The Trump Scandals
(Subtitled "Trump First, not America first")
Donald Trump is engulfed in more scandals than any other politician in modern history, anywhere in the world.
First, there are the rampant corruption and the nepotism, to an extent never experienced in the West.
For example, Trump met with Novartis' CEO in january 2018, and later the New York Times discovered that Novartis made four payments of about $100,000 to a shadow firm owned by Trump's attorney Michael Cohen. AT&T made four payments to the same firm just when it was waiting for approval of its controversial merger with Time Warner.
Several firms that have been punished for polluting the environment have contributed directly to the political campaigns of Scott Angelle, Trump's director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.
Scott Pruitt, Trump's first director of the
Environmental Protection Agency,
fired or demoted personnel who questioned his extravagant spending.
Ronny Jackson, chosen by Trump to run the second largest agency of the US government, is a chronic drunk.
White House staff secretary Rob Porter resigned after allegations of domestic violence.
Tom Price, the highest-ranking health official in the Trump administration, resigned after a scandal of high-priced flights on charter and military airplanes.
Dozens of Trump administration lawyers working in agencies including the White House, Department of Justice, Interior Department and the Environmental Protection Agency are now in charge of dealing with their own old clients (source: Public Citizen).
Senior officials of the Trump administration have been spending taxpayer's money in lavish expenses, including a trip to Fort Knox to witness the solar eclipse, $31,000 dining sets
(Ben Carson, Trump's secretary of housing and urban development)
and $139,000 doors.
Brenda Fitzgerald, director of the Center for Disease Control, traded tobacco stocks (and had to resign).
Ryan Zinke, Trump's interior secretary, a pro-gun politician, invested in a Montana-based gun firm (and used taxpayers' money to pay for his private-jet trips).
By the end of 2018 he had become the subject of several federal investigations: a scandal involved Halliburton's chairman David Lesar funding a commercial development that would increase the value of Zinke's home just when Zinke approved a deal on fossil fuel production that benefited Halliburton; a scandal involved Zinke's wife Lola traveling in government vehicles; a scandal was about $12,000 of government money to pay for a plane chartered by Zinke to visit a hockey team owned by one of his biggest donors; and a scandal was about the decision to block a perfectly legal casino venture in Connecticut to benefit a competitor, MGM Resorts International, that also happens to be a major lobbyist.
Wilbur Ross, Trump's commerce secretary, has been investing in stocks that
will be affected by his own political decisions (as noted by both the Campaign Legal Center and the Office of Government Ethics).
In November 2018 the Washington Post discovered that US taxpayers were charged $100,000 for a personal business trip to India by Donald Trump's eldest son.
Trump was hostile to China until China approved 30 trademarks for the Trump
organization: overnight Trump started calling president Xi a friend, and
(right after China approved another trademark for his daughter) Trump even
went so far as to rescue a $7 billion Chinese corporation (ZTE) that Congress wanted to punish for violating all sorts of US laws.
The New York Times pointed out a coincidence: Trump's sympathy for a Chinese firm that he had previously demonized started exactly after China granted his daughter Ivanka seven new trademarks.
Are you wondering why Trump has never condemned (in fact, as of today, not even mentioned) China's concentration camps for Uighurs? The main economic beneficiary of the concentration camps is a firm called Frontier Services Group. It belongs to Erik Prince, who happens to be the brother of Trump's education secretary Betsy DeVos as well as a generous contributor to Trump's presidential campaign.
Trump's anti-Islamic rhetoric evaporated when his
billionaire friend and fund-raiser Tom Barrack struck a deal with Saudi Arabia
and the United Arab Emirates that helped
his company Colony NorthStar raise a record $7 billion in investments.
Saudi Arabia has gifted the Trump Organization several business deals, and, sure enough, Trump has stood by the Saudi's Islamic dictatorship throughout their brutal repression of dissidents, their genocidal war in Yemen, and even their assassination of a Washington Post journalist.
Trump's hostility towards Muslims only affects countries where he doesn't have any business interests. It does not affect countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt that have contributed September 11 terrorists: Trump owns businesses in both countries. Saudi Arabia is obviously a much worse dictatorship than Iran (check the number of dissidents who are in jail), and it has caused much more turmoil in the Middle East, funding everybody from Al Qaeda to ISIS, and bombing the hell out of Yemen, but Trump has instead singled out Iran, a country where he owns no business. Trump has done business with the Saudi royal family for more than twenty years, but never with Iran. And, of course, Trump sides with Israel on just about every issue: Jared Kushner's organization is funded by Israel's largest bank (Bank Hapoalim) and Jared Kushner's organization received a $30 million investment from one of Israel's largest financial institutions (Menora Mivtachim) just before his first trip to Israel (see this report in Haaretz) and his business interests there have increased since he became Trump's envoy to the Middle East (see this this report in the New York Times).
A blatant case of abuse of power to take care of his personal financial
interests was his visit to Britain, during which he met with the prime
minister and the queen, but mainly publicized his (money-losing) golf course.
In July 2020 the New York Times reported that Trump instructed the ambassador to Britain to press the British government to hold the British Open golf tournament at Trump Turnberry, Trump's money-losing golf resort in Scotland.
In December 2018 the Wall Street Journal reported that Trump's 2017 inaugural committee is being investigated by federal prosecutors in New York for possible financial abuses related to the more than $100 million in donations raised for his inauguration.
In May 2020, Trump fired inspector general Steve Linick who was investigating corruption at the state department and an arms sale to Saudi Arabia, and replaced him with Stephen Akard, an associate of vice-president Mike Pence
When in July 2018 Pruitt finally resigned (as evidence emerged that he had retaliated against any employee who opposed his hyper-corrupt spending), the chairman of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (Norman Eisen) wrote "There has never been a cabinet official who has survived as many scandals as Scott Pruitt". Unfortunately, his successor Andrew Wheeler is no less corrupt: he has worked as a lobbyist for the likes of Murray Energy, Energy Fuels Resources, Xcel Energy and Bear Head LNG Corporation Growth Energy, General Mills, Archer Daniels Midland (and the list goes on and on), all firms with a vested interest to cause harm to the environment.
