Nel's New Day

April 24, 2021

 Troubles for Trump—and His Minions

Normally a crowd of presidential hopefuls come out of the woodwork after an election, but this year Republicans are forced to wait for Deposed Donald Trump (DDT). To keep control over the GOP, he has threatened to run for re-election in 2024, and wannabes to replace him don’t dare make any moves. Meanwhile, he threatens any conservatives who might get out of line—members of Congress, state legislators, governors, etc. The result is DDT’s favorite activity—chaos.

During the waiting game, Republicans continue to protect him, and the Republicans suffer the consequences.

Congressional Republicans deny an independent commission to investigate the insurrection. Several of them still cling to DDT’s lie about a “stolen” election and try preserve the lie that insurrectionists come from the left-wing. The current strategy is Republicans yelling at Democrats during hearings without permission. Rep. Jim Jordan’s (R-OH) attack on Rep. Val Demings (D-FL), formerly the Orlando (FL) police chief, is an excellent example. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has Plan B for a commission, but she isn’t sharing it. If the GOP refuses to get involved, the Democrats will investigate, making the result more painful for Republicans. The pattern resembles the independent commission after 19 foreigners, mostly Saudi Arabians, attacked the U.S. on 9/11/01. George W. Bush and his administration—friends of Saudi Arabia—stalled the commission for a year.

Even without an independent investigation, prosecutors have charged over 400 people connected with the January attack, and the first guilty plea came from the founding member of the far-right Oath Keepers. The FBI, expecting to arrest another 100, had had almost 250,000 tips from family members, colleagues, significant others, etc. Proud Boys were refused bail by a DDT-appointed judge.

DDT won the 2016 electoral vote partly from lying he would get people jobs, including at a new plant in Wisconsin. He and then Gov. Scott Walker announced a manufacturing plant by Foxconn (emphasis on “con”) to provide 13,000 new jobs building LCD screens. Walker promised $2.85 billion to the corporation for tax breaks and waived environmental regulations. Two years later, the promised jobs dropped to 1,000, and the plant never appeared. A Democratic governor re-negotiated tax breaks down to $80 million for a $672 million investment providing under 1,500 jobs, paying each job-holder over $53,000. Foxconn has bulldozed almost 100 homes and small farms in an areas larger than Central Park.

The toxic cleanup from DDT’s corruption will take decades if not a century, and this one is a doozy. Just before he left the White House last January, his loyalist Pentagon officials turned control of 56 million computer addresses belonging to the U.S. military over to an obscure Florida company, Global Resources Systems. The addresses grew to 175 million, worth billions of dollars on the open market. The transaction was made by an elite Pentagon unit, Defense Digital Service, which reports directly to the Secretary of Defense. The U.S. military IP addresses funneled through Global Resource Systems are similar to Chinese network numbering systems, allowing China to exploit or fix data. Hijacking dormant IP addresses can go from spreading spam to hacking into a computer system and downloading data.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is suing the DOJ for records to determine if “officials seeking to accommodate” DDT had “influenced” the Erik Prince probe into allegedly false statements during the Russian investigation. DOJ may have violated the public records law by failing to disclose non-exempt documents about Prince’s and DDT’s potentially false statements. While under oath in 2017, Prince claimed his meetings with a Russian banker in the Seychelles Islands were “chance encounters.” Despite being briefed and debriefed before and after the meetings, Prince asserted he wasn’t acting as DDT’s representative.

Federal regulators are investigating financial reporting discrepancies from alleged funneling of $75 million in 260 transactions to DDT’s re-election campaign though state Republican parties from the Trump Victory joint fundraising committee. For example, the head of the Vermont GOP claimed she knew nothing about $400,000 moved through her organization to the campaign. New Mexico had the same situation. The Hawaii Republican Party amended FEC filings for $1.7 million months after the transactions but hasn’t explained. The state had a secret bank account in McLean (VA) at the same bank used by the RNC, Trump Victory, and other GOP state parties. Last year, the FEC blocked any probe into the situation.

