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

Tag: trump children

Investigating Hunter Biden? Probe Trump’s Taxes Too

Hunter Biden says his tax affairs are under investigation. The president-elect's son says he is "confident" the probe by the U.S. attorney's office in Delaware will find no wrongdoing.

Fine. We shall see.

A few things to unpack here. First, inquiries into possible tax fraud should be welcome. When some people cheat on their taxes, those who don't have to cover for them.

At the same time, Joe Biden's 50-year-old son is not Joe. Any tax issues he has are his, not his father's.

President Donald Trump has tried mightily to link Hunter's business dealings with Chinese and European tycoons to Joe, and the investigations have come up empty. He'd undoubtedly love to tie Hunter's tax issues into one public-confusing package.

Attorney General William Barr has rejected Trump's demand for a special counsel to investigate Hunter. He says that scrutiny of Hunter's activities is "being handled responsibly and professionally." Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal, which has been scouring Hunter's business ventures, concluded, "None of the Journal's reporting found that Joe Biden was involved in his son's business activities." The tax probe doesn't implicate Joe either.


All this said, it was not OK that Hunter used his powerful political name to rake in cash from foreign tycoons. It was not OK that he used his family ties to score a discounted stake in a Chinese private equity venture or various lucrative consulting deals. Or that he sold himself as the guy who could grease entry into the Washington power structure.

And Joe should have stopped it. There was nothing in Hunter's biography — which included drug and money problems — that would have prompted these foreign interests to hire him for his talents. Two Obama administration officials aired concern that Hunter's seat on the board of Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma would leave the appearance of a conflict of interest. Senate Republicans looked hard for evidence that Joe Biden altered U.S. policy in Ukraine for his son, and found none. Still, appearances matter.

Of course, Biden's missteps in letting a family member profit off his Washington connections pale in contrast to the Trumps' brazen self-dealing. In that case, you don't even know where to start.


Imagine the outrage if Biden were to let Hunter stand in for him at a G-20 meeting, as Trump let his daughter Ivanka do. In 2018, China fast-tracked 18 trademarks to companies linked to Trump and Ivanka — you know, those sunglasses, handbags and shoes.

Then there was son-in-law Jared Kushner, Trump's senior adviser. Vanity Fair reports that Kushner set up a shell company into which Trump fans are still pouring money. Its apparent purpose was to avoid federally mandated disclosures of campaign spending, much of it heading to Trump family pockets. The company's first president was Eric Trump's wife, Lara. Its first vice president was Vice President Mike Pence's nephew John Pence.

Back on the tax fraud front, state prosecutors in Manhattan are ramping up efforts to obtain Trump's personal and corporate tax returns. They are looking into possible insurance fraud, bank fraud and tax fraud. If they find culpability, Trump could face criminal charges.


Any pardons that Trump might grant himself and his children could shield them from federal prosecutions, but not state ones. Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen has already testified that Trump inflated the value of his assets to his lenders and then deflated them to cut his real estate taxes. Both practices are illegal. Also under investigation are millions in tax write-offs for consulting services, some apparently for work by Ivanka.

Let's find all the tax cheats. Do it for we who've been paying both our taxes and their taxes.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at fharrop@gmail.com. To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.

Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Danziger: The Kids Are (Not) Alright

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.com.

Report: Trump Organization Scraps Plan For Hotel Chains

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

According to a new report from The New York Times, the Trump Organization is scrapping plans to open a new line of hotels — and citing the hostile political climate as the reason:

Plans for the two hotel chains, Scion and American Idea, are to be shelved indefinitely, most likely for the remainder of the presidency. As a practical matter, that means calling off just one agreement, in Mississipppi, though two years ago the Trump Organization said it had as many as 30 potential deals in the pipeline.
The retrenchment comes as the company faces growing scrutiny from federal prosecutors and congressional investigators, and as a former employee, Michael D. Cohen, heads to prison for multiple crimes. With Democrats now in control of the House of Representatives, any new hotel deals could have provided investigative fodder for critics of the president.

These proposed hotel chains were notable in that they would not have carried the Trump name — potentially a sign that, even when the Trump Organization was planning to move forward, its executives recognized that slapping the president’s name on the properties could be harmful to business.

All of this is a dramatic departure from the beginning of Trump’s presidency, when the expectation was that Trump-owned businesses would be able to profit from their association with the leader of the free world. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, for example, doubled its membership fees to $200,000, in part because members were being given the right to potentially speak with the president on his numerous trips there. Meanwhile, foreign dignitaries have stayed at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. for exorbitant prices, which has raised questions about whether the arrangement violates the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.