In early 2019 Trump's treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin lifted sanctions against a giant Russian corporation owned by Putin's friend Oleg Deripaska. This was odd, to say the least, given Deripaska's past actions against the USA. It was odd until it surfaced that a major beneficiary of this action was billionaire Len Blavatnik, a major investor in Deripaska’s company, and that this billionaire had just paid $25 million to purchase RatPac, an entertainment company owned by... Mnuchin himself! Blavatnik also donated $1 million to Trump's inaugural fund, one of the biggest donations of that kind.
In 2019 it surfaced that the US military had spent about $200,000 (that's taxpayers money) at a Trump-owned resort in Scotland since his election.
Trump makes money in Turkey. Since 2017 the USA has found evidence that a state-owned Turkish bank Halkbank, that has close links to the family of Turkey's president Erdogan, has evaded Trump's sanctions on Iran and funneled billions of dollars of gold and cash to Iran at the very time when Trump was calling Iran a terrorist state. In fact, in October 2017 the gold trader Reza Zarrab pleaded guilty of this crime, and in January 2018 Halkbank's official Mehmet Hakan Atilla was convicted in the USA of in a billion-dollar scheme to evade the sanctions against Iran. It seems like a clearcut case, but Trump's general attorneys have repeatedly tried to silence the investigation. In 2018 Matthew G. Whitaker, Trump's acting attorney general, and in 2019 Trump's new attorney general, William Barr, both interfered with the federal prosecutor in charge of the Halkbank investigation, who was eventually fired by Barr. Clearly, the beneficiary of this cover-up are Turkey's president Erdogand and Turkey's finance minister Berat Albayrak, who happens to be Erdogan's son-in-law, who would otherwise be enmeshed in an international scandal.
Trump's director of the "clean air office" of the Environmental Protection Agency is William Wehrum, a corporate lawyer who was hired for years by the USA's worst polluters (chemical factories, oil refineries, coal-burning power plants, etc) to fight the Environmental Protection Agency in court. As Trump rolls back anti-polluting regulations, Wehrum is delivering to his clients without any need to fight the law: now he IS the law.
Trump has repeatedly accused climate change scientists of having a "political agenda", has repeatedly called climate change a "hoax", and has withdrawn the USA from the Paris climate change agreement, in order to justify actions that please these most polluting industries.
In November 2018 Trump fired his attorney general Jeff Sessions, and replaced him with Matt Whitaker whom he called "a very respected man", but Forbes (hardly a left-wing magazine) reported that said Whitaker has served on the board of World Patent Marketing, a Florida-based “scam that has bilked thousands of consumers out of millions of dollars,” according to a complaint filed by the Federal Trade Commission, and that said Whitaker threatened at least one victim who complained. In August 2017 a federal court shut down the company due to its fraudolent activities (quote:“The record supports a preliminary finding that Defendants devised a fraudulent scheme to use consumer funds to enrich themselves”).
The "border wall" that Trump is so obsessed with? Remember that he caused a government shutdown and then, having failed, invoked "emergency" powers to steal one billion dollars from the US budget to jumpstart such wall? The Washington Post discovered the real reason: Trump has pressued the army to grant the project to The president has been intervening in the process of producing a border wall, on behalf of a favored firm. Fisher Industries of North Dakota, which happens to be the company of a Tommy Fisher, a fixture on Fox News and a big donor to the Republican party. This firm has repeatedly failed to pass the requirements but Trump has repeatedly demanded that they be awarded the billion-dollar contract. Get it? Fisher gives to the Republicans so that Trump gives money to Fisher so that Fisher can give back to the Republican Party.
The level of corruption surrounding the "wall" was shown in August 2020 when
Trump's closest adviser, Steve Bannon, was arrested for fraud: he had scammed
thousands of people who donated money to build the wall.
During the Obama era, the US government blocked an attempt by the
Chilean mining company Antofagasta to build a copper mine in
a pristine wilderness area of Minnesota. Now that Trump rules,
the US government is leaning towards approving the mine.
Antofagasta belongs to the billionaire Andronico Luksic, who
happens to own the $5.5 million house in Washington that is currently rented by Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. (See this Wall Street Journal article).
Trump's transportation secretary? Elaine Chao, who happens to be the wife of Republican senator Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Republicans, who has coincidentally sided with Trump on every single issue. The Chao family is close to the Chinese Communist Party, and several investigations have highlighted their cozy relationship (See for example this New York Times investigation). Chao's father went to school with former Chinese president Jiang Zemin. Mitch McConnell has become one of the richest senators in the history of the USA thanks to his wife's fortune, which mostly comes from the Chinese government.
Trump waged a trade war against China (a trade war that consists in US consumers paying a tax called "tariffs" on Chinese-made goods) while maintaining a bank account in China. In fact, he paid more in taxes to China than to the USA. A Chinese commented on Weibo (the Chinese equivalent of Twitter): "Comrade Trump paid 250 times more taxes in China than in his stinking country".
You probably haven't noticed any difference in your tax return after the Trump $1.5 trillion tax cut was enacted. The reason is simple: most of those $1.5 trillions went to rich individuals and big corporations. They did notice the tax cut. And they are grateful. They are contributing enthusiastically to the Congressional Leadership Fund, a “super PAC” created to channel campaign donations to the Republican Party. If you wonder why Republicans are not more vocal about the many Trump scandals, this is the easiest explanation: Trump's corrupt policies (in this case a veritable robbery of the middle class) are helping the Republican Party accumulate the fortune that will be spent to defend the seats of the incumbent Republicans. These Republicans have no motivation to criticize Trump (let alone impeach him) because Trump has just provided the funds for their reelection campaign. According to the Treasury Department, Trump's $1.5 trillion tax cut swelled the federal budget deficit by 17% in the 2018 fiscal year to $779 billion; all money that future generations will have to repay.
