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The Empire Expands
Not the American One, But Trump’s
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President Trump, his children and their spouses, aren’t just using the Oval Office to augment their political legacy or secure future riches. Okay, they certainly are doing that, but that’s not the most useful way to think about what’s happening at the moment. Everything will make more sense if you reimagine the White House as simply the newest branch of the Trump family business empire, its latest outpost.

It turns out that the voters who cast their ballots for Donald Trump, the patriarch, got a package deal for his whole clan. That would include, of course, first daughter Ivanka who, along with her husband, Jared Kushner, is now a key political adviser to the president of the United States. Both now have offices in the White House close to him. They have multiple security clearances, access to high-level leaders whenever they visit the Oval Office or Mar-a-Lago, and the perfect formula for the sort of brand-enhancement that now seems to come with such eminence. President Trump may have an exceedingly “flexible” attitude toward policymaking generally, but in one area count on him to be stalwart and immobile: his urge to run the White House like a business, a family business.

The ways that Jared, “senior adviser to the president,” and Ivanka, “assistant to the president,” have already benefited from their links to “Dad” in the first 100 days of his presidency stagger the imagination. Ivanka’s company, for instance, won three new trademarks for its products from China on the very day she dined with President Xi Jinping at her father’s Palm Beach club.

In a similar fashion, thanks to her chance to socialize with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, her company could be better positioned for deal negotiations in his country. One of those perks of family power includes nearing a licensing agreement with Japanese apparel giant Sanei International, whose parent company’s largest stakeholder is the Development Bank of Japan — an entity owned by the Japanese government. We are supposed to buy the notion that the concurrent private viewing of Ivanka’s products in Tokyo was a coincidence of the scheduling fairy. Yet since her father became president, you won’t be surprised to learn that global sales of her merchandise have more or less gone through the roof.

Here’s where things get tricky. We can’t pinpoint the exact gains generated from any one meeting of the next generation Trump. They rely on the idea that, because their brand was so huge to begin with, profits and deals would have come anyway. That’s why we won’t ever see their books or tax returns.

Conflicts of interest? They now permeate the halls of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but none of this will affect or change one thing President Trump holds dear — and believe it or not, it’s not the wishes of his base in the American heartland. It’s advancing his flesh and blood, and their flesh-and-blood-once-removed spouses and relatives.

Federal Regulations and Trump Family Interpretations

The Trumps and Kushners will behave in ways that will benefit their global businesses. There’s just one catch. They have to get away with it, legally speaking. So the first law of family business in the Oval Office turns out to be: get stellar legal counsel. And they’ve done that. Their lawyers have by now successfully created trusts that theoretically — but only theoretically — separate Ivanka from her businesses and deflect any accusations over activities that may, now or in the future, violate federal rules. And there are two of those in particular to consider.

The Code of Federal Regulations is a set of rules published by the executive departments and agencies of the government. Title 18 section 208 of that code deals with “acts affecting a personal financial interest.” This criminal conflict of interest statute states “an officer or employee of the executive branch of the United States Government” can’t have a “financial interest” in the result of their duties. What that should mean, legally speaking, for a family occupying the executive office is: Ivanka could not have dinner with the president of China while her business was applying for and receiving provisional approval of pending trademarks from his country, if one of those acts might impact the other. To an outsider, the connection between those acts seems obvious enough and it’s bound to be typical of what’s to come.

Meanwhile, there are real penalties for being convicted of violating this rule. These include fines or imprisonment or both as set forth in section 216 of Title 18.

Certain lawyers have argued that Ivanka’s and Jared’s appointments don’t violate Rule 208 or other nepotism statutes because they are not paid advisers to the president. In other words, because Ivanka doesn’t get a salary for her service to her… uh, country… conflicts automatically vanish. She’s already done her Trumptilian best to demonstrate her affinity for ethical behavior by cordoning herself off from her business responsibilities (sort of). According to the New York Times, “Ivanka has transferred her brand’s assets into a trust overseen by her brother-in-law, Josh Kushner, and sister-in-law, Nicole Meyer.” Phew, no family connections there! Or maybe she just doesn’t care for her siblings-in-law.

