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Issue #1813      March 7, 2018

Tangle of lies

This past week the web of lies and crimes spun by the White House got more tangled and impossible to unravel than ever, as several major scandals played out on the national television news networks.

Jared Kushner has used his job in the White House to put himself in a position where he could rake in many millions in foreign loans to get his family out of billions in debt.

With the number of Mueller indictments having just grown to over 80 charges against 19 individuals associated with Trump and with four top Trump aides having already plead guilty to crimes including conspiracy against the United States, it was revealed that Jared Kushner, the President’s son-in-law, has used his job in the White House to put himself in a position where he could rake in many millions in foreign loans to get his family out of billions in debt.

While everyone knew that Kushner was losing his top security clearance, the Washington Post went further with a bombshell report that four countries, at a minimum, have discussed ways they can manipulate Kushner by taking advantage of his debt. He owes US$1.2 billion on one property in New York alone. US intelligence agencies have apparently heard officials of the United Arab Emirates, China, Israel, and Mexico discussing the matter with one another. Chinese officials were heard talking about Kushner’s desire for a US$200 million loan from that country.

The foreign officials were talking about what they considered both the naiveté and financial desperation of Kushner, who is said to have sought the huge loan from a Chinese company just before that company was taken over by its country’s government.

If true, these types of actions by Kushner would constitute major crimes – using his government position to amass millions of dollars to take care of his family business. The degree to which all of this leaves him – and through him, the US – vulnerable to blackmail is also a problem.

To make matters worse, Trump’s national security adviser, HR McMaster and his chief of staff, John Kelly, knew these things were happening about Kushner but failed to report them. It is difficult, if not impossible, to imagine that almost everybody else in the White House didn’t also know all of this about Kushner.

If these were “normal” times, Kushner, McMaster, and Kelly would all have already been fired and the President himself would already have been impeached over this Kushner business alone. But the scandals and potential crimes gushing out of the White House daily now turn everything into an almost incomprehensible, unbelievable blur in the public’s mind.

News, for example, that Ivanka Trump conducted official business with South Korea and probably used her position to discuss family business there, all while she too lacked proper security clearance, got almost completely lost in less than 24 hours.

As did the news that White House Secretary Hope Hicks refused to answer any questions from the House Intelligence Committee relating to anything that happened during the transition or during the time Trump has been president. Buried too was the news that the GOP majority on the committee let her get away with this despite an attempt by the Democrats to force her to testify with a subpoena. It didn’t seem to be troublesome enough to the Republican lawmakers that in the testimony Hicks did give she said that telling “white” lies was a normal part of her job as White House secretary.

That the White House accepts “white” lies surprises few these days since it regularly promotes anything “white.” Presumably Hicks would have a much harder time, however, getting Special Counsel Mueller to accept any lies, regardless of their colour.

Forgotten also was yesterday’s news that the Trump International Hotel in Panama was the scene this week of armed battles by teams of men, including Panamanian police. Folks were barricading themselves into rooms and fighting from room to room.

The Trump International in Panama was a brazenly built facility designed for laundering international mafia money. It is operated by the Trump International Company. Panamanian cops were in there investigating claims that Panamanian labour law, already hardly much to speak of as far as labour law is concerned, had been violated at the hotel.

For now it appears that even Panama, partly because of his horrible reputation in Latin America, wants Trump out. The results on that fight are not yet in, however.

Also, almost forgotten a day later is the news that Trump picked Brad Parscale as his campaign manager for 2020, signalling, of course, that the President intends to stay around for a while. Only hours after the announcement it was revealed that Parscale has close ties to a penny stock firm run by notorious fraudsters who regularly swindle buyers on Wall Street out of millions of dollars. The new campaign manager has already been interviewed by the special prosecutor.

Most observers say the move allows Trump to raise money he could use for other things, perhaps the legal defence of the many folks in his administration who face legal peril. Some 80 individuals thus far have either quit or been forced out of the White House since he became president, a record number of such departures from any administration in US history.

The speculation about the money going to places other than the re-election campaign seems reasonable when one considers the under-the-radar establishment in the state of Delaware of an entity called the Patriot Legal Expense Fund LLC. It was incorporated as a “non- profit” in corporate friendly Delaware. No one has official knowledge yet of who will donate to and fund the entity. One clear thing, however, is that there a lot of folks Trump defines as “patriots” who are in need these days of legal defence.

Also in the last two days, at least 20 new charges of serious crimes have been filed against Trump’s Deputy Campaign Manager Richard Gates who is cooperating with the Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Yet with all these charges of big crimes against Gates, Mueller is going after Gates for only two minor ones. This can only mean that his real targets are Manafort, Kushner, and of course Trump himself.

As good a prosecutor as he may or may not be, however, the ultimate responsibility here lies with all of us, the people. We must remain vigilant. We are dealing with an administration unlike any we have ever had to deal with before. Our democracy is at stake. Vigilance and determination to use the 2018 elections to sweep out of office all the Republicans who condone the criminal Trump administration are required.

People’s World

Next article – Shifting the blame

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