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Trump 44: Finally on Trial


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GreyhoundFan

Hurry up, Democrats, we need to wake up from this nightmare!

Continued from here:

 

"Trump learns that fake charities are tons of fun until you get caught"

Spoiler

Imagine President Trump’s surprise upon realizing that a charity bearing his name did not mean the money belonged to him.

So it has come to pass with a New York judge’s ruling Thursday that the president had misused money given to the Donald J. Trump Foundation and, as part of a settlement, will have to pay $2 million in damages. Not only did he use the money for himself, including the purchase of a 6-foot-tall portrait of None Other, but he also filled the board of directors with family members (the usual suspects: Ivanka, Donald Jr. and Eric) and at least one officer, Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, who didn’t know he was even on the board, according to court documents.

The man who popularized “fake news” apparently also invented a fake charity. They’re tons of fun until you get caught. But there was nothing fake about the money Trump spent that was intended for others.

In addition to the portrait, for which he paid $10,000 (albeit at an auction for another charity) but which later hung in his Doral golf resort in Miami, Trump’s other charitable interests included about $250,000 to settle lawsuits involving his for-profit business. Best of all, he used $12,000 from the charity to buy a jersey and a helmet autographed by then-Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow.

There were some “charitable” donations, such as a $25,000 check in 2013 to a political committee connected to then-Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (R). Charities are prohibited from making political contributions. And, in 2016, while in Iowa at a political rally, Trump issued a $100,000 check from the foundation to a local veterans group. Again, money from charities is prohibited by federal law from “participating” in political campaigns.

The Post’s David Fahrenthold, who was in the crowd, noted the gimmick, embarked on Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporting, and in 2018, New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) filed a lawsuit alleging “persistently illegal conduct” at the foundation, where Trump had served as president since 1987.

One would think that such a “very stable genius,” as Trump has described himself, would know that charities are meant to fund, well, charitable acts. But one can also imagine that the words “fiduciary duty” would not trip easily from Trump’s tongue. Instead, they might lodge in his throat and emerge only with the violent assist of a Heimlich maneuver.

“Mr. Trump owed fiduciary duties to the Foundation,” state Judge Saliann Scarpulla wrote in the order. “Mr. Trump breached his fiduciary duty to the Foundation.”

I’d say. Otherwise, the Trump Foundation was something of a ruse. The board had never met in 19 years, from 1999 to 2018, when it agreed to shut down. Trump, though he gave $5.5 million over the foundation’s life, didn’t surrender a penny between 2009 and 2015.

It probably goes without saying that the president engaged in his usual gaslighting — trying to make others question their own reality — and initially had cast the suit as a partisan sham. How could there be any wrongdoing when the doer was Donald J. Trump himself? As if to say, Hey, my name’s on the foundation. Obviously, the money’s mine.

Then again, Trump has always been accustomed to doing things his way. Why would he think the rules of ordinary people should apply to him? Besides, weren’t these innocent errors of judgment rather than intentional abuses? I’m sure that Trump only wanted the painting to serve some higher purpose. As then-adviser Boris Epshteyn told MSNBC, the Doral was doing the foundation a favor by storing the art. (Cue laughing hyenas, volume up.)

In a rare concession of accountability, Trump admitted to the court that he misappropriated funds and has agreed to extreme oversight in any future charitable works. His three eldest children, who were originally named in the lawsuit, were let off in exchange for taking an “in-person interactive” course on how to be better board members. (Hyenas, hit it!)

And, finally, the foundation will do what it was intended to do. Trump already has paid back $338,000 to the foundation for various improper expenditures. In total, the foundation will disburse $3.8 million to eight charities.

In a twist of ironic justice, the man with the alleged Midas touch dropped $12,000 on Tebow’s helmet and jersey on the same night that the Broncos were massacred by the New England Patriots in the NFL playoffs. The quarterback was soon traded and played only one more season. Had Trump only waited until this past week, he could’ve found a signed Tebow helmet on eBay — for a mere $180.

 

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Pelosi is 🔥  

I'm pissed that the giant man baby had to travel to 3 different sporting events to get his ego fill. He's such a little bitch that because he got booed, it hurt his little feels so he had to go to the

Good burn! I bet it will drive Twitler crazy:  

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fraurosena

Hopefully this will be used in a court of law when the non compliance with Congressional subpoenas is prosecuted.

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fraurosena

:56247976a36a8_Gigglespatgiggle:


 

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fraurosena

This is the scary stuff that is going to escalate now that Trump has given in to Erdogan and Putin. Of course, this will not be discussed at Erdogan's visit this week. That'll be all love and kisses and happy smiles.

