The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Tag:

Ivanka And Jared Lead Trumpsters In New 'Policy Institute' Grift

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

On April 13, Axios reported the launch of America First Policy Institute, a nonprofit self-described "research institute" with a $20 million budget and a roster of staffers drawn from among figures involved in scandal after scandal during Donald Trump's one term in the White House.

Axios said that the organization's mission is to continue and spread Trump's policies.

The list of former Trump administration figures involved with the institute is long as it begins its work, according to its website, to "conduct research and develop policies that put the American people first." The site also says, "Our guiding principles are liberty, free enterprise, national greatness, American military superiority, foreign-policy engagement in the American interest, and the primacy of American workers, families, and communities in all we do."

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump

Although they are not officially listed on the group's list of staffers, Axios' Mike Allen reports that Trump and her husband, Kushner, will serve as "informal advisers" to the organization. Both served in her father's administration as senior White House officials.

Like her father, Ivanka Trump during her time in the White House made millions of dollars in personal profit through business dealings involving the Trump Organization.

Among the highlights of her tenure as official adviser to her father were her hosting of an event on human trafficking that was boycotted by advocates who called them "a photo op"; her response to a question about her father's separation of immigrant children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border that the policy was "not part of my portfolio"; and her advice to people who'd lost their jobs during the pandemic to "find something new."

When her father was sued by New York Attorney General Letitia James for misusing funds raised by the Donald J. Trump Foundation to pay off business debts and promote his presidential campaign and was forced to pay a $2 million settlement, the attorney general's office announced, "Another stipulation ensures that Donald Trump, Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump received training on the duties of officers and directors of charities so that they cannot allow the illegal activity they oversaw at the Trump Foundation to take place again."

Donald Trump tasked Kushner with coordinating the states' response to the coronavirus pandemic, a haphazard and poorly organized process that resultedin shortages of vital equipment as thousands of Americans were dying. Yet even as the death toll passed 58,000 on its way to more than 562,000 to date, Kushner appeared on Fox News and described his work as a "great success story."

Trump also put Kushner in charge of negotiating a Middle East peace plan, which resulted in an 80-page proposal and a map that was almost immediately rejected by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who called it "nonsense."

Brooke Rollins

Rollins, the president and CEO of America First Policy Institute, served as acting director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. In that role, she helped develop Trump's response to protests against racist police brutality: an orderthat referred to "instances in which some officers have misused their authority" and did nothing to address the systemic nature of police violence against Black people and other people of color.

Paula White-Cain

White-Cain is listed, on a page of America First Policy Institute's website that features Maya Angelou's advice "When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time," as chair of the institute's Center for American Values.

White-Cain is a preacher of the Christian "prosperity gospel," the belief that God rewards believers with wealth, who served as Trump's spiritual adviser during his time in the White House. Among her speeches during that time were her prayer for Trump in 2019:

Lord, we ask you to deliver our president from any snare, any setup of the enemy ... Any persons [or] entities that are aligned against the president will be exposed and dealt with and overturned by the superior blood of Jesus. ... we come against the strongmen, especially Jezebel, that which would operate in sorcery and witchcraft, that which would operate in hidden things, veiled things, that which would operate in deception.

Linda McMahon

Linda McMahon, who led the Small Business Administration under Trump, is the chair of the board of America First Policy Institute.

Emails released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request showed that the Small Business Administration under McMahon held an event in 2017 at Trump's hotel in Washington, D.C., and instructed staffers to avoid letting on where the event was being held.

Larry Kudlow

Kudlow is vice chair of America First Policy Institute's board and chair of its Center for American Prosperity. He served as director of the National Economic Council in the Trump administration.

Kudlow is notorious for, among other things, his declaration in Feb. 2020 that the COVID-19 outbreak had been "contained" in the United States and that the situation was "pretty close to airtight." A month later, he advised Americans to "stay at work," despite the extremely dangerous risk of viral transmission in offices.

