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"Seeking liberty and truth above suppression and mendacity!"
"Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech," said Benjamin Franklin.
Everyone has an opinion and the right to speak that opinion our forefathers granted us that right it's called the First Amendment. Read it then discuss it in the Forums. Find out about Donald J. Trump’s time in the white house. Donald J. Trump is a crook, a con man and liar who uses alternative facts and projects himself on to other.


Donald J. Trump is Filling His Pockets With Foreign Money and Your Tax Dollars.


There may be no one more crooked or corrupt than Donald J. Trump. Trump is using taxpayer money to prop up his properties and making a profit at the expense of the American taxpayer in violation of the emoluments cause. Trump is greedy con man who does not care about America or the American people, but he does want their money. Trump only cares about himself and how much money he can put in his pockets. He does not care where the money comes from the American taxpayer or foreign money he just wants money. Now we know why he refused to divest, Trump wanted to use the power of the presidency to put money in his pockets. Below you can find some examples of how crooked and corrupt Trump is using taxpayer dollars to prop up his properties and accepting foreign governments spending at Trump properties wishing to gain favor with him.

By Justin Wise
2020 presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Julian Castro on Saturday dismissed the significance of President Trump reversing his decision to hold next year's Group of Seven (G-7) summit at one of his properties in Florida, saying that the president will likely continue to use the White House for personal gain. "The G-7 may no longer be at Trump National Doral, but that won’t stop foreign nations from dumping money into Donald Trump's pockets by spending at his hotels," Warren, a Massachusetts senator, said on Twitter "And it won’t stop Trump from rewarding Mar-a-Lago members with ambassadorships." Castro, a former Housing and Urban Development Secretary, added: "Trying to be a complete crook of a politician didn’t quite work out for him this time, but I’m sure he’s not done trying. We need integrity back in the Oval Office." Donald Trump is corruption in the flesh—we must call it out, and I have a plan to fight back: https://t.co/k32fZwonHP — Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) October 20, 2019. Trying to be a complete crook of a politician didn’t quite work out for him this time, but I’m sure he’s not done trying. We need integrity back in the Oval Office. https://t.co/u7EUX84iQr — Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) October 20, 2019. Following a wave of backlash from Democrats, Republicans and ethics watchdogs, Trump said on Saturday that he would no longer host the 2020 G-7 Summit at the Trump National Doral in Florida. The decision came just two days after acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney announced that the annual event would be held at the Miami-area resort next June. Despite arguing that Trump would not profit from the gathering, Mulvaney's announcement sparked widespread concerns about the appearance of a conflict of interest for the president. Many asserted the move represented a violation of the Constitution's Emolument Clause, which bars federal officeholders from accepting payments from foreign countries, U.S. states or the federal government.

By Kate Sullivan, CNN
(CNN) - President Donald Trump on Saturday night abruptly reversed course and announced next year's G7 economic summit of world powers would not be held at Trump National in Doral, Florida, in a rare departure after facing bipartisan backlash. The President tweeted the major change just over 48 hours after the initial announcement: "We will no longer consider Trump National Doral, Miami, as the Host Site for the G-7 in 2020. We will begin the search for another site, including the possibility of Camp David, immediately." The President called the rising criticism his administration was facing "Irrational Hostility," and wrote, "I thought I was doing something very good for our Country by using Trump National Doral, in Miami, for hosting the G-7 Leaders." The White House had been defending its decision to use Trump's own property as the site for the G7 in the face of mounting outrage and disapproval. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham told CNN that the Doral site would be "significantly cheaper" than other options. The administration had argued the event would be run "at cost," or without profit, by the Trump National property because of the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which largely prohibits the President from accepting gifts and money from foreign governments. But it is not clear that simply avoiding a profit would keep the administration from running afoul of the emoluments clause. The administration also had not clarified the details of how it would determine what "at cost" would be. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN on Friday that holding the G7 at Trump's property was "completely out of the question." The move to host the summit at Trump's property had added to deep fractures in the President's relationships with some allies in Congress already upset with his decision to pull troops out of Syria. However, several of Trump's staunchest defenders on Capitol Hill said they were not concerned about it. GOP Rep. Jim Jordan told CNN that "the American people are much more concerned about not where it happens, but what happens at the event." But some members of the President's party suggested otherwise. Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois said he was "not happy about it." "I read the emoluments clause again yesterday," Kinzinger said on Friday, "and it talks about titles and nobility and all this. I don't know if it's a direct violation, but I don't understand why at this moment they had to do it." Noah Bookbinder, the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, weighed in on the President's reversal, calling it "a bow to reality." "President Trump's decision to award the G-7 Conference to his own property was outrageous, corrupt and a constitutional violation. It was stunningly corrupt even for a stunningly corrupt administration," Bookbinder said in a statement. "His reversal of that decision is a bow to reality, but does not change how astonishing it was that a president ever thought this was appropriate, or that it was something he could get away with." At a Thursday press briefing, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney defiantly addressed the concern that hosting the G7 there already creates profit by highlighting the resort, asking reporters to "consider the possibility that Donald Trump's brand is already strong enough on its own." Mulvaney told reporters it was Trump who brought up the idea of hosting the G7 at Doral, explaining: "We sat around one night. We were back in the dining room and I was going over it with a couple of our advance team. We had the list, and he goes, 'What about Doral?' And it was like, 'That's not the craziest idea. It makes perfect sense.'"

