which had already closed, and the other of which was near closing.

The upshot: Trump is very touchy about any implication that he personally declared bankruptcy, arguing—just as he explains away his campaign contributions to Democrats—that he’s just playing the game: “We’ll have the company. We’ll throw it into a chapter. We’ll negotiate with the banks. We’ll make a fantastic deal. We’ll use those. But they were never personal. This is nothing personal. You know, it’s like on The Apprentice. It’s not personal. It’s just business. Okay? If you look at our greatest people, Carl Icahn with TWA and so many others. Leon Black, Linens-n-Things and others. Henry Kravis. A lot of ‘em, everybody. But with me it’s ‘Oh, you did—’ this is a business thing. I’ve used the laws of this country to pare debt.”

 

 

The Undocumented Polish Workers  

Where and when: New York City, 1980

The dirt: In order to construct his signature Trump Tower, the builder first had to demolish the Bonwit Teller store, an architecturally beloved Art Deco edifice. The work had to be done fast, and so managers hired 200 undocumented Polish workers to tear it down, paying them substandard wages for backbreaking work—$5 per hour, when they were paid at all. The workers didn’t wear hard hats and often slept at the site. When the workers complained about their back pay, they were allegedly threatened with deportation. Trump said he was unaware that illegal immigrants were working at the site.

The upshot: In 1991, a federal judge found Trump and other defendants guilty of conspiring to avoid paying union pension and welfare contributions for the workers. The decision was appealed, with partial victories for both sides, and ultimately settled privately in 1999. In a February GOP debate, Marco Rubio brought up the story to accuse Trump of hypocrisy in his stance on illegal immigration. Meanwhile, Massimo Calabresi shows that testimony under oath shows Trump was aware of illegal immigrants being employed there.

Read more: Michael Daly, The New York Times, Time

 

 

 

Alleged Marital Rape  

Where and when: New York City, 1989

The dirt: While married to Ivana Trump, Donald Trump became angry at her—according to a book by Harry Hurt, over a painful scalp-reduction surgery—and allegedly forcibly had sex with her. Ivana Trump said during a deposition in their divorce case that she “felt violated” and that her husband had raped her. Later, Ivana Trump released a statement saying: “During a deposition given by me in connection with my matrimonial case, I stated that my husband had raped me. [O]n one occasion during 1989, Mr. Trump and I had marital relations in which he behaved very differently toward me than he had during our marriage. As a woman, I felt violated, as the love and tenderness, which he normally exhibited towards me, was absent. I referred to this as a ‘rape,’ but I do not want my words to be interpreted in a literal or criminal sense.”

The upshot: When The Daily Beast reported on the incident, Trump’s right-hand man Michael Cohen threatened reporters and claimed—incorrectly—that a man cannot legally rape his wife. The case is one of several cases where Trump has been accused of misogyny, including his comments about Megyn Kelly early in the primary campaign or his fury at a lawyer who, during a deposition, asked for a break to pump breast milk. “You’re disgusting,” Trump said, and walked out. (Wayne Barrett collects some lowlights here.)

 

 

 

 

Breaking Casino Rules  

Where and when: New York and New Jersey, various

The dirt: Trump has been repeatedly fined for breaking rules related to his operation of casinos. In 1990, with Trump Taj Mahal in trouble, Trump’s father Fred strolled in and bought 700 chips worth a total of $3.5 million. The purchase helped the casino pay debt that was due, but because Fred Trump had no plans to gamble, the New Jersey gaming commission ruled that it was a loan that violated operating rules. Trump paid a $30,000 fine; in the end, the loan didn’t prevent a bankruptcy the following year. As noted above, New Jersey also fined Trump $200,000 for arranging to keep black employees away from mafioso Robert LiButti’s gambling table. In 1991, the Casino Control Commission fined Trump’s company another $450,000 for buying LiButti nine luxury cars. And in 2000, Trump was fined $250,000 for breaking New York state law in lobbying to prevent an Indian casino from opening in the Catskills, for fear it would compete against his Atlantic City casinos.

The upshot: Trump admitted no wrongdoing in the New York case. He’s now out of the casino business.

 

 

 

Antitrust Violations  

Where and when: New Jersey, 1986

The dirt: In 1986, Trump decided he wanted to expand his casino empire in Atlantic City. His plan was to mount a hostile takeover of two casino companies, Holiday and Bally. Trump started buying up stock in the companies with an eye toward gaining control. But Bally realized what was going on and sued him for antitrust violations. “Trump hopes to wrest control of Bally from its public shareholders without paying them the control premium they otherwise could command had they been adequately informed of Trump's intentions,” the company argued.

 

The upshot: Trump gave up the attempt in 1987, but the Federal Trade Commission fined him $750,000 for failing to disclose his purchases of stock in the two companies, which exceeded minimum disclosure levels.

