Just when you thought the God-King couldn’t stoop any lower…. (More)
“I don’t care if it’s my son or not – everybody gets billed”
The best part about all this, according to Eric Trump, is the charity’s efficiency: Because he can get his family’s golf course for free and have most of the other costs donated, virtually all the money contributed will go toward helping kids with cancer. “We get to use our assets 100% free of charge,” Trump tells Forbes.
That’s not the case. In reviewing filings from the Eric Trump Foundation and other charities, it’s clear that the course wasn’t free – that the Trump Organization received payments for its use, part of more than $1.2 million that has no documented recipients past the Trump Organization. Golf charity experts say the listed expenses defy any reasonable cost justification for a one-day golf tournament.
Additionally, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, which has come under previous scrutiny for self-dealing and advancing the interests of its namesake rather than those of charity, apparently used the Eric Trump Foundation to funnel $100,000 in donations into revenue for the Trump Organization.
And while donors to the Eric Trump Foundation were told their money was going to help sick kids, more than $500,000 was re-donated to other charities, many of which were connected to Trump family members or interests, including at least four groups that subsequently paid to hold golf tournaments at Trump courses.
And no, you can’t lay this one on Prince Eric:
For the first four years of the golf tournament, from 2007 to 2010, the total expenses averaged about $50,000, according to the tax filings. Not quite the zero-cost advantage that a donor might expect given who owned the club but at least in line with what other charities pay to host outings at Trump courses, according to a review of ten tax filings for other charitable organizations.
But in 2011, things took a turn. Costs for Eric Trump’s tournament jumped from $46,000 to $142,000, according to the foundation’s IRS filings. Why would the price of the tournament suddenly triple in one year? “In the early years, they weren’t being billed [for the club]–the bills would just disappear,” says Ian Gillule, who served as membership and marketing director at Trump National Westchester during two stints from 2006 to 2015 and witnessed how Donald Trump reacted to the tournament’s economics. “Mr. Trump had a cow. He flipped. He was like, ‘We’re donating all of this stuff, and there’s no paper trail? No credit?’ And he went nuts. He said, ‘I don’t care if it’s my son or not – everybody gets billed’.”
Oh, and yes, that probably violated federal tax laws, because it is indeed illegal to raise money “for charity” and then skim it into your own coffers. Mr. Robert Mueller, please pick up the white courtesy phone….
“That is such a sharp departure from all the past traditions and rules of the road”
The day after President Trump asked James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director, to end an investigation into his former national security adviser, Mr. Comey confronted Attorney General Jeff Sessions and said he did not want to be left alone again with the president, according to current and former law enforcement officials.
Mr. Comey believed Mr. Sessions should protect the F.B.I. from White House influence, the officials said, and pulled him aside after a meeting in February to tell him that private interactions between the F.B.I. director and the president were inappropriate. But Mr. Sessions could not guarantee that the president would not try to talk to Mr. Comey alone again, the officials said.
However, the Times sources say Comey did not tell the Klanmaster General that the God-King had asked him to drop the Russia investigation. Comey kept memos and told other people in the FBI, but didn’t report it to the Department of Justice … and Republicans will surely pounce on that in tomorrow’s hearings as proof that Comey didn’t ‘really’ think the God-King was trying to obstruct the investigation.
Still, it was the DOJ’s job – and has long been routine practice – to keep the White House away from ongoing investigations:
The Justice Department typically walls off the White House from criminal investigations to avoid even the appearance of political meddling in law enforcement. But Mr. Trump has repeatedly injected himself in law enforcement matters, and never more dramatically than in his private meetings with Mr. Comey.
“You have the president of the United States talking to the director of the F.B.I., not just about any criminal investigation, but one involving his presidential campaign,” said Matthew S. Axelrod, who served in senior Justice Department roles during the Obama administration and is now a partner at the law firm Linklaters. “That is such a sharp departure from all the past traditions and rules of the road.”
We’ll doubtless learn more tomorrow when Comey testifies publicly.
“He’s infuriated at a deep-gut, personal level”
And that testimony should be lively, especially as the God-King intends to live-Tweet his rebuttals:
Alone in the White House in recent days, President Trump – frustrated and defiant – has been spoiling for a fight, according to his confidants and associates.
Glued even more than usual to the cable news shows that blare from the televisions in his private living quarters, or from the 60-inch flat screen he had installed in his cramped study off the Oval Office, he has fumed about “fake news.” Trump has seethed as his agenda has stalled in Congress and the courts. He has chafed against the pleas for caution from his lawyers and political advisers, tweeting whatever he wants, whenever he wants.
And on Thursday, the president will come screen-to-screen with the FBI director he fired, James B. Comey, thoughts of whom have consumed, haunted and antagonized Trump since Comey launched an expanding Russia investigation that the president slammed as a “witch hunt.”
Trump is keen to be a participant rather than just another viewer, two senior White House officials said, including the possibility of taking to Twitter to offer acerbic commentary during the hearing.
As usual, it’s all about the God-King’s massive ego, Robert Costa reports:
“He’s infuriated at a deep-gut, personal level that the elite media has tolerated [the Russia story] and praised Comey,” former House speaker Newt Gingrich said. “He’s not going to let some guy like that smear him without punching him as hard as he can.”
“He’s not going to take an attack by James Comey laying down,” said Roger Stone, a longtime Trump friend and former political adviser. “Trump is a fighter, he’s a brawler and he’s the best counterpuncher in American politics.”
So here’s my not-so-secret wish. I would love to see the God-King as a defendant in a criminal case, with the trial broadcast live. He would, without a doubt, spend most of the trial leaping out of his seat to shout at the prosecutor, judge, witnesses, jurors, and anyone else. The judge would break a half-dozen gavels, we’d all get a live law school course in contempt of court procedures.
Oh please oh please oh please….
Photo Credit: Andrew Harrer-Pool (Getty Images)
Good day and good nuts