But not all assets, it turns out, are created equal. So the daughter-in-chief will, it seems, keep her stake in the Trump International Hotel, a 15-minute stroll from the White House, which just happens to boast “the Ivanka Trump Suite” and “The Spa by Ivanka Trump.” (“The Spa by Ivanka Trump™ and Fitness Center transitions guests from the Technogym setting of the Fitness Center to the tranquil spa haven that is calming, balancing, purifying, revitalizing, and healing…”) There, many a foreign diplomat or special interest mogul can “calm, energize, [and] restore” himself or herself, while angling for an “in” with the family. We don’t know precisely the nature of what the Trump family stands to gain from the hotel because its books aren’t made public, but it’s reasonable to assume that we’re not talking losses. Besides this other D.C. domain, Ivanka and Jared will remain the beneficiaries of their mutual business empires now valued at about three quarters of a billion dollars, according to White House ethics filings.

But wait. There’s an even more explicit rule against using public office (like, say, the White House) for private gain: Title 5 section 2635.702. On that subject, the section states that “an employee shall not use his public office for his own private gain, for the endorsement of any product, service, or enterprise, or for the private gain of friends, relatives, or persons with whom the employee is affiliated in a nongovernmental capacity.”

Okay, that’s wordy. And though the rule doesn’t apply to the president or vice president — we have Nelson Rockefeller to thank for that, but more on him later — for any other executive office position, the rule explains that “status as an employee is unaffected by pay or leave status.” That means that you can’t say someone is not an employee just because she isn’t drawing a paycheck, which means she isn’t, in fact, exempt just because she can’t show a W-2 form.

The second rule of family business is undoubtedly: control the means of enforcement. And President Trump just got his man onto the Supreme Court, so even if ethical charges rose to the highest court in the land, the family has at least a little insurance.

Bankers and Presidents: A Walk Through History

The idea of powerful bloodlines collaborating is nothing new in either business or politics. At the turn of the twentieth century, mogul families routinely intermarried to spawn yet more powerful and profitable business empires. And when it comes to Oval Office politics, American history is littered with multi-generational public servants with blood ties to presidents. Abraham Lincoln’s oldest son, Robert, a Republican, served as secretary of war in the administrations of Presidents James Garfield and Chester Arthur, and finally as U.S. minister to Great Britain during President Benjamin Harrison’s administration. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s son, John, became a decorated brigadier-general, served as assistant staff secretary in the White House while his father was in office and was later appointed ambassador to Belgium under President Richard Nixon (once his father’s vice-president). But neither of them inflated the coffers of the family business in the process.

Whether family business connections might influence prominent figures in the White House isn’t a subject new to the Trump era either. In 1974, when Gerald Ford, who took over the presidency after Richard Nixon’s impeachment, nominated Nelson Rockefeller to be his vice president, Nelson’s brother David ran the Chase Manhattan Bank (now JPMorgan Chase). Questions naturally arose about the notorious wealth and political reach of the Rockefeller family. Nelson, the grandson of oil magnate John D. Rockefeller, had even worked at the bank and had been on the boards of multiple oil companies.

That same year, the Department of Justice conveniently concluded that conflict of interest laws did not apply to the office of the vice president — but not before Democratic Senator Robert Byrd asked, “Can’t we at least agree… that the influence is there, that it is a tremendous influence, that it is more influence than any president or vice president ever had?” And yet, as fabulously wealthy and linked in as Nelson Rockefeller was, his situation doesn’t even compare to the family business tangle in the Trump White House.

