Nel's New Day

February 28, 2021

DDT Can’t Escape His History

Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) has left the White House and denied access to his favorite communication device, Twitter, but investigations into events during his term in the White House continues to be exposed.  

A recently released report explains how Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) was involved in how Jamal Khashoggi, U.S. resident and journalist, was coerced into the Saudi embassy in Turkey for the purpose of torturing him before his murder and dismemberment. DDT consistently covered up MBS’s involvement in the crime for a number of personal reasons. MBS was also a personal friend of DDT’s his son-in-law Jared Kushner. The released intelligence report now fully proves DDT knew about MBS’ involvement in the killing since its occurrence in October 2018 despite his repeated denials.

DDT had been enamored with Saudi Arabia and MBS since his inauguration. His journey to the country was his first foreign trip after he moved into the White House. The media fully covered the visit where he tried to participate in the sword dance and touched  the glowing “orb” along with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi and Saudi King Salman. According to MBS, a new book by New York Times reporter Ben Hubbard, DDT was given the orb, but people were afraid the photos people took with it would cause a scandal. Hubbard wrote, “The orb was hidden away in embassy storage.”

DDT’s not-so-secret weapon to derail mail-in voting, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, has reappeared in a congressional hearing. In DeJoy’s first few weeks last June, he cut back workers, overtime, and equipment to drastically slow down first-class mail delivery so much that Congress tried to block him. Despite lost equipment from his beginning, most of the ballots managed to get delivered on time, thanks to the efforts of Democratic legislators. DeJoy has remained in his position because the DDT-appointed board for the postal service is leaving him there. During his hearing last Wednesday, DeJoy showed a high degree of arrogance. When Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) asked him how long he planned to remain as postmaster general, he responded, “Long time. Get used to me.”

In the hearing, DeJoy also promised greater delays in service along with higher prices, including no longer having two-day delivery for first-class mail and limit air transport for it. DeJoy said, “Does it make a difference if it’s an extra day to get a letter?” He didn’t address the fact that some first-class mail isn’t delivered for weeks. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, “The Postal Service needs leadership that can and will do a better job.”

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) joined other Republicans in accusing Democrats of conspiracy theories to create “chaos and confusion” in the information about delayed mail delivery. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) answered Jordan:

“I didn’t vote to overturn an election. And I will not be lectured by people who did.”

During the hearing, President Joe Biden announced his decision to fill the three vacancies on the nine-member USPS board with these nominees: Anton Hajjar, former general counsel for the American Postal Workers Union; Amber McReynolds, chief executive officer of Vote at Homes supporting mail-voting in the 2020 election; and Ron Stroman, a former deputy postmaster general on Biden’s transition team. Stroman quit last year because of DeJoy’s position on delaying the mail. Two of the appointments are Democrats; McReynolds is unaffiliated. She was Denver’s director of elections from 2011 to 2018 where she implemented a complete vote-by-mail elections system for the city. Appointments include two men of color and a woman.

The current DDT-appointed chair, DDT-supporter Ron Bloom, can also be replaced because he took the place of another board member whose term ended in December 2020. All the Republican members on the board are friends of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and, like DeJoy, have donated large sums to both the GOP and DDT. The entire board is composed of wealthy white men with limited postal service

Last week’s hearings included an investigation into the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol by the House Appropriations Committee. Key moments:

Intelligence reported to the U.S. Capitol Police headquarters about an attack on January 5, but the department’s leadership wasn’t notified, according to former Chief Steven Sund, who resigned after the insurrection. The FBI sent an email the night before the attack about an eminent attack, but Washington’s acting Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department Robert Contee said a late-night evening email was not sufficient to highlight the threat.

The insurrection was coordinated, with prepared people bringing equipment such as climbing gear, explosives, chemical spray, etc. They used hand signals and radio communications when they breached the building. Some rioters claimed they were caught up in the spirit of the event, but members of far-right extremist groups planned the attack for weeks and months, judging by the criminal charges against them. Even DDT’s lawyers claimed the attack was pre-planned during the impeachment trial.

Pentagon officials were either unable or unwilling to rapidly sent National Guard troops, as evidenced by their delay after desperate pleas for help.

Sund said he asked the two former congressional sergeants of arms for an emergency declaration to call in the National Guard, but neither one recalled the request. According to Sund, Paul Irving said he “was concerned about the ‘optics’ and didn’t feel the intelligence supported it.” Irving denied saying that and couldn’t remember talking to Sund although Sund said he made the request at 1:09 pm on January 6.

Phone records prove Irving ignored Sund’s pleas for help, according to Yogananda Pittman, acting chief of the U.S. Capitol Police, who said Sund called Irving at 12:58 pm to request the National Guard as rioters breached the building. Lawmakers were forced into hiding. Sund called Irving another four times until 1:45 pm.

The continued presence of law enforcement and a fence remains, according to Pittman because militia groups announced their intention to “blow up the Capitol and kill as many members as possible” when Biden addresses the Congress.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), responsible in the past for putting Russian disinformation into the Senate record, read  a statement from an observer standing out by the fence that the violence came only after police provoked the protesters and “fake Trump protesters” were at fault. Before the hearing he had said there was no armed insurrection on January 6.