In November 2019 the Trump Organization assembled an investor brochure for the sale of the Trump International Hotel in Washington that emphasized (quote): "Tremendous upside potential exists for a new owner to fully capitalize on government related business"; which to many of us sounds like a promise that the government (Trump) will help to fill this hotel with guests.
The official Twitter account of the White House is funded by the US tax payers,
but in 2019 it was used nonstop to defend Trump from the impeachment inquiry
and to smear the witnesses of the prosecution (and, again, some of them decorated war heroes, not draft dodgers like Trump).
(A few months after i wrote this article, the New York Times published an article about how Trump and his family profit from the presidency).
In February 2020 Trump pardoned a number of rich crooks, notably: the former commissioner of the New York Police Department, Bernard Kerik, who was jailed for tax fraud and corruption (he worked for then mayor Rudy Giuliani who is now Trump's lawyer); financier Michael Milken (aka the "king of junk bonds"), who was jailed for regulatory crimes (and happens to be friend with some rich Trump donors); and former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, jailed for trying to sell the senate seat left open when Barack Obama became president (apparently they became friends when Blagojevich featured as a guest contestant on Trump's reality show "The Apprentice"). These are disgusting individuals and the USA was proud that, no matter how rich and powerful you are, if you break the law, you will end up in jail. No more: if you are rich and powerful, Donald Trump will pardon you, so you can commit any number of crimes. These amounted to corruption to a level rarely witnessed before in the USA.
In 2020 Trump didn't hesitate to take advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic to enrich friends. While the death toll was approaching 100,000, a former deputy chief of staff to Trump, Zachary Fuentes, with no credentials in medical devices, was awarded a multimillion-dollar contract to deliver respirators to a Native American community.
In April 2020, Rick Bright was removed from his post as director of a federal agency called Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) after protesting "cronyism" and contract abuse for almost four years. In July 2020 New York Times investigated how a struggling Novavax was awarded $1.6 billion to make a covid-19 vaccine despite never having brought a single vaccine to market in its 33-year history. The money came from BARDA. And BARDA had been headed by two former Novavax executives.
Investigations into corruption are routinely obstructed by Trump's gang. In June 2020 Trump's attorney general William Barr ousted Geoffrey Berman, a prosecutor who was investigating a number of friends of Donald Trump, notably the business dealings of Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and the sex crimes of Trump's friend Jeffrey Epstein (Berman happens to be a long-time Republican donor, including to Trump's own presidential campaign).
Nepotism has reached a level unheard of in democracies with
Jared Kushner and Trump's daughter Ivanka working in the White House.
Kushner has reaped hundreds of millions of dollars from the people and states that benefited from Trump's policies (See this Guardian report).
A "lawyer" named Brett Talley, who had never tried a case in his career, and who was unanimously deemed "not qualified" by the American Bar Association, was nominated by Trump for a lifetime federal district judgeship. And that was just Trump's fourth judicial nominee who was rated "not qualified" by the bar association.
Trump wants to abolish the law that allows immigrants to apply for their family's green card (he has called it "chain immigration" in November 2017), but that's precisely what his wife (a Slovenian immigrant) did for her parents Viktor and Amalija Knavs (who in fact became citizens in August 2018).
Donald Trump's personal attorney is Rudy Giuliani. Guess who is Donald Trump's press secretary? Giuliani's girlfriend Sarah Huckabee Sanders (for which Giuliani is going through his third divorce).
Talking of girlfriends, Donald Jr's girlfriend is Kimberley Guilfoyle, who became famous on Fox News and in 2020 served as the Trump campaign's finance chair: in 2018 she was fired from Fox News after her (female) assistant accused her of sexual harassment, and Fox News ended up paying $4 million to settle the lawsuit out of court (hence there must have been solid evidence of wrongdoing).
Added in January 2020: Trump's final act as president was to pardon dozens of white-collar criminals, for example
Philip Esformes, a former nursing home executive who orchestrated one of the biggest Medicare frauds in US history,
Judith Negron, who siphoned off hundreds of millions of dollars in fraudulent Medicare payments (Trump also canceled her obligation to pay her share of $87 million in court-ordered restitution).
These pardons shocked and humiliated the police officers, prosecutors and judges who worked so hard to convict these rich white-collar criminals. It took
years of painstaking work and millions of dollars to investigate and prosecute the cases. These frauds literally cost taxpayers billions of dollars.
Remember Hillary Clinton's email server? The radical right-wing media made a
big deal of it. The FBI opened an investigation that, by all accounts, cost
Hillary Clinton the presidential elections. And, yet, there is zero evidence
that this email server was ever breached by foreign spies. On the other hand,
Trump's own aides have repeatedly warned him that his iPhone is vulnerable
and that there is evidence of Russian and Chinese spies listening to his
conversations (See for example this article or this article). A president using a private
mobile phone is ten times more reckless than a secretary of state using
a private email server.
(Fox News, that spent months discussing Hillary's email server, has so far
spent zero time discussing Trump's iPhone).
In 2019 it was revealed that Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani had discussed
foreign policy with Ukrainian officials over open cell-phone lines and over Whatsapp that everybody knew were easily monitored by Russian intelligence services.
In 2019 an independent government agency urged Trump to fire the White House counselor, Kellyanne Conway, over her repeated ethics violations. Instead of firing her, Trump directed Conway not to testify before a House committee.
In 2019 Trump's phone call to the president of Ukraine, demanding an investigation into Joe Biden's son, caused Congress to start impeachment proceedings. Whether you believe that the phone call was appropriate or criminal, it was certainly odd that Trump's personal lawyer had been dealing with Ukraine on Trump's behalf to dig dirt on the Bidens. A few days later, two of the Ukrainianians who worked for Rudy Giuliani, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were arrested for violating campaign finance rules.
