Friday evening, the Washington Post reported that about 100 foreign diplomats gathered at President-elect Donald Trump’s hotel in Washington, DC to “to sip Trump-branded champagne, dine on sliders and hear a sales pitch about the U.S. president-elect’s newest hotel.” The tour included a look at the hotel’s $20,000 a night “town house” suite. The Post also quoted some of the diplomats saying they intended to stay at the hotel in order to ingratiate themselves to the incoming president.
There’s supposed to be a firewall between President Trump and the business he continues to own, which is being run by his his two adult sons. But there’s already been indications that firewall isn’t as firm as it should be. During a February interview with Forbes, Eric admitted that he plans to give his father quarterly financial updates about how Trump’s sprawling business empire is doing. And earlier this week, Donald Jr. told the Associated Press he “has spoken to his father more frequently in recent weeks.” A new Washington Post report citing 21 of Trump’s aides, confidants, and allies suggests that not only are Eric and Donald Jr. talking with their dad about his business, but they — along with Ivanka Trump and fellow White House staffer Jared Kushner — are exerting their influence to make sure his flagging presidency doesn’t destroy the family brand.
Days after a lawsuit accusing President Trump of violating the Constitution’s “emoluments clause” added more plaintiffs, the House Oversight Committee is requesting the Trump Organization turn over documents detailing what processes Trump’s business has implemented, if any, to make sure the president isn’t profiting from foreign governments who want to curry favor with him.
President Trump echoed the language of an extreme, anti-government group during his speech to the NRA’s annual meeting on Friday, claiming that the next revolutionary war is coming if the government tries to regulate guns. He also borrowed heavily from a book about the American Revolution, using nearly identical language. Toward the end of his remarks, Trump shared the story of Paul Revere, a symbol of the American Revolution, and his “famous warning that ‘the British are coming.’” Like Revere, NRA members need to be “vigilant” against those who “would take away our freedoms, restrict our liberties” and “abolish the Second Amendment,” Trump said.
Here’s a pro tip for the lawyers at Jeff Sessions’ Justice Department: If you want to defend the president’s efforts to lock people out of the nation because of their religion, you might not want to rely on discredited Supreme Court decisions enabling a racist backlash. Palmer v. Thompsonis one of the great missteps in the Supreme Court’s often unfortunate history on matters of race. This case centered on the city of Jackson, Mississippi’s operation of five racially segregated public swimming pools. After a court ordered the pools integrated, the city closed the pools rather than operating pools where people of all races could swim. And the Supreme Court, in a 5–4 vote, let Jackson get away with this scheme.
At an event in Beijing on Saturday, Nicole Kushner, the sister of White House senior advisor Jared Kushner, made a hard sell to wealthy Chinese investors to pour funds into the family’s new real estate development in New Jersey, according to The Washington Post. “Invest $500,000 and immigrate to the United States,” a brochure for the event reportedly declared.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is a notorious racist. He prosecuted a former aide to Martin Luther King, Jr. after the former aide helped black voters cast ballots. He once claimed that immigrants “create cultural problems.” When Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) claimed at Sessions’ most recent confirmation hearing that Sessions’ record of “treating all Americans equally under the law is clear and well-documented,” Desiree A. Fairooz, a spectator who says she attended the hearing in silent protest, let out a chuckle. For this chuckle, she was arrested, dragged out of the hearing by Capitol police, and eventually convicted of disorderly conduct and “parading or demonstrating on Capitol grounds.” She could receive up to a year in prison.
The Trump administration’s attack on basic science continues apace, with rumors circulating that President Donald Trump will soon tap former campaign policy adviser and one-time conservative radio talk show host Sam Clovis to be the lead scientist at the Department of Agriculture. Trump will reportedly name Clovis to lead the USDA’s Research, Education and Economics division despite the fact that Clovis has no background in the hard sciences, as well as no demonstrable policy experience with either food or agriculture.
Plans to mine alongside Alaska’s pristine Bristol Bay, where half the world’s salmon are fished, had appeared dead in the water in recent years. Not anymore. The Environmental Protection Agency has dropped a regulatory plan that would have protected Bristol Bay from the planned Pebble Mine, encouraging the project’s backers to seek permits and move forward.
In this post, former FBI agent offers specific examples of when Trump and Paul Manafort, diverted attention from questions posed to them to fake news articles propagated by the Russians.