DDT has refused to pay his debt of $211,000 to Albuquerque for campaign costs there, and the city turned the debt over to a collection agency. He owes $1.82 million for campaign rallies in 14 cities. El Paso (TX) hired legal counsel for DDT’s failure to pay $470,000 for police and fire department in addition to $99,000 in late fees.

DDT started a scandal before his inauguration by refusing to divest himself of assets and using his political relationships for personal financial benefit. His frequent trips to golf clubs raked up millions when he charged exorbitant prices for food and lodging for guests, Secret Service, agents, and family members. Forbes, however, reported DDT made a “monumental miscalculation” in keeping his assets: his “fortune fell by nearly a third, from $3.5 billion to $2.4 billion.” By selling everything on Inauguration Day, paying the maximum capital-gains taxes, and putting the proceeds into a conflict-free fund tracking the S&P 500, he would have had an extra $1.6 billion when he walked out of the White House for the last time. Forbes listed all DDT’s properties that plunged in value during that four years, a plunge that continues. Real estate analyst Kevin Brown said DDT “has done permanent damage to the Trump name and image, at least for two or three decades.”

Invoices and spending records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act reveal formerly undisclosed costs during DDT’s first year for stays at his Scottish resort as DDT lined his pockets at taxpayer expense. Throughout his four years, DDT collected over $400,000 at one resort alone for his trips. In one case, Eric Trump hosted 30 “international guests” on a private jet to play at DDT’s golf resorts, and Secret Service agents stayed at the resort.

Another part of the investigation into DDT’s finances is the huge remuneration DDT’s company paid Barry Weisselberg, son of DDT’s confidant and CEO Allen Weisselberg. A skating rink manager, the son received an annual salary of $200,000, yearly bonuses of $40,000, and free company-owned apartments in an expensive area. Other perks for the skating manager include a leased Range Rover Velar SUV, private school tuition of $49,000 for each of his two children, $25,000 each for their sleep-away camps, and $2,200 for his daughter’s Hebrew care. DDT’s CEO also paid for his son’s dental care and the divorce costs. During a deposition, the son lied about the amount he received, but his ex-wife has a record of them and says she has more financial information.

An investigation into DDT’s family separation “zero tolerance” policy has discovered another 5,600 “yet-to-be-reviewed” files from the first half of 2017 showing more children torn from their families. Previously 2,800 families were found separated in mid-2018 with the possibility of another 1,000 others separated.

Before leaving office, DDT gave Pfizer, Moderna, and other vaccine manufacturers permission to hike prices. Booster shots will give these pharmaceutical companies a financial windfall. Pfizer suggests an increase from $19.50 to $175 a dose, giving them $44.7 billion, almost ten percent of U.S. drug costs. Currently, the Bayh-Dole Act allows the government to suspend patent use developed with government-funded inventions if products are excessively priced. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) may erase the government’s ability to control drug prices by removing “reasonable terms” from the pricing policy. Recently, the prostate cancer drug Xtandi, developed through government grants, tried to charge $129,269 per year. DDT dropped his attempts to lower drug costs after he lost the 2020 election. NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases division owns the patent for the synthetic coronavirus spike protein, used to stimulate an immune response and leases it to BioNTech, Pfizer’s partner, and Moderna for manufacturing the COVID-19 vaccines. President Joe Biden has the ability to revoke DDT’s rule.

With at least nine key oversight investigations, formerly blocked by DDT, now back in effect, more information will be released in the next few months, including ethics inquiries into former Secretary Ryan Zinke, an audit into an allegedly inappropriate $400 million border wall contract, and a probe into DDT’s mishandling of the pandemic. DDT fired five government watchdogs in only two months and denied access to witnesses for inspectors general without agency council, intruding on the investigations. The Biden administration is moving forward in probes. Drip, drip, drip.

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