Pam Bondi

Bondi serves as chair of America First Policy Institute's Center for Law and Justice. A former Florida attorney general, Bondi was part of the defense team in Trump's first impeachment trial.

Bondi declined to prosecute Trump's for-profit university for fraud in 2013 despite dozens of complaints from Florida residents. At the same time, she received a donation from Trump for her reelection campaign. Trump eventually paid out $25 million in a settlement with students who said he had duped them.

As an adviser to Trump's 2020 reelection campaign, Bondi promoted lies about election fraud as it became clear that Trump was going to lose. She claimed without any evidence that "fake ballots" were cast for Joe Biden in Pennsylvania and that there was "evidence of cheating."

Jack Brewer

Brewer, a former member of the organization Black Voices for Trump, serves as chair of the institute's Center for Opportunity Now.

In August 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed insider trading charges against Brewer, alleging that he sold stock shares after receiving information that their value would drop.

In a speech that same month at the Republican National Convention, Brewer falsely claimed that Trump hadn't called white supremacists who rioted in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 "very fine people."

Keith Kellogg

Kellogg served as acting national security adviser to both Trump and Mike Pence. He is the co-chair of the institute's Center for American Security.

In November 2019, Kellogg said of his involvement in a phone call during which Trump pressured Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to announce an investigation into alleged wrongdoing by Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, "I heard nothing wrong or improper on the call. I had and have no concerns."

Rick Perry

Former Texas Gov. Perry, who served as Trump's secretary of energy, is listed as the chair of the institute's Center for Energy Independence.

As secretary of energy, Perry pressured the Ukrainian gas company Naftogaz to install one of his former political donors on its board of directors.

After Texas suffered dangerous blackouts during a major winter storm earlier this year, Perry said residents of the state would rather "be without electricity" than allow the federal government to impose more regulations on energy delivery.

John Ratcliffe

Ratcliffe, the co-chair of the institute's Center for American Security, represented Texas' 4th Congressional District in the House and was a staunch defender of Trump, later serving as his director of national intelligence.

Ratcliffe withdrew his first nomination for the position in 2019 after it emergedthat he had inflated his resume and lied about his role in convicting terror suspects when he was a federal prosecutor.

As director, Ratcliffe strategically released portions of intelligence assessments with the intent of harming Democrats.

The New York Times reported in 2020 that then-CIA director Gina Haspel opposed Ratcliffe's declassification of material out of concern that it "could jeopardize spies' ability to gather intelligence and endanger their sources."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Inside Ivanka And Jared’s Ethics-Free Money Machine

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Despite the pandemic, which took a toll on many businesses across the United States, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner reportedly made substantial profits during their time working for the U.S. government under former President Donald Trump's administration.

According to a report published by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), the affluent couple's final financial disclosure reports, which cover the duration of 2020 up to Jan. 20, 2021, signal monetary profits of "$23,791,645 and $120,676,949 in combined outside income."

The analysis also highlights a number of questionable aspects of Trump's disclosure reports that center on "fixed guaranteed payments she arranged to receive from a few entities to prevent a situation in which she would have a stake in their performance while she worked in the White House."

CREW reports:

Starting in 2018, Trump began receiving annually $100,000 from T International Realty LLC, $800,000 from TTT Consulting LLC, and $600,000 from TTTT Venture LLC. In her latest financial disclosure report, however, she reported receiving an extra $62,500 from TTTT Venture LLC and only $362,500 from TTT Consulting LLC. While the extra income from TTTT Venture LLC could be explained by the longer reporting period covered by her annual/termination report, it is not clear why she received less than half of the $800,000 guaranteed payment from TTT Consulting LLC in her final year working for the government.

As for Kushner's financial disclosure report, CREW noted that although the former White House senior advisor had committed to selling his $25 to $50 million stake in Cadre over conflict of interest due to his work for the government, "the Office of Government Ethics withdrew the certificate of divestiture related to his plans to sell his interest in the company in June 2020," per his request.