Trump's phone call took place a few months after Trump fired Marie Yovanovitch as US ambassador in Ukraine: she had been known for fighting against Ukrainian corruption. She not only lost her post, but she also became the victim of a smear campaign by Trump's personal lawyer Giuliani.
Trump claimed that he was concerned about corruption in Ukraine, but the facts seem to demonstrate that he was intent to exporting his own corruption to Ukraine (trying to bribe the very president of Ukraine to help him at the next US election).
Trump claimed that he never met Giuliani's shady associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, but of course he was lying: eventually a video surfaced showing him in a private suite in his Washington hotel with these gentlemen, invited with other powerful donors. They told him of their plans to bribe their way into business in Ukraine and that the person standing in their way was ambassador Yovanovitch. The video proves that Trump immediately ordered that the ambassador be fired.
Then there are the various suspected criminal activities, almost always settled out of court so they don't go to trial.
In February 2017 Trump settled out of court (for $25 million) a series of lawsuits filed against the Trump University, which was no university at all.
In June 2018 the New York attorney general filed a lawsuit against the
Trump Foundation for "extensive" lawbreaking. Theoretically, the Trump Foundation is a charitable organization, although it never donates money to any charitable project. In practice, it appears to be just a way to cheat on taxes and fund Trump's political and business interests. In November 2019
Trump was found guilty of having used the Trump Foundation to collect
charity money for veterans and using it instead to fund his own political
In October 2018 four ordinary people filed a 160-page lawsuit in Manhattan against Trump, his company and his children Donald Jr, Ivanka and Eric, accusing them of three shams (ACN, the Trump Network, and the Trump Institute) that mainly took advantage of low-income families.
An investigation is underway by the state of New York for potential tax fraud.
The foundation paid more than $250,000 to settle legal claims against some of Trump's businesses and even $10,000 to purchase a painting for a Trump golf club.
Trump always claimed that he inherited only one million dollars from his father,
but a New York Times investigation of October 2018 revealed that his father left him with the equivalent of $400 million and that Trump used dubious methods to avoid paying taxes on that fortune.
In February 2019 Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen produced financial statements showing that Trump routinely inflated and deflated his wealth to serve his interests, as well as evidence of charity fraud: Trump had a portrait made of himself (pure ego) and then had it bought by his Trump Foundation for an astronomical amount (again, pure ego, but also fraud).
In September 2020 the New York Times was provided data about the taxes paid by Trump over the years. These data show that Trump almost never paid taxes because his businesses mostly lost money. He lied all the time about his wealth. For example, in 2018 Trump publicly stated that he had made more than $400 million, but the tax records show that he lost $47 million.
His golf courses, casinos and hotels almost always lost money.
In many years he probably lost more money than any other tax payer.
The tax records also show that Trump has accumulated more than $400 million in loans that he must pay back or file bankruptcy.
The reason he has been audited by the IRS is that he deducted losses of $1.4 billion in 2008-09 for which he received a tax refund but now the IRS suspects fraud: unless he manages to install a puppet director there, he may have to pay back about $70 million plus interests and penalties.
Anybody acquainted with his financial history has little doubt that somehow his connection with Putin's Russia explains why he still has money to spend even after losing so much money.
Trump has been fighting desperately to protect his tax returns from being revealed to the US public. There must be a reason.
See also Ken Boyd's timeline of Trump's tax fraud and
a timeline overview of Trump's lawsuits
Cohen also testified that he was ordered hundreds of times to intimidate people. In particular, Cohen was told to threaten Trump's high school and college with legal actions if they disclosed Trump's grades and SAT scores.
Trump's supporters themselves were victims of a nationwide scam: during the 2020 campaign, contributions to Trump's campaign were routinely charged over and over again without the consent of the contributors. Especially hit very hard were the most vulnerables: elderly, veterans, and people not familiar with how things work on the Internet, people who don't read the fine print (by making a contribution they unwittingly allowed the Trump campaign to keep withdrawing money from their credit card). All in all, the Trump campaign may have scammed more than $60 million in 2020 (see for example this article).
In April 2016 Wayne Barrett, an investigative reporter for the Village Voice who spent 30 years investigating Trump's shady deals with organized crime and drug cartels, especially when Trump's lawyer was Roy Cohn, who was also consigliere to two Italian crime families (see for example the 2001 article "Tower of Trouble" and the article "Inside Donald Trump's Empire - Why He Didn't Run for President in 2012"), and who called Trump Tower "a monument to the mob", published a new edition of his biography of Donald Trump titled "Trump, The Greatest Show on Earth".
An investigation by the news website BuzzFeed in January 2018 found that 1,300 condos in Trump buildings were bought by shell companies that paid cash, a practice tied to criminal organizations.
The simultaneous conviction of Paul Manafort and confession of Michael Cohen in August 2018 prove, at the least, that Trump has surrounded himself with corrupt and sometimes criminal aides. The jury is still out on whether he personally directs this criminal organizations or he is simply a very dumb old man who was easily duped by them. Either way, he shares this privileged position with very few US presidents and very few Western leaders in general.
In October 2019 Trump ordered the withdrawal of US troops from a part of Syria
held by the staunchest US allies in Syria, the Kurdish militias that fought
ISIS alongside the USA. Turkey immediately invaded the area and slaughtered
the Kurds. The whole world, even Trump's Republican Party, was appalled that
Trump would facilitate and condone such a massacre by Turkey. But this is not too surprising if one remembers that in 2012 Turkey's very president Recep Tayyip Erdogan inaugurated Trump's towers in Istanbul.
Before this event, 29 senators and 186 House representatives had filed a lawsuit about Trump's conflicts of interest in the world, and Turkey was already one of countries named in the lawsuit.