The corruption is becoming more and more brazen.
By Aaron Rupar
In one of the starkest examples of how the Trump administration is normalizing the sort of self-dealing that would have been unfathomable in previous eras, acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney announced on Thursday that next June’s G7 summit will be held at a resort that President Donald Trump still owns and profits from in Doral, Florida. During a news conference, Mulvaney portrayed the decision as one based on holding the event at the best facility possible. But there are plenty of other suitable venues that the president doesn’t profit from — such as Camp David in Maryland, which hosted the G7 the last time it was in the US in 2012 — and there’s no denying that turning one of the world’s foremost annual gatherings of leaders into a free infomercial for Trump’s resort represents a major branding opportunity. Tellingly, Mulvaney himself didn’t even try to deny that. Instead, he argued that Trump is too rich and successful to care about branding opportunities since his “brand is probably strong enough as it is.” Trump “doesn’t need any more help on that,” Mulvaney added, alluding to the free promotion the G7 will provide. “It is the most recognizable name in the English language and probably around the world.” That Trump’s name is one of the most well-known in the English language might arguably be true — but “Trump National Doral Miami” is less so. And beyond the branding opportunity, it’s also a financial one, especially seeing as how Doral’s net operating income has declined by nearly 70 percent since 2015. Mulvaney promoted Trump Doral from behind the White House briefing podium as “far and away the best physical facility for this meeting” and “perfect for our needs.” The move perhaps isn’t surprising, given Trump’s willingness to break decades of precedent by refusing to divest from his business interests when he took office. And Trump has used the guise of diplomacy to promote his businesses before. He’s hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago resort and has repeatedly hosted Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo there as well. Those summits served as textbook examples of corruption, but hosting the G7 at a resort that Trump has described in federal disclosures as one of his biggest moneymakers takes things up a notch. While it’s on brand, Trump’s decision to have the next G7 meeting in a place where the US government and international governments would be forced to patronize his business is perhaps the starkest illustration yet of how he’s thumbing his nose not just at tradition and ethical standards but also the Constitution’s emoluments clause, a little-used provision aimed at guarding corruption of presidents by foreign interests. Mulvaney, however, dismissed concerns that Trump’s conflicts of interest are a bad look by insisting he “got over that a long time ago.”

In one of the starkest illustrations of his corruption, the president wants to have next year’s G7 at Trump Doral.
By Aaron Rupar
President Donald Trump wants to host 2020’s G7 meeting of international leaders at Trump Doral in Florida, a private club he still owns and profits from — a move that would serve as perhaps the starkest illustration yet of how Trump is normalizing corruption. Having the G7 at Doral would be tantamount to “a free, giant international promotion” for Trump’s business, said Jordan Libowitz, the communications director for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), in an interview with Vox. Trump first raised the idea of hosting next year’s meeting at his Doral, Florida-based golf resort during a bilateral meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday, the last day of this year’s G7 in France, saying of Trump Doral that “we haven’t found anything that could even come close to competing with it, especially when you look at the location right next to the airport” in Miami. Trump uses G7 to promote private Doral resort he still owns and profits from, which he says may host the G7 next year: "It's a great place. It's got tremendous acreage ... people are really liking it ... we haven't found anything that could even come close to competing with it." pic.twitter.com/MK2vY2inK1 — Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 26, 2019 . Trump’s comments raised some eyebrows, and during his G7-ending press conference a few hours later, he was asked by NBC’s Hallie Jackson to respond to people who are concerned he’s profiting from the presidency. He responded by plugging Trump Doral. “With Doral we have a series of magnificent buildings — we call the bungalows — they each hold from 50 to 70 luxurious rooms, with magnificent views. We have incredible conference rooms, incredible restaurants. It’s, like, such a natural,” Trump said, before adding, dubiously, that “in my opinion I’m not going to make any money.” Shortly after the press conference ended, the White House Twitter account seemed to make the announcement official in a tweet featuring video of the comments Trump made promoting Doral.

By Mark Joseph Stern
Donald Trump has flagrantly abused the power of his office to line his own pockets. Again. Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney announced on Thursday that the president selected his own Trump Doral golf resort as the site of June’s G-7 summit. Heads of state and diplomats will congregate at his own property—which is in steep decline and needs extra business in June. The move ensures that other nations will spend millions of dollars housing hundreds of personnel at Trump’s resort, funneling money from foreign governments into the president’s business. There are myriad other potential locations, but Trump chose to award the contract to himself. The president’s decision to exploit the G-7 summit for personal enrichment is so obviously corrupt, so shameless and extortionary, that it seems strange to debate whether it is also unlawful. And yet, from the start of Trump’s tenure, his opponents have struggled to find an effective line of legal attack against his self-dealing. Government watchdogs have sued him in federal court, but their efforts have stalled—in part because judges have struggled with the unprecedented nature of the offense: No other president has bilked his office for so much cash. It seems implausible that the Constitution would provide no mechanism to halt such brazen corruption. And yet, here we are, well more than halfway through Trump’s term, and the president’s heists are only getting more blatant. Can anything or anyone stop his raid on the public fisc? One strategy, initiated shortly after Trump took office, has been to ask the federal judiciary to enforce the Constitution’s emoluments clauses. These provisions sound abstruse because nobody uses the word emolument in casual conversation. But the Framers intended it to mean a payment, gift, or service. The foreign emoluments clause bars any federal officeholder, including the president, from receiving an emolument from a foreign state without congressional approval. The domestic emoluments clause explicitly prohibits the president from receiving any emolument (beyond his official salary) from any state or the federal government. There’s no exception for congressional approval. It is pretty apparent that Trump has repeatedly violated both clauses. For instance, foreign diplomats routinely stay at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, in part to curry favor with the president. By accepting payments at his own property from another government—without obtaining permission from Congress—Trump likely violated the foreign emoluments clause. Or consider the allegations that Trump directed the Air Force to stop at his Turnberry resort in Scotland. By funneling federal money into his property, Trump likely violated the domestic emoluments clause. There isn’t anything especially complicated about this constitutional theory. Ample evidence indicates that the Framers intended the emoluments clauses to function as a safeguard against government corruption—and, in particular, foreign influence in affairs of state. But the numerous plaintiffs who’ve sued the president of accepting illegal emoluments keep getting tripped up on a preliminary roadblock. To successfully sue Trump for emoluments, these plaintiffs must prove they have standing, meaning they are actually injured by his actions. And it turns out to be quite difficult to prove that the president’s corruption negatively affects you in a concrete way. There a few possible routes around this barricade. In September, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that hotels and restaurants competing with Trump’s properties had standing to sue. The court held that the plaintiffs had plausibly argued that they faced unfair competition from Trump, because foreign and domestic government employees patronize his business to earn his favor. In 2018, a federal judge ruled that members of Congress also had standing to sue, because they were denied the opportunity to approve Trump’s foreign emoluments. (That decision is on hold as it’s appealed.) he District of Columbia and Maryland are also battling out their own emoluments suit. Their attorneys general argue that Trump’s D.C. hotel draws foreign and domestic government officials away from Maryland (which wants the tax revenue) and the D.C. convention center (which is taxpayer funded). A panel of judges for the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found neither jurisdiction had standing, but the full court will reexamine its decision in December. more...

