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Grand Theft Corruption

October 9, 2019

President Donald J. Trump appears in many respects to be a man bound and determined to make a personal fortune through conduct while in office that strains all traditional norms regarding conflicts of interest, bribery and emoluments regarding the use of taxpayer dollars to steer tremendous amounts of money – both foreign and domestic – to businesses owned by himself and his family. Apparently, our Commander-in-Chief feels that he must drain the swamp that he sees as dominating American national politics of all corruption at every level of government except his own and his family and confidants. His middle name may be John, but Hypocrite would be a more apt description of his character.

Between his excursions to Mar-a-Lago (and other Trump-owned businesses) for golf and relaxation, which entails taxpayer money to be pumped into Trump properties to accommodate him as well as his large security detail,  and the booking of dignitaries both foreign and domestic to use his resorts and other properties, there is a very real apparent conflict of interest for Trump and his family which has never before existed for a sitting American President. In the past, Presidents have placed their assets in blind trusts so there would be no obvious tinkering with the economy that the Commander-In-Chief would be tempted to undertake to personally and deliberately increase their own wealth while in office. Trump has further exacerbated this impression of conflicts of interest by giving his adult sons control over his far-flung enterprises and having his daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner serve as special advisors on his White House staff (albeit unpaid, in order to avoid violating anti-nepotism laws).

Not content to just augment his personal finances through his own direct actions, he has encouraged (or at least not discouraged) members of his cabinet, American and foreign businesses and government dignitaries, and even American military personnel to avail themselves of Trump hospitality. He apparently cares not at all about perceptions of ethical problems related to his private business ventures, so long as he does not face criminal charges as a result – which Congress has been remarkably silent about to this point, probably because the laws don’t directly address his specific circumstances.

Another area where Trump’s behavior has differed dramatically from his predecessors is in the area of releasing his tax returns. He is the first major party candidate (let alone sitting President) to refuse to disclose his federal tax returns to the American public. He knows this is a major issue for many of us, as he has come up with illegitimate excuses to explain his refusal to release them, even to the Committee Chairs who have a specifically legal right to see them. This country had no president who ran for more than two terms until FDR was elected four times. It did not take long after his death for an Amendment establishing term limits for the Office of President to be enacted. No doubt, in light of Trump’s overt insistence on not providing that degree of transparency to those whose votes he wants and needs to continue in office for another term, a similar bill requiring the release the tax returns of a President or even Presidential Nominee will be passed and signed into law – if not by Trump, then by his successor.

The overall attitude that Trump has been displaying since his inauguration has been one of utter defiance in the face of investigations questioning his actions or attempting to limit his ability to take unilateral action to achieve policy goals he has set in order to fulfill campaign promises he made to get elected. He affects the stance of a man being persecuted by non-stop, nonsensical “witch hunts” trying to unearth illegal wrongdoing on his own part or on his behalf by Cabinet and key staff members. He has shown little (if any) willingness to submit to the Constitutional authority of the other two co-equal branches of the Federal government.

Donald Trump’s reaction to any attempts by Congress or the media to gather information, including requesting pertinent documents and testimony at Congressional hearings concerning just about every controversial policy, statement or action he has taken or uttered has involved obfuscation, foot-dragging, delay and obstruction. Refusal to provide documents, both personally and on the part of his underlings, testify before Congress under oath, refusing to obey subpoenas and forcing a reluctant Congress to fight his obstinance in the courts every step of the way and making his subordinates do likewise all point to a person who dictates rather than leads. Such a person has never held this much power in this country before and does not exhibit the restraint or strength of character to adequately perform the duties and deserve the honor bestowed upon him in placing him in the job of President of the United States of America.

The constant verbal meandering, half-truths and outright lies which President Trump displays on a daily basis is conduct unbecoming a President. All the factual hiding he perpetrates is not conduct that most reasonable people would undertake while claiming to be not guilty of any wrongdoing. His willingness to avoid being held accountable for any malfeasance whatsoever and to stonewall all efforts to arrive at objective truth makes Nixon’s Watergate coverup seem like child’s play. His foreign policy, such as it is now and has been since he took over (his words, not mine) has led to consternation an head scratching among allies and adversaries alike. Even the normally docile Senate GOP have expressed outrage over his latest caper involving Turkey, Syria and the Kurds. Allies feel uncertain whether they can trust the US to live up to its obligations regarding mutual defense.

The time has come for Congress to stop Trump’s claims to god-like omniscience and omnipotence. He isn’t going to change his ways at this late date and we cannot afford another year, let alone another four year term of his antics. The topsy-turvy world of Trumplandia, guided by the Great and Unmatched Wisdom of that Stable Genius Donald I, where whistleblowers are vilified and treated to veiled death threats for merely trying to live up to their oaths of office, and elected legislators are likewise threatened with similar punishment for attempting to live up to their Constitutional duty of Congressional oversight of executive branch corruption, must not stand. May governmental sanity return and freedom return to the USA as quickly as possible.

Further Suggested Readings:

Donald Trump Is Finished

‘For-Profit Presidency on Full Display’: Zelensky Mention of Stay at Trump Tower Raises Fresh Alarm Over Emoluments Violations

It’s called ‘abuse of power’: The Washington whistleblower case puts Trump’s utter contempt for the law on nauseating display

New documents reveal the military has paid Trump’s Scotland resort more than $180,000

Bad news for Trump: Court allows emoluments case against him

Trump’s bid to bring G7 to his Doral resort is probably illegal

Pence family boondoggle in Ireland cost US taxpayers $600,000 for the limos alone: report

Mandatory stops at Trump resorts are the tip of the iceberg — this president has been grifting all along

It’s the Emoluments, Stupid

AOC: Trump’s use of Pentagon cash to prop up Scottish resort latest example of why he ‘must be impeached’

Trump’s July 4th event is costing taxpayers millions. We made a payment plan for him.

Here Are 10 Questions Congress Should Ask Robert Mueller

Warren Rolls Out Plan She Calls ‘Most Sweeping Set of Anti-Corruption Reforms Since Watergate’ – https://go.shr.lc/30367dU

Federal Appeals Court Rules Trump Can Be Sued for Unconstitutional Profiteering

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