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fraurosena

They don't like him much in New York, do they?

 

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allthegoodnamesrgone

I'm pissed that the giant man baby had to travel to 3 different sporting events to get his ego fill. He's such a little bitch that because he got booed, it hurt his little feels so he had to go to the WWE or something like that because those rednecks are supposed to be "his people" but they booed him there as well, and that really got his feels all angry. So then he had to go to the Bama football game, where he finally got his cheers, but the curse of Trump hit Bama hard, they lost their 1st home game in 4 YEARS. Further proving that everything Trump touches turns to shit. 🤣

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On 11/10/2019 at 11:21 AM, GreyhoundFan said:

So it has come to pass with a New York judge’s ruling Thursday that the president had misused money given to the Donald J. Trump Foundation and, as part of a settlement, will have to pay $2 million in damages.

$2 million for this kleptocrat is basically a fairy tap. He should have been barred from sitting on any boards for 10 years minimum and fined double the amount the "charity" spent on him. 

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Audrey2
7 hours ago, fraurosena said:

:56247976a36a8_Gigglespatgiggle:


 

I'm surprised Trump could do something for Veterans' Day. I figured his bone spurs would be acting up.

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Dandruff
42 minutes ago, Audrey2 said:

I'm surprised Trump could do something for Veterans' Day. I figured his bone spurs would be acting up.

He got to piss off NYC and pretend he matters. 

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fraurosena

Trump is speaking in an official capacity (taxpayer funded, naturally), but of course he's drugged up and holding an absurd campaign style speech.

This is the first tweet in this thread, and the rest - even more ridiculous - is under the spoiler.

 

Quote

 

 

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onekidanddone
25 minutes ago, fraurosena said:

Trump is speaking in an official capacity (taxpayer funded, naturally), but of course he's drugged up and holding an absurd campaign style speech.

This is the first tweet in this thread, and the rest - even more ridiculous - is under the spoiler.

 

 

I’m not as think as you drunk I am 

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allthegoodnamesrgone
On 11/11/2019 at 3:14 PM, mamallama said:

New York hated Trump looooong before he became politcal.  

I'm from the Midwest, lived here or the central southern states my whole life, and I knew Trump was a conman and hated by New Yorkers for over a decade before he ran for POTUS.  I admit to being a news junkie so I'm a bit lot more informed than your average person, but I would have though Trump's shittastic ways was common knowledge, after bankrupting what 3 casino's and a luxury hotel, the sham of Trump University, the failure of Trump Vodka, the failure of Trump steaks the failure of Trump board games the failure of EVERYTHING he's launched or tried to launch. I knew he stiffed contractors, and employees, I knew he loved to sue everyone into oblivion to avoid paying anyone he tied them up in the courts until they had to stop because they went bankrupt.  I don't see how anyone can be surprised that he is a total crook, the only way you can be is to have kept your head in the sand an only watched The apprentice, but even that show showed him as a bloviating jackass. and it was edited to make him look good, it failed, at least in MO.  

I just hope and pray that these hearings wake people up and the GOP is forced to remove him, Pence, Barr & pretty much everyone else in his cabinet from office.  

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Dandruff
1 hour ago, allthegoodnamesrgone said:

I just hope and pray that these hearings wake people up and the GOP is forced to remove him, Pence, Barr & pretty much everyone else in his cabinet from office.

Like shining light on vampires.

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GreyhoundFan

From CNN: "Exclusive: Trump DC hotel sales pitch boasts of millions to be made from foreign governments"

Spoiler

Washington (CNN)In its effort to sell off the lease to the Trump International Hotel in Washington, the Trump Organization has put together a glossy investor brochure complete with pictures showcasing the hotel's grandiose architecture, its central location and its spa's Himalayan salt chamber.

The hotel's biggest selling point though, according to a copy of the brochure seen by CNN, is the one thing that the Trump family insists it didn't take advantage of: profiting off foreign governments.

"Tremendous upside potential exists for a new owner to fully capitalize on government related business upon rebranding of the asset," reads the 46-page investor pitch.

The Trump Organization insists that its refusal to solicit foreign business has cost it more than $9 million. According to the brochure, those "sacrifices" include turning away 17,100 room nights in 2019, resulting in $5.3 million in lost room revenue and $3.9 million in lost food and beverage revenue.

The investor pitch is an explicit acknowledgment of how important foreign business is to the 263-room luxury hotel in the Old Post Office building blocks from the White House.