Kushner also unveiled "Kushner Companies BVI Limited," a new company he has formed offshore in the British Virgin Islands. The publication reports that it appears the new offshore company, which is one of many for Kushner, was formed in an effort to restructure some of his assets.

The latest reports come as former President Donald Trump, as well as his family business, faces a number of pending investigations into potential fraud and tax evasion.

Ivanka Trump and Kushner took no salaries from the government, according to previous disclosures; advisers of their status tend to make around $183,000 a year. But their decision to forgo this payment isn't necessarily a good thing, from an ethics perspective. Government workers are typically expected to make their money from the government itself so that they aren't improperly influenced by or dependent on outside entities while doing work for the American people. Kushner and Ivanka Trump could only choose to decline their salaries because they had so much income and wealth from other sources.

"Ivanka's Choice": A Morality Play In One Act


Scene 1: The Kushner home in the tony Kalorama neighborhood of Washington. Cardboard boxes lie around the living room. The shelves are bare.

IVANKA: Daddy was so sure about Mike Pence. It was all going to go so smoothly. And I can't stand that Kimberley for another minute. Did you see her in the tent before the rally? Dancing to "Gloria." Hate that song.

JARED: I tried to convince him to tell those people to stop. He was watching it on TV upstairs. It took hours.

IVANKA: I know you did, honey. I know you tried.

JARED: We both tried.

IVANKA: Both of us. We're such a good team. Did the Secret Service tell you when the moving van is coming?

JARED: Soon, darling.

IVANKA: I can't believe how Daddy got us into this situation. I tweeted that those people were "American patriots" and had to delete it. So embarrassing. They really are worse than deplorable. So low class.

JARED: That's not your fault. All those people who quit should look to you as an example. Speaking of classy. Stephanie Grisham? Really, can you believe the ingratitude? You heard what my father said: Your father is "beyond our control." We did our best. We all did. We'll all keep trying.

IVANKA: I'm glad you had your father say that. But don't tell Daddy I said that. It was good that Daddy gave your father that pardon before, dear. But is it enough to help us? Your father saying "beyond our control," does "our" include me, even after the tweet?

JARED: Always includes you.

IVANKA: Everything was set up perfectly for my Senate campaign in Florida. Then this. There's no problem with the Israeli and Emirati loans that you arranged for the business, right?

JARED: Whatever else happens, don't worry, I've done it all.

IVANKA: I'm so sorry I couldn't be there for the dedication of the courtyard at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. The Kushner Garden of Peace. So proud of you.

JARED: It includes you, sweetheart.

IVANKA: Don't you think I can still run in Florida? Little Marco, not so loyal to Daddy. Won't be forgiven. Did you call Brad? I can't believe that meltdown he had. No shirt on the street? Did his wife really need to call the police? We picked up his electronics, right? He can still run the campaign?

JARED: Maybe pay him for some data piece of it. How much did he get from your father's campaign before he blew up? I had to remove him after that rally in Tulsa where no one showed.

IVANKA: Daddy was so angry.

JARED: Nobody in the media even talks about how those K-Pop TikTok fans gamed the tickets. Probably cost us the election.

IVANKA: Brad's arrest, so trashy. All those cars and condos he bought with our money. But you've called him, right?

JARED: Don't worry, the base in Florida is under our control. Why shouldn't you win? Rubio is such a little ingrate.

IVANKA: When I'm a senator, this will all be behind us. I'll be Hillary. And Daddy will have his library. Did you speak to MBS about that library contribution?

JARED: I'm doing everything, it's all taken care of.

IVANKA: I can always count on you, honey. Just amazing. In the library there should be a whole exhibit devoted to everything you've done. More than a garden in a courtyard.

A Secret Service Agent enters:

SECRET SERVICE AGENT: Sorry to interrupt, but the van is here. I wonder if I could use the bathroom for a moment.