The House is investigating whether groups tried to curry favor with Trump by booking rooms at his hotels but never using them.
By ANITA KUMAR
House investigators are looking into an allegation that groups — including at least one foreign government — tried to ingratiate themselves to President Donald Trump by booking rooms at his hotels but never staying in them. It’s a previously unreported part of a broad examination by the House Oversight Committee, included in Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, into whether Trump broke the law by accepting money from U.S. or foreign governments at his properties. “Now we’re looking at near raw bribery,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), a House Oversight Committee member who chairs the subcommittee with jurisdiction over Trump’s hotel in Washington. “That was the risk from Day One: foreign governments and others trying to seek favor because we know Trump pays attention to this. ... It’s an obvious attempt to curry favor with him.” The investigation began after the committee received information that two entities — a trade association and a foreign government — booked a large quantity of rooms but used only a fraction of them, according to a person familiar with the allegation who isn't authorized to speak for the committee. The emoluments clause of the Constitution forbids a president from profiting from foreign governments or receiving any money from the U.S. government except his or her annual salary. Rep. Ro Khanna, (D-Calif.), a member of the House Oversight Committee, said if Trump or his staff solicited the hotel reservations, they could have broken the law. But even if they didn’t, it’s still a problem. more...

The spending paid for the equivalent of hundreds of nights of rooms over approximately three dozen separate stays, the committee said.
By NATASHA BERTRAND and BRYAN BENDER
Since Donald Trump took office, the U.S. military has spent nearly $200,000 at the president’s luxury Scotland resort, according to figures and documents the Pentagon provided to the House Oversight Committee. The spending, which has all occurred since August 2017, paid for the equivalent of hundreds of nights of rooms at the Turnberry resort over approximately three dozen separate stays, the committee said. The Air Force confirmed last week that its crews had stayed up to 40 times at Trump’s property since 2015, but it has not provided a breakdown of the number of stays since Trump was elected. The figures provided to the House Oversight Committee suggest the vast majority of stays have occurred since Trump took office, raising concerns among Democrats about a conflict of interest. POLITICO first reported earlier this month that the Oversight Committee had been probing military spending at Turnberry since April to determine whether the money constituted a violation of the Constitution’s domestic emoluments clause, which prohibits the president from receiving any compensation from the federal government other than his salary. After being elected, Trump chose not to fully divest himself from his business interests, choosing instead to put his holdings in a trust that he can receive money from at any time. The committee’s probe has ramped up in the wake of POLITICO’s reporting on several overnight stays at the resort by U.S. Air Force crews, some of which have been multinight stays involving dozens of crew members and passengers. The Pentagon documents showed that U.S. taxpayer funds “have been used to pay for more than three dozen separate stays involving hundreds of nights of rooms — all after the President was sworn into office,” according to a letter the committee’s chairman, Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) wrote to acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Wednesday. more...

VIP pins, Scottish shortbread and plush surroundings greet officers who choose Trump Turnberry for their layovers.
By BEN SCHRECKINGER
TURNBERRY, Scotland— Air Force officers who have earned medals for their tours of duty can pick up some more brass with a short pit stop in Southwest Scotland. As part of its relationship with the Air Force, the Trump Turnberry resort occasionally gifts high-ranking officers a version of its “Pride Pin,” a lapel pin featuring the property’s iconic lighthouse — an honor reserved for VIPs — upon their arrival, according to a resort staffer familiar with the practice. Rank-and-file members can expect a more basic welcome package in their rooms, featuring goodies like Scottish shortbread. A five-day visit to Turnberry and the surrounding region revealed that the regular visits from Air Force crews on layovers from Prestwick Airport have become a major facet of the life of the resort. It also revealed that, rather than being restricted to single-night refueling stops, some visits last multiple nights, expanding the known dimensions of the relationship between the president’s luxury resort and the U.S. military. One reason for the multinight stays, which were described by a half-dozen staffers, is inclement weather that prevents the crews from taking off from the airport 40 minutes up the road. In at least one instance earlier this year, a crew was laid up for multiple nights while its plane underwent repairs, allowing the group to hit the links on Turnberry’s world-class course and purchase mementos from the pro shop, where a child’s golf shirt runs 55 British pounds, about $68. A Trump Organization spokeswoman did not respond to an email requesting comment. The extended contact has allowed service members to bond with staff, who are tickled that the airmen sometimes address them as “sir” or “ma’am,” rather than vice versa. Occasionally friendships continue on social media. more...