There have been other family members than the Trumps and Jared Kushner in positions of significance in the White House. When, for instance, Woodrow Wilson fell gravely ill in 1919, his second wife, Edith, stepped in to act on his behalf, essentially running the government in a blanket of secrecy from his bedside. Her intention, however, was never to make hay with a family business, but to ensure that her husband’s policies prevailed. The two Bush presidents, with a business and banking legacy that snaked back a century, were elected, not handed power. And though Bill Clinton’s reign in the Oval Office enabled wife Hillary to garner enough public recognition (and banking connections) to successfully run for senator in New York State, become secretary of state under President Obama, and launch two ultimately unsuccessful presidential bids, the Clintons only became super-wealthy after Bill’s time in office. Though their charity foundation’s ties to foreign governments remain suspect, they never had a private business while Bill was in the White House.

What can’t be found in the historical record is someone’s child, wife, or relations holding court in the West Wing while expanding a family business, no less a network of them. The present situation, in other words, is unique in the annals of American history. Only 100 days into Donald Trump’s presidency, he already has something of the look of the authoritarian kleptocrats elsewhere on the planet who siphon state wealth into their own bank accounts and businesses.

And remember, the Trump empire is also the Kushner empire. Jared’s family business depends on global investors hailing from countries that just happen to be in his White House portfolio. He, for example, led the efforts to prepare for the state visit to Mar-a-Lago of the Chinese president (while the Kushner business was engaged in high-level talks with a major Chinese financial conglomerate). A Russian state-owned bank under U.S. sanctions whose chairman met with Jared in December referred to him as the head of Kushner Companies, though he was already visibly if not yet officially a Trump adviser.

He is similarly the administration’s point man for Middle East “peace,” even though his family has financial relationships with Israel. Meanwhile, in his role as head of the newly formed White House Office of American Innovation, the potential opportunities to fuse government and private business opportunities are likely to prove endless.

Nepotism on Parade

Faced with the dynasty-crushing possibility of selling his business or even placing it in a blind trust, Donald Trump chose instead to let his two older sons, Eric and Donald Jr., manage it. Talk about smoke and mirrors. While speaking with Forbes in March, Eric indicated that he would provide his father with updates on the Trump Organization “quarterly” — but who truly believes that father and sons won’t discuss the family empire far more frequently than that?

The family has already racked up a laundry list of global conflicts of interest that suggest ways in which the White House is likely to become a moneymaking vehicle for the Trump line. There’s Turkey, for instance, where the Trump Organization already has a substantial investment, and where President Trump recently called President Recip Tayyip Erdogan to congratulate him on his power-grabbing, anti-democratic victory in a disputed election to change the country’s constitution. Given Trump business interests globally, you could multiply that call by the world.

Meanwhile, Ivanka’s brand isn’t just doing business as usual, it’s killing it. Since 2017, according to the Associated Press, “global sales of Ivanka Trump merchandise have surged.” As a sign of that, the brand’s imports, mostly from China, have more than doubled over the previous year. As for her husband, he remained the CEO of Kushner Companies through January, only then abdicating his management role in that real-estate outfit and 58 other businesses, though remaining the sole primary beneficiary of most of the associated family trusts. His and Ivanka’s children are secondary beneficiaries. That means any policy decision he promotes could, for better or worse, affect the family business and it doesn’t take a genius to know which of those options he’s likely to choose.

Kleptocrats, Inc.

Despite an already mind-boggling set of existing conflicts of interest, ranging from business affiliations with oligarchs connected to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard to the Secret Service and the Pentagon leasing space in Trump Tower (for at least $3 million per year), the Trump family business is now looking to the glorious, long haul. The family is already scouting for a second hotel in Washington. Trump has reportedly used nearly $500,000 from early campaign money raised for his own 2020 presidential bid to bolster the biz. It’s evidently been poured into “Trump-owned restaurants, hotels and golf clubs,” as well as rent at Trump Tower in New York City.

According to the latest polls, the majority of registered voters believe that the installation of Ivanka and Jared in the White House is inappropriate. But that could matter less to Donald Trump. Ask Stephen Bannon or Chris Christie what happens when Ivanka or Jared don’t like you. That’s the family version of mob-style power.