DDT’s financial records including his tax returns for eight years—reportedly millions of pages—are now with Cy Vance, Manhattan’s district attorney, for review after the U.S. Supreme Court refused DDT’s appeal to block the subpoena. The question now is whether DDT can slow the process long enough to get past the statute of limitations, six years in New York. State law, however, now excludes the time when a person charged with a state crime while acting as president, but the question is whether this exclusion is also for criminal conduct predating the law’s passage. If the law holds up, the time for limitations begins on January 20, 2021. Vance also has only ten months left in his current term and doesn’t plan to run for re-election.

Meanwhile, Vance has enlisted outside experts, including a forensic consulting firm, to examine the documents. The accounting records can determine fraud by showing how tax figures were calculated as were done in the Paul Manafort investigation. Manafort was sentenced to over seven years in prison before DDT pardoned him in December. Tax returns can also determine whether other financial records are false.

Despite DDT’s pardon for Steve Bannon, DDT’s former main strategist, DOJ prosecutors won’t dismiss the indictment against him as a matter of record. Bannon allegedly siphoned off over $1 million from GoFundMe donations for building part of DDT’s southern wall. According to Nixon v. United State, a pardon does not erase the grand jury finding probable cause for Bannon’s committing the indictment’s offenses. The prosecutors’ letter explained:

“Were the Court to dismiss the Indictment against Bannon, it could have a broader effect than the pardon itself, among other things potentially relieving Bannon of certain consequences not covered by the pardon.”

Vance’s office has subpoenaed Wells Fargo and GoFundMe for financial records tied to Bannon’s crowd-funding effort. Bannon may face state criminal charges which cannot be pardoned by a president.

DDT may have a parallel with the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City (NJ) which was leveled by an implosion on February 17, 2021. People paid $10 for watching it in person, and a front-row seat cost $575. The building was the first of DDT’s casinos going bankrupt with unpaid contractors and suppliers. During his campaign he bragged about how much money he made in Atlantic City where he put personal debts on the casinos, leaving debts to investors. The eyesore was destroyed as an “imminent hazard” because of falling debris and metal.

February 23, 2021

DDT’s Lawsuits ‘the Rest of My Life’

With Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) out of Washington, the U.S. Supreme Court may stay out of his legal messes—at least for now. On Monday, the justices’ refused to block a lower court giving DDT’s financial records and tax returns, both personal and corporate, to New York City prosecutors. The grand jury will have eight years of tax returns, 2011-2018, for a grand jury investigation, and last July, the high court ruled 7-2 against DDT’s claim he was immune from prosecution while still in the Oval Office. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority:

“No citizen, not even the president, is categorically above the common duty to produce evidence when called upon in a criminal proceeding.”

This decision not to hear the appeals court case frees Manhattan DA Cy Vance to continue his criminal probe. Michael Cohen, DDT’s former personal lawyer, has claimed the Trump Organization committed insurance fraud, avoided taxes, and jacked up loan collateral by manipulating real estate valuations. New York state AG Letitia James is pursuing the same information for a civil probe. DDT’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, and his bank, Deutsche Bank, said in the past they will release the information if subpoenaed.

Vance recently issued another dozen subpoenas for the investigation, including one for Ladder Capital Finance, one of DDT’s major creditors for commercial real estate holdings. DDT’s $160 million interest-only mortgage with Ladder on Trump Tower comes due in 18 months.  

Taking part in the inquiry is Mark Pomerantz, who both prosecuted and defended mob figures.

In another New York case, Manhattan prosecutors subpoenaed documents from an engineer working on the Trump-owned 200-acre Seven Springs Estate in Westchester County. In the past decade, DDT’s valuation of the property, purchased in 1995 for $7.5 million, ranged from $25 million to $291 million. In 2014, he deducted $2.2 million in taxes by claiming it as an investment property and then claimed a $21.1 million tax deduction for donating a conservation easement for 2015, not “reflected on applicable tax returns.” DDT tried to build a golf course on the property, but quit after local opposition, and then considered a development with 15 mansions.

DDT’s returns may not be public unless they lead to criminal charges. In that case, the documents could be evidence, allowing them to be public. If those charges lead to conviction, DDT can’t escape it with a pardon, even a secret blanket one he might have made before he left the Oval Office, because it’s a state, not a federal, charge.

In another rejection of DDT, SCOTUS refused to consider cases out of Pennsylvania to block a deadline for absentee ballots three days after Election Day which were postmarked by Election Day in cases from a legislator and from DDT to block Pennsylvania’s certification of election results. The disposition of absentee ballots either way would not have affected President Joe Biden’s win in the state.

Thanks to Fulton County (GA) DA Fani Willis, DDT may also face RICO, an anti-racketeering law to prosecute the mob, in trying to change Georgia’s majority to favor himself. Willis successfully used the Georgia Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act in a case against Atlanta teachers accused of organized cheating by falsifying student standardized scores to improve schools’ standing. Former Georgia public defender Ryan Locke said RICO is used “in a case where someone commits a number of crimes that all lead toward one common corrupt aim.” RICO can be used for using a legal entity, i.e., a government agency or public office, to break the law.