 

 

Condo Hotel Shenanigans  

Where and when: New York, Florida, Mexico, mid-2000s

The dirt: Trump was heavily involved in condo hotels, a pre-real-estate crash fixation in which people would buy units that they’d only use for a portion of the year. The rest of the time, the units would be rented out as hotel rooms, with the developer and the owner sharing the profit. For a variety of reasons, condo hotels turned out to be a terrible idea. The result has been a slew of lawsuits by condo buyers who claim they were bilked. Central to many of these is the question of what Trump’s role in the projects was. In recent years, Trump has often essentially sold his name rights to developers—he gets a payoff, and they get the aura of luxury his name imparts. But in some of the condo-hotel suits, buyers complain that they bought the properties as investments because of his imprimatur, only to realize he was barely involved. (Similar complaints have been made about his involvement in a multilevel marketing scheme.)

The upshot: In the case of Trump SoHo, in Manhattan, Trump’s partners turned out to have a lengthy criminal past. Trump said he didn’t know that, but—atypically—settled a lawsuit with buyers (while, typically, not admitting any wrongdoing). Another, Trump International Hotel & Tower Fort Lauderdale, went into foreclosure, and Trump has sued the complex’s developer. In 2013, he settled a suit with prospective buyers who lost millions when a development in Baja Mexico went under. Trump blamed the developers again, saying he had only licensed his name.

 

 

 

Corey Lewandowski    

Where and when: Jupiter, Florida, 2016

The dirt: Trump picked Corey Lewandowski to manage his campaign, despite a relatively short resume. For a long time, that seemed to work well for both—Trump soared to the lead in GOP polls. But Lewandowski hit a rough patch in early March. As Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields tried to ask Trump a question after a press conference, Lewandowski reached out and wrenched her out of the way. Lewandowski and Trump insisted the incident had never happened and that Fields was “delusional,” even though witnesses attested to having seen it.

The upshot: Surveillance footage acquired by Jupiter Police from Trump National, site of the press conference, clearly showed what had happened. Lewandowski was arrested for battery, but the prosecutor opted not to press charges. Trump has said he may have been the one in danger, since Fields’s pen could have been a bomb.

 

 

 

Suing Journalist Tim O’Brien for Libel 

Where and when: New York City, 2006-2009

The dirt: In 2005, then-New York Times reporter Tim O’Brien published the book TrumpNation, in which he reported that Trump was actually only worth $150-250 million, not the billions he claimed. Trump, incensed, sued O’Brien for $5 billion. (That’s one way to become a billionaire.)

 

 

The upshot: Trump’s suit against O'Brien was tossed. More recently, O’Brien has mocked Trump’s current claims about his net worth. Trump, meanwhile, has said on the campaign trail—and, mindblowingly, in an interview with the Washington Post editorial board—that he wants to make it easier to sue for libel. The Post combed through Trump’s deposition in the case and found 30 instances where Trump admitted to having lied.

 

 

 

Refusing to Pay Workers and Contractors

Where and when: various, 1980s-present

The dirt: Contractors, waiters, dishwashers, and plumbers who have worked at Trump projects say that his company stiffed them for work, refusing to pay for services rendered. USA Today did a lengthy review, finding that some of those contracts were for hundreds of thousands of dollars, many owed to small businesses that failed or struggled to continue because of unpaid bills. (Trump was also found to have improperly withheld compensation in the undocumented Polish worker controversy.)

The upshot: Trump has offered various excuses, including shoddy workmanship, but the scale of the problem—hundreds of allegations—makes that hard to credit. In some cases, even the lawyers Trump has hired to defend him have sued him for failing to pony up their fees. In one lawsuit, a Trump employee admitted in court that a painter was stiffed because managers determined they had “already paid enough.” The cases are damaging because they show Trump not driving a hard bargain with other businesses, but harming ordinary, hard-working Americans. More recently, several contractors filed $5 million in liens against Trump’s new hotel in Washington, alleging he has not paid them for services rendered.

 

 

 

Trump Institute

Where and when: Boca Raton and elsewhere, 2005-?

The dirt: Around the same time Donald Trump was operating Trump University, the allegedly fraudulent real-estate seminar for which he’s now being sued, he also franchised his name to Irene and Mike Milin, serial operators of get-rich-quick schemes. Unlike Trump U., Trump did not own the company. Instead, he licensed his name, appearing in an informercial and promising falsely that he would hand-pick instructors. (He made a similar promise with Trump U.) As Jonathan Martin reports, the course materials at Trump Institute consisted in part of textbooks that were plagiarized.

The upshot: The Milins were forced to declare bankruptcy in 2008, in part because of the law-enforcement investigations and lawsuits against their company. Trump Institute continued on for a few years afterwards. A Trump aide says he was unaware of the plagiarism, but said he stood by the curriculum.