Ivanka noted in her book, The Trump Card: Playing to Win in Work and Life, that “in business, as in life, nothing is ever handed to you.” Except, of course, when your father is president and he hands you the keys to grow the family business on a silver platter.

Four decades ago, at a Senate hearing on his potential conflicts of interest, Vice President Rockefeller was asked, “Can you separate the interests of big business from the national interest when they differ?” It’s a question some senator should pose to Ivanka and Jared, replacing “big business” with “big family business.”

Making the future yet murkier, the family may be on the precipice of major problems. The most striking of them: Kushner’s marquee building, 666 Fifth Ave (an 80-story, ultra-luxury Manhattan skyscraper) has a greater than 25% vacancy rate. It hasn’t made enough money to even cover its interest payments for several years, and in two years it will have to pay principal as well on its $1.2 billion mortgage. That’s going to hurt if foreign companies don’t step in to staunch the flow of dollars out of the firm and that, undoubtedly, could require a quid pro quo or two.

In our era, it’s no secret that presidents leave office with the promise of quickly growing exponentially wealthier. But for the first family to gain such wealth while still in the White House would be a first. Yet the process that could make that possible already seems to be well underway. All this, as Donald Trump, his children, and his son-in-law continue to carve out an unprecedented role for themselves as America’s business-managers-in-chief, presiding not so much over the country as over their own expanding imperial domains.

Nomi Prins, a TomDispatch regular, is the author of six books. Her most recent is All the Presidents’ Bankers: The Hidden Alliances That Drive American Power (Nation Books). She is a former Wall Street executive. Special thanks go to researcher Craig Wilson for his superb work on this piece.

(Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Economics • Tags: Conflict of Interest, Donald Trump 
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  1. willem1 says:

    Not disagreeing with most of what is written, but the conflicts of interest that any international business person would bring to the presidency would seem to doom us to having only career politicians or generals as future presidents.

    This idea extends to cabinet positions and other government advisors, and is one of the biggest conundrums in our political system. Most of the people who have the economic smarts needed to administer their positions are also potentially the most self-interested.

  2. joe webb says:

    so what???

    If a goy beats a jew in business, that is downright anti-semitic.

    The fundamental in economics besides consumer spending which is robust enough to drive growth, is that investors have their piles of money, as in Big Money, actually working, and not idling at the curb.

    Whatever millions the Trump Dynasty has is unimportant. What matters , if you want to get agitated, is the Real Big Bucks of the Financial Sector that feeds off, as in parasite, the productive capital that makes things, etc. How about a jewish angle in Financial Capital or, Productive Capital…heh heh, for the latter.

    If Trump rags sell great in wherever, who cares? Kvetching and sour grapes.

    Joe Webb

  3. utu says:

    Great article. The question is if these issues will get any traction in effort, if there is any, to depose Trump or rather they will be used by the Deep Sate to make Trump even more vulnerable and obedient?

    OT: Why Steve Bannon is still there? He possibly can’t believe that Trump would implement anything from his program after April 4. Is he kept hostage or he also sold out?

  4. That, in a hostile environment, Deep State and the media, Trump surrounds himself with people he knows and trusts, seems quite natural to me.
    Any USA president did the same.

    Obama’s chief of staff in the White House, the most important position in the USA, was Rahmbo, now mayor of Chicago, where Obama also began his political career.
    Roosevelt had Harry Hopkins, Wilson ‘colonel’ House.

    Hopkins some of the time even did not have any official position, yet being the most powerful man after Roosevelt himself, House, as far as I know, officially never was more than a private person, yet he negotiated with the British prime minister, was received by the Queen, and the German Kaiser.

  5. Lock em up! Specially that dumb cunt Ivanka and her Jew fag husband!

    • Replies: @Z-man
    , @Alden
  6. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    ” .. after Richard Nixon’s impeachment…” Nope — Nixon resigned under threat of impeachment. That sloppiness befits the slapdash article’s apparent theme: that what is feared (appropriately so) is somehow worse than what the ruling class has always done.