Though it includes specific numbers of how much money it turned away from foreign governments, the pitch does not include figures for how much the hotel has accepted, despite reports showing it has become a magnet for foreign officials. Nor does it provide actual or historical financial performance data for the hotel, which is named in multiple lawsuits accusing Trump of using the property to illegally profit off his presidency.

Those lawsuits claim Trump has violated the emoluments clause of the US Constitution, which forbids the President from receiving gifts or payments from foreign governments. In its defense, the Trump Organization says that it has voluntarily donated over $340,000 in income it has received from foreign governments to the US Treasury in 2017 and 2018. The President's lawyers have also argued that since his assets have been placed into a trust, he does not directly benefit from the hotel's business.

Instead the materials offer financial projections for years 2020 to 2026 based on a sales and marketing strategy targeting foreign governments.

Trump previously reported in his financial disclosure form that the hotel made $40.8 million in revenues in 2018 and $40.4 million in 2017. The family has never disclosed whether the hotel is profitable.

The Trump Organization did not respond to CNN's requests for comment.

Projected jump in revenue

Nevertheless the company is projecting a whopping 65% jump in revenue from 2018 to 2020. According to the investor pitch, the hotel is estimated to have operating revenues of $67.7 million next year, and $6 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization minus expenses to keep the hotel updated.

JLL Hotels & Hospitality, the real estate company hired to sell the hotel lease, projects the occupancy rate at the Washington hotel next year will hit 68.3%. That's below other five-star hotels in the area, which JLL estimates will have 74.5% occupancy rates, according to the investor brief.

The investor pitch began circulating in recent weeks after the Trump Organization announced last month that it was exploring the sale of its 60-year lease with the General Services Administration. After signing the lease in 2013, the Trump Organization poured millions of dollars into revamping the Old Post Office building, and opened its doors in October 2016, less than two weeks before Trump won the election.

"People are objecting to us making so much money on the hotel, and therefore we may be willing to sell," Eric Trump said in a statement last month. When Trump became President he did not sell off his assets as previous presidents have, but put the family business into a trust delegating the running of the family business to his two sons, Eric and Don Jr, and other executives.

$500 million selling price

A person familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal that the company is hoping to get more than $500 million for the property, or about $2 million per room key (the sales price divided by the number of rooms) -- which would be one of the highest prices ever paid for a hotel in Washington.

By contrast the Rosewood Hotel, a luxury five-star property in Georgetown, sold for $1.3 million a room key in 2016.

"It's an extremely high price but the location and the recent renovation of the hotel are going to command a historic value for the Washington, DC, area," said Dan Hawkins, a senior director in hotels and hospitality group of Berkadia, a commercial real estate firm.

A sale is not without complications. The buyer won't own the land since it's leased from GSA, which would also have to approve the sale. The arrangement also raises possible conflicts of interest since Trump is effectively on both sides of the transaction as the seller and the boss of the GSA officials charged with approving a deal.

Some potential buyers have questioned why Trump wouldn't wait until he leaves office to sell the property to avoid debate over whether he sought to benefit from his office. Others have raised ethical concerns that it is overpriced and being marketed to deep pocketed foreign buyers, who may be motivated to curry favor with the President.

When Trump created the trust for his business he also named as ethics adviser Bobby Burchfield, a Washington lawyer, who would have to approve certain transactions, including a sale of the hotel. Under the ethics review, Trump is not permitted to sell to a sovereign wealth fund or to a foreign government. A foreign citizen however would not be immediately disqualified from buying the hotel.

The transaction also has to be determined to be a fair market value with no indication that the counterpart is trying to influence the Trump administration or extract a concession.

Despite the Trump Organization's claims that it turned away millions of dollars in business from foreign governments, the Washington hotel has done brisk business with them. Delegations from Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Kuwait have stayed at the hotel or held events there, along with members of Trump's cabinet and GOP fundraisers. The Prime Minister of Romania reportedly booked a room earlier this year.

Foreign business is not the only selling point the Trump Organization is highlighting to possible buyers. They're also anticipating a boost to the hotel market from one company the president loves to hate, Amazon, whose CEO Jeff Bezos also owns the Washington Post.

One full page in the 46-page package promotes the benefits that may come from Amazon's decision to build its second headquarters in northern Virginia. JLL projects that Amazon could add 880,000 room nights in seven years, "further driving compression," or full occupancy, "to the lodging sector in Washington DC."

