Is Raytheon Profiting From Its Former Lobbyist–Defense Secretary Esper?

There have been numerous mainstream media reports on how President Trump who based his 2016 campaign on a promise to “drain the swamp” has turned around and packed his administration with former lobbyists now making decisions that favor the industries they once lobbied for–essentially created a “TrumpSwamp”.

Among those former industry lobbyists now in the Trump administration is Defense Secretary Mark Esper who was a former lobbyist for weapons manufacturer Raytheon–a glaring conflict of interest. Defense Sec Esper’s conflict of interest has become more pronounced, and attracted the attention of ethics watchdog group CREW after the recent military strike on Iranian General Qassem Soleimani on Jan 3, 2020 that drove Raytheon stock prices to record highs.

Sec Esper and Secretary of State Pompeo are known to have pressured Trump to go with the military strike, even though top military officials did not recommend it. Was Sec Esper looking out for his old boss Raytheon? Hmm

Another issue that has caught ethics watchdog CREW’s attention is the fact that during his confirmation hearings, Sec Esper refused to recuse himself from all issues related to Raytheon while he was defense secretary and also refused to rule out returning to work for the weapons manufacturer after leaving the Trump administration. CREW’s concerns about Sec Esper and Raytheon are therefore quite valid.

Senator Elizabeth Warren is already raising questions as to whether Trump’s Maralago friends(typically lobbyists), profited from an advance notice on the Soleimani strike–essentially insider trading.

Bottom line folks, as Yours Truly has repeatedly stated before, the brazen corruption of the Trump administration is not normal and the only way we can prevent him and his cronies from normalizing it is if we scream about it. Where, as here, Defense Sec Esper’s actions raise serious conflict of interest questions regarding weapons manufacturer Raytheon, then the mainstream media and congressional Democrats have a duty to confront Esper about it.

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Sen Warren Questions Whether Trump’s Maralago Pals Profited From Soleimani Strike?

Following news reports that President Trump gave guests at his Maralago resort a heads up regarding military action on Iran, Dem Senators Elizabeth Warren and Chris Van Hollen have sent a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), calling for an insider trading investigation.

You’ll remember that right after the announcement of the U.S. strike that killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, defense stock prices spiked. Northop Grumman’s stock for example rose by 5%, Lockheed Martin’s by 3.6% and Raytheon’s by 1.5% hours after the announcement of the Soleimani strike on January 3, 2020.

Part of Senators Warren and Van Hollen’s letter to SEC reads, “individuals who were guests at President Trump’s resort may have obtained confidential market-moving information and had the opportunity to trade defense industry stocks or commodities or make other trades based on this information. These private individuals, therefore, would have had the opportunity to obtain significant profits simply by being guests or members at President Trump’s private resort. According to reports, ‘the club’s nearly 500 paying members include dozens of real estate developers, Wall Street financiers, energy executives and others whose businesses could be affected by Mr. Trump’s policies.'”

Bottom line folks, it is not yet clear whether any of Trump’s pals at Maralago profited from insider trading. The public should be very encouraged however by Senators Warren and Van Hollen’s proactive stance in calling for an SEC probe because it is well established that corrupt individuals only cease and desist when they realize that people are watching them.

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Trump’s DC Hotel Spiked Room Rates From $500 To $6,700 For Trump Event

Ethics watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) reports that Trump Hotel DC spiked its daily room rates from the minimum $500 to a whopping $6,719 on December 14 2019, the same day the Trump Victory Committee had an event there(a staggering 13-fold spike in price). Because President Trump has yet to divest from his hotel, it is fair to say, and CREW says as much, that the proceeds from this obscene price hike went straight into Trump’s pockets.

The Trump Victory Committee(TVC) is a joint fundraising group that raises funds collectively for the Trump 2020 campaign, the republican national committee(RNC) and the various state republican committees rather than having these entities raise funds individually. It is the best testament to date that the modern GOP is 100% Trump’s party which leaves absolutely no room for a GOP primary challenger to President Trump.

According to CREW which did some digging, the minimum rate for a room at Trump Hotel DC a few days before December 14 was $500. Strangely however, all the “cheap” rooms were unavailable on December 14, meaning patrons had to cough up $6,719 for a room. The $6,719 reportedly came with a few extra political perks namely, a chance to dine with Vice President Mike Pence, attend an event headlined by Trump’s Counselor Kellyanne Conway, and even meet President Trump himself. Nice!!

For the record, political campaigns run by both Republicans and Democrats regularly throw in political perks in an effort maximize their fundraising–$10,000 per plate, a chance to meet the president etc. In this particular case for example, Trump supporters would find it perfectly reasonable to pay $6,719 for a room if that gave them a chance to meet and take pictures with the president. What is different here however, which CREW is absolutely right to take issue with, is the fact that Trump has never divested from his businesses, which include Trump Hotel DC.

Therefore when his hotel spikes its minimum room price from $500 to $6,719 for such an event, it raises glaring conflict of interest questions because one can reasonably assume that the hotel and by extension Trump, pockets all or part of the the $6,719. President Trump is therefore personally profiting from this event, in violation of the domestic emoluments clause.