 

 

Buying Up His Own Books

Where and when: various, 2016

The dirt: The Daily Beast noticed in FEC filings that the Trump campaign spent more than $55,000 buying his own book Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again. (The book has since been retitled Great Again: How to Fix Our Crippled America for the paperback edition.) That means Trump used donor money to his campaign to buy a book, sending the cash back to himself. Copies were given to delegates at the Republican National Convention.

 

 

The upshot: The maneuver could break FEC rules, campaign expert Paul S. Ryan told the Beast: “It’s fine for a candidate’s book to be purchased by his committee, but it’s impermissible to receive royalties from the publisher... There’s a well established precedent from the FEC that funds from the campaign account can’t end up in your own pocket.” The Huffington Post also noticed that Trump jacked up rent for campaign offices when he stopped funding his own campaign.

 

 

 

 

Undocumented Models

Where and when: New York, 1999-?

The dirt: Former models who worked for Trump Model Management say that they and others worked for the agency in the United States despite not having proper permits. Some of them worked on tourist visas, either never getting the correct permits or else getting them only after working in the U.S. illegally for months.

The upshot: The story is embarrassing for Trump, who has argued that U.S. immigration laws should be much more strictly enforced. Some models also received H-1B visas, a special type of permit for workers in specialized industries—a program that Trump has criticized on the campaign trail this year.

 

 

 

 

The Trump Foundation

Where and when: Various, 1988-present

The dirt: Though Donald Trump often promises to give to charity, his foundation has proven rather skimpy on the gifts over the years—and when it has given, the money has often come from other pockets than Trump’s, including outside donors and even NBC. In the mid-2000s, Trump reconfigured the charity as a pass-through, soliciting donations from other and then giving the money away as though from himself. It appears that the foundation did not have the requisite legal permission from New York state to gather donations. In a few cases, the foundation also reported making donations it had not made. There’s special scrutiny on one $25,000 donation it did give, to a group supporting Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, which arrived just days before she quashed an investigation into Trump University and the Trump Institute. Trump also appears to have used $258,000 in foundation money, most of it given by other donors and not himself, to settle legal disputes, including donations to charity in lieu of paying fines. Trump directed more than $2 million in income to the foundation, and if he didn’t pay taxes on them—his campaign for the most part refused to say—it would be illegal tax-dodging.

The upshot: The foundation appears to have broken IRS rules on “self-dealing” by paying to resolve the legal disputes as well as buying a portrait of Trump and a Tim Tebow helmet that went back to the Trump family. In November, in tax filings posted online, the Trump Foundation said it had violated self-dealing rules in 2015 and in previous, indeterminate, years. On the donation, Trump and Bondi both say there was no quid-pro-quo, but the donation was an illegal one for a charitable nonprofit, and the foundation had to pay a $2,500 fine. Liberal watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington charges other laws may have been broken as well. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has reportedly launched an investigation into the foundation. Schneiderman has also informed the foundation that it is in violation of rules on fundraising and ordered it to quit. Trump has announced plans to shutter his foundation, but reportedly cannot do so while it is under investigation.

 

 

The Cuban Embargo

Where and when: Cuba, 1998-present

The dirt: Although U.S. law prohibits American commercial involvement in Cuba, there’s evidence to suggest that the Trump Organization has been active on the island for almost two decades. In 1998, as the Clinton administration loosened some restrictions, Trump scouted business opportunities, and according to documents viewed by Newsweek, spent $68,000 there, likely in violation of the law. More recently, Trump executive have traveled to Cuba in apparent scouting trips for golf resorts, BusinessWeek reports.

The upshot: Trump and his company have not commented in any detail on either report. One Trump executive told BusinessWeek that his travel to Cuba was unrelated to the company, while another associate said he’d discussed forming a company with Trump to run golf courses in Cuba. Experts said these activities would all likely fall afoul of current rules

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Halcyon Daze

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http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/01/donald-trump-voter-fraud-evidence

WHITE HOUSE DEFENDS TRUMP VOTER-FRAUD LIE, OFFERS NO EVIDENCE

Sean Spicer says Trump believes millions of people voted illegally, but will not investigate.

Hours after reports emerged that Donald Trump told congressional leaders he believes 3 million to 5 million people voted illegally in the November election, a long debunked claim that he repeated Monday without any evidence, White House press secretary Sean Spicer defended the lie but offered no proof of his own.

 

“The president does believe that. He’s stated it before,” Spicer told ABC’s Cecilia Vega, after she asked whether the White House actually had evidence that widespread voter fraud took place. “I think he’s stated his concerns of voter fraud and of people voting illegally during the campaign, and continues to maintain that belief based on studies and evidence that people have presented to them.”