Michael Flynn, Trump's first national security adviser, was a paid agent of the Turkish government.
Turkish officials have made 14 visits to Trump properties, more than any other country, according to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
Trump had already condoned Erdogan's mass arrests of dissidents and journalists,
widely condemned by all democratic leaders of the world.
This was just the most visible of Trump's unexplainable acts that coincidentally
reflect a personal financial interest.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics has documented more than 2,000 cases of conflict of interest.
George W Bush was rightly criticized for the poor rescue operations after the
Katrina hurricane destroyed New Orleans. But that pales in comparison with
Donald Trump's incompetent and indifferent response to the hurricane that
devastated Puerto Rico (and to callous comments he made in June 2018 about the
victims of hurricane Harvey in Texas in 2017). And when California burned in 2018 (largely due to the climate change that Trump's party doesn't want to fight), Trump offered no help and instead simply told California that California has plenty of water to fight the fires if it only wanted to. Not since Stalin's reaction to the famine in Ukraine have we seen a country leader so indifferent to
his nation's disasters.
In October 2017, ISIS killed four US soldiers in Niger.
An unprepared and poorly equipped 11-man US team and 30 Niger soldiers
were ambushed outside the village of Tongo Tongo in western Niger as they were
hunting an Islamist named Doundoun Cheffou.
This was the largest US loss of lives during combat in Africa since the 1993 “Black Hawk Down” blunder in Somalia.
By all accounts this was a poorly planned, botched mission, and one of which almost nobody knew the existence. It was certainly something that should have kept news media busy for a while. Remember the September 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi (Libya) that killed four US citizens? There were investigations, discussions and accusations (against Hillary Clinton) for at least two years. But the Niger scandal has rarely surfaced on mainstream news media. Those four soldiers have been rapidly forgotten and nobody has taken responsibility for their death, least of all the commander-in-chief, Donald Trump, who was busy playing golf.
Then there are the sex scandals. Trump has always boasted of his sex adventures
and some of them are coming back to haunt him. Apparently, he had a hot affair
with porn stars Stormy Daniels. She was silenced with hush money paid by Trump's
Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model, was silenced in an elegant manner:
her story was purchased by the magazine
National Enquirer that promised to publish it: instead Trump's associates
paid this company to kill the story.
In April 2018 the New Yorker reported that in 2015 David Pecker, the publisher of the magazine National Enquirer, a close friend of Trump, bought a story from Dino Sajudin, a former doorman at Trump World Tower in Manhattan, and then buried it. The story was about Trump having a love affair with an employee in the late 1980s that resulted in an illegitimate daughter. The story has been corroborated by six former employees of the National Enquirer, who also revealed the name of the woman. Sajudin has passed a lie-detector test during which he testified that he learned the story directly from Trump's head of security Matthew Calamari and other members of Trump's entourage.
Later a former senior editor who worked for this David Pecker, Jerry George, told CNN that this was just one of many stories that Pecker silenced with money on behalf of his friend Trump.
In August 2018 Michael Cohen admitted paying the "hush money" (which also constitutes a crime, a violation of campaign law).
A few days later, following a deal with investigators, Pecker released Sajudin from his contract and CNN published the contract that specifically references a Trump illegitimate child.
In the past, at least 16 women have come forward to accuse Trump of sexual harassment. One, Summer Zervos, sued Trump for defamation (Trump called her "a liar", he of all people...).
In June 2019 writer E Jean Carroll accused him in New York Magazine of sexually assaulting her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in the mid 1990s (Trump responded, as he always does with the women who accuse him, by implying that she is too ugly to be raped by anyone).
All told, more than a dozen women have accused Trump of sexual assault, harassment, or other misconduct.
Here is a list of women who accused him over the years, most of them way before he ran for president.
As Laura Bassett wrote "Trump has not only been accused of rape and sexual misconduct by more than 20 women over the past several decades, but he regularly uses his power to threaten survivors who come forward and to protect and promote men who abuse women".
And, buried in the noise, is a lawsuit dropped in November 2016 according to which Trump raped a 13-year-old in 1994 (see for example this article
or this article
or this article). Her attorney Lisa Bloom wrote that her client "received numerous threats as have all the Trump accusers that I have represented."
There's an entire book devoted to "credible evidence" that Trump raped that child: read the facts and judge for yourself.
Four teenage girls in the 1997 Miss Teen USA beauty pageant said Trump walked into their dressing room while they were changing. Trump pretty much confirmed it on The Howard Stern Show: "I'll go backstage before a show and everyone's getting dressed and ready and everything else. And you know, no men are anywhere. And I'm allowed to go in because I'm the owner of the pageant. And therefore, I'm inspecting it. You know I'm inspecting it. I want to make sure everything is good. Is everyone OK? You know they're standing there with no clothes. Is everybody OK? And you see these incredible looking women. And so I sort of get away with things like that."
Trump was also a good friend of Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire convicted of sex-trafficking and pedophilia. Trump and Epstein attended many of the same events and parties over the years, Epstein stayed at Trump's Mar-a-Lago countless times, and the record shows that Trump flew on Epstein's private jet numerous times.
Trump is in fact pictured with Epstein and "pimp" Ghislaine Maxwell in photos and videos taken at Mar-a-Lago over the years, for example
this one on Vanity Fair.
a video of Trump and Epstein partying in 1992 with a group of cheerleaders.
In 2002 Trump told New York Magazine: "I've known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy. He's a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side". In 1992 Trump organized a "calendar girl" competition and gathered the 28 very young contestants at Mar-a-Lago. There were only two guests: Trump and Epstein.
There's a theory that Trump's many bankruptcies were caused by his addiction to
molesting children, each one covered up with multi-million dollar settlements.
Trump supporters are outraged by such insinuations, but such insinuations exist
for the simple fact that Trump refuses to disclose his tax returns that would
shed a lot of light on his activities.