It also bears pointing out that per CREW, this is not the first time Trump’s DC Hotel has spiked room rates when hosting GOP-related fundraising events. This one particularly troubled the good folks at CREW because of the obscene 13-fold spike in rates, the highest they have ever seen, and an absolute travesty.

Bottom line folks, as Yours Truly has repeatedly stated before, the brazen corruption of the Trump administration is not normal and the only way we can prevent him and his cronies from normalizing it is if we scream about it. Hosting a GOP fundraiser at Trump’s hotel is inherently a conflict of interest. Spiking hotel rates 13-fold on top of that? That’s corruption, plain and simple!!

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Did Trump Use Tariffs To Secure Argentinian Trademarks?

In yet another example of how President Trump is abusing his office for personal profit, ethics watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and ethics in Washington (CREW) says Trump may have used tariffs to strong arm Argentina into granting two trademarks to his business, which he is yet to divest from.

CREW essentially takes issue with the peculiar sequence of events from the time Trump’s business appied for the trademarks to the time they were granted. According to CREW, Trump’s business applied for the Argentinian trademarks in December 2017 while aluminium and steel tarrifs were still in effect.

A few months after that, May 2018, while the trademarks were still pending, the Trump administration lifted the tariffs. In November 2019 with the tariffs still lifted, Argentina granted Trump’s business the requested trademarks. Shortly after securing the trademarks, the trump administration reinstated the aluminium and steel tariffs on Argentina–literally manipulating U.S. foreign policy for personal profit. Sickening corruption!!

You’ll remember similar accusations were made against Trump’s daughter Ivanka regarding the way she secured Chinese trademarks, which Yours Truly wrote about.

Bottom line folks, as Yours Truly has repeatedly stated before, the brazen corruption of the Trump administration is not normal and the only way we can prevent him and his cronies from normalizing it is if we scream about it. Where, as here, tariffs are seemingly being abused to secure trademarks for Trump’s business, Congress and the mainstream media owe it to the public to get to the bottom of it.

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Trump Profiting Off U.S. Secret Service Funds

A bombshell report by Washington Post’s David Farenthold says President Trump is profiting off U.S. Secret Service funds–yes, taxpayer funds. According to Farenthold, charges to U.S. Secret Service credit cards at various Trump properties totalled more than $250,000 in the first five months of Trump’s presidency.

Crucially, Farenthold points out that during his first five months as President, Trump only visited his properties 21 times and that since then, he has done so with alarming frequency. This therefore means Secret Service spending at Trump’s properties (read payments to Trump), currently stand at a figure much higher than the quarter million cited in Farenthold’s piece.

Even though it doesn’t get enough mentions by the mainstream media, there is a domestic clause to the U.S. Constitution’s Emoluments Clause which prohibits the President from making money from government agencies both federal and state, over and above his salary. Yours Truly talked about this during the Trump Turnberry scandal where U.S. military funds were spent at Trump’s Scottish resort.

The U.S. Secret Service falls under the Department of Homeland Security which means just like we recently witnessed with the Trump Turnberry incident where the U.S. Air Force was compelled to justify their actions, someone at DHS will have to explain why Secret Service funds(taxpayer dollars) are ending up in Trump’s pockets.

Bottom line folks, as Yours Truly has said many times before, we must not remain silent in the face of Trump’s blatant corruption. If we were outraged over Trump profiting off U.S. military funds, then we should be similarly outraged at Secret Service funds being spent at Trump’s properties. A serious investigation needs to be conducted to find out the total amount of money the U.S. Secret Service has spent at Trump’s properties ever since he became President. As Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren famously says, “this is corruption, plain and simple.”

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Who Are The Mysterious Traders Who Made $1.8 Billion From Trump’s China Pronouncement?

There was a bombshell revelation by The Independent recently that mysterious traders placed stock trades right before President Trump announced resumption of trade talks with China resulting in a staggering $1.8 billion gain for the traders. Naturally this has sparked speculation by many, including Yours Truly, of insider trading by these mysterious traders.

Any reasonable person presented with these set of facts would conclude that there’s at least an appearance of insider trading by these mysterious traders and because insider trading is a crime in the U.S., a serious inquiry must be conducted into these traders’ identity. The only way to remove any appearance of insider trading by these traders is if (1) their true identity was established and (2) it was established that they have zero connection to Trump or any member of his administration that would have had advance knowledge of his China pronouncement.

Simply put folks, there needs to be a serious investigation into this bombshell piece because as it currently stands, the public is left with the impression that people, potentially the President himself, are profiting from his wild public remarks. An investigation into this would not only quell public concerns about this issue, but would also clear up the appearance of impropriety on the President’s part. Put another way, it is in everybody’s interest that such an inquiry is conducted.

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Kushner Firm Gets $90 Million From Secret Foreign Source

The Guardian reports that Cadre, a real estate firm partly owned by President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner recently received $90 million in secret foreign funding. Kushner currently works at the White House as Trump’s Senior Adviser and is a pointman for many of Trump administration’s foreign policy positions. You will remember he was even tasked with solving the Middle East Conflict.

