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Trump’s Refusal to Accept Defeat: Another Reason Why He Is Not Fit For Office

Brief #4—Transition of Power
By Linda F. Hersey
Although Donald Trump is the first sitting president to refuse to concede after losing a U.S. democratic election – shocking the nation and leaders across the world —  his wild claims of conspiracy and election fraud come as no surprise to a handful of academics, attorneys and political strategists who weighed the danger of such an outcome prior to Election 2020.

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Trump’s Enablers

Brief #2—Transition of Power Blog
By Sean Gray 
 Donald Trump has lost the 2020 presidential elections. His failure to acknowledge as much has no bearing on the outcome.

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What Trump Could Do on the Way Out

Brief #1—Transition of Power
By Sean Gray
It’s all over but the crying in the case of the 2020 presidential election, and rest assured there will be crying. Celebrations broke out in cities across the country at the news the Associated Press had called the race in favor of Joe Biden.

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The Criminal Liabilities of Our President Once He Leaves Office

The Criminal Liabilities of Our President Once He Leaves Office

 Transition of Power 

A new blog post by USRESIST Reporters on the transition of Presidential Power from the Trump to the Biden administration

Brief # 5  The Criminal Liabilities of Our President Once He Leaves Office

By Sean Gray 

December 7, 2020

If all is equal and the courts are on the level, Donald Trump’s chickens should come home to roost sometime after noon on January 20th. In running for president, Trump shined the brightest light imaginable on a career of shady business dealings. Failing to secure a second term ensured  the statute of limitations will not expire on many of the related charges before his presidential immunity does. Trump’s conduct in his time as president also consistently ran afoul of the law. A Justice Department policy dating back to Watergate ensured that he, nor any other sitting president, could be charged with a crime while in office. Following Biden’s upcoming inauguration, those protections are void and Trump becomes fair game for prosecutors in federal and state courts.

Trump’s impeachment saw him acquitted by a feckless, Republican-led Senate, unwilling to hold him to account for his misdeeds. The federal statute for extortion is defined as ‘’extracting a thing of value from another person them in fear of injury.” Trump’s attempt to strong-arm Ukrainian president Volodymr Zelensky into investigating Joe Biden (a thing of value) whilst withholding $400 million in Congressionally approved military aid (which placed Ukraine in a precarious war-time position with hostile neighbor, Russia) seems to easily meet that standard. Through all phases of the process, Trump ignored lawful subpoenas to produce evidence related to the inquiry. Refusal of witnesses to testify or produce documents is also a criminal offense under federal law, punishable by up to a year in prison. Given the partisan acrimony that accompanied the impeachment, it is unlikely to be rehashed in the form of a criminal trial, but serves as an excellent example of Trump’s abnormal lawlessness and ‘’what are you gonna do about it’’? reflex.

Robert Mueller was unable to establish a criminal conspiracy between the 2016 Trump campaign and the Russian government. He was however able to uncover a host of overarching contacts between the two. More significantly, he outlined 10 instances where the president may have committed obstruction of justice in his attempts to thwart and/or shutdown the Special Counsel’s investigation altogether. Mueller was caught between a rock and a hard place, being neither able to indict a sitting president and therefore not wanting to formally accuse him without the chance to adjudicate the case in court. Come January 20th, Trump is eligible to be charged with any or all instances in which he attempted to shutdown the investigation into his team’s collaboration with a hostile foreign government.

Trump committed numerous violations of the law his during tenure that don’t necessarily entail criminal penalties. In destroying documents relevant to his administration, he has violated the Presidential Records Act. In the run-up to the election, his hand-picked stooge, Louis DeJoy, attempted to sabotage the USPS in a contest where a record number of voters were expected to cast ballots through the mail. He regularly flouted the separations of powers and threatened war crimes against Iran on Twitter. California Representative Eric Swalwell has called for a Presidential Crimes Commission once Trump leaves office to investigate the full scope of his malfeasance.

All of these scenarios are powder kegs of political backlash. The country finds itself dangerously divided politically, and taking up any of these cases may be seen as doing more harm than good. President-elect Biden has demonstrated little appetite for pursuing what may be viewed as politically motivated investigations against an ex-president. He has said he would leave the decision to his chosen Attorney General, but it is unfathomable that the subject of prosecuting Trump would not be discussed during the vetting process for the person who becomes Biden’s AG.

All charges at the federal level could be rendered moot by the president himself. Trump’s pardon powers are near absolute and he has not been shy about issuing them to allies in his own self-interest. Already, the idea of preemptive pardons for himself and his family members have reportedly been discussed behind closed doors. No precedent exists for a president attempting to pardon himself, but no language in the Constitution explicitly forbids it. Trump’s former fixer and confidante, Michael Cohen, has predicted that before he is scheduled to leave office, Trump will sign in order for Mike Pence to take the mantle of president and issue him a pardon free and clear. Such a remedy would inevitably invite outrage and reek of corruption, but would put Trump in the clear without it ever needing to be decided by a court if a president’s pardon powers extend to himself.

Broad those powers may be, they are exclusive to potential criminal charges on a federal level. Upon leaving office, Trump would be as vulnerable to prosecution on state charges as any other American citizen. In his home state of New York, both he and the Trump organization have been under investigation for the bulk of his presidency.

Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr., would appear to be the most likely candidate to haul Trump before a jury of his peers. His office is currently overseeing an investigation that began with hush-money payments made to Stormy Daniels by Michael Cohen at the behest of Donald Trump. It has since expanded and probed into Trump’s personal finances and potential illegalities at his family business. When Vance subpoenaed eight years of financial records from Donald Trump’s bankers, the result was a landmark Supreme Court decision that determined a sitting president is not immune from investigation, including his activities before he took office. Per the decision, Mazars USA, must turn over the requested records to prosecutors. The charges most likely to trip up a post-presidency Trump are tax and bank fraud related. In separate stories, two years apart, the New York Times reported that Trump had inherited much of his wealth through legally dubious tax dodges and that in the years preceding his election he paid just $750 in federal taxes, and no federal taxes at all in three of the four years before his presidency. Michael Cohen, in his lengthy testimony before the House in 2018 stated that it was common practice at the Trump organization to inflate the value of properties when using them as collateral for loans and to deflate the value to tax assessors for the sake of lower liability. If those charges are accurate, and substantiated in court, it is a textbook case of continuous fraud.

Political deference and unscrupulous pardons may keep Trump from ever facing the music in federal court. They will do him no good should any prosecutor at the state or city level be inclined to charge him with a crime. Trump received a stunningly low 14% of the popular vote in Manhattan, where the DA’s office is up for grabs in a 2021 election. Prospective Democratic candidates have all made holding Trump to account a key part of their platform. This is to say nothing of the dozens of pending civil suits against Trump with allegations ranging from sexual assault, defamation and unpaid campaign bills. Trump’s presidency ends in a little over a month as of this writing, at which point his legal troubles are likely to intensify.