(There are names on this video but it's impossible to verify these stories if the victims are under legal obligation or physical threat not to speak).
Trump has been supported by the Fox News channel no matter what scandal erupted around him. The level of corruption there is astonishing. One of his staunchest supporters, Jeanine Pirro, a self-appointed "judge", was married to Al Pirro, who worked for Trump until in 2000 he was convicted and spent eleven months in jail. Then in 2006 the self-appointed "judge" was investigated for wiretapping the same husband with the help of Bernard Kerik, a New York police commissioner who himself got in trouble with the law. She did it because the husband was cheating on her. Interestingly, at the time she called the investigation into her wrongdoing "a political witch hunt and smear campaign", which are exactly the same words used by Trump to describe the Russia-collusion investigation against himself. For the record, in November 2017 she was stopped while driving at 119 miles per hour, almost twice the speed limit. The other staunch Trump supporter, Sean Hannity, is a shady character who hid a curious fact: Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen had only two clients, one being Trump and the other one being... Hannity. For the record, the third staunch Trump supporter on Fox News, Tucker Carlson, self-appointed guru of international affairs and economics, was facing his own scandal after websites spread some lurid comments he made on radio shows between 2006 and 2011, comments that showed all his intellectual depth. Another staunch Trump supporter, Bill O'Reilly, already had his career terminated in 2017 after multiple revelations of sexual harassment and domestic violence (as recounted by his owned daughter).
And there's Trump's unflinching support for dictators, no matter how brutal their repression. When a Washington Post journalist (a critic of the Saudi regime) was killed and dismembered inside the Saudi embassy in Turkey (a fact proven beyond any reasonable doubt by the Turks and eventually admitted by Saudi Arabia), Trump was the only person in the world who still refused to accept the fact. His defense of the murderous regime (“Just spoke to the King of Saudi Arabia who denies any knowledge of whatever may have happened ... The denial was very, very strong”) sounded very similar to his defense of Putin.
Then there's the Russia-collusion scandal.
Read it here.
You can also add the "Great Trump Purges" (paraphrasing the great Stalin purges
of the 1930s). His contempt for the rule of law has caused many to resign.
Others had been fired for refusing to accept the actions of a corrupt and incompetent boss as he proceeded to smear
honorable people of the FBI and all other agencies, people who, unlike him,
served the country with honor, decency and honesty.
One after the other, all the people who have been in the Trump administration
talk of a dysfunctional government.
Former Trump aide Omarosa Manigault Newman wrote that "This is a White House where everybody lies".
Trump has a passion for attacking women (frequently referring to their looks)
A report by Carl Bernstein, based on sources close to former Trump secretaries of state and defense, national security advisers and chiefs of staff, not only revealed that Trump's own staff viewed Trump as "posing a danger to the national security of the United States" but also that he reserved his most vicious attacks at women heads of state such as Theresa May of Britain and Angela Merkel of Germany.
In his opinion the dumbest journalist in the world is a black man,
who also happens to be the rare black anchor on cable television
(Doug Lemon, whom Trump called "the dumbest man on television"),
and the dumbest politician is a black woman, who also happens to be the most
senior black female politician in Washington (Maxine Waters, whom Trump called
"an extraordinarily low IQ person");
and, in his opinion, Omarosa Manigault, the rare black female White House aide, is a "dog"
and a "crazed, crying lowlife".
When those four soldiers were killed in Niger, Trump insulted the the widow of LaDavid Johnson, who happened to be the lone black soldiers among the four killed.
In january 2018 Trump called "shitholes" the black countries of Haiti and sub-Saharan Africa. In august 2018 Trump tweeted against “the large scale killing of farmers” by blacks in South Africa. This was based on a fake story fabricated on Fox News by radical right-wing demagogue and white nationalist (and congenital liar) Tucker Carlson. (In reality the number of killings of farmers, including farm workers, reached the all-time low of 47 in 2017-18 compared with 153 in 1998, and that's in a country where 19,016 murders are committed every year). Trump repeated Carlson's accusation that South Africa's president Ramaphosa is “seizing land from his own citizens without compensation because they are the wrong skin color” when in fact the proposal (not enacted yet) is to confiscate unused land. This is nothing more than the propaganda of the Suidlanders, South Africa's version of the Ku Klux Klan.
In july 2019 Trump insulted four black female members of Congress, known as "The Squad": Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts. They told them to "go back" to the countries where they came from (three of them were born in the USA in families of immigrants, just like Trump's father).
Last but not least, Trump is obviously obsessed with Barack Obama. Trump was profoundly disgusted by the first black president. It was Trump who spread the "birther" conspiracy theory (that Obama was not born in the USA and therefore was
an illegitimate president), and later Trump has done everything in his power to obliterate the legacy of the Obama presidency. According to the Steele Dossier, Trump hired two Russian prostitutes to pee on him... in the very hotel room where Obama had slept. According to leaked White House memos, Trump killed the Iran nuclear deal simply to spite Obama, without even knowing what was in it.
The list of insults hurled at women is too long to be included here.
He also has displayed a
pattern of insulting war heroes: John McCain (who did serve in the Vietnam war, unlike Trump who dodged the draft
by faking "bone spurs"),
the Muslim parents of a slain soldier,
the commander of the bin Laden raid.
An article by Jeffrey Goldberg details how Trump has consistently
called "suckers" and "losers" the US soldiers who died in wars.
The story was later confirmed by multiple news organizations, including (lo and behold) Fox News.
When McCain died, Trump told his White House staff: "We're not going to support that loser's funeral,"
Trump called former president George H. W. Bush, who served as a pilot in World War II, a "loser" for being shot down by the Japanese.
In October 2017 Trump told the press that he calls "virtually all" the families of soldiers who die, but the families denied it.
Trump seems to be jealous of people who are what he cannot be, or just doesn't understand the concept of heroism.