 

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GreyhoundFan

"Trump asks Supreme Court to shield his tax returns from prosecutors, setting up historic separation-of-power showdown"

Spoiler

President Trump asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to stop a prosecutor’s investigation of his personal finances, a bold assertion of presidential power that seeks a landmark decision from the nation’s highest court.

The filing by the president’s private lawyers represents a historical moment that tests the court’s independence and highlights the Constitution’s separation-of-powers design. It also marks a new phase in the investigations that have dogged Trump throughout his presidency and have culminated in an impeachment inquiry.

The case involves Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.’s attempt to enforce a grand jury subpoena issued to the president’s accountants for eight years of Trump’s tax records.

Trump went to court to block the subpoena, making a broad claim that presidents are immune from investigation while in office. A district judge and a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled against him, saying the subpoena was proper and the president’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, must comply.

Vance’s office agreed to hold off on enforcing the subpoena if Trump’s lawyers quickly asked the Supreme Court to hear the case this term.

The justices are not required to review the lower court’s decision. But the chances that the high court will get involved increased Wednesday, when a separate appeals court in a separate case concluded Congress has a right to those same tax records.

The cases set up a potentially dramatic decision on presidential power like those the Supreme Court rendered against Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Bill Clinton. Both were unanimous rulings rejecting the their pleas, and suggest Trump might have trouble keeping the tax information from prosecutors and Congress.

It will come before a court that includes two Trump nominees, Justices NeilM. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh. In addition, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in media interviews before the 2016 election criticized Trump’s decision not to release his tax returns, as other presidential nominees had done.

“How has he gotten away with not turning over his tax returns?” Ginsburg said in an interview with CNN. “The press seems to be very gentle with him on that.” After criticism, Ginsburg said she should not have commented on the candidate.

The court’s decision on whether to grant Trump’s requests to review the lower court decisions would likely come in time for a full hearing before the justices this term and a ruling in the coming presidential election year.

Trump has moved aggressively to block examination of his tax records, filing lawsuits against congressional committees, two banks and Mazars, which has said it would turn over the records if courts so order.

Other separation-of-powers cases that could reach the Supreme Court include Congress’s effort to access redacted portions of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report on Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russian interference in that election, and lawsuits alleging Trump’s private businesses violate the emoluments clauses of the Constitution.

Vance has said his office needs the records for its investigation into alleged hush-money payments during the 2016 campaign to Stormy Daniels, an adult film actress, and former Playboy model Karen McDougal. Both women said they have had affairs with Trump, and Vance’s office is examining whether any Trump Organization officials filed falsified business records, in violation of state law, related to the payments. Trump has denied the affairs and any wrongdoing.

Trump’s attorney William S. Consovoy has argued that while in the White House, Trump has “temporary presidential immunity” not just from prosecution, but also from investigation. At the appeals court hearing in New York, Consovoy said in response to a judge’s question that the president, for as long as he is in office, could not even be investigated for shooting someone on the streets of Manhattan.

The Justice Department filed a brief in support of the president, but it did not endorse Trump’s assertion that he has absolute immunity from investigation. Instead, government lawyers said there are some instances when a local prosecutor might legally seek a president’s documents — but this was not one of them.

Vance has rejected Trump’s sweeping immunity claims, saying the president is seeking to “invent and enforce a new presidential ‘tax return privilege’ ” that would bar anyone from seeing his returns. “No such privilege exists in the law,” Vance’s office said in court filings at the 2nd Circuit.

U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in New York called Trump’s theory “repugnant to the nation’s governmental structure and constitutional values.”

A unanimous panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit issued a more subdued ruling against Trump.

Chief Judge Robert A. Katzmann, writing for the majority, noted the Supreme Court’s 1974 decision ordering the White House to turn over Nixon’s audiotapes during a criminal investigation of his aides.

Trump “has not persuasively explained why, if executive privilege did not preclude enforcement of the subpoena issued in Nixon, the Mazars subpoena must be enjoined despite seeking no privileged information and bearing no relation to the president’s performance of his official functions.”

His panel’s decision was far more limited, he said, and did not address whether Trump was subject to prosecution.

“The only question before us is whether a state may lawfully demand production by a third party of the president’s personal financial records for use in a grand jury investigation while the president is in office,” Katzmann wrote.

He added in a footnote:

“We note that the past six presidents, dating back to President Carter, all voluntarily released their tax returns to the public. While we do not place dispositive weight on this fact, it reinforces our conclusion that the disclosure of personal financial information, standing alone, is unlikely to impair the president in performing the duties of his office.”