Trump’s Refusal to Accept Defeat: Another Reason Why He Is Not Fit For Office

Trump’s Refusal to Accept Defeat: Another Reason Why He Is Not Fit For Office

By Linda F. Hersey

November 30, 2020

Although Donald Trump is the first sitting president to refuse to concede after losing a U.S. democratic election – shocking the nation and leaders across the world —  his wild claims of conspiracy and election fraud come as no surprise to a handful of academics, attorneys and political strategists who weighed the danger of such an outcome prior to Election 2020.

They predicted that if Trump lost, he might treat defeat like the cancellation of his TV show or a real estate deal that failed to close – with bombast, anger and legal threats.

Under a headline titled “The Election That Could Break America,” journalist Barton Gellman wrote in Atlantic Magazine in September that if Trump lost the electoral vote, he might just try to “subvert the process” and “throw the election into chaos.”

Gellman, an author and staff writer for the Atlantic, wrote that without an obvious landslide victory by Biden, Trump might seek to create enough confusion and ambiguity to hold onto power after a loss. Barton based his essay on interviews with experts on the presidency and concluded that Trump, by his personality, cannot accept defeat.

“The Twentieth Amendment is crystal clear that the president’s term in office ‘shall end’ at noon on January 20, but two men could show up to be sworn in. One of them would arrive with all the tools and power of the presidency already in hand,” Gellman described.

Scholars note that the Constitution does not articulate the terms of a “peaceful transition” of leadership yet presumes it will take place.

In 1787, Alexander Hamilton proposed during the Constitutional Convention that presidents  serve for life. The proposal lost – on a vote.

In 2020, Trump gave clues to his post-election behavior during the campaign as well as during his first run for office, telling interviewers that he was not prepared to acknowledge defeat and was not sure if he ever would.

While such tenaciousness in the rough-and-tumble Manhattan real estate world has worked for Trump over the years, the necessity for the leader of the United States to honor the election process calls for integrity and the graciousness to acknowledge loss, to ensure the continuity of a free government.

‘Calling an Election Unfair Does Not Make It So’

The Trump campaign instead has filed numerous lawsuits in six battleground states trying to disqualify mail-in ballots and block certification of the results. U.S. courts have rejected those efforts. Appeals were filed in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

“Several of the suits filed by the Trump campaign and its allies have been dismissed or withdrawn, and the ones that are still before the courts don’t appear to challenge enough votes to affect the race,” Bloomberg News reported.

A federal appeals court in Pennsylvania on Nov. 27, 2020, rejected the latest effort by Trump’s legal team to overturn election results: “Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy. Charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here,” Judge Stephanos Bibas wrote for the three-judge panel.

Trump has vowed to take his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, but some question whether he will pursue it. He does not want to face more failure.

A Nov. 28, 2020, article in The Washington Post raises questions about Trump’s mental fitness and ability to accept the reality of his loss. Instead, the reporters write that Trump surrounds himself with soothsayers more than willing to “indulge” his fantasies of victory over Biden:

“Sequestered in the White House and brooding out of public view after his election defeat, rageful and at times delirious in a torrent of private conversations, Trump was, in the telling of one close adviser, like ‘Mad King George, muttering, I won. I won. I won.’ ”

Casting Himself as the Victim of a Rigged Election

Trump may see the best strategy as casting himself as the perpetual victim, especially if he should seek to run again – in 2024. It is not surprising that the candidate who vowed to “drain the swamp” four years ago alleges a rigged system in 2020, when voted out of office after one term.

Such rhetoric keeps his followers agitated and energized, and in Trump’s mind, preserves his status as an outsider who does not cozy up to the D.C. elite — the same tack he took in 2016.

Another Trump run is possible.

Either Trump, or his eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, have been floated as potential GOP candidates, as Ivanka proved deft at fund-raising and speaking to Donald Trump supporters.

Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, are considering relocating to Bedminster, New Jersey, a sure sign that the entire Trump clan is moving on. Some speculate the Kushners will avoid returning to New York City and the liberal-leaning social scene, where Ivanka once flourished but now would be ostracized.

The president is spending more time on his favorite golf course in Virginia, away from the media and from public attention, avoiding answering questions and keeping people in suspense about his next move. The “what ifs?” and speculation on whether he will concede are a cliffhanger that give Donald Trump the attention he craves.

In the clearest statement yet of his intentions on stepping down, Trump said on Nov. 26, at a press conference, that he would leave office at the end of his term, though he did not admit he lost.

The press conference marked the first time that Trump took questions from the White House press pool since the election.

Certainly, I will. But you know that,” Trump said at the White House.

Resistance Resources:

Atlantic Magazine covers news, politics and lifestyle, with long-form articles and in-depth reporting.

www.theatlantic.com

League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan group that encourages informed and active participation in the government.

www.lwv.org

Vote Smart, formerly called Project Vote Smart, is a national non-profit, non-partisan research organization that helps inform the public on candidates running for office.

www.justfacts.votesmart.org

Rudy Giuliani-Misinformation Super Spreader

Rudy Giuliani-Misinformation Super Spreader

Transition of Power

A new blog post by USRESIST Reporters on the transition of Presidential Power from the Trump to the Biden administration

Post # 3 Rudy Giuliani- Misinformation Super Spreader

By Sean Gray 

November 24, 2020

Trump attorney, Rudy Giuliani, is now spearheading the president’s efforts to overturn the results of the presidential election. Not a moment too soon as the previous carriers of his treasonous water have withdrawn from his various legal challenges. At this point, the fact that Mr. Giuliani is licensed to practice law seems secondary, if not altogether irrelevant. Short on standing and lousy with bug-eyed conspiracy, the man once known as ‘’America’s mayor’’ held a press conference last week, detailing baseless accusations of fraud, hairspray dripping down his face all the while.

Based on his childish and deluded personality, it is fair to wonder if Trump was ever going to leave office willingly. Fox’s Chris Wallace asked him point blank in June, (as his election prospects fizzled)  andTrump declined to commit to accepting unfavorable election results. For what it’s worth, he made similar comments leading up to his improbable 2016 Electoral College victory. That kind of rhetoric intensified as November 3rd neared. There were never not going to be legal challenges to a Biden win. 12 lawsuits were filed and summarily rejected in courts in four states. Oddly enough, the Trump campaign alleged no fraud in any state in which their candidate was victorious. Lawyers were no doubt willing to take the case, but bristled when the time came to lie in open court, which ‘’substantiating’’ their claims would have required. Giuliani has spent much of the last four years as Trump’s private counsel. In that time he’s schemed behind the scenes, plunging himself from grace and set in motion events that would lead to his client’s impeachment. Who better to take the reins for a fact-free attempt at sedition than the man who famously said ‘’Truth isn’t truth.’’.