It therefore comes as no surprise that there are conflict of interest concerns being raised about the secret foreign $90 million pumped into his firm given his White House job. Any reasonable person would have concerns as to whether these secret foreign funds are being used to influence Kushner’s foreign policy decisions.

It is precisely for this reason that public officials are strongly advised to fully divest from businesses that might create an appearance of impropriety/appearance of a conflict of interest. Contrary to popular belief, divestiture is actually meant for the public official’s own good and not “punishment” as many people look at it.

Kushner did not divest from Cadre upon assuming his White House job. He must therefore address the legitimate conflict of interest questions brought about by the secret foreign $90 million pumped into his company. Was any of that pay for play? Sorry Kushner, you can avoid such questions by fully divesting from Cadre.

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236th Day Trump Has Steered Taxpayer Dollars Towards His Golf Course

Today we learned that President Trump visited his Golf Course in Sterling, Virginia which makes it the 236th day he has steered taxpayer dollars towards one of his golf courses and the latest example of him abusing his office for personal enrichment.

This comes at a time when the impeachment inquiry is heating up with Democrats calling for Trump’s corrupt dealings to be included in the articles of impeachment. Democrats should definitely not close the door on incorporating Trump’s corruption into the final articles of impeachment.

It also bears pointing out that Trump’s recent rash decision that is leading to our Kurdish allies getting slaughtered in the Middle East has angered many Senate Republicans and his very reliable White Evangelical voting block.

It is too early to tell whether anger over the needless slaughter of the Kurds will cause Senate Republicans to finally abandon Trump and vote for his removal from office after he is impeached at the House.

One only hopes that Senate Republicans angered by Trump’s senseless betrayal of our Kurdish allies will also start addressing his corrupt dealings chief among them, his constant steering of taxpayer dollars towards his businesses.

Bottom line folks a line has to be drawn somewhere regarding Trump’s constant steering of taxpayer dollars towards his businesses. Articles of impeachment regarding Trump’s corruption would certainly go a long way towards forcing a real debate around this issue even if the Senate ultimately votes to keep him in office.

Simply put, Yours Truly would pay to watch Republican Senators going on the record to defend taxpayer funds being spent on Trump’s properties. That would be a sight to behold!!

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Did Trump Shake Down China For Ivanka’s Trademarks?

As President Trump continues to level corruption allegations against the Biden family in an effort to deflect attention away from his impeachment inquiry, many questions are likewise being raised about the business practices of his adult children chief among them, his daughter and Adviser Ivanka Trump.

Among the most questionable of Ivanka Trump’s trademarks are the three she reportedly received right after dining with China’s President Xi in 2017.

Well according to a CNBC piece citing Ethics Watchdog CREW, we are also finding out that China apparently approved some of Ivanka’s trademarks in May 2018, just a few days before President Trump lifted sanctions on Chinese telecom giant ZTE. Yes, you heard that right–China approved Ivanka’s long-pending trademarks on the same week her father, President Trump, announced that he would be lifting sanctions on Chinese Telecom giant ZTE. The proximity between these two events (trademark approval and lifting of sanctions) have led some to reasonably speculate that Trump essentially shook China down for his daughter’s trademarks.

Ivanka applied for the said trademarks way back in 2016. Reasonable people will agree that it is kind of strange that China decided to approve the long-pending trademarks right before a favorable U.S. government decision on Chinese telecom giant ZTE.

Bottom line as long as Ivanka continues to work at her father’s White House and meeting with world leaders including China’s, her trademarks will continue raising legitimate conflict of interest questions. You don’t have to take Yours Truly’s word for it, listen to what Ethics Watchdog CREW says about this issue; “Since she has retained her foreign trademarks, the public will continue to have to ask whether President Trump has made foreign policy decisions in the interest of his and his family’s businesses….Her trademarks remain a potential conflict of interest as she continues to work on policy in the White House and meet with foreign leaders.”

Sorry Ivanka, the conflict of interest questions will only go away if you either quit your White House job or fully divest from your businesses. Until then, your trademarks are fair game, especially if your dad insists on attacking the Bidens.

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Ivanka’s Questionable Chinese Trademarks

As if her father’s numerous violations of the emoluments clause aren’t enough, we now find out that Ivanka Trump is also doing very questionable business deals while working at the White House. Ethics watchdog CREW reported in November 2018 about how Ivanka is racking up Chinese trademarks from her lofty White House perch–a glaring conflict of interest. The stunning detail in CREW’s report however was that in 2017, the Chinese government approved three of Ivanka’s trademarks right after she dined with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Ivanka working at her dad’s White House is already problematic in that it raises legitimate questions of nepotism. Her business dealings while working at the White House clearly raise conflict of interest questions, especially now that her father, President Trump, is accusing his chief political rival Joe Biden of using his position as Obama’s Vice President to further the business interests of his son. Reasonable people will agree that if it is okay for President Trump to accuse his political opponent Biden of corruptly using the Vice Presidency to enrich his family, then it is perfectly okay to question Ivanka Trump’s business dealings–especially how she got trademarks approved right after dining with the Chinese President.

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