    This piece seems a better fit in the NYT or Atlantic. How much time was spent wordsmithing this whiterinsing of the Clintons?

    I flushed my vote and am unsurprised by none of Trump’s shortcomings. But the grifting aspect of “Trumpism” is far less worrying than the selling out of his supporters regarding policy.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  7. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    On further reflection, isn’t it far more troubling to know that Obama, Wall Street, and this author were aware all along that he would “quickly gro[w] exponentially wealthier” following his term of office?

  8. Joe Hide says:

    Money enables political survival. Putin amassed great wealth and survived politically to go on and save Russians from the billionaire pyschopaths. War is carried out with wealth as well as information control and weapons. In this reality. if Evil is to win, it must be sure Good runs out of money. Trump and those allied with Him know they need billions for Good to overcome Evil. In delusional minds the politically successful don’t need money. In this spiritually imperfect place they must have it.

    • Replies: @anon
  9. robt says:

    Some interesting info here, but tainted by an observation like this:
    “Trump has reportedly used nearly $500,000 from early campaign money raised for his own 2020 presidential bid to bolster the biz. It’s evidently been poured into “Trump-owned restaurants, hotels and golf clubs,” as well as rent at Trump Tower in New York City.”

    $500,000 is walking-around money, hardly to be described as funds ‘pouring into’ various projects. These days that would probably cover a minor decorating refresh in one of those facilities. Not only that, to imply that funds allocated for a future election campaign would be used in his private business is questionable considering the resources that Trump enterprises has available. $500K is hardly going to ‘bolster’ a multi-billion dollar business empire.
    And ‘reportedly’ is a notorious fudge word, something like ‘many think’ or ‘some say’.

  10. Agent76 says:

    Mar 20, 2017 Trump Embraces the Goldman Sachs Vampire Squid

    It’s business as usual in Washington. Trump promised to drain the swamp. Instead, he is busy populating it with Goldman Sachs vampire squids. On this edition of The Geopolitical Report, we take a look at the outsized influence of the notorious global investment banking firm, its ability to navigate both Democrat and Republican administrations, and its disastrous effect on the economy as it socializes risk and pockets.

    • Replies: @jilles dykstra
  11. @Agent76

    Indeed, money rules the USA.
    But I’m not at all sure that the money that is now in Washington has the same goals as the Obama money.

    The Dutch professor Laslo Maracs, Amsterdam University, UVA, explains that the money now surrounding Trump, sees that continuing the Obama policies for military world supremacy will ruin them.

    Deep State is not concerned with what happens to the USA, and its citizens, rich of poor, they want to rule the world.
    It is possible that Deep State calculates that who rules the world cannot have any debt to anyone in the world, in other words, USA debts to the Chinese do not matter any more.

    Maybe Hillary meant this when she wrote in an e mail ‘how does one handle one’s banker ?’.

    • Replies: @Agent76
  12. Nice gossip. Nomi typically follows the astro-turf formula of cognitive dissonance so favored by the whore-media. A tool of distraction to keep any reader entertained, creating a fake, magical version of how Washington and it’s owners actually operate. The propaganda typically focuses on the head puppet who happens to be Trump this time ’round, but it doesn’t matter.

    You must believe that it matters however, so that’s the role of the professional copyist. They come in various flavors; right, left, libertarian or car salesman. Supermarket tabloids are long a dying breed – supplanted by serious sounding op-ed monkeys with serve a the same insidious purpose with unprecedented technology advanatages. (They all call each other fake, how gracious.)

    Nomi lists the serious sounding codes, laws and statutes. These don’t impress anyone anymore other than the most deluded and credulous saps who are seriously addicted to their flavor of social media. Law what?

    A recap of the obvious: First the Russian accusations, following that, the emoluments. Anything else on American’s minds at the moment? If you’ve been paying attention, there shouldn’t be much other than Trump on the brain.