 

When pressed, Spicer cited a Pew study from 2008, which, he claimed, showed that “14 percent of people who voted are non-citizens.” In fact, the actual report stated that 13 percent of voter-registration records are estimated to be inaccurate or no longer valid, a problem that increases inefficiency and costs, but has little to do with fraud. It is also possible he was referring to a different, 2014 study that found 14 percent of non-citizens suggested they were registered to vote in 2008 and 2010, though the group behind the report later said the sample size was too small to be accurate, as CNN notes. The Brennan Center for Justice has found that the actual incidence of voter fraud is between 0.00004 percent and 0.0009 percent.

 

“There’s other studies that show—it’s a belief he maintains,” Spicer continued, attempting to explain Trump’s viewpoint. “It’s a belief he’s maintained for a while, a concern he has about voter fraud, and that’s based on information provided to him.”

 

NPR’s Mara Liasson asked why, if Trump believed the “biggest scandal in American electoral history” had taken place, had he not immediately launched an investigation. “Maybe we will,” said Spicer. “But right now, the focus that Donald Trump has said is that he wants to put Americans back to work. It was a comment he made on a long-standing belief,” he added.

 

At least one Republican senator so far isn’t having it. “It is the most inappropriate thing for the president to say without proof,” Lindsay Graham told CNN later that day. “We’re talking about a man who won the election and seems to be obsessed with the idea that he could not have possibly lost the popular vote without cheating and fraud. So I would urge the president to knock this off.”

 

But if Spicer’s final answer on the subject indicated anything, the Trump team has found a way to avoid dealing with this paradox. When NBC’s Hallie Jackson asked why Trump had not done anything yet, even now that he had the power to investigate an unprecedented case of voter fraud, Spicer said that, ultimately, Trump didn’t really care, because he conclusively won the electoral college vote. “He’s very comfortable with the depth and breadth of the support he received from the American people.”

 

 

 

Edited by Halcyon Daze

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  The insanity just goes on and on...

 

We at least they had the foresight not to ban guns.

 

What could possibly go wrong with everyone being armed to the hilt ?

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I have avoided commenting on this topic for a while, and I don't mean this post to de-rail the OP's thread, but in times like these I find it helpful to focus on what I can do, not what I can't.

 

SImmering over decisions that you had no part in influencing, and over events that you really have little to no agency to effect visible change is in real terms a waste of energy.

 

What can I do? What do I have control over? What is directly relevant to the day to day effective functioning of my existence, in this moment?

 

^These are the questions that consume my mind the most. You can lead a horse to water and all that. The only mind you have the power to change is your own...

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Hate to say it halcyon but unfortunately threads like this make the other side of this debate seem highly rational in comparison.

 

Edit: though I'm on my phone in another country with a really bad wifi connection, so that might be why it looks like an overwhelming mountain of feverishly posted, poorly formatted gobldigoop

 

 

Edited by paradox

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Now they're saying Trump hung up on Turnbull over a disagreement about the refugee resettlement.

Trumps hangs up on Turnbull

 

After the PR machine here telling us how it was all hunky dory between the two and the agreement was still going through.

 

Who would have thought the media or the liberals would lie to us.

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Turnbull meets the trunchbull!

 

 

What a beige disappointment of a banker is our pm.

 

images (2).jpg

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What can I do? What do I have control over? What is directly relevant to the day to day effective functioning of my existence, in this moment?

 

^These are the questions that consume my mind the most. You can lead a horse to water and all that. The only mind you have the power to change is your own...

 

Hasn't Halcyon done exactly this? He's started a thread which records information from a different perspective to another influential thread on the forum. If people are keeping up with the topic on these boards, he has provided resources to help people make their own minds up about what has proved to be a popular topic. If people don't want to update their opinions and change their minds according to new information, there's not much he can do, but he's given them some resources to do that if they are open minded (as has Thunder Ideal in his thread).

 

What steps would you suggest taking that are within your control?

 

EDIT: Made some assumptions about the thread which were incorrect, have amended the first sentence of my post according to HD's post below.

Edited by hashslingr
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It's only meant to be a place to keep a record of what's going on. So in the future, when people want to look back for something they'll be able to find it.

 

It's not to counterbalance Thunder's thread at all, and he's welcome to make comment any time.

 

The reason I made an entirely new thread was because Thunder's thread didn't seem like the most appropriate place to document the latest developments, and I didn't want him (or anyone) to think I was attacking or trolling them personally every time I aired my opinion of Trump.

 

It's just a place to keep track or the weekly events so things won't be forgotten.

 

Put it this way, when things get really bad in the near future, we should be under no illusion how we got there.

 

IMO Trump is making some really dangerous moves as leader of the free world, but peeps can make up their own opinion on that.

Edited by Halcyon Daze

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