Appeals court allows Trump emoluments case to move forward
By Brett Samuels
A federal appeals court in New York on Friday ruled that a lawsuit accusing President Trump of violating the Emoluments Clause can proceed after a lower court had thrown out the case. A panel of judges with the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 in favor of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), which has alleged that the president violated the constitutional clause by refusing to put his business assets in a blind trust while in office and profiting off the presidency. But the case had been dismissed by a lower court in December 2017. "Plaintiffs have plausibly pleaded that the President’s ownership of hospitality businesses that compete with them will induce government patrons of the hospitality industry to favor Trump businesses over those of the Plaintiffs so as to secure favorable governmental action from the President and Executive branch," Judge Pierre Leval wrote in the decision. CREW welcomed the reinstatement of the case. "If President Trump would like to avoid the case going further and curtail the serious harms caused by his unconstitutional conduct, now would be a good time to divest from his businesses and end his violations of the Emoluments Clauses of the Constitution," Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in a statement. The ruling revives yet another lawsuit for Trump to defend against. He is also warding off legal challenges involving his tax returns, and his administration is facing numerous legal challenges of its policies on immigration, health care and other topics. Watchdogs have raised concerns about the president's decision not to put his company in a blind trust, noting that lobbyists, foreign officials and political insiders may frequent his businesses to earn favor with the administration. The issue has gained new urgency as lawmakers and watchdogs raise concerns about government officials' use of Trump properties. The president last month suggested he may host world leaders at next year's Group of Seven (G-7) summit at his Doral resort near Miami, and the Air Force is looking into its pilots habit of staying at Trump's property in Turnberry, Scotland, while refueling. more...

U.S. appeals court rules against Trump in foreign payments case
Andrew Chung, Jan Wolfe
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. federal appeals court on Friday revived a lawsuit alleging President Donald Trump violated the U.S. Constitution by profiting from foreign and domestic officials who patronized his hotels and restaurants, adding to the corruption claims against Trump. The New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals set aside a lower court ruling that had thrown out the case because the people who sued could not prove they were harmed by Trump’s actions and his role as president. Friday’s ruling dealt with preliminary questions relating to whether the case should be heard, without directly addressing whether Trump violated the law. The lawsuit, initially filed by plaintiffs including the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, accused the Republican president of failing to disentangle himself from his hotels and other businesses, making him vulnerable to inducements by officials seeking to curry favor. The case alleged violations of the U.S. Constitution’s anti-corruption “emoluments” provisions, which ban the president from accepting gifts or payments from foreign governments without congressional consent. A Justice Department spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Trump, a wealthy real estate developer who as president regularly visits his own hotels, resorts and golf clubs, maintains ownership of his businesses but has ceded day-to-day control to his sons. Critics have said that is not a sufficient safeguard. Friday’s ruling comes in a lawsuit filed days after Trump took office in January 2017. The plaintiffs included a New York hotel owner, an events booker in Washington and a restaurant trade group that allege lost patronage, wages and commissions from clients who now prefer Trump’s businesses over theirs because of the ability to gain the president’s favor. The plaintiffs cite examples of foreign government entities, including the Embassy of Kuwait and a delegation from Malaysia, choosing Trump’s properties, such as the Trump International Hotel in Washington, over other venues. more...  

The tally represents the preliminary results of an Air Force review launched after POLITICO reported that an Air National Guard crew had stayed at Turnberry.
By BRYAN BENDER and NATASHA BERTRAND
The U.S. Air Force has lodged crews at President Donald Trump’s Scotland resort up to 40 times since 2015, a figure that is far higher than previously known. The tally represents the preliminary results of an Air Force review launched after POLITICO reported last week that an Air National Guard crew stayed at Turnberry in March. Congressional Democrats have also been investigating military stays at the property, but have yet to receive any information from the Pentagon. The figure does not indicate how many of the stays have occurred since Trump became president. But the Air Force has significantly ramped up its overnight stops in Scotland under Trump after signing a contract with the Prestwick Airport — situated 20-plus miles from Turnberry — in the waning months of the Obama administration. Since 2015, the service has lodged crews in the area 659 times, meaning up to 6 percent of those stays were at Turnberry. The figure also does not account for the total number of people the Air Force has put up at Trump Turnberry during those roughly 40 stays. POLITICO previously reported that Air Force crews of five to nearly 40 people have lodged at Trump's waterside property over at least four stays since September 2018. The Air Force has said the refueling stops at Prestwick — and all related overnight stays — are well within Pentagon guidelines. Prestwick frequently books the Air Force crews’ lodging at Turnberry, the airport acknowledged in a statement, and often arranges for their transportation to and from the resort. Officials have also said the Turnberry bookings fall within acceptable rates for military travel, as military members are charged a government rate as low as $130 per night. But the Air Force did concede that the appearance of staying at the president’s posh property might create a negative perception, and it has launched an internal review that will assess the “guidance associated with the use of civil airports and lodging selection for aircrew at en route locations,” according to a memo issued Monday. Still, the issue is the latest example of the intersection of Trump’s business interests and what used to be unremarkable government policies. Air Force crews have been lodging at Turnberry because of the increasing importance of Prestwick Airport for refueling military aircraft. In 2015, the Air Force made 95 stops there, lodging in the area 40 times. But through August of this year, the Air Force had made 259 stops at Prestwick, staying overnight nearby 220 times. The roughly 40 stays at Turnberry are likely to raise eyebrows among congressional Democrats, who have said the practice raises conflict-of-interest concerns and might violate the Constitution's domestic emoluments clause, which prohibits the president from receiving money from the federal government other than his salary. The House Oversight Committee has been investigating U.S. military expenditures at and around Turnberry since the spring, and has threatened to subpoena officials in an attempt to get more information from the Pentagon. more...