Unlike other disputes involving past presidents, Vance’s subpoena does not require any action from Trump, because it is aimed at his accounting firm.

Trump’s suit against the House Oversight and Reform Committee became ripe for Supreme Court review Wednesday, when the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit declined to review a ruling against Trump by a panel of the court.

A divided three-judge panel of the court held in October that the House had issued its subpoena for “legitimate legislative pursuits, not an impermissible law-enforcement purpose,” as the president’s lawyers had argued.

“Contrary to the president’s arguments, the committee possesses authority under both the House rules and the Constitution to issue the subpoena, and Mazars must comply,” wrote Judge David S. Tatel, who was joined by Judge Patricia A. Millett. Both were nominated by Democratic presidents.

Judge Neomi Rao, a Trump nominee, had dissented in the case, and she was joined by two other Republican-nominated judges in unsuccessfully advocating for a rehearing.

Judge Gregory Katsas, another Trump nominee who had earlier worked in the White House Counsel’s Office, called the congressional subpoena a “threat to the presidency” and warned it would be “open season on the president’s personal records” if Congress is allowed to compel the president to disclose personal records based on the possibility that it might inform legislation.

 

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GreyhoundFan

This is a good article from Politico: "‘He does nothing without a quid pro quo’"

Spoiler

President Donald Trump has always viewed life through the prism of his next real estate deal, betting he can just bulldoze opponents into giving him what he wants. But Washington doesn’t work that way.

Now, as he battles an impeachment inquiry that sprang from his alleged attempt to bully a foreign leader, those who know Trump say it’s in large measure because he never made the switch from the brash, no-holds-barred New York businessman portrayed in “The Art of the Deal” to the president of a country governed by laws and norms of behavior.

“He’s used to getting what he wants and he’s a tough street guy,” said Billy Procida, a former vice president for the Trump Organization. “He’s been dealing with subcontractors his whole life. You know what it’s like to deal with subcontractors? They’re all terrorists. They all want more money for the job and then you’ve got to fight them and say, ‘OK, quid pro quo, I’m going to give you this, you do that, I’ll give you this, you do that, if you don’t do this, I’m going to do that.’”

The disjuncture between the table-pounding imperatives of New York real estate and the delicacies of international diplomacy helps explain, these people say, why Trump is having trouble understanding why his “perfect” phone call with Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, may have crossed a line.

“He does nothing without a quid pro quo,” said a former White House official. “Nothing. Whatever deal has got to be to his advantage.”

“He treats a lot of conversations and a lot of negotiations, including with foreign leaders, along those lines,” said another former White House official. “‘What is it that you want? Here’s what we want.’ How can we find a way to reach some kind of deal or accommodation where we both get what we want but in particular where I, representing the U.S., get what I want.”

These ex-officials weren’t at all surprised, therefore, to learn that Trump had asked Zelensky to do him a “favor” while nudging him to launch investigations of his political adversaries — a 30-minute conversation whose interpretation is at the heart of Democrats’ impeachment drive.

House leaders, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have charged that Trump’s chat with Zelensky is evidence enough of “bribery” and “extortion” — their characterization of what the president said was a “perfect” phone call, and his Republican allies say is just the normal give-and-take of foreign affairs.

What’s more, Trump’s defenders say, his up-front negotiating style has its advantages.

“He’s very direct from the beginning about what he wants,” said a former administration official. “You’re not wondering about what he wants or what the end goal. … [T]hen he’ll hammer at it, so it’s clear that the person understands it and then that every time he speaks to that person, it will be repeated until whatever goal is achieved.”

Trump’s win-at-any cost mentality has those who have worked or dealt with Trump guessing that the known occasions when he pressed for Ukraine to investigate his rivals — the July 25 call with Zelensky and several with his ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland — aren’t the only times he did so.

“He would just never take no for an answer if he wanted something,” said Barbara Res, another former vice president for the Trump Organization. She expects him to try to horse-trade with Senate Republicans and threaten to torpedo their re-election efforts if they show signs of disloyalty during the impeachment inquiry.

Asked for comment, White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said, “President Trump’s ‘style’ is exactly what provided lethal aid to Ukraine so it could protect itself from Russian aggression, while the so-called ‘no drama’ Obama ‘style’ only gave Ukraine blankets and pillows — leaving our international ally dangerously vulnerable.”

Trump’s never-say-die mentality

At times during his business career, Trump’s sheer persistence paid off — even on some of his worst deals.

Take his doomed gambling ventures: While most businessmen would have pulled out and quit, Trump persevered and personally made millions of dollars for the better part of two decades after all three of his casinos in Atlantic City had filed for bankruptcy in the early 1990s.