    These charges may all be true or relevant, but that doesn’t matter, it may rain tomorrow, which is important, but only so much. The “laws” don’t apply until the PTB want them too – and when that happens the whore media will be sure to let us know. Trump’s impeachment would be an exciting show, and would take up hours of time from billions everywhere, fans would shriek for and against. Now that’s entertainment!

    Ask yourself, what is it that you could be doing at the moment? How can you thrive in a country where worthless shit is thrown at you 24/7, mostly from your beloved muck rackers, which ever device you choose to use? Once they have you addicted, you are pretty much harmless.

    • Replies: @Alden
  13. notice says:

    I hope Trump keeps in mind that there are plenty of Democrats and not a few Republicans that would eagerly vote to impeach him for the smallest technical legality imginable , especially in 2018 or 2019 to head off any reelection, while simultaneously leaving Pence too little time to impress the 2020 voters.

    The hand patting your back will put a knife in it as soon as its profitable for that hand in Washington.

  14. hyperbola says:

    Perhaps the real problem is that so many of the “methods” used to enable political corruption are in fact “legal”. For example, what should we think about someone from a terrorist family who is sponsored by an “elite” that make him rich in the “financial swamp” in a handful of years so that he can play politics? Where was Naomi Prins then?

    The Book of Rahm

    Rahm Emmanuel, Laquan McDonald and Black Rebellion in Chicago

    The Doctrine of ‘Superior People’: The Bond between Israel and World Zionism
    … The disastrous US war against Iraq was largely organized, promoted and justified by a disproportionate percentage of US Jews (Zionists), including leading Neocon policymakers in the Bush and Obama administration – Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, Elliott Abrams, Dennis Ross, Martin Indyk, David Frum, Shulsky, Levey, Cohen, Rahm Emanuel etc… They continue to push for war against Iran and should be seen as the ‘godfathers’ of the tragedies of Iraq, Syria and Libya where millions have fled…..

  15. Agent76 says:
    @jilles dykstra

    This link will give you a clear view most cannot see. Meet the new boss same as the old boss!

    “Who controls the issuance of money controls the government!” Nathan Meyer Rothschild

    June 13, 2016 Which Corporations Control The World?

    A surprisingly small number of corporations control massive global market shares. How many of the brands below do you use?

    • Agree: Amanda
  16. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Isn’t one of the foundational pillars of the so called Judeo-Christian way of life, Greed?

    That being the case, kudos to the Americans for selecting such good Judeo-Christians (given the Trump & Kushner combo, that is so appropriate, isn’t it 🙂 ), as their looters-in-chief.

    You guys certainly deserve the leaders you get.

  17. Z-man says:
    @Father O'Hara

    LOL!!! Not too subtle but to the point. Yo’vanka and Kushy boy have to kicked out of the WH. Let Trump Be Trump!!!

  18. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    As Ms. Prins surely knows, “presiding…over the country” is in the claws of neocons/banksters et al., bonafide members of a Zionist Mafia Empire — & Trump is as well. Trump may have believed he could do something for the unfortunate majority and quickly found out otherwise…in any case, why focus on the lower echelon of profiteering Ms. Prins? Why not at least connect the dots to the top puppeteers? To avoid doing so is gatekeeping.

  19. Alden says:

    Best post I’ve read on the Internet in 20 years. Whoever you are, chapeaus!!!!!!

  20. anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Joe Hide

    this. This is why leftism fails: it operates on the delusion that we can banish real authority from this world. Authority will always find a way to assert itself as long as humans live, and part of what that means (indeed, has always meant until now and probably will mean in the future) is having enough wealth to negotiate large changes to the status quo. I’m happy the US is finally revealing itself for what it always was after 1865: an empire, with vastly wealthy and powerful emperors. Let the people see the truth! You’ll always be owned by oligarchs; better find a benevolent and wise one. Open up the presidency to private bidding; that couldn’t possibly be any WORSE than what we have now.