He's a zero, not a hero.
If he weren't enmeshed in such a whirlwind of scandals, Trump would
also be scrutinized about his psychological health. His behavior clearly
indicates a mentally unstable (if not retarded) man with lots of dangerous
paranoias. It is not only that his speeches are full of self-congratulatory,
Mussolini-style, wild exaggerations (that made the United Nations erupt in
laughter) but his behavior is also frequently grotesquely childish:
Trump used to make phone calls to newspapers and radio stations pretending to
be a publicist named John Barron or John Miller to publicize Donald Trump's lifestyle (which celebrities he was hanging out with, how many sexy women he was having sex with, and so on); a bizarre megalomaniac behavior, to say the least.
In January 2019 Israeli newspaper Haaretz had the headline "Trump Stuns With Lies, Ramblings and Nonsensical Rants in Bizarre Cabinet Meeting".
In June 2019 he tweeted to the whole world that the Moon is a part of Mars.
He calls everybody "low I.Q." but he never took an IQ test that would show how high (low?) his I.Q. is.
Just like he calls everybody a liar but he would never take a lie detector test.
Just like he calls everybody "crooked" but he would never disclose his tax returns.
Basically, he calls others what he knows of himself.
These are all signs of a man who is dangerously close to insanity or at least
dementia (and who can easily be manipulated by anybody including, for example, a foreign power).
Think of the fact that Trump dictated the health certificate
that his doctor Harold Bornstein signed, the famous note about
the "healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency" (this was admitted by the doctor in April 2018): this is clearly a sign of mental instability.
One morning in August 2018 Trump googled his own name and then tweeted that
Google's results were "rigged" because he didn't like what he found.
In an October 2019 tweet he wrote: "my great and unmatched wisdom" (no, he
wasn't joking, it was in the middle of a threat against Turkey).
Then there are the countless lies and exaggerations, starting with
claiming (repeatedly) that his inauguration crowd was the biggest ever (it was
actually much smaller than his predecessor's) or that he lost the popular vote because of voter fraud.
"The United States is in the midst of an economic boom - the likes of which the world has never seen before" (Jan 2020) when GDP growth during his tenure president has been between 2% and 3% compared with Cinton's frequent 4% and Obama's 5.5% in Q2 of 2014. Or "Since my election, America has gained over seven million jobs" when Obama in his last three years in office, almost one million more than Trump in his first three years. It would be ok if he was just bad at reading numbers, but it has become obvious that his mind just invents facts, can't tell the difference between reality and desire.
Trump has claimed at least four times that his father was born in Germany (he was born in New York).
Studies on disinformation routinely include things that Trump said or tweeted.
No other politician ever was mentioned so often in studies about disinformation.
Then there are the rambling interviews. For example: "We have to protect our genius. You know, we have to protect Thomas Edison and we have to protect all of these people that came up with originally the light bulb and the wheel" (interviewed on TV from the World Economic Forum).
In July 2019 Trump said that the US troops fighting the British during the revolution of the 1770s "took over the airports": how many people don't know that there were no airplanes in 1776?
Any of these grotesque incidents involving a sitting politician (any politician, even a congresswoman in a rural district) would normally cause nationwide outrage.
In October 2019, announcing that the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, had died during a US raid on his hideout, Trump said that al-Baghdadi had died "whimpering and crying and screaming all the way"... "he died like a dog"... "he died like a coward"; but this was all fiction of his deranged mind. Multiple sources confirmed that al-Baghdadi had blown himself up rather than surrender, hardly a sign of cowardice.
After denying for months that he had anything to do with Rudy Giuliani's mission in Ukraine to discredit Joe Biden, in a February 2020 interview on Geraldo Rivera's radio program Trump boasted about doing just that.
On 6 March 2020, in the middle of the Covid-19 epidemic that he largely contributed to create with incompetent and irresponsible tweets, Trump told a reporter: "I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it. Every one of these doctors said, 'How do you know so much about this? ' Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for president." If your granpa behaved like this, he would end up in the nearest
A further sign of senility or sheer madness was on display on April 23 when Trump said that injecting bleach-based disinfectants into bodies could kill the virus, causing doctors all over the country to issue warnings to the public not to do it (according to Trump, "it's just a suggestion from a brilliant lab, by a very, very smart, perhaps brilliant man"). The media of the whole world reported
this shockingly grotesque press conference.
In September 2020 Bob Woodward published his book "Rage" about Trump and disclosed the tapes of their conversations: Trump's rambling monologues don't seem to answer the questions as if he didn't understand them.
In 2019 he was made to take a neurological exam at Walter Reed Hospital (it is unknown why he went there in the first place) and then bizarrely claimed that it demonstrated his cognitive skills when in fact that exam, which involves simple tasks like identifying pictures of elephants, is meant to assess if a patient is suffering from dementia. Then in 2020 he tweeted against the rumors that he had suffered a series of mini-strokes... except that nobody in the media had ever written about mini-strokes.
It is not that Trump lies (way beyond what we are used to from politicians), but that there is a remarkable consistency in his false claims, which seems to imply that he truly believes in his imaginary world. He endlessly repeats the same invented tales and figures, or even exaggerates and embellishes them over time, just like a madman in an asylum.
These signs of mental instability would only be material for late-night comedians if they didn't have an unusual and dangerous influence on policy; but his madness is being exploited by a fascist network. No filmmaker ever imagined a film in which the leader of a country (or, for that matter, an ordinary citizen) gets orders from a TV station. But that's exactly what is happening with Trump. He watches Fox News, believes everything its anchors say, and treasures their advices. Trump's version of the facts is simply whatever story he just heard on Fox News. Conspiracy theories become facts and drive US policies. Trump (the most powerful person in the world) lives in a "reality" that is manufactured by a TV station. Fox News, a station of opinion shows, has never claimed to report objective reality, but now its anchors indirectly "create" reality because their opinions influence Trump who then turns those opinions into reality. Those who wrote that Fox News is an extension of Trump's administration missed the point: it is Trump who is an extension of Fox News. Trump's ravings are simply replicas of lengthy rants by Fox News anchors. Rupert Murdoch's goofy cast of fascist anchors (such as Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham) has actually come to constitute the real government of the USA. When you hear something scary on Fox News, what is truly scary is that the president will repeat it like a dogma.