By Alexandra Hutzler
President Donald Trump has spent nearly a third of his presidency visiting his business properties at taxpayer expense, according to a new report by the government watchdog group Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington. CREW has found over 2,300 conflicts of interest resulting from Trump's decision not to divest ownership of his global business empire upon entering office. The group used social media, news reports, Freedom of Information Act responses and other sources of information to tally these instances. The nonprofit added that there are likely more conflicts of interest than the ones they have been able to identify. "This corrupt relationship between the Trump Organization and the White House leaves the American public in the dark about whether presidential decisions and policy are being made in the best interest of the country or in the best interest of the president's own bottom line," Noah Bookbinder, CREW's executive director, told Newsweek. According to the watchdog, Trump has visited his properties 362 times at taxpayer expense since his inauguration in 2017. So far in 2019, the president has made 81 trips to his business properties. "The number of days where President Trump has spent time at a Trump-branded property account for almost a third of the days he's been president," the report said. CREW also found that 111 foreign officials have made over 130 trips to Trump properties. The visits raise eyebrows as to how much money foreign governments have spent at businesses and properties related to the Trump Organization. "Not only has President Trump continued to use the presidency to try to enrich himself, he has also granted foreign governments and special interests the opportunity to purchase access to his administration by patronizing his businesses," Bookbinder said. more...

By Ramsey Touchberry
A top House Democrat has a warning for foreign officials who spend money at properties owned by President Donald Trump: Stop, because your government is "facilitating" his ability to violate the U.S. Constitution. The cautionary message came from Representative Eliot Engel, a New York Democrat and chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, in the form of a memo to his staff on Monday but which was released publicly on Tuesday. "When meeting with officials from a foreign government, please inform them that by providing any form of payment or benefit to a Trump-owned property their government is facilitating the President's apparent violation of the Foreign Emoluments Clause," the memo stated. "Please urge those foreign officials to transmit to their governments that the House Foreign Affairs Committee requests that they cease and desist payments to the Trump Organization unless and until Congress approves the emolument, as provided in the Constitution." Democrats have long accused Trump of violating the Emoluments Clause, a provision of the constitution that states no sitting U.S. president "shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept" gifts or benefits from foreign governments. Although he's relinquished the day-to-day operations of his companies to his eldest sons, Trump has not placed his businesses in a blind trust, meaning he continues to profit from them while in office. In addition to Democrats, government watchdogs have pointed to Trump's practice of hanging onto his luxurious properties and high-end businesses around the world as a conflict of interest. "There are serious concerns that these payments to hotels, businesses, condominiums, or other Trump-owned properties by foreign governments are in violation of the Constitution," Engel added in his memo. more...

The number of foreign governments hints at a significant foreign cash flow to the U.S. president that critics say violates the Constitution.
By Shelby Hanssen and Ken Dilanian
WASHINGTON — Representatives of at least 22 foreign governments appear to have spent money at Trump Organization properties, an NBC News review has found, hinting at a significant foreign cash flow to the American president that critics say violates the U.S. Constitution. The extent and amount of foreign spending at Trump's hotels, golf clubs and restaurants is not known, because the Trump Organization is a private company and declines to disclose that information. Trump promised to donate any profits from foreign governments, and the Trump Organization has sent $343,000 to the U.S. Treasury for 2017 and 2018. The company did not release underlying numbers to support that figure. Amid two lawsuits accusing Trump of accepting illegal foreign payments, NBC News sought to compile the most comprehensive possible list of foreign spending at Trump properties based on information in the public record. In June 2018, a report by the watchdog group Public Citizen came up with 10 foreign governments that had spent money at Trump venues. More information has since become public. A spokeswoman for the Trump Organization did not respond to a request for comment by NBC News. Donald Trump is the first president in modern history to retain ownership of a business empire while in office. He says the company is being run by his sons, but he continues to derive income from the various businesses, including his hotel in Washington, his federal financial disclosure forms show. But Trump has refused to release his tax returns, which would present a fuller picture of his business dealings. Some experts have long argued that foreign payments to Trump's companies are illegal under the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits a president from accepting gifts or "emoluments" from foreign states lest they influence policy. Two lawsuits — one by the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia, the other by Democratic members of Congress — allege that Trump is violating the Emoluments Clause. Trump argues that the ban on emoluments doesn't cover regular business payments. more...

By Alexandra Hutzler
President Donald Trump has been accused of violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution after a report that his private businesses have received $1.6 million from Republicans and various federal agencies. According to an analysis published on Thursday by The Washington Post, one-third of all the fundraisers Trump has attended have taken place at his own properties. Republican groups often host events at Trump businesses in the hope that the president will make an appearance. Democratic Representative Jerry Nadler, the House Judiciary Committee Chairman, responded to the Post analysis in a tweet on Friday morning in which he provided the text of the Constitution's emoluments clause. "And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State," Nadler tweeted. The Post also surmised that the amount of money Trump has made due to visiting and campaigning at his business properties is likely much more than $1.6 million. But official government spending records are only available through the first half of 2017. Earlier this week, House Democrats passed an amendment to an appropriations bill that would make it illegal for the State Department to spend money at Trump businesses. Democratic Representative Steve Cohen, who introduced the amendment, said it "sends a strong message to the American people that we will not this or any other president to use high office for personal enrichment." "President Trump's refusal to divest himself of his many businesses raises serious questions about compliance with the domestic emoluments clause, which protect against presidential corruption," Cohen said in a speech on the House floor. more...

