Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos
The news cycle during the last White House administration was a never-ending stream of corruption and nepotism. The Trumps (and Kushners) participated in such transparent acts of self-dealing and corruption that it became clear they believed their positions in government would immunize them from any prosecution of their actions. Added to this cocktail of criminality and power, is the fact that the Trump family is filled with starkly third-rate people, like Donald Trump Jr. It isn't hard to see how they have broken the laws, stolen Americans' money, and abused their positions in government.
In January of 2020, Washington, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine filed a civil complaint against the Trump Organization and the Presidential Inaugural Committee. Racine alleged that these two Trumpian groups acted a lot like money laundering operations. A year later, while the Trump and Republican machine tried to overthrow our democratically elected government, Racine was asking for depositions from both Ivanka and Junior. Reportedly, Racine was asking the conman's progeny about money purportedly spent by Trump's Inaugural Committee on the Trump Organization—the latter technically being the family business. Ivanka worked the Inaugural Committee while Junior worked the Trump Organization. At the time, Racine reportedly said Trump Jr.'s deposition "raised further questions," that his office would continue to pursue.
Mother Jones reports that some of the questions raised during Junior's deposition may revolve around him lying during his testimony.
Donald Trump Jr.'s deposition is filled with his inability to "recall" whether or not he was involved at all in the deals and moves being made to bring together Donald Trump's 2017 inauguration. One might say he pleads ignorance to most questions asked of him by attorneys. And even though the words "ignorance" and "Donald Trump Jr.," go together like peanut butter and chocolate, Junior possibly being a liar is more believable.
In documents and video obtained by Mother Jones, Donald Trump, Jr. seems to have lied or at the very least misled, prosecutors when he was asked about knowing close Melania Trump friend, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who raised concerns about price-gouging by the Trump organization, when the Trump hotel was charging the Inaugural Committee "twice the market rate for event space." According to Racine, the committee's deal with the hotel ended up being well above market rates.
During his deposition, Trump Jr. was asked about Winston Wolkoff: "Do you know her?" He replied, "I know of her. I think I've met her, but I don't know her. If she was in this room I'm not sure I would recognize her." He added, "I had no involvement with her."
Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, you might remember, is the former senior adviser to Melania Trump. She's the lady who wrote the tell-all memoir about her time with the former first lady. Mother Jones has video from inauguration night of Junior telling a camera how great Winston Wolkoff is, and they also have text exchanges showing that Winston Wolkoff and Junior likely spoke on the phone a bit, and emails from Trump Jr. to Winston Wolkoff asking about helping out with inauguration festivities.
Winston Wolkoff didn't comment on Junior's testimony but she told Mother Jones: "I did not think it was right for the Trump Family or the Trump Family's businesses to be financially profiting from the presidential inauguration. It was a gross mismanagement of funds and an abuse of authority, and I made it very clear to people in the Trump Family and the inauguration committee how I felt."
The video where Trump Jr. is praising Winston Wolkoff also happens to be at an inauguration event that Junior also didn't recall attending. Video evidence says he definitely attended it. Most of Junior's testimony is evasive. Many of the questions directed at him were about private Trump organization events that seem likely to have been paid for, or in part funded by, the Trump Inauguration Committee—something that would be the definition of self-dealing. Prosecutors have receipts for all of these expenditures and whether or not it matters if Junior is lying or simply an ignoramus, will be a legal question decided by the courts.
To be clear, the Republican Party is fully complicit in self-dealing under the guise of self-promotion. And both the Trumps and the GOP use made-up cultural changes to try and obfuscate the real issues of their corruption and impotence as leaders. But lawyers don't care about your incitements to overthrow the government on Fox News when they are investigating whether or not you stole money.
Here's Trump Jr. talking about how great a person he told lawyers he didn't really know was, at an event he couldn't recall attending.
Watch Donald Trump, Jr. Praise Stephanie Winston Wolkoff www.youtube.com
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