In his bizarre press conference hosted by the Republican National Convention, Guiliani laid out Trump’s ‘’legal strategy’’ for reversing the will of the American people. A graphic behind him titled ‘’6 Paths to Victory’’ highlighted in red, six battlegrounds state that went for Joe Biden. He made a host of farfetched accusations that he backed up with dangerous sensationalism rather than legal substance.

Giuliani stated matter-of-factly that the focus of the conspiracy in these states were corrupt big cities with Democratic bosses. Urban mostly black voters in cities like Detroit and Philadelphia indeed played a role in pushing their states into Biden’s column, but no evidence of meaningful fraud or irregularity has emerged.

Giuliani amplified Trump’s long-standing claim that mail-in-voting is especially susceptible to fraud. This has long been debunked as election experts estimate fraud via mail in votes to be .0025%. Giuliani doubled down on his hysterics by adding that it’s very easy for a dead person, or ‘’even Mickey Mouse’’ to cast a ballot unlawfully through the postal service. In reality, mail-in-ballots were sent only to applicants on registered voter rolls who requested one, in record numbers due to fear of Covid-19. To date, there have been no credible reports of dead people or cartoon mice voting in the 2020 election. Some states do exclude early-ballots by individuals who pass away before the actual date of the election. Not nearly enough are going to be counted to make a difference in anything other than an improbably close race.

No press conference in Trump world would be complete without some shots at the ‘’fake news. Why isn’t this scandal of epic proportions receiving adequate coverage in the press, Giuliani was asked. ‘’Because the media is as dishonest as the scheme itself’’  was Giuliani’s half baked rationale. Of course. The same media asking Giuliani to substantiate his outlandish claims are complicit in the widespread conspiracy for which he can produce no evidence. In fact, granting him audience at all could be more irresponsible than shunning him altogether. It is Giuliani from his pulpit making outrageous, unfounded claims of a rigged election that was broadcast onto millions of American screens. Even Fox News’ Kristin Fisher, who was on air before and after Giuliani was finished, largely dismissed the spectacle, calling it ‘’colorful, but light on facts’’ and adding ‘’so much of what he said was simply not true.’’

Why would Trump  tap Rudy at this desperate juncture. He faces serious debt coming due and potentially criminal charges in NY state if he is unable to strong-arm his way into a second-term. One would think he’d want a more competent and credible advocate in his crusade. Conversely it may be that reports of Trump  privately acknowledging his defeat are accurate. In that case, Giuliani’s appointment makes a bit more sense. Trump knows he cannot litigate his way out of this jam. Spreading lies to distort unflattering facts against him has been an effective strategy for Trump. So with no legal recourse, the only weapon in his arsenal is misinformation designed to rile his base and cast doubt upon the legitimacy of the incoming administration. That requires an individual lacking so lacking in scruples that he is willing to spread seditious conspiracy through mass media for the sake of appeasing a president with a wounded ego and a lot to lose. Who better than Run Giuliani?

Trump’s Enablers

Trump’s Enablers

Transition of Power

 A new blog post by USRESIST Reporters on the transition of Presidential Power from the Trump to the Biden administration

Post # 2 Trump’s Enablers

By Sean Gray 

November 19, 2020

Donald Trump has lost the 2020 presidential elections. His failure to acknowledge as much has no bearing on the outcome. Nor to date, have any of his frivolous and fast-failing legal challenges. The incoming Biden administration is already being hindered by the incumbent’s lack of cooperation. Trump’s insistence on claiming victory stolen by nonexistent voter fraud only serves to undermine public confidence in our elections. Sadly, but unsurprisingly, his political flunkies have faithfully parroted his dangerous rhetoric.

Trump’s failed running mate Mike Pence addressed a crowd of fawning supporters chanting ‘’four more years’’, to which Pence responded: ‘’that’s the plan.’’ It is hardly jaw-dropping as the outgoing Vice President has cosigned even the most heinous of Trump’s words and deeds during their time in office. Pence has previously stated that he is ‘’a Christian, conservative, and Republican, in that order.’’ It appears he has deliberately eschewed the honesty integral to the Judeo-Christian value system, omitted ‘’American’’ and committed wholeheartedly to Republican conservatism, cost be damned. That Pence mentioned a ‘’plan’’ is especially troubling in light of similar comments along the same lines by other members of the administration.

Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State and the nation’s top diplomat played a similar tune when asked about the prospects of a smooth transition. With the world watching, Pompeo flippantly remarked that ‘’there would be a smooth transition – to a second Trump administration.’’ This the day after slapping sanctions on former Nicaraguan leaders for ‘’undermining democratic institutions’’. In the same press conference Pompeo bemoaned the ‘’disenfranchisement’’ of voters in Myannmar. The irony might be humorous if it didn’t portend something sinister. In a world where authoritarian regimes are rapidly growing in numbers and influence, the US is nominally the standard bearer for free and fair elections. Its chief diplomat just nodded in approval at a weak coup attempt.

Since Trump co-opted the GOP in 2016, Congressional Republicans have mostly stayed silent or towed his line. Few are actively echoing his claim of outright voter fraud, but enough of his allies are acting at his behest to escalate an already bad situation.

Boisterous sycophants in the House, Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz have both made the rounds on conservative media, and Twitter, insinuating malfeasance in vote counting has resulted in a victory stolen from their benevolent leader. Sen. Ted Cruz, he of degrees from law and public policy from Harvard and Princeton,  has tweeted a steady stream of Trump-like blather about election fraud without actually committing to any specific accusation.

Most troubling of all is the news that broke Monday of a call between Senator Lindsey Graham and Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger. The historically red state, which went blue for Biden, has been a favorite target for baseless conservative conspiracy theories. Raffensperger told the Washington Post Graham inquired about signature matching on mail-in ballots and mechanisms to toss out legally cast votes. The allegations merit further investigations, and felony charges for the South Carolina senator if they are substantiated. For his role in upholding the integrity of Georgia’s election, Raffensperger, a Republican, has received death threats. If Pence and Pompeo are to be taken at their word (and this administration has a habit of telegraphing their most illicit designs), in conjunction with Graham’s freelancing voter suppression, it is difficult to interpret the administration’s collective ploys as anything other than a soft coup attempt.