An investigation into the spending comes as Trump faces questions over his officials patronizing his properties.
By Riley Beggin
The House Oversight Committee is investigating military spending at an airport near a Trump property in Ayer, Scotland, as well as visits to that property by service members, in the latest of a growing number of inquiries into government expenditures that seem to financially benefit President Donald Trump and his businesses. The military has spent $11 million on fuel alone at the Prestwick Airport near Trump’s Turnberry resort since fall of 2017, Politico reported. And reporting by the Guardian found the airport has provided discounted rooms and complimentary rounds of golf at the Trump resort for some US military members. The expenditures are unusual given buying fuel from Prestwick Airport costs the government (and, ultimately, taxpayers) more than refueling at military bases, such as the nearby Lakenheath Air Base in England. And the stays at Trump resorts are equally as unusual and costly, as Politico’s Natasha Bertrand and Bryan Bender note in their account of the experiences of five Air National Guard troops who stayed the Turnberry resort this year while on a mission to Kuwait:      One crew member was so struck by the choice of hotel — markedly different than the Marriotts and Hiltons the 176th maintenance squadron is used to — that he texted someone close to him and told him about the stay, sending a photo and noting that the crew’s per diem allowance wasn’t enough to cover food and drinks at the ritzy resort. The spending captured the attention of the House Oversight Committee, and in June, it sent the Pentagon a letter demanding an explanation. The Department of Defense, however, has refused to turn over any documents to investigators. Trump has been under scrutiny since the beginning of his presidency for refusing to divest his interests in his businesses. And as recently as last week, when it was reported Trump suggested Vice President Mike Pence stay at one of his hotels during a visit to Ireland, the president has been accused of using his office to enrich himself. more...

To ethics lawyers, the most extraordinary aspect of the daily merging of President Trump’s official duties and his commercial interests is that it has now become almost routine.
By Eric Lipton and Annie Karni
WASHINGTON — At a table in the lobby bar of the Trump International Hotel this week, the final details of a black-tie, 40th anniversary gala for the Concerned Women for America were being worked out by the conservative group’s staff. There was the contract with the president’s hotel to be reviewed. And there was also unfinished business with the White House — logistical issues posed by two guests from the administration, Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and most important, the status of the video message and letter from President Trump himself that the group wanted for the dinner. “That is the gold standard,” said Kenda Bartlett, Concerned Women for America’s executive director. “If we can get that, the rest of this is just dressing.” Staying at the Trump hotel or hosting an event in one of its ballrooms is hardly a guarantee of getting something in return from the Trump administration, or even getting on Mr. Trump’s personal radar. But many people like Ms. Bartlett have learned that it also does not hurt. more...

Air Force crew made an odd stop on a routine trip: Trump’s Scottish resort
Now the layover is part of a broader House inquiry into military spending at and around the Trump property.
By NATASHA BERTRAND and BRYAN BENDER
In early Spring of this year, an Air National Guard crew made a routine trip from the U.S. to Kuwait to deliver supplies. What wasn’t routine was where the crew stopped along the way: President Donald Trump’s Turnberry resort, about 50 miles outside Glasgow, Scotland. Since April, the House Oversight Committee has been investigating why the crew on the C-17 military transport plane made the unusual stay — both en route to the Middle East and on the way back — at the luxury waterside resort, according to several people familiar with the incident. But they have yet to receive any answers from the Pentagon. The inquiry is part of a broader, previously unreported probe into U.S. military expenditures at and around the Trump property in Scotland. According to a letter the panel sent to the Pentagon in June, the military has spent $11 million on fuel at the Prestwick Airport — the closest airport to Trump Turnberry — since October 2017, fuel that would be cheaper if purchased at a U.S. military base. The letter also cites a Guardian report that the airport provided cut-rate rooms and free rounds of golf at Turnberry for U.S. military members. Taken together, the incidents raise the possibility that the military has helped keep Trump’s Turnberry resort afloat — the property lost $4.5 million in 2017, but revenue went up $3 million in 2018. “The Defense Department has not produced a single document in this investigation,” said a senior Democratic aide on the oversight panel. “The committee will be forced to consider alternative steps if the Pentagon does not begin complying voluntarily in the coming days.” The Pentagon, Air Force and White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. On previous trips to the Middle East, the C-17 had landed at U.S. air bases such as Ramstein Air Base in Germany or Naval Station Rota in Spain to refuel, according to one person familiar with the trips. Occasionally the plane stopped in the Azores and once in Sigonella, Italy, both of which have U.S. military sites, the person added. But on this particular trip, the plane landed in Glasgow — a pitstop the five-man crew had never experienced in their dozens of trips to the Middle East. The location lacked a U.S. base and was dozens of miles away from the crew’s overnight lodging at the Turnberry resort. Had the crew needed to make a stop in the U.K., Lakenheath Air Base is situated nearby in England. The layover might have been cheaper, too: the military gets billed at a higher rate for fuel at commercial airports. One crew member was so struck by the choice of hotel — markedly different than the Marriotts and Hiltons the 176th maintenance squadron is used to — that he texted someone close to him and told him about the stay, sending a photo and noting that the crew’s per diem allowance wasn’t enough to cover food and drinks at the ritzy resort. The revelation that an Air Force mission may have helped line the president’s pockets comes days after Vice President Mike Pence was pressed about his decision to stay at Trump’s property in Doonbeg, Ireland, despite its location hundreds of miles away from his meetings in Dublin. The Oversight Committee is also investigating Pence’s stay at the resort. more... - Trump is using our tax dollars to prop up his businesses.