Donald Trump's lies are sometimes so pathological that they are rationally hard to explain. Why all the lies about his father? Trump's book "The Art of the Deal" states that his father Fred was the son of an immigrant from Sweden. Why? What's wrong with being an immigrant from Germany?
During the Covid-19 epidemic, his grotesque lies terrified doctors all over the
country: a malaria pill against covid-19? swallow disinfectant? But that follows a pattern that started a long time ago. In 1993 on the Howard Stern Show, where
Trump frequently boasted of his sexual life, Trump claimed that
"you can get AIDS by kissing" and claimed that this was in a scientific report.
No such report exists. He was just pretending to be a scientific genius even
though his scientific knowledge is virtually zero. In 2009 Trump on Fox News
said that "vaccines can be very dangerous" and then repeated the conspiracy
theories that vaccines cause autism. He stated that he would not vaccinate his
children. Ironically, in October 2014 Trump kept predicting that Ebola would kill a huge number of US citizens and placed the blame on president Obama: only
two US citizens contracted Ebola and neither died. On the other hand, in 2020
Trump presided over the worst pandemic of the century, with millions of US citizens infected and tens of thousands dead.
Told that heroic US doctors volunteered to serve in African countries where Ebola was raging, Trump said that they should be punished, "suffer consequences" (on Fox & Friends, 27 October 2014).
He is not just a congenital liar: he is a complete idiot convinced of being a genius, i.e. the worst possible combination.
And finally there's Trump's tax returns, which we have never seen, and by now everybody has guessed why.
Read my detailed report here.
It's not only that we still don't know where Trump got the money that made him rich: countless investigators in Europe and the USA are trying to find out
who gave Trump more than $200 million in cash to buy a golf course in Scotland
(which, by the way, never generated a profit);
where he got the money for a property in Vancouver and a hotel in Toronto;
whether Trump knew that his business partner in Azerbaijan laundered money for Iran’s Revolutionary Guard (a particularly intriguing fact, given Trump's hostility towards Iran);
etc. An endless list of suspicious business deals are being investigated
possible money-laundering, tax evasion and even sanctions violations.
Trump seems to think, every step of the way, that
his past criminal actions were ordinary and not prosecutable.
It is therefore not completely surprising that
Trump ignores the crimes committed by his international
friends. Just to mention the most recent ones, this year Dutch investigators
concluded that Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, travelling from Amsterdam to
Kuala Lumpur, was shot down in eastern Ukraine by a Russian missile, and
Malaysia found enough evidence that last year Kim Jong-un personally ordered the assassination of his brother Kim Jong-nam.
Trump behaves as if these events were irrelevant: "yes, Putin is
responsible for the death of some 300 passengers, and yes, Kim Jong-un assassinates family members and dissidents, and so what?"
Trump's attitude towards crime (ignoring it as a "so what?") comes from a
lifetime of amoral, unethical and criminal activities,
and from being surrounded by amoral, unethical and criminal collaborators.
Or, let's use the correct word: accomplices.
To survive these very scandals, Trump has set out to undermine the US system of checks and balances, and, generally speaking, the democratic institutions of the USA.
By attacking the media, the FBI, the judges and the media, Trump has also repeatedly betrayed the constitution that he pledged to protect and defend. The presidential oath of office is fairly short but contains a very clear pledge: to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
One could add many other scandals. These are scandals that would ruin the career
of any politician, but Trump has ammassed so many, and so much bigger, that
these pale. Think of the fact that he called Africa "a shithole" (he denied it,
as usual, but in April the former director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison in the White House, Omarosa Manigault-Newman, confirmed that he did indeed say it).
Trump has so far survived them because he, his associates and his mouthpieces
(Fox News) have used a strategy of silencing the witnesses (usually, buying
their silence, sometimes bullying them to silence), distracting the public (usually, by inventing fake scandals somewhere else as well as conspiracy theories that reek of Putinism) and by smearing and accusing the accusers (typically, of being politically motivated).
There is at least one thing that makes Trump truly the best in the world: his ability to survive multiple scandals each of which would have easily brought down just about anybody else.
Trump probably didn't expect to win the elections, and didn't expect to be
scrutinized so closely by the media.
Richard Wolfe correctly compared Trump to Spiro Agnew, not Richard Nixon
(see Wolfe's article).
Nixon resigned because a) his party forced him to and b) he had a bit of
dignity. Both are missing in Trump's case.
(I add that what Trump has done is much worse than what Nixon did: Nixon
didn't betray his country to a foreign power).
Agnew, instead, was a shameless crook just like "Hyper-Crooked Donald".
Until the last day, Agnew kept claiming that his accusers were all lying, that
he was the victim of a witch hunt.
Trump is neither ashamed of having cheated on his wife nor ashamed of having
paid hush money nor of having lied all the time about it.
Just like Agnew, he is convinced that he will be able to carry out his
unethical and criminal activities also in office.
Instead, running for office increased
the scrutiny from the media and the police.
There is another man who resembles Trump: Colombia's druglord Pablo Escobar.
His downfall started when he made the mistake of running for office.
The big mystery is not whether these scandals are true (you must be very naive if you still believe a word that comes out of Trump's mouth), but whether his wife Melania and his daughter Ivanka have been duped all these years or knowingly sided with a husband and a father whom most of us would disown and be ashamed of.
His mishandling of the covid-19 crisis in 2020 deserves
a separate chapter.
TM, ®, Copyright © 2018 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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