More fallout has come from 60+ frivolous lawsuits claiming, with no evidence, fraud in the 2020 presidential election. Both public officials and private companies want to hold DDT and his GQP (Grand QAnon Party) allies accountable for the rhetoric causing insurrection at the Capitol on January 6. Federal rules prohibit lawyer participation in frivolous suits or use of litigation for such improper purposes as to delay or harass. Laws prevent attorneys from lying in court. Judicial sanctions to discourage bad practices could be monetary penalties or references to disciplinary action.

Michigan and Detroit asked a federal judge to sanction attorneys filing lawsuits falsely alleging fraud in the election. Al Schmidt, GOP Philadelphia City Commissioner facing threats with falsehoods about fraud in vote counting, asks for reconciliation. “Moving on isn’t enough,” he said. Last Friday, a federal judge in D.C. referred a lawyer for possible disciplinary action.

In Wisconsin, lawyers representing the state council of the Service Employees International Union requested a criminal investigation about ten false Wisconsin electors who secretly met at the state Capitol in an attempt to appoint themselves electoral voters for DDT. On the same day Wisconsin convened electoral representatives representing the state’s voters, the illegitimate group signed fake certificates of election with DDT’s name and sent them to federal and state officials. The six laws possibly broken include forgery and falsely assuming the role of public officer.

In New York, Stephen Gillers, a NYU law school professor, helped draft a complaint to investigate DDT’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s conduct and possibly revoke his license to practice law in the state. State rules prohibit lawyers from “conduct that adversely reflects on the lawyer’s fitness as a lawyer.” A court can suspend the lawyer’s license on an interim basis while the disciplinary process is being resolved, sometimes three to four years.

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MI), chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, is suing DDT, Giuliani, and members of two extremist groups, the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys, on the basis of the 1871 Ku Klux Klan law banning violent interference in congressional duties. His representation, NAACP, said other congressional members may join.

Two election technology companies filed multibillion-dollar defamation suits against DDT’s allies for telling lies about the software and equipment. Dominion Voting Systems, with $1.3 billion defamation lawsuits against lawyers Giuliani and Sidney Powell, has a new $1.3 billion suit against the MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell. Dominion claims Powell has been evading service of its suit. Smartmatic’s lawsuits have forced conservative media into reversing its lies.

While DDT prepares for his first speech since leaving Washington for Mar-a-Lago, possibly to announce his presidential candidacy in 2024, he fears he will be sued for the rest of his life—sort of like his life before the White House. A few non-political cases:

Former journalist E. Jean Carroll’s lawsuit is still active. After the statute of limitations for rape expired, she is suing DDT for defamation because he said she lied about a rape in a New York department store. Former AG Bill Barr tried to move the case from state to federal court and assign DOJ lawyers to defend DDT, but the new administration dropped that effort.

A one-time contestant on DDT’s former TV reality show The Apprentice, Summer Zervos, has requested a continuation of her suit now that DDT, presently a private citizen, no longer has protection from a deposition regarding alleged sexual assault.

MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, once a close friend of DDT who advised him for his campaign, is considering a lawsuit because DDT repeated—and falsely—called Scarborough a murderer.

DDT may be in financial trouble despite grifting throughout four years in the White House. Vornado Realty Trust, owning 70 percent of two first-class commercial buildings in New York and San Francisco, may force DDT to sell his 30 percent stake at a discount. With control over DDT’s cash flow, Vornado can withhold money from DDT, who desperately needs the funds to pay for his loan. After a decade, DDT has owned a share worth $784 million with a $285 million share of the debt. Almost $400 million in DDT’s debt partially backed by Trump International Hotel (Washington, D.C.) and the Trump National Doral Golf Resort (Miami) comes due in 2023. Without money to maintain the facilities in good shape, he loses the ability to attract future business.

Since DDT left the White House, members are leaving Mar-a-Lago because of bad food and a depressing atmosphere, lacking even entertainment. Calling DDT an “employee,” however, Palm Beach allows DDT to live at Mar-a-Lago, despite his agreement in 1993 to not stay there for longer than seven days at a time and only three times a year. Neighbors still oppose his residence there.

DDT lost over $120 million in revenue last year, according to his financial disclosure forms, the worst losses at his D.C. hotel, down over 60 percent, and Doral Resort, dropping 44 percent. Revenue amounts for 47 companies declined over 35 percent, and banks and law firms are cutting ties with DDT’s businesses. Gone are three of four banks with DDT’s largest deposits. Even a small event like the triathlon at DDT’s golf course outside Charlotte canceled when the January 6 Capitol attack caused sponsors and vendors to drop out. The event’s founder had canceled another event almost four years after DDT’s comment about “very fine people” among white supremacists,  but he came back to lose again.

And DDT’s supporters think he’s a good businessman.

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