Trump is staying at his luxury resort on Ireland’s west coast this week.
By ANITA KUMAR
Donald Trump is on a global tour of his own businesses — and it’s putting more money in his bank account. On Wednesday, the president traveled to his luxury resort on Ireland’s west coast for a visit that will bring world-wide publicity and increased security to the location, and, if past trends hold, more revenue. Revenue increased in 2018 at many of the Trump developments that he visited that year, according to Trump’s most recent personal financial disclosure forms. There’s Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., where he dines on steak dinners; Trump National Golf Club in Virginia, where he spends his weekends; and Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey, where he vacations over the summer. And revenue increased by $3.1 million at Trump Turnberry, the resort on the Scottish coast he visited in July 2018, according to the documents. It’s difficult to know the exact reason for the boost — and increased revenue doesn’t always equal an overall profit — but some see a link between Trump’s presence and revenue. “I’m sure publicity can’t hurt,” said Laurence Hirsh, president of Golf Property Analysts and a former president of the Society of Golf Appraisers. “There’s people that don’t like him that would go for the novelty of it.” The trend is especially notable as Trump’s overall income dipped slightly from $450 million in 2017 to $434 million in 2018. At least $47 million of that money came from from 16 properties around the globe, according to the disclosure forms. While not all of the foreign properties reported revenue boosts, six of them — two in Scotland and one each in Ireland, Canada, the United Arab Emirates and the Dominican Republic — collectively brought in more than $6.9 million in additional revenue. The figure includes $3.2 million from the sale of land in the Dominican Republic. more...

Trump promised never to golf. Instead, he’s spent more than twice as many days golfing as Obama at the same point, costing taxpayers over three times as much.
By S.V. Date
Donald Trump’s golf habit has already cost taxpayers at least $102 million in extra travel and security expenses, and next month will achieve a new milestone: a seven-figure presidential visit to another country so he can play at his own course. U.S. taxpayers have spent $81 million for the president’s two dozen trips to Florida, according to a HuffPost analysis. They spent $17 million for his 15 trips to New Jersey, another $1 million so he could visit his resort in Los Angeles and at least $3 million for his two days in Scotland last summer ― $1.3 million of which went just for rental cars for the massive entourage that accompanies a president abroad. And, notwithstanding Trump’s campaign promise that if elected he would not play golf at all, the White House has done preliminary work for Trump’s visit to his resort on the west coast of Ireland next month, according to Irish media and government sources, even though no official meeting with Irish leaders is planned in the capital, Dublin. Late Tuesday afternoon, the White House announced that Trump would meet with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in Shannon, just 30 miles by air from Trump’s golf resort in Doonbeg. It will be the first time Trump will visit a foreign country — with the staggering footprint of personnel and equipment that entails — for the main purpose of playing golf, though an official purpose was layered on after the fact. “It’s obviously an incredible waste of money,” said Robert Weissman, president of the group Public Citizen. He then quipped: “Of course, the more time he spends golfing, the less time he spends governing, the better.” The $102 million total to date spent on Trump’s presidential golfing represents 255 times the annual presidential salary he volunteered not to take. It is more than three times the cost of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation that Trump continually complains about. It would fund for six years the Special Olympics program that Trump’s proposed budget had originally cut to save money. While Republicans and Trump himself frequently criticized former President Barack Obama for his golf outings, Trump has spent more than twice as many days on the links, to date, as Obama did at the same point in his first term. And because Trump has insisted on dozens of trips to New Jersey and Florida to play at his resorts there, taxpayers are spending more than three times as much as they did for golf by the same point in Obama’s term. more...

The president regularly visits his personal properties and golf courses in Virginia, Florida, and New Jersey.
By Liz Johnstone
President Donald Trump frequently uses his luxury properties for government business and leisure, prompting ethics concerns over a president appearing to promote his private enterprise at public cost. The NBC News digital politics team and the White House unit are tracking Trump's visits to his properties and golf courses since his inauguration. Where does Trump go? Trump's trips have mainly been concentrated in Palm Beach, Florida, where he mainly visits his Mar-a-Lago club and golf course, Trump International Golf Club. He's spent "working vacations" at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club, and as well as a handful of days at Trump Tower in Manhattan. more...

By Philip Bump
There have been only two months of Donald Trump’s presidency in which he hasn’t visited a property owned by the Trump Organization, the company from which he still draws a sizable income. One was last December, when the U.S. government shutdown derailed Trump’s plans to head to Mar-a-Lago, his resort in Palm Beach, Fla., for the holidays. The other was January 2017, when Trump had been president for 12 days. By early February of that year, Trump began visiting Trump Organization properties regularly. Rarely did a week go by in which he didn’t visit Mar-a-Lago (during the winter) or his golf club in Bedminster, N.J. (during the summer) or his golf club in Sterling, Va. (at any time of year). He has, by our tally, spent all or part of 255 days of his presidency at Trump Organization properties — more than a quarter of the days he’s been president. On 162 of those days, he’s probably played golf, a rate of once every 5.4 days. more...

By Jessica Estepa, USA TODAY
If you have to stay somewhere, you may as well stay at a place you own, right? That more or less seems to be the attitude of President Trump, who has rarely missed a weekend with at least a stop by a Trump property since he started visiting Mar-a-Lago down in Florida on his third weekend in office. The only exceptions: The two weekends surrounding his first foreign trip in office and the one time he went to presidential retreat Camp David. Even when he returned to Washington from the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, he had time to head to one of his golf clubs. more...