Trump, who has often cast his predecessors as weak leaders who got steamrolled by China, staked his claim to the presidency on that kind of ability to play a weak hand well. “I do deals. That’s what I do. I do really good at deals,” he told CNN in September 2015 as his fledgling campaign was just starting to get a serious look.

His past colleagues also see a pattern in Trump’s real estate days that has repeated itself throughout his time in office: He becomes obsessed with trying to do any deal quickly, and likes to assess how much he has to give in order to get something.

“A lot of it is using leverage to negotiate, seeking to bully and apply pressure and force concessions, and you see it in negotiations with foreign countries, especially with China and trade,” said one former White House official.

Trump has yet to consummate a trade deal with China, though there are some signs that Beijing’s growing impatience with the on-again, off-again negotiations has led to concessions.

And the president’s defenders say his approach is responsible for some major wins, from browbeating NATO countries to increase their defense spending to negotiating the USMCA, his revised trade deal with Canada and Mexico.

But Trump’s style has also clearly foundered with North Korea, which has continued to expand its missile and nuclear programs despite his alternating threats to incinerate Pyongyang or make it the next Singapore. His “deal of the century” between Israel and the Palestinians has yet to even be unveiled, and Iranian leaders have so far resisted his entreaties to negotiate as well as his campaign of “maximum pressure.”

Then there is Washington, where the policy process often moves slowly and there are laws governing what officials can and can’t do and how regulations can be written.

Here, his operating style has caused problems.

As the head of an eponymous family business, Trump was accustomed to making almost every major decision. It’s been hard for him to adapt to the sprawling and sometimes willful federal bureaucracy, where decisions can get slow-rolled, altered or simply ignored as they filter their way down the organizational chart.

Officials have frequently boasted to reporters about how they’ve thwarted Trump’s whims, as with his orders to assassinate the president of Syria, or pull out of NATO, or build a border moat filled with snakes or alligators.

One of them — an anonymous senior official styling himself as the leader of a cadre of “adults in the room” within the administration —has even parlayed a New York Times op-ed touting his “resistance” into a book on the same subject.

Some foreign leaders — notably Japan’s Shinzo Abe — have learned to adapt to Trump by reading “The Art of the Deal,” which lays out his favorite negotiating and strategy tactics.

But others have learned, to their chagrin, that it can be surprisingly easy to persuade Trump to adopt their positions — only to discover later that his commands don’t always get executed.

After Trump tweeted in August that he had ordered U.S. companies look for an alternative to manufacturing goods in China, for instance, staffers told reporters that Trump hadn’t issued any official order, explaining that the president was only warning companies to pull back from China.

And his now-infamous decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria during a phone call with Turkey’s president led to weeks of chaos, angry outburst from Republican senators, charges of betrayal by America’s Kurdish allies, and ultimately — military officials have hardly been shy about bragging — a partial reversal.

“He may say, ‘Yes, yes I agree’ and the day after when you go back to the White House, nobody has heard about it,” said Gérard Araud, who dealt with Trump when he was the French ambassador to the U.S. and is now SVP at communications firm Richard Attias and Associates. “There’s no instructions down to the bureaucracy to implement what the president says.”

Some have raised a different issue they found frustrating about working with Trump: The president doesn’t see the value of actually preparing for negotiations, which makes it hard for his foreign interlocutors to get traction on their priorities.

That accords with the testimony of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the NSC official responsible for Ukraine policy. Vindman told House impeachment investigators that Trump ignored his briefing materials ahead of the call with Zelensky.

“He believes that everything should be solved at his level,” said one former official. “He doesn’t enter into the details.”

Some Trump allies defend his negotiating style as one perfectly suited to driving a hard bargain with foreign countries and leaders of the opposite party.

“People who are sissies and people who can’t take tough people say, ‘Oh he’s relentless,’ but you know who wins? The tough people win, the sissies lose,” said John Catsimadis, a New York billionaire businessman who has known Trump for 35 years.

“I don’t think any negotiator would be a good one if they were just giving things away without getting things in return,” one former White House official said.

It’s exactly that mindsight, however, that seems to have gotten Trump into trouble with the Zelensky call by linking cooperation with Ukraine to investigating the Bidens — and led top aides like former national security adviser John Bolton to call it a “drug deal.”

