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trump-putin

In case you were wondering about Trump’s ties to Russia…wonder no longer! At the CPAC conference, people attending were waiving Russian flags.  Evidently Republicans don’t respect the First Amendment rights of other Republicans because the security team at the conference seized the flags.

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It’s ironic that Trump declared at the CPAC conference that nobody loves the First Amendment more than he does.

 


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Donald Trump described himself as the King of Debt!  He is proud of the fact that he has taken advantage of hard working people who did exactly what they promised, and Trump failed to pay for no reason.

He has used his power and money to sue people who were at a dramatic disadvantage because they didn’t have the money to mount an equally aggressive defense.  There was the golf course in Jupiter Florida, where Trump screwed members out of Millions of Dollars.  There was Trump University where the Donald screwed students out of 25 million dollars.  There were tenants in the rent controlled apartment that Trump attempted to coerce to leave.trump-visionary-mar-a-lagoportrait

Donald Trump often portrays himself as a savior of the working class who will “protect your job.” But a USA TODAY NETWORK analysis found Trump has been involved in more than 3,500 lawsuits over the past three decades.  Many of these suits involved Trump being sued by ordinary Americans who asserted Trump or his companies refused to pay them.  At least 60 lawsuits, along with hundreds of liens, judgments, and other government filings reviewed by the USA TODAY NETWORK, document people who have accused Trump and his businesses of failing to pay them for their work. Among them: a dishwasher in Florida. A glass company in New Jersey. A carpet company. A plumber. Painters. Forty-eight waiters. Dozens of bartenders and other hourly workers at his resorts and clubs, coast to coast. Real estate brokers who sold his properties. And, ironically, several law firms that once represented him in these suits and others.

Trump’s companies have also been cited for 24 violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act since 2005 for failing to pay overtime or minimum wage, according to U.S. Department of Labor data. That includes 21 citations against the defunct Trump Plaza in Atlantic City and three against the also out-of-business Trump Mortgage LLC in New York.

In addition to the lawsuits, the review found more than 200 mechanic’s liens — filed by contractors and employees against Trump, his companies or his properties claiming they were owed money for their work — since the 1980s. The liens range from a $75,000 claim by a Plainview, N.Y., air conditioning and heating company to a $1 million claim from the president of a New York City real estate banking firm. On just one project, Trump’s Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City, records released by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission in 1990 show that at least 253 subcontractors weren’t paid in full or on time, including workers who installed walls, chandeliers and plumbing.

 

Then there were the bankruptcies of Trump’s businesses.  There were 6, not four.

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The debt made the subject of each bankruptcy was:

  1.  $3 billion

2.  $338 million

3.  $250 million

4.  $550 million

5.  $1.8 billion

6.  $53.1 million

Because Trump’s tax returns have never been produced it is difficult to know just how far in debt Trump is.  In financial disclosures Trump was required to file as part of the requirement to become President, Trump declared that he owes $315 million to 10 separate lenders.  However a report by The Wall Street Journal suggests that the actual debt of Trump, or businesses in which Trump has at least a 30 percent stake are considered, he owes roughly $1.5 billion in additional debt to more than 150 institutions.

His creditors include Wells Fargo & Co, a bank that is under investigation for fraudulent practices including opening as many as 2 million accounts without the knowledge or consent of their customers. The report claimed that Wells Fargo is the trustee or administration of $282 million of loans to Trump and his companies, as well as a $950 million debt being paid by property partly owned by the president-elect. He also owes money to JPMorgan Chase, BlackRock, Deutsche Bank and Prudential.

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Among President Trump’s debts—the source of some of his most intractable conflicts of interest—is a mystery loan that Trump has not publicly explained. And this means that the president could have a secret creditor to whom he owes tens of millions of dollars.  Trump is carrying hundreds of millions of dollars in debt. These transactions could provide his creditors with leverage over the new commander-in-chief. Moreover, it would be difficult for Trump to refinance or modify the terms of his various loans without raising suspicion that he is receiving favorable treatment because of his position.  Because Trump has refused to release his tax returns, it’s impossible for the public to know exactly how much he owes and to whom. And Trump never kept his campaign promise to reveal all his creditors and obligations.

Republican Senator Susan Collins from Maine  has indicated that she is open to using a subpoena to investigate President Trump’s tax returns for potential connections to Russia.  Collins sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election. She appeared on Maine Public radio to talk about issues including the investigation.

Last week, House Republicans blocked an attempt by Democrats to use an obscure law to obtain Trump’s tax returns from the IRS. Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee tried to frame the issue as a matter of national security, questioning whether Trump has any investments in Russia.

Collins also said during the radio appearance that she and other intelligence committee members will call for former national security adviser Michael Flynn to testify before the committee. Flynn resigned following reports that he had misled officials about his contacts with Russia.  Collins said the committee is in the midst of a “broad investigation” about Russian interference and it’s too early to speculate about the results.  She touted the “bipartisan” nature of the committee’s probe and pledged: “We will get to the bottom of this.”


shoot-messenger

The headline news for the last few days has surrounded the resignation of Michael Flynn, the President’s National Security Adviser.  Flynn was the National Security Adviser just 23 days.

Erosion of Trust:

 

When did the President know?

It seems there is no dispute that Flynn had conversations with Moscow’s ambassador to the US before the inauguration regarding sanctions against Russia. Such a move could be a breach of the law.  But the greatest concern should be the attempts of the Trump administration to target not the wrongdoing of Flynn, but the people who leaked the story.    Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, said  “Instead of investigating General Flynn’s lies and his troubling ties with Russia, he (Trump) chose to target those who brought them to light. Congress should be doing independent oversight of the Executive Branch and protecting whistleblowers, not running interference while the White House conceals their abuses and misleads the American people for weeks.”