The fact that the Trump family clearly showed an interest in profiting from the president’s official position has long been worrisome. But the American people can take some degree of consolation in the fact that it doesn’t appear to be working.

Trump’s Children Will Watch Mar-a-Lago Sink Into The Atlantic

If cosmic justice prevails, Donald J. Trump could live to see the Atlantic Ocean roll through his beloved Mar-a-Lago resort from the sea to the Intracoastal Waterway. His children almost certainly will.

The plush country club is built upon what geologists call a barrier beach—essentially a sandbar between the ocean and the bay. Already, water pools on parts of the property during coastal storms and extreme high tides, as sea levels driven by global warming rise a bit faster every year.

Within 30 years, climatologists estimate, Mar-a-Lago could be vulnerable to flooding as many as 210 days a year. It’s a growing problem across South Florida. Even mighty Donald cannot command the sea.

Indeed, disaster could come as early as this year’s North Atlantic hurricane season, predicted to be an active one. Experts calculate that the storm surge from even a category two storm could leave parts of the “Southern White House” property under a foot or more of water. Maybe the president can change Mar-a-Lago from a golfing to a surfing resort.

Perhaps he might then get around to appointing somebody to head FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which he hasn’t otherwise hasn’t done—too busy conducting a one-sided Twitter feud with the mayor of London. He’s also named no US Attorneys, and a small handful of ambassadors.

But then, hey, who needs diplomats? Trump can insult and belittle America’s strongest allies entirely on his own.

Evidently, Trump thought sophisticates were laughing at him in Europe and became determined to make them pay the price in symbolic gestures. Them and Barack Obama, whose negotiation of the Paris Climate Accords was rightly seen as the diplomatic high-point of his presidency—not because it bound the United States to what Trump falsely called a “draconian” regulatory regime, but because China, India and other developing countries agreed to participate for the first time.

Why falsely? Because everything in the Paris agreement is strictly voluntary. There are no penalties and no enforcement mechanisms in the agreement whatsoever. Each nation remains free to set its own goals for greenhouse gas abatement and to change them at any time.

It’s a cooperative, not a coercive thing.

So if Trump had merely chosen to cancel Obama’s Power Plan to please Koch Industries and other industrial polluters, all he had to do was say so. Issue an executive order countermanding President Obama’s and bingo, it’s done.

Sure, China’s free to build all the coal-fired electrical plants it wants, although it’s cancelled more than 100 of the damn things. But then contrary to Trump, so was the United States free to do so, although hardly anybody wants to.

Hillary Clinton may have been smug and impolitic when she said during the campaign that her climate policies would “put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” But it’s going to happen anyway.

A group of protesters gathered on Palm Beach island to protest President Trump on Saturday. The president was not in town.

Coal’s too expensive and dirty, a 20th-century technology that pollutes the air and fouls the water. Natural gas and solar are winning in the marketplace everywhere but Wyoming and West Virginia.

So it follows that no, the Paris Agreement isn’t up for renegotiation. Nor was it imposed by France, merely negotiated there. Anyway, what would Trump demand? The same free hand he’s already got? That $100 billion Green Climate Fund Trump railed against actually contains $10.3 billion—a comparative pittance.  Nor does America’s share come out of anti-terror funds.

Former Secretary of State John Kerry may have put it best: “He’s going to go out and find a better deal?…I mean, that’s like O.J. Simpson saying he’s going to go out and find the real killer.”

“Meanwhile, the earth is still warming,” writes Politicos Michael Grunwald, “the polar ice caps are still melting, and the seas are still rising, heedless of the inspiring words committed to paper in Paris, and just as heedless of a noisy American politician’s decision to reject them….Trump can call global warming a hoax, but 2014 was nevertheless the hottest year on record, until it was displaced by 2015, which was overtaken by 2016.”

And if 2017 were to come in a little cooler, industry-funded denialists would call the science disproved. Because if tomorrow’s cooler than today, there will be no summer. It’s the climatological equivalent of “creation-science,” based upon the screwball belief that researchers worldwide have concocted a conspiratorial hoax. “The concept of global warming” Trump tweeted in 2012 “was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

Which is ultimately what this is all about: an attack on expertise by a politician who basically ran against sophistication. An assault on diplomacy by a leader who has defiantly abdicated his role “leader of the free world.”

In short, Trump’s actions have gained him nothing while weakening the United States in what he mistakenly sees as a show of strength.