  21. Alden says:

    I note this Nomi person didn’t even google ” federal law violations of by federal employees”. She had to hire “superb researcher Craig Wilson for that.

    Anti White liberals hated Trump from the beginning. Conservatives and White nationalists hoped he was the messiah come to save us.

    Now everybody hates Trump.

  22. Alden says:

    Kushner’s new 5th AV building still has vacancies because it is not completely finished. Some of the upper floors are just floors, partial ceilings and exterior walls. They are still putting in the electricity and plumbing.

    Tenants in those kind of buildings are not naive innocents. They are hard core business people who drive hard bargains with the landlords. For the kind of rent the Kushners want, they will get tenants who demand all sorts of concessions and extras.

    Sometimes it’s better for a landlord to keep a unit vacant and wait for a tenant who can and will pay a high rent.

    Sometimes it’s better for a landlord to charge low rents and get the building filled up fast.

    Ms Nomi, like Michael Hudson doesn’t know anything about real estate. But like Michael Hudson, she claims she knows about it. I’ll always remember Hudsons pontificating about NYC residential real estate without a mention of NYC’s rent control laws.

  23. Sean says:

    First it must never be forgotten that Trump wagered against the odds for an increase in wealth if the long shot of him becoming president came about, yet there was certain financial extinction if if his run at the Presidency had ended as most informed people had expected.

    Trump is no Rockefeller inasmuch his wealth is nebulous; the businesses runs on confidence in his brand, and is consequently very vulnerable to hostile government investigation. He was expected to win by absolutely no one, and could expect the administration of Hilary’s to have come for him, and the judges would not be sympathetic. He along with his family would have ended up on the street with a tin cup if he hadn’t won. As a business decision, it was a crazier bet than any made in his casinos.

    The Code of Federal Regulations is a set of rules published by the executive departments and agencies of the government. Title 18 section 208 of that code deals with “acts affecting a personal financial interest.” This criminal conflict of interest statute states “an officer or employee of the executive branch of the United States Government” can’t have a “financial interest” in the result of their duties. What that should mean, legally speaking, for a family occupying the executive office is: Ivanka could not have dinner with the president of China while her business was applying for and receiving provisional approval of pending trademarks from his country, if one of those acts might impact the other. To an outsider, the connection between those acts seems obvious enough and it’s bound to be typical of what’s to come.

    Secondly, sIn October 2013, the US sent the general in command of nuclear weapons on an official trip to Moscow. He, wit his unrivalled knowledge of the most sensitive secrets in the US was thus exposed to all kinds of possible compromising situation at the hands of a foreign regieme. As it happens he seems to have simply got drunk (he got sacked), but really there are better thing to worry about than Trump’s daughter selling some cosmetics. Non of this stuff is going to make much difference to Trump’s wealth anyway.

    Thirdly, I don’t see any parallel at all with Nelson Rockefeller. In my view, Trump is most similar to Peisistratos tyrant of Athens Like him Trump is a very capable businessman, who relies on the suport of the common people. Like Peisistratos, Trump may be a transition from elite rule to one based on the will of the lower orders.

  24. I’m not a huge fan of Ivanka “those photos made me cry” Trump being in the Oval Office, nor her husband. But this whole article’s a nothing burger that would fit in quite well at the NY Times or Bezos’s personal blog. There’s simply no evidence of corruption, just innuendo, guesswork (“she’s killing it”) and accusatory fingers being pointed by someone with an obvious grudge. (Oh and thanks for the non-working AP story link too. Helpful!) So what if Ivanka did sell a few more handbags or hotel rooms? The Republic will survive. I’m much more concerned about her presence marginalizing Bannon or convincing Trump to bomb Middle Eastern countries. That bothers me. Of course, given this reporter’s clear biases, that would be the thing that bothers her least.

  25. Isn’t it reassuring to know that any promises rich foreigners think they’ve got from Trump are worth nothing.

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