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Trump knew of the breach of national security by Flynn weeks ago,and failed to take any action.  The Justice Department warned the White House last month that Flynn had not been truthful about the calls with the Russian envoy and could be susceptible to Russian blackmail.

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That information, disclosed to CNN by sources familiar to the matter, exposed the White House itself to questions about what officials did with the Justice Department warning and whether Trump himself was told.
Also unknown is whether Trump was aware that Flynn spoke to the Russian ambassador to the US about American sanctions imposed on Moscow late in the Obama administration to punish the Kremlin’s alleged intervention in the presidential election.
“What did the President know and when did he know it?” senior CNN political analyst David Axelrod said, using a phrase made famous by the Watergate scandal.
That unanswered question will fuel bipartisan congressional concerns about the administration’s relationship with Russia and conduct in the Flynn affair.
Before Flynn’s resignation, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio told CNN’s Manu Raju that his contacts with the Russian embassy should form part of a Senate Intelligence Committee investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the presidential election.
Adam Schiff, the ranking Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, said Flynn’s departure had become inevitable, but also warned that the controversy was far from over.
“Flynn’s departure does not end questions over his contacts with the Russians, which have been alleged to have begun well before December 29,” Schiff said in a statement. “These alleged contacts and any others the Trump campaign may have had with the Kremlin are the subject of the House Intelligence Committee’s ongoing investigation.”
He went on: “Moreover, the Trump Administration has yet to be forthcoming about who was aware of Flynn’s conversations with the Ambassador and whether he was acting on the instructions of the President or any other officials, or with their knowledge.”
tillerson-and-putin-two
Flynn is gone.Trump’s ties to Russia remain a concern.  Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s ties to Russia remain a concern.  While this controversy fills the headlines in America, Tillerson is meeting with Russian diplomats.  It is precisely because Trump seems to have launched a campaign to thwart whistle blowers, that the American people should be concerned.   We knew before the election of Trump’s ties to Russia.  The fact that Flynn was conspiring with Russia was predictable.  The only reason that it has captured national attention is the “leak” of information by whistleblowers.  If the whistleblowers are silenced America pays the price.
Stephen Colbert summarized the scandal, saying that “its funny because it’s treason.”

 trump-shoot-the-messenger

tillerson-boy-scouts

The Senate Confirmation Hearings for Rex Tillerson, are happening now!  Go to the link if you are interested.  In addition to concerns about Tillerson’s connections to Vladimir Putin and Russia “Hello” has brought to our attention a new article about Tillerson’s tenure as President of the Boy Scouts.    Tillerson served as President of the Boy Scouts from 2010-2012.  During that time Tillerson had access to thousands of files of documented Sexual violence against children.  Those cases wer enever reported to the police.

While Tillerson was President there was a suit filed in Oregon demanding that the scouts release 1900 files of sexual abuse.  The Oregon Supreme Court issued its ruling after Tillerson stepped down as President, but he must have been aware of the content of the files while President.

During Tillerson’s tenure, one particular case was working its way through the Oregon court system, culminating in an October 2012 ruling in the Oregon Supreme Court—four months after Tillerson stepped down as president—that ruled the BSA had to release 1,900 files to the public.

The attitude of Tillerson while serving as President of the Boy Scouts is frightening!  He was willing to cover-up outrageous behavior, knowing that the cover-up would likely result in additional cases of abuse.  He was supposed to be looking out for the boys in the Boy Scouts instead of the leaders.  Yet he acted to protect the leadership of the scouts,instead of the thousands of boys.  As Secretary of State, the citizens of America would be the people he should be protecting, but the liklihood is that it would be Trump that he would actually be protecting.

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trump-and-putin-horses

 

President-elect Donald Trump’s incoming chief of staff admitted that Russia was behind last year’s hacking and leaking of internal emails from top officials at the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

In an interview on “Fox News Sunday” with Chris Wallace, Reince Priebus acknowledged that Trump “accepts the fact that this particular case was entities in Russia,” but argued that the DNC should be criticized for not taking cyber security more seriously.

“I think he accepts the findings, Chris,” Priebus said of Trump. “But here’s the thing that everyone needs to understand. When this whole thing started, it started from the Russians 50 years ago. In other words, this is something that’s been going on in our elections for many, many years. The Russians, the Chinese, the Iranians — it happens, every election period.”

trump-reince-priebus

Trump and Priebus have evidently resolved their differences.  Reince Priebus previously was reported to be “furious” with Trump.  Priebus was previously livid with Trump over his remarks toward the parents of the soldier, a Muslim U.S. Army captain killed in the Iraq war.  Priebus was also reported to have been livid over Trump’s refusal to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senator John McCain.

Priebus was reported to “ feel like a fool,” as a result of ever trusting Trump.

Priebus feelt “burned” by Trump’s string of self-inflicted wounds and his refusal to observe basic decorum by giving Ryan his support.  Now that Trump is President-elect, it seems that Priebus is willing to defend anything Trump says or does.  How could any American defend the hacking of information to impact an election by a foreign government by saying that the opposing party had known about hacking in the past and failed to try harder to stop it.  It’s like saying that when Russia launches a nuclear weapon, it’s not ideal but Obama knew they had nuclear weapons and didn’t go to war with Russia to force them to relinquish their nuclear arsenal.  An attack on the American election system is never O.K.  The day we stop fighting to put an end to Russian interference with our elections is the day that we turn over control of our country to Russia….Oh wait, we already did that!

trump-and-putin-pointing

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