Scene 2: Office of the Manhattan District Attorney, One Hogan Place, New York City

CYRUS VANCE, JR.: Thank you for appearing here today, Mrs. Kushner. I want to be completely transparent with you and present you with your options.

IVANKA: Nice to see you again, Cy.

VANCE: As you know, in 2012 a case was assembled by the Major Economic Crimes Bureau of this office that you and your brother Donald Trump, Jr. had misled prospective buyers of units in the Trump Soho hotel and condo development, inflating financial figures to lure those buyers. We had dozens of emails as evidence. One witness said there was "no doubt" that you and your brother "approved, knew of, agreed to, and intentionally inflated the numbers to make more sales," and "They knew it was wrong." Your attorney argued that you had exaggerated the numbers but had done nothing illegal. I decided that it was not beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime had been committed, and the case was dropped.

IVANKA: You did the right thing.

VANCE: We have a new situation. In reviewing your father's tax returns serious questions have emerged about your role in a variety of projects. I can tell you that there is no reasonable doubt about your involvement and jeopardy.

IVANKA: Jeopardy? What is this, a game show?

VANCE: It's "Let's Make A Deal."

IVANKA: Making fun of The Art of the Deal. Not funny, Cy.

VANCE: I would prefer that you were a witness rather than indicted.

IVANKA: This is Soho all over again. It's nothing.

VANCE: I would not like to have you do a perp walk. So, here's the deal—I will grant you immunity in exchange for your testimony.

IVANKA: We're talking here about transactional immunity, not limited use.

VANCE: You drive a hard bargain.

IVANKA: I am my father's daughter.

VANCE: You must make a choice. You must provide testimony against either your father or your husband.

IVANKA: How is Jared part of this?

VANCE: Our probe has expanded. Your father or your husband.

IVANKA: What about Melania?

VANCE: She is not a subject of my investigation. The 2017 inaugural committee financial irregularities are being investigated by the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. Your father or your husband.

IVANKA: That's so outrageous, Cy. I'm so disappointed in you.

VANCE: You must decide now.

IVANKA: You know my heart belongs to Daddy.

Scene 3. The Kushner home on Indian Creek Island in Florida. Ivanka enters. Jared embraces her.

JARED: Guess what? I have a surprise for you. Brad's here to discuss your campaign.

IVANKA: Shabbat shalom.

Sidney Blumenthal, former senior adviser to President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, has published three books of a projected five-volume political life of Abraham Lincoln: A Self-Made Man, Wrestling With His Angel and All the Powers of Earth. His play, This Town, about a scandalous White House dog, was produced in 1995 by LA TheatreWorks. He is also the author of Epstein's Ghost and The Pardon, both one-act plays published previously here.

Trump Ordered Ongoing Secret Service Protection For 14 Family Members

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

The U.S. Secret Service will protect former President Donald Trump and more than a dozen members of his family, including extended family members, after the 45th President, defying usual agency regulations, ordered the expanded protections.

"Trump issued a directive to extend post-presidency Secret Service protection to 14 members of his family who were not automatically entitled to receive it," The Washington Post reports.

Taxpayers will be on the hook for the millions of dollars the additional protections will cost, even after the Trump family decimated the protective agency's budget over the past four to five years.

Once a president leaves office he or she, their spouse, and children up until they reach the age of 16 are entitled to Secret Service protection. Protection for the president and spouse is for the rest of their lives.

But Trump has demanded every family member who has ever been covered to continue receiving protection, for the next six months.

"That means the expensive, taxpayer-funded security will continue for his daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, their three children, his son Donald Trump Jr. and his five children, his son Eric Trump and his wife Lara and his daughter Tiffany Trump," the Post explains

In just the first two years of his presidency Trump and his family members who are protected by the Secret Service took more than 4500 trips.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) on Wednesday noted that "the Trump family took more trips that required Secret Service protection in one year than the Obama family took in seven."