“There’s always an ask,” a former White House official explained when asked if Trump had pulled a Zelensky-type move on other foreign leaders. “‘You do this’ and more than a suggestion that something will happen. ... He very seldom listened without coming up with a ‘This is what I need you to do and I’m willing to give this to you if you do it.’”

Three people who know Trump or have dealt with him called him “transactional,” with one Middle Eastern ambassador to Washington saying that Trump’s negotiating style has filtered down to senior staffers who are “always bargaining” with their foreign counterparts.

Sometimes Trump’s wheeling and dealing with foreign counterparts takes familiar forms, albeit of the kind of corporate championing that is normally left to ambassadors and secretaries of commerce.

Trump has placed a particular emphasis on urging countries to sign lucrative contracts with flagship American companies such as Chevron and Boeing — deals he can then take credit for brokering, according to the Middle Eastern ambassador.

When Trump was a businessman in New York, many of his fellow real estate tycoons learned to avoid him at all costs, viewing him as erratic — an assessment that would doubtless ring true to other world leaders.

“No good comes from being too close to him,” said a New York real estate businessman who has dealt with Trump. “Because he’s so unpredictable and so opportunistic, it’s like having a gun that you never know if you point at it if it's going to fire back at your own face so the strategy as far as I’m concerned is don’t engage. There’s no reason to engage.”

“He is entirely opportunistic, entirely inconsistent,” this person said. “There’s no predictability except his own unpredictability.”

 

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GreyhoundFan

He just has to screw our allies everywhere:

 

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fraurosena

Trump seems upset about the Stone verdict. I wonder why? 🤔

 

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GreyhoundFan

Because they need to make their offerings to their lord and master: "RNC to hold winter meetings at Trump resort that was considered for G-7 summit"

Spoiler

The Republican National Committee will hold its winter meetings at President Trump’s Doral golf course in Florida next year — awarding another of the party’s most lucrative events to the president’s private business, a party spokesman said Thursday.

The multiday event will be held in January at the Trump National Doral near the Miami airport, the spokesman said.

Last month, Trump briefly chose Doral to host a much larger event: next year’s Group of Seven summit of world leaders — effectively awarding a massive federal contract to himself. After bipartisan criticism, Trump canceled the event a few days later. No new site has yet been chosen for the summit.

Still, this will be the second time in two years that the GOP will hold a major meeting at the resort — a key property for Trump that has suffered financial decline since he entered politics.

The first GOP meeting at Doral was in spring 2018. That event produced about $630,000 in revenue for Trump’s company, from the GOP and individual attendees, according to a review of campaign-finance records.

At another GOP meeting, in winter 2018, the GOP held most of the event at another hotel — but it also included a dinner at Trump’s D.C. hotel, for which it paid Trump’s company $169,000.

On Thursday, a GOP spokesman defended the decision to return to Doral again in 2020.

“The media is obsessed with our spending at Trump properties and has covered it ad nauseam,” said spokesman Michael Ahrens. “As we have stated multiple times, we continue to hold events at them because they have fantastic service and secure spaces that fit our needs.”

He noted that the majority of recent GOP meetings were held entirely at properties Trump does not own.

Out of the last seven, four included no visits at a Trump property.

Ahrens said Doral was chosen for the 2020 winter meetings in March; campaign-finance records show the GOP paid the resort $84,822 that month for “venue rental and catering.” The event draws hundreds of Republicans for fundraising and debates about strategy and policy.

The Doral resort is a keystone of Trump’s hospitality business, which the president still owns and from which he can draw payments. Doral provides Trump with about $75 million in revenue per year, more than any other hotel or golf club, according to his required financial disclosures. The disclosures do not include profit figures.

But, according to documents that the company submitted to Miami-Dade County in an effort to lower its property taxes, the resort’s profits fell 69 percent in the three years after Trump entered politics in 2015. The documents were obtained by The Washington Post through a public-records request.

Late last year, a tax consultant hired by the Trump Organization told county officials that Doral was “severely underperforming” and blamed the polarizing Trump brand. The resort’s revenue rebounded slightly in 2018, according to Trump’s financial disclosures.

The Trump Organization did not respond to questions for this story. In the past, it has blamed the Doral hotel’s troubles on fears about the Zika virus and hurricanes, but not the Trump brand.

Like other Trump properties, Doral has compensated for some of its lost customers by attracting new ones, closely aligned with Trump’s politics.

Trump himself visited for a fundraiser in June, and a Trump-supporting group held a three-day conference there in October that included the showing of a doctored video where Trump appeared to stab and shoot his political opponents and members of the media.

 

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GreyhoundFan

"Trump’s Washington hotel has fallen behind competitors, with rooms running nearly half empty, marketing materials show"

Spoiler

President Trump’s Washington hotel has fallen well behind competing properties despite continuing to charge among the highest rates in the city, according to financial information provided to potential bidders as his company tries to sell the hotel’s lease.

The hotel has become a center of Republican politics and a frequent stopping point for members of Trump’s cabinet and inner circle. But its guest rooms are running nearly half empty this year, according to the information, causing the 263-room luxury property — which opened on Pennsylvania Avenue weeks before Trump arrived in the White House — to fall short of the company’s own expectations.

Marketing materials distributed by a real estate firm hired by Trump’s company say that a new owner, operating “unencumbered” by Trump’s name or his management company, could dramatically increase profits, particularly through a massive increase in business with foreign governments.

The hotel “is organically positioned to market and solicit foreign government business” given its “unbelievable proximity to the White House, U.S. Capitol, Internal Revenue Service, Treasury, Department of Justice” and other offices, according to the marketing materials given to potential buyers by the firm, JLL, which was obtained by The Washington Post.

The marketing materials cite 77 official state visits to Washington that have occurred since Trump entered office and say that the hotel “turned away” an estimated 17,100 guest stays in 2019 alone, forgoing as much as $9.2 million in revenue, according to the materials.

The Trump Organization did not respond to questions about how it calculated those figures and whether the hotel was actively turning away foreign governments that call and ask for bookings. JLL did not provide comment.

Donald Trump Jr., who along with his brother Eric Trump is managing the Trump Organization while their father is in office, told Fox News recently that they were exploring a sale because they had agreed not to pursue events held by foreign governments.

In a Thursday appearance on CNN, which earlier reported some of the information, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway batted away questions about the possible sale.

“It’s a great hotel. Have you been there? The food is delicious, the hotel is great, it has proximity to many places,” she said.

“The family, beginning with President Trump, have made financial sacrifices to be President of the United States,” she said.

Other Trump properties, including his Doral golf resort and Chicago hotel, have suffered steep financial declines since Trump entered office, but the D.C. hotel — operating at the center of Trump’s Washington — has become wildly popular with Republican campaigns, conservative authors, Christian organizations and other Trump-aligned groups holding events in Washington.

Republican groups have spent almost $2.4 million at Trump’s D.C. hotel since January 2017, according to campaign filings. The biggest spenders include a pro-Trump Super PAC, Trump’s own reelection campaign, the Republican National Committee and a PAC set up by Vice President Pence.

During the first four months of 2017, with Trump newly in office, his hotel turned a $1.97 million profit, dramatically beating the company’s own expectations, according to documents posted online by the General Services Administration, which leases the building to Trump’s company. (The GSA under Trump has resisted providing financial information on the hotel, prompting House Democrats to issue a subpoena for it last month.)

The Trump hotel’s occupancy for that time period, which included Trump’s inauguration festivities, was still below that of competitors, but the hotel was charging much higher rates than other hotels, and its revenue was $6 million above the company’s own projections.

Last year — in an indication that the hotel was not living up to original expectations — District of Columbia tax officials agreed to reduce the property’s 2018 assessment by $53.6 million, saving Trump’s company nearly $1 million. Trump received $41 million in income from the property in 2018, ­according to his financial disclosure form with the government.

More recently, the boost in pro-Trump business hasn’t been enough.

Occupancy this year has been around 57 percent, compared with 75 percent for competitors including the Four Seasons, the Ritz-Carlton and the Hay-Adams, according to an analysis of information in the marketing materials by The Post.

As a result, the hotel has taken in about $20 less per available room than competitors this year, even though the average guest paid about $650 per night to stay there. Real estate experts say that could be an indication that some travelers and groups remain extremely loyal to Trump’s brand, but Democrats and government ethics experts have charged that the hotel’s clients are trying to buy favor with the president.

In three lawsuits wending their way through federal court, plaintiffs argue that Trump has violated the Constitution’s foreign emoluments clause by maintaining ownership of his business and leasing rooms to foreign governments, including Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

The Trump Organization has donated $340,000 to the U.S. Treasury since Trump took office, money the company says equates to profits it has made from foreign governments. Attorneys for Trump argue that he has not violated the emoluments clause because the payments are market-rate transactions.

Trump leased the property from the government in 2013 and spent an estimated $210 million redeveloping it, using a $170 million loan from Deutsche Bank. The lease stipulates that he may sell his interest, subject to approval by the GSA.

I can't wait until his name comes off that historic property.

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