By Ramsey Touchberry
Since he announced his candidacy for president in 2015, at least $16.1 million has poured into properties owned by President Donald Trump as a result of his political involvement. That's according to campaign finance reports, state government spending and federal agency expenditure records obtained by ProPublica and Washington-based transparency organization Property of the People and published Wednesday. Trump hotels, golf courses and restaurants have been the direct beneficiaries of spending by his presidential campaign, Republican organizations and taxpayer-funded government agencies. Since April 30, 2015, Trump's campaign, which is largely funded by individual donations, has spent the most at Trump Organization properties, totaling more than $13.5 million. The next highest spenders were political campaigns and organizations, such as the Republican National Committee and congressional campaigns, with a total of a little over $2 million. Taxpayer dollars spent at Trump properties through federal, state and local agencies, like the State Department and city governments, amounted to almost $400,000. ProPublica noted that the state and local agency amounts spent are actually much higher because of inconsistent disclosures and reporting by the agencies themselves. To obtain the financial records, Property of the People made Freedom of Information Act requests to 15 federal agencies and ultimately sued four of them for failure to comply. more...

By ali dukakis
More than 200 interest groups – including corporations, foreign governments and various political associations -- have spent money at Trump properties, most notably the Trump International Hotel Washington D.C., since Donald Trump was elected president in 2016, according to a government watchdog group. In a report published on Wednesday called “Hotel Swamplandia: 200 Big Spenders at President Donald Trump’s Businesses,” Public Citizen, a non-profit consumer protection and government accountability group, identified what they called “the interest groups, companies, politicians and governments most enthusiastically embracing Trump and spending money socializing at his properties around the country, ostensibly to curry favor with the president.”  Analyzing social media posts, press reports and campaign records, including financial documents filed with the Federal Election Commission and Foreign Agent Registration Act forms filed with the Department of Justice, Public Citizen identified 121 political candidates or groups; 47 businesses or business groups; 12 religious groups; 10 foreign governments or groups representing their business interests; eight charities; four state and local governments; and two educational institutions that chose Trump properties for trade shows, fundraisers, parties or other events, raising a host of questions about potential conflicts of interest and pay-to-play politics. Ethics experts say the patronization of the president's businesses – from which he has opted not to fully divest– by private interest groups, corporations, political groups, and foreign governments is a troubling trend observed since Trump took public office. "Since Donald Trump became president, we've seen a jump in politicians, political groups and others who could want to influence the administration's policies spending big money at Trump properties," Jordan Libowitz, a spokesman for the government watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, told ABC News on Wednesday. "This raises uncomfortable questions about whether the president is able to be bought. This is why for decades, presidents have divested and placed their assets in blind trusts or the like, so Americans wouldn't question where their priorities lie.” more...

Democrats introduce the CORRUPT Act to require a comprehensive accounting of tax dollars diverted to the Trump Organization WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Reps. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Brendan Boyle (D-PA), and Steve Cohen (D-TN) introduced the Curb Objectionable Redirection of Resources and Unconstitutional Payments to Trump (CORRUPT) Act, legislation that would require a comprehensive accounting of how much Donald Trump and members of his family have profited from the Presidency. Specifically, the bill would require a report on taxpayer expenditures to the Trump Organization and its affiliates in FY ’17 and ‘18, including Trump hotels, as well as an annual report moving forward on appropriated funds and regulatory actions which financially benefit the President, his businesses and those of his close family members. “The American people are fed up with the rampant and unapologetic corruption in the Trump administration,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego. “Donald Trump and his family are lining their pockets with taxpayer dollars. We introduced the CORRUPT Act because Congress and the American people deserve full transparency about how Trump and his family are profiting from the presidency.” “President Trump has been in violation of the Constitution since he was sworn into office,” said Rep. Ted Lieu. “The Emoluments Clause clearly states that a President can’t profit off of the status of the highest office in the land and yet that hasn’t stopped the Trump family from lining their pockets at taxpayer expense. I’m proud to join my colleagues introducing this bill so that we can finally get to the bottom of Trump’s self-dealing.” “The American people deserve better than an administration that appears to be fore sale to businesses eager to line the President’s pickets,” said Rep. Jayapal. "Trump is using his power for his own gain, but it’s not the job of the American people to support his inane business ventures and Mar-a-Lago visits. The CORRUPT Act ensures something that people across this nation expect and deserve: transparency. It’s past time for the president to be held to that standard.” more...

Looking for more information on Donald J. Trump (aka Don the Con, aka Don the Snake, aka Two face Donnie, aka The Don, aka Criminal Don). Here you can find information on lawsuits against Trump, Trump’s time is the white house, Trump Administration scandals and corruption, Trump before the white house, Trump Impeachment Inquiry, Trump Russia Affair, Trump-Ukraine Affair, how Trump runs his properties and more. Find out if Trump is filling his pockets with foreign money and your tax dollars. Find out if Trump is a good a businessman or a bad businessman and how viral, nasty and disgusting Trump properties are. Find out if Trump is a crook and/or a conman. Find out if Trump lies about his lies and more. The more you know the better informed you will be to make your own determination on the real Donald J. Trump (aka Don the Con, aka Don the Snake, aka Two face Donnie, aka The Don, aka Criminal Don). Find out all you can about Donald J. Trump, for some you may find he is not the man you thought he was, for others you may be proven right, for others you may find he is far worse than you thought he was.

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