50% of Republicans believe the election was neither free nor fair. Trump’s voter fraud claims most assuredly have a hand in that troublingly high number. The inevitable result will be a deepening of the political chasm in the country. Worse, an untold number of Americans will view Biden as an illegitimate president, which will likely embolden some Congressional Republicans to obstruct him at every turn.

The Government Services Administration (GSA)  is the Executive Branch agency which signs off on presidential transitions, which ordinarily would occur when a victor is declared. To date, GSA Director Emily Murphy, yet to sign off on the switch, delaying Biden’s access to federal resources and personnel necessary to hit the ground running the minute after noon on January 20th. Pathetically delaying the inevitable will only intensify partisan gridlock and political divide.

44 previous presidential transitions have occurred without issue. In one final middle finger to democratic norms, Donald Trump is breaking with this tradition as well. Seamless transitions from one lawfully elected leader to another is a hallmark of a democracy. Power grabs and false claims of rigged elections, are endemic of authoritarian regimes. Trump looks poised to go kicking and screaming all the way to Marine One. It’s truly disheartening that he won’t be alone.

Major Cable News’ Post Election Coverage

Major Cable News’ Post Election Coverage

USRESIST NEWS Media Blog Post

The USRESIST NEWS Media Blog reports on how media channels from the right and left are covering today’s news. 

Post # 5 Major Cable News’ Post Election Coverage

By John McCabe

November 13, 2020

Since election night, the major cable news networks have been relentless in their coverage. With former Vice President Joe Biden securing the presidency, major networks are talking about the significance of a Biden victory, as well as President Donald Trump’s continuing accusations of voter fraud and his refusal to concede a Biden victory.

On November 7th, upon Biden being declared the 46th President of the United States, CNN anchor, Van Jones, broke down in passionate tears.

“Well, it’s easier to be a parent this morning,” said Jones. “It’s easier to be a dad…it’s easier to tell your kids character matters…Telling the truth matters. Being a good person matters…”

Jones went on to discuss how a Biden victory is a vindication for a lot of people who feel as if they have suffered under Trump’s presidency, attributing the late George Floyd’s last words of, “I can’t breathe”, to a larger message.

“That wasn’t just George Floyd,” said Jones. “That was a lot of people who felt they couldn’t breathe…this is a big deal for us just to be able to get some peace and have a chance for a reset, and the character of the country matters…”

Jones sentiment on character resonated with co-panelist, Gloria Borger, who added that the COVID-19 epidemic became a large part of the character issue in the 2020 Presidential election, specifically, how a leader would use the quality of character to empathetically handle a virus that has killed more than two-hundred thousand people.

Political Consultant David Axelrod also agreed with Jones, adding that Biden has qualities like character, decency, empathy, in abundance.

Two days later, over on Fox News, Steve Hilton of The Next Revolution hosted Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL), radio personality Tammy Bruce, reporter Sara Carter, and former Congressman Jason Chaffetz of Utah.

Instead of analyzing the significance of a Biden victory, most of the guests were of the same school of thought that the election is still not over, seemingly holding onto the possibility of a Trump victory, as well as showing their support for Trump to do everything in his power to establish evidence of voter fraud.

“This isn’t a battle just against Trump,” said Carter, “…this is a battle against the American people that voted for Trump, against the establishment. The establishment is what wants to stop this…and unfortunately, the establishment has a mainstream media on their side that is working in conjunction with them. It’s up to us as Americans to stand up…to stand up to that in such a way, peacefully…and defend our constitution…if we allow the Democrats to trample that constitution and rip it apart, we have nothing left…”

Predictably, a lot of Fox News pundits have been writing off Biden’s victory and defending Trump. Despite this, Trump is angry with Fox News for even conceding a Biden victory.

In his article for Columbia Journalism Review, aptly titled “Surprise! Election night was a confusing mess”, Jon Allsop discusses how Trump was reportedly furious about Fox News calling Arizona for Biden. And if election night was a confusing mess, the days that followed a Biden victory have provided their own sense of disarray and uncertainty.

Recently, major networks are reporting on Secretary of State Pompeo’s comments regarding the election. When asked if the state department was preparing to engage with the Biden transition team, Pompeo stated that, “there will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.”

Brianna Keilar of CNN brought on Kylie Atwood, a national security correspondent who works at the state department, to discuss Pompeo’s comments.

“It is truly extortionary,” said Atwood, “…it’s important to note that the secretary was asked about the credibility of America continuing to call for free and fair elections internationally, and to call for people to step down and accept the realities of votes in other countries, and he was asked if those efforts are undermined by what President Trump is doing here; contesting these election results based on no evidence…”

On November 10th, on Fox News, Pompeo was asked by Baier if he was being serious regarding his comments to a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.

Rather than addressing his specific comments, Pompeo said, “We’ll have a smooth transition and we’ll see what people ultimately decide when all the votes have been cast…I am very confident that we will have a good transition. That we will make sure that whoever is in office on noon on January 20th has all the tools readily available so that we don’t skip a beat with the capacity to keep Americans safe…”

Amid cable news post-election coverage, President Trump continues to churn out tweets that warrant a disputed flag from Twitter, like an accusation that his poll watchers were not allowed to watch or observe in Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Over at Fox News, the political strategy seems to involve trying to paint a picture that the Democratic party is hostilely divided between centrists and progressives in the hopes that it will increase the Republican party’s chances at securing the Senate for the Georgia runoff election. In his recent coverage, Sean Hannity asked, “How fast would he [Biden] surrender to the far-left agenda? It’s frightening…god forbid they ever get this power.”

Meanwhile, Biden’s strategy seems to laugh off both Trump’s comments on not conceding the election, as well as his surrogates. While delivering remarks on the Supreme Court’s recent hearing on the Affordable Care Act, Biden referred to Trump’s behavior as “an embarrassment” and alleged that much of the leaders in the Republican party that are beholden to Trump are “mildly intimidated by the sitting President.”

At any rate, Trump seems dead set on resisting a Biden victory, filing suit in multiple states, and going on Twitter tirades about voter fraud. All the while, the United States awaits Georgia hand counting its votes, as well as a runoff election that will decide the fate of the Senate come January 2021.

What Trump Could Do on the Way Out

What Trump Could Do on the Way Out

Transition of Power

A new blog post  by USRESIST Reporters on the transition of Presidential Power from the Trump to the Biden administration

Post # 1: What Trump Could Do on the Way Out

By Sean Gray

November 12, 2020

It’s all over but the crying in the case of the 2020 presidential election, and rest assured there will be crying. Celebrations broke out in cities across the country at the news the Associated Press had called the race in favor of Joe Biden. Donald Trump has refused to accept the results and has threatened legal action to challenge the results. To date he has offered no evidence of voter fraud and his coming legal challenges are likely to die on the vine. Nevertheless, his obstinance is reason enough to temper enthusiasm at his ouster. He has treated the presidency like a vanity project and governed in a most haphazard fashion. John Bolton in his memoir could not recall a single Trump decision that was not made with reelection calculations in mind. For the remaining 72 days of his presidency, Trump does not have that consideration, his power is not officially curtailed and he’s watched the masses celebrate his political demise.

Over the past four years, Trump has issued a number of impulsive executive orders, often when someone or thing has displeased him (see the repeal of Section 230 after Twitter fact-checked him). While not inconsistent with the number issued by recent predecessors, Trump’s usage of the tact has been self-serving and has  circumvented the normal channels of government. Environmental rollbacks, for example, have been a constant subject of Trump’s executive orders. Now there is nothing to prevent him from issuing a slew of executive orders on his way out which could wreak untold harm.

Remaking the courts in his conservative image, was perhaps the chief selling point of Trump’s reelection bid. He has appointed three Supreme Court Justices and 214 judges to the federal court system, based on adherence to a right-wing judicial  philosophy. 57 vacancies remain between the circuit and appeals courts. There is no firewall against Trump and his allies further stacking the court with politically motivated appointees.Pushing the court further right might  drastically alter the American landscape.

Take Roe v. Wade for example. The landmark 1973 ruling has been under constant assault by religious conservatives. Recently they have adopted the tact of ‘’death by a thousand paper cuts’’ with restrictive state measures passed in Louisiana and Texas that were expected to fail constitutional muster. Now drafters and enactors of such bills can throw them against the proverbial wall, see how the courts react and tailor future challenges to Roe accordingly. Roughly a quarter of federal judges and a third of Supreme Court justices have been appointed by Trump, with the explicit litmus test that they disagree with how Roe was decided. 60 more appointees could make their way to the federal court before Trump leave office. That makes reproductive freedoms and other key issues in the country more likely to be adjudicated through the lens of conservatism.

Presidential pardons have traditionally been granted  by outgoing presidents. It is a particularly thorny issue for Trump considering how many of his allies find themselves in some phase of the criminal justice system. Roger Stone has already been convicted for crimes committed on Trump’s 2016 campaign, and granted clemency for his refusal to incriminate the president. A similar fate could await the currently incarcerated former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, or Trump associate Michael Flynn, who has twice pleaded guilty to lying to Robert Mueller’s investigators. It wouldn’t be out of character for Trump to put his finger on the scale for a few friends one last time. Doing so would be a final black eye on his Justice Department and likely embolden future political operatives. It also is not beyond belief that Trump may use the pardoning power of the Executive Office to pardon himself and free himself from the worry of federal prosecution (though Presidential pardoning power will not make Trump immune from prosecution at the state level.)

Fired employees are sometimes escorted out of  their workplace for fear of what they might do on their way out. It is truly unfortunate such a measure can’t be taken for an outgoing president. Trump’s presidency will make for an interesting historical study. He has previously violated The Presidential Records Act by destroying or altering documents to be placed in archives. Any record that contains incriminating or unflattering information could meet with the same fate, losing for posterity the black box on the nation’s most controversial presidency.

Archival violations pale in comparison to the damage Trump could inflict if he sought to undermine Biden’s presidency before it starts (which he erroneously believes happened to him). Shortly before the election, Trump signed an executive order stripping federal employees of protections they had enjoyed for decades. It gave him the near-unilateral ability to fire any government employee at will. A ruthless purge is not unthinkable in the aftermath of Trump’s defeat. He could throw a tantrum, and thwart the incoming administration by removing key cogs of government and throwing executive branch agencies into chaos. Again Biden could undo these moves, but the cure would not be instant. Monday, two days after the AP called the race, Trump fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper, with whom he had clashed since July. His timing of Esper’s  removal seems arbitrary and serves as a troubling omen. Esper must think so as well, remarking ‘’God help us’’ if his replacement is a yes man.

Trump’s impending court battles and refusal to gracefully accept defeat put his government and its citizens in an unnecessarily precarious situation. Never in 230 years has a defeated president refused to leave office peacefully or questioned the legitimacy of election results unfavorable to him. It is only fitting that Trump leave office with one more assault on the infrastructure of our democracy. No evidence exists of meaningful voter fraud and recounts seldom alter the results of elections. That won’t deter Trump from crying foul and seeking to overturn the will of the American people. It is a troubling move that serves to undermine public confidence in elections, particularly among the astonishingly large segment of the electorate inclined to believe whatever wild-eyed falsehood Trump may offer up.

Ben Shapiro and David Pakman’s Take on the 3rd Presidential Debate

Ben Shapiro and David Pakman’s Take on the 3rd Presidential Debate

The USRESIST NEWS Media Blog reports on how media channels from the right and left are covering today’s news. 

Blog Post # 4 Ben Shapiro and David Pakman’s Take on the 3rd Presidential Debate

By John McCabe

October 27, 2020

Covering news and politics on their respective radio shows, conservative commentator, Ben Shapiro, and progressive commentator, David Pakman, offer contrasting views as to who was the winner of the third presidential debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Shapiro is the editor-in chief of The Daily Wire, a right wing, conservative website, and the host of The Ben Shapiro Show. At the age of 17, Shapiro started a nationally syndicated column and wrote two books by 21, his debut title being Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America’s Youth. Shapiro did not vote for Trump in the 2016 election but is voting for him in 2020.

Pakman is the host of The David Pakman Show, a nationally syndicated radio show with progressive leanings. In 2005, Pakman began hosting a program titled Midweek Politics with David Pakman, which first aired on Valley Free Radio in Northampton, Massachusetts. Shapiro has over two million subscribers on Youtube while Pakman has over one million. Pakman voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and is voting for Biden in 2020.

Shapiro had three reasons for believing that Trump was the winner, the first having to do with Trump condemning Biden’s cautious and grave outlook on the pandemic. He began his commentary by calling Biden immoral for blaming Trump for the 200,000 plus American deaths.

“Joe Biden has been telling one lie on covid,” said Shapiro. “…that is that if Donald Trump had handled this wildly differently, then hundreds of thousands of people would be alive today…If you got an empty chair at your table, that is Donald Trump’s fault…But here was Joe Biden, overtly suggesting that Donald Trump is responsible for every American who died of covid, which is just crazy…it’s a crazy, immoral statement…”

Regarding lockdowns, Shapiro contends that Trump was successful in pointing out Biden’s plan as having “doom and gloom” connotations, suggesting that Biden’s outlook is too pessimistic for voters that were sick of the virus.

“…if Trump ends up winning the election,” said Shapiro, “one big reason is because people don’t want the doom and gloom…Joe Biden is preaching doom and gloom. Trump is not preaching doom and gloom…believe it or not, Trump is the candidate of optimism on covid. It is Biden who is the candidate of pessimism, doom, and gloom…”

Shapiro’s commentary also offered Biden’s view on the pandemic as impractical, asserting that Trump is correct in his view that the nation has to learn to “live with” the virus, and is also clever for saying Biden would rather lock himself up in his basement.

After Biden stated that he would not rule out another shutdown, Shapiro considered that another strength for Trump’s argument.

“…this is good from Trump,” said Shapiro. “All day long, he [Biden] just talks about shutdowns. Democrats keep talking about shutdowns. ‘We have to open everything’, is what Trump says. That may be a vision that Americans are going to embrace, particularly if you have kids…there are a lot of people out there who are not on board with lockdown culture.”

In his video title, Pakman suggested that Biden had “eviscerated” Trump in the debate. Regarding COVID-19, Pakman was relentless in his criticism of Trump from the moment the debate began.

“And even from the get-go,” said Pakman, “Trump entering with no mask. Joe Biden with a mask. All emblematic, a microcosm of the entire portion of the debate about coronavirus, which was usual, and, as I expected, one of the worst parts of the debate for Donald Trump. Trump immediately trying to defend his work on coronavirus, defending the indefensible, and predictably making no sense…”

While Shapiro thought Biden blaming Trump for the 200,000 plus coronavirus related deaths was immoral, Pakman saw it as a strong offensive maneuver.

“Joe Biden shot out of a cannon immediately says, ‘Listen, any president who oversees 220,000 deaths, they can’t continue to be president.’ You don’t re-elect someone on the heels of such a failure.”

Additionally, Pakman also dismissed Trump’s basement smear against Biden as “an example of Trump throwing a punch that just missed everything.”

In his breakdown, Shapiro believed that Trump’s second-best debate tactic was trying to promote Biden as a corrupt politician. However, when Trump referred to Biden as “the big man”, along with other vague assertions pertaining to corruption, Shapiro conceded that a lot Trump’s claims against Biden were conflated, as well as not true.

When Shapiro said that it was true that Hunter Biden picked up three and a half million dollars from Elena Baturina, along with other funds from Ukraine, he also granted that there was no direct evidence to suggest that Biden had directly benefitted from his son. However, Shapiro was still of the opinion that there were some questionable elements to Hunter Biden’s joint venture in China.

“It is true that Hunter Biden was picking up bags of cash in China,” said Shapiro, “and this is where things have gotten a little dicey…There are emails suggesting that perhaps Joe Biden had something to do with it. Joe Biden has denied all of that. But here’s the bottom line: if you’re watching this debate and this is the first time you’re hearing any of this, this does change your impression of Joe Biden just a little bit…”

As far as corruption is concerned, Pakman thought Biden won that side of the debate, especially in lieu of Donald Trump paying $750 in federal income taxes in 2017. Pakman not only tacitly dismissed Trump’s corruption accusations against Biden as desperate, but also mocked Trump for referring to Biden as the “big man.” Unlike Shapiro, Pakman didn’t seem to think that Trump’s mentioning of Hunter Biden had any weight as a debate tactic.

“And then this is where it almost seemed like Trump was unaware of his surroundings and not even understanding what he was saying,” said Pakman. “He starts using this mafia-esque language to accuse Biden of giving money to the ‘big men.’ Nobody could understand what he was talking about…One of the most incoherent attacks of the night…”

While both commentators predictably had opposing opinions as to which candidate won the debate, their concluding reasons are fascinating.

Shapiro seems to believe that Trump’s third strength was accusing Biden of being in politics for forty plus years and not accomplishing any of the policies he claims to be running on. Pakman, on the other hand, thought Biden’s final offensive strength had to do when Trump slammed pandemic aid as a “big bailout for badly run Democrats’ cities and states.”

“This was maybe the worst moment of the debate for Trump,” said Pakman. “Trump, again, pulling out this line of attacking so-called ‘Democrat’ cities and states, which is a message of complete division…Joe Biden perfectly responding to that divisive message, saying, ‘Listen, I’m not going to talk about blue states and red states. I’m a Democrat running for president. I will be the president running for everybody, regardless of what state you’re in.”

With the presidential election among the horizon, a short time will tell as to who the victor of last night’s debate was, an answer many Americans are anxious to find out.

The Corruption of John Ratcliffe

The Corruption of John Ratcliffe

Blog Post # 26
The Corruption of John Ratcliffe
By Sean Gray
October20, 2020

The Corruption Blog digs into the details of the all-encompassing corruption of the Trump administration. 

Director of National Intelligence is a position created in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The new post was intended to streamline the sharing of key information concerning national security threats between the country’s intelligence agencies. Based on the responsibilities the job entails, it is necessarily apolitical. John Ratcliffe, currently serving in the role, is not, which compromises its function and ability to adequately respond to urgent threats.

Prior to his appointment, Ratcliffe was a three term Republican representative, and one of the most vocal Trump allies in Congress. He gained national profile for his combative interaction with Robert Mueller, when the Special Counsel was called to testify before Congress. Like many Trump supporters on the Hill, Ratcliffe expressed skepticism of Mueller’s findings critical of the president and hurled less than subtle insinuations of investigatory malfeasance at the career civil servant. His line of questioning was tethered closer to right-wing conspiracy theories than our shared reality.

Ratcliffe was first tapped to succeed Dan Coats as DNI in July of 2019. The nomination was withdrawn in the wake of intense media backlash and even some bipartisan concerns about  his chances for confirmation. His political biases were a matter of public record. His intelligence credentials were troublingly ambiguous. George W Bush had appointed Ratcliffe to serve as Chief of Anti-Terrorism and National Security in Texas’s Eastern District within the Department of Justice. When campaigning for a House Seat, his website boasted the claim that he had personally overseen the investigation of dozens of terror-related suspects. However no evidence exists that Ratcliffe was ever involved in the prosecution of a terrorist case. A misleading claim of that nature is dishonest, but boilerplate on the campaign trail. In the confirmation process for the US’ top intelligence post, it only underscores how ill-equipped Ratcliffe is for the position. His nomination was reintroduced on February 28th of this year, less than a month after Trump was acquitted by his feckless allies in the Senate. Emboldened by the Congress’ inability to hold him accountable, Trump was able push forward with Ratcliffe’s nomination where it had previously seemed untenable.

Blind loyalty were his only qualification, Ratcliffe has done nothing to quell the concerns that delayed his confirmation by six months. Since taking the post in March he has prioritized the whims of the White House over the faithful execution of his responsibilities.

The US intelligence community has concluded that Russia is again actively seeking to influence the presidential race to the benefit of the incumbent. In late August, (a bit over two months before the polls close) Ratcliffe announced the termination of in-person briefings regarding election security. The move was met with outrage from Congressional Democrats and seen as an attempt to prevent leaks inconsistent with Trump’s worldview. Ratcliffe promised to keep the House/Senate Intelligence Committees abreast of relevant developments through written briefs.

Lawmakers maintain in-person briefings are essential to allow them to ask critical questions to better understand and assess threats facing the upcoming election. The closure of hearings came less than a month after the intelligence community issued a public letter equating Russia, China and Iran as potential bad actors in November’s contest, although only the Kremlin is working directly to the benefit of its preferred candidate. Ratcliffe endured backlash similar to that of his original nomination, and acquiesced to the demands to provide continual briefs to a bipartisan committee of eight Congressional members. It is difficult to interpret Ratcliffe’s initiative as anything other than an attempt to conceal any information potentially upsetting to Trump. Nevertheless, that he hoped obscure election interference threats as a form of Executive Appeasement underscores the concerns about his loyalties and fitness for office.

John Ratcliffe had little in the way of national profile before Robert Mueller’s appearance before Congress. That changed following his exchange with the Special Counsel. Ratcliffe spent his allotted time attacking Mueller and the legitimacy of his work. He claimed Mueller denied Trump the presumption of innocence in not charging him with a crime, but explicitly stating that he also could not exonerate the president either. Long-standing Justice Department policy dictates that a sitting president may not be indicted. Additionally, the report was written for attorney general, who then released a redacted copy for public consumption. Ratcliffe could not have plausibly been unaware of either fact, which means his indignant line of question was most assuredly a blindly partisan defense of the president. In doing so he shirked his responsibilities in the name of cheap political theater. It was effective. Four days later his name was first mentioned to fill the DNI position.

Ratcliffe also has been contributing to Trump’s long-standing vendetta against Hilary Clinton. Last week Ratcliffe declassified handwritten notes by former CIA-director John Brennan from a brief with President Obama. The brief contained US intelligence originating form Russia that Hilary Clinton had tried to connect the Russian hack of her emails to the Trump campaign. It was never verified and is hardly a pressing matter of public concern. Aside from the  alleged tactic not constituting a crime, Ratcliffe acknowledged that the tidbit was unsubstantiated. In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, the US spy chief acknowledged he ‘’does not know the accuracy of this allegation or the extent to which the Russian intelligence analysis may reflect exaggeration or fabrication. This is especially troubling because it appears Ratcliffe is boosting one of Trump’s many lines of lines of misdirection under a dubious stamp of approval from the intelligence community.  Trump’s insinuation of wrongdoing on the part of Clinton and other Obama administration officials during the 2016 campaign are lame and feeble. That makes it no less egregious that the Director of National Intelligence seems to be lending credence to them. Information of questionable authenticity and of an obviously political nature should not be coming from a man in Ratcliffe’s position. It may also represent the man at the top of the US’ spy apparatus perpetuating Russian disinformation through official channels.

Last week Trump took to Twitter to call for the declassification of all info pertaining to Russian election interference in the 2016 election. Despite the DOJ arguing in court that Trump’s cyber outbursts don’t constitute official Executive Orders, Ratcliffe obliged his boss by releasing 1000 pages of previously secret information  that Trump expects him to benefit him politically. That may have come to fruition anyway, but once again Ratcliffe has demonstrated a blind fealty that to Trump which was his most important, and only, credential.

Steven Crowder and Sam Seder’s take on the Amy Coney Barrett Nomination

Steven Crowder and Sam Seder’s take on the Amy Coney Barrett Nomination

The USRESIST NEWS Media Blog reports on how media channels from the right and left are covering today’s news.

Blog Post # 3 Steven Crowder and Sam Seder’s take on the Amy Coney Barrett Nomination

By John McCabe

October 17, 2020

With just two weeks until the General Election, coverage of the Amy Coney Barrett hearing has dominated the web. Naturally in the online world, independent commentators on the left and right offer different viewpoints of the nomination. As the right argues that the Senate has constitutional authority to confirm Barrett, the left argues that the Senate is being hypocritical due their rejection of Merrick Garland’s nomination in 2016, a decision Republicans at the time claimed was valid on the basis that Supreme Court nominees should not be confirmed amid an election year.

This week, right wing commentator Steven Crowder published an episode in one of his “Change My Mind” series to YouTube, a segment where he sits at a table with a sign including the phrase “Change My Mind,” inviting people, oftentimes college students, to change his mind on a particular topic.

In his latest installment, Crowder challenge college students at Texas Christian University to change his mind on the Barrett nomination, where much of his arguments in favor of the nomination had to do with the Senate’s constitutional power.

“Merrick Garland was not confirmed by the Senate because it was a Republican Senate,” said Crowder speaking to a student named Samantha. “Donald Trump nominated A.C.B., and of course, it’s a Republican Senate, so it’s very likely she’ll be confirmed…I hear a lot of people saying ‘we feel like we should wait until the next election’ but I’m not hearing any justification…there’s no reasoning, there’s no constitutionality behind the idea that we need to wait.”

Crowder’s claim is peculiar considering the outpour of resurfaced videos of 2016 Republicans arguing why Supreme Court nominations should be postponed during an election year. Among these leaders were Sen. Lindsay Graham, who stated, “if there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say, ‘Lindsay Graham said let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination,’ and you can use my words against me and you’d be absolutely right.”

In an exchange with a student named Kit, Crowder added that Garland was not confirmed in 2016 due to the Senate and the Presidency being of different political parties.

“I’m not in favor of them doing it because I think it would be hypocritical of the Senate’s argument they made with Obama…” said Kit.

“No, no,” said Crowder, interrupting Kit, “their argument was that it was a split government…Their argument wasn’t just that it was an election year, their argument was that it was unprecedented in an election year to try and force a divided government to confirm…”

However, the resurfaced videos of 2016 Republicans arguing against Garland seem to be making the central argument that a new judge should not be confirmed during an election year.

On March 16, 2016, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas pointed out that the Senate has the power to withhold the consent of a nomination, but not to the extent or specification that that power has anything to do with the Senate and the Presidency being of different political parties.

Nevertheless, Crowder was adamant that the opposing 2016 Senate and Presidency, even more so than a nomination taking place amid an election year, was the principal point as to why Garland’s nomination was ultimately rejected. Crowder did not go on to cite any Republicans that had made this contention their central claim in 2016 when arguing against Garland’s nomination.

Meanwhile, progressive talk show host Sam Seder of the Majority Report criticized Democratic lawmakers for attending the Barrett nomination in the first place. In Seder’s view, had the Democrats on the committee not attended the meeting, it would’ve created a message to the American people that the nomination was a sham.

“If you want to signal to the American public that something is a sham, then you don’t participate in it,” said Seder. “You have a press conference or you have some type of rally out in front of the Senate of the building, a socially distant rally, where you say, ‘We’re not going to go into that building because what they’re doing is a sham.’ You need to show, not just tell.”

Seder then speculated that a lot of Democrats are not in favor of expanding the court, even if Biden is elected. He believes that centrist Democrats are against packing the court as a political decision and that they do not want any political pressure of having to pack the court if Biden wins. His contention is that by attending the hearing, centrist Democrats are able to broadcast their reservations against Barrett without having to declare to a divided base of constituents, that would probably be in favor of packing the court if Biden wins, whether they support its expansion.

During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in 1983, Biden referred to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s attempt to pack the court decades prior as a “bonehead idea”.  But despite Biden’s past reservations against packing the court, Crowder, like many other right wing pundits, has voiced worry that a Biden presidency would pack the courts. Seder, on the other hand, does not seem optimistic that Biden would pack the courts if he were elected.

“…there’s every reason to believe based upon his [Biden] history,” said Seder, “based upon the people that support him, Chris Coons, that they do not have an intention to expand the size of the court…they don’t want that political pressure…they wanted to activate people who are concerned about the A.C.A. and concerned about a woman’s right to have sovereignty over their own body…but they don’t want to activate people too, too much so that they are beholden to actually taking material, legitimate steps in the future to prevent these things from happening.”

Prior to becoming political talk show hosts, both Crowder and Seder began their careers as stand-up comedians. In the world of online punditry, they are without a doubt two of the biggest players. In the past, Seder has challenged Crowder to debate multiple times, often ridiculing Crowder for allegedly only debating college students that aren’t media trained or as politically educated.

Reportedly, Crowder backed out of a debate with Seder at Politicon 2018. At this time, Crowder has not publicly commented on the accusations that he dodged a debate with Seder, or even acknowledge that Seder had challenged him to a debate at all.

What Trump Could Do on the Way Out

The Corruption of Ivanka Trump

The Corruption Blog digs into the details of the all-encompassing corruption of the Trump administration. 

The image Ivanka Trump presents of herself is that of a hard working entrepreneur whose lifestyle brand aligns with the values of her generation. In reality, she is far closer to a younger, female version of her old man. Her business and political career are nearly a mirror of Donald Trump’s. Be it a Trump property, or a presidency, the presentation is rife bombast and glitz, promising to deliver a superior product. Reality seldom bears this out.

Prior to her appointment to Senior Adviser to the President, Ivanka had almost no work history outside the family business. Her overseas experience amounted to an effort to develop  a failed Trump-branded property in the Azerbaijan. Trump Tower Baku was backed by corrupt oligarchs in the country’s government. Ivanka personally oversaw the development, even posting a picture of herself in a hard hat  on her website. The project remains unfinished and is suspected of being a venue exclusively for the purpose of money laundering. No evidence exists that the Trump Organization was actively involved in wrongdoing, but the company may have run afoul of the law through taking  a deliberate blind eye towards illicit practices. This experience  hardly qualifies her to be an individual tasked with representing the US internationally.

Keeping with family tradition, Ivanka was actively engaged with fraud at the Trump SoHo project. Units at the property were in high-demand, or so said Ivanka at an event to promote the residences; she claimed publicly that over 60% of units in the yet to be opened property were sold when questioned in 2010. Per emails between her and Donald Trump Jr, obtained by Manhattan’s DA office, this was a blatant fabrication. Roughly 16% of units had sold and the building was hemorrhaging money. It was a case of demonstrable fraud, which was inexplicably not prosecuted. Conduct of this sort could and should preclude an individual from working so close to the seat of power. In the Trump administration it seems to be a a prerequisite.

Her years of duplicitous behavior and coasting on the family name prepared her nicely for her current  role in the  Executive Branch. From the start of  her appointment Ivanka courted controversy and accusations of nepotism. She was given a West Wing office without an official position, which potentially exposed her to classified material without the property security clearances. The situation was ‘’remedied’’ when she was officially hired and put through the formal vetting process.

US consumers and businesses were adversely affected by higher prices as a result of President Trump’s bungled trade war with China. His daughter came out ahead. Clothing to and from China were excluded from addition tariffs, which meant none of Ivanka’s lifestyle brand would be more expensive to consumers. There may well have been other considerations that factored into the decision, but it is yet another instance of a family member insulated from the harm caused by Trump’s slap-dash policies. Additionally, while the two super-powers exchanged internecine rhetoric and economic measure, Ivanka, through her ease of access was able to secure multiple patents from the Chinese government for her various consumer products.

These and other business holdings raised conflicts of interest loud enough to force Ivanka to shutter her company’s operation. At the time (June 2018) she told reporters her namesake brand would be ceasing operations entirely in order for her to focus on her responsibilities in Washington. Ever a chip off the old block, her deeds have failed to match her words. Despite insinuating that she did not now know if or when she would be returning to the business world, she continued to acquire patents for the allegedly defunct outfit. 16 more patents from China have been issued to her company as well as ones from Japan and Argentina since she was said to have shut it all down. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics and Washington obtained her most recent financial disclosure, which revealed that last year she received between 100K and 1M in income from her company. Her merchandise is still available on Amazon, which could be remaining inventory, or products made and sold by others with Ivanka’s blessing. Either way, all signs point to Ivanka Trump continuing to profit off a business pre-dating her time in the White House after telling the world it was closed. It’s hard to fathom a more Trumpian disassociation between words and actions.

The recent New York Times story on the president’s taxes present the picture of a desperate real estate mogul engaged in long-term tax fraud. Ivanka was not spared. Among the many revelations in the piece were that Ivanka had been paid $747,000 as an outside consultant on Trump properties in Vancouver and Hawaii. That is problematic as she was already a high-ranking executive of the company and therefore would need not be paid as such. The criminal implication comes into focus with the development that the amount she was paid corresponds exactly to a deduction Trump wrote off on the projects. As Ivanka was already employed by the company doing the business, there would be no legitimate reason for doing so other than illicit avoiding of federal taxes. If substantiated, the detail could land in Ivanka in serious legal trouble should Trump lose November’s election.

Donald Trump has said he loves nepotism. He should, he’s been a beneficiary of the practice since he was his father’s landlord at five years old. It has benefited his daughter, who lived off the family name in the private sector before continuing to do so from